The Android web browser is decent, but it would be better if the volume rocker could be used as a zoom control. Instead, you'll have to jiggle the page around a little to make the on-screen controls appear: zoom in or out, the 1x button which snaps you back to your original resolution, and the magnifying pane, which allows you to skim over a page of tiny text until you find the bit you want to focus on. You can also search for key words, copy and paste text, and there's the option to send pages direct from the browser to Facebook or Twitter or via email.
The web browser is decent
Downloaded videos look great on the sharp and clear OLED screen but there's nothing in the way of control or viewing options besides play/pause, forward and back. It will play MP4, H.263, H.264 and WMV video files, and MP3, e-AAC+, WMA, Ogg Vorbis and Real Audio music files. In addition to the chunky 8GB of built-in storage, you can also add a further 32GB by Micro SD card.
The music player features some nice graphics but its menu system is a bit confusing and awkward to find your way around. There's no way a music player's menu system should have you scratching your head in 2009. And next to the screen lock, the second most irritating thing about the Samsung Galaxy is that it plays a little jingle when you insert or remove the headphones - or sync it to your PC for that matter - which soon had us demanding the blood of whichever Samsung marketing exec was responsible. Grrr.
To add to the gripes, the 1500mAh battery proved to be one of the worst we've yet experienced on a smartphone. These devices tend to be juice-hungry little buggers at best, but the Galaxy had us reaching for the charger after less than a day of admittedly fairly heavy, but not constant use. This despite its supposedly power-light OLED screen. Not really good enough, Samsung.
Samsung's first Android phone is something of a disappointment. It's not outrageously bad, but there just seem to be too many missed opportunities and decision fumbles for it to really win us over. While other manufacturers are using Android's flexibility to give their devices a unique stamp, Samsung appears to have simply rushed out a me-too handset without taking the time to put much effort into it.
We'll be interested to see the next Android device that comes off the Samsung production line, but this one doesn't really deliver the goods just yet. ®
More Android Smartphone Reviews...
Samsung Galaxy i7500
Is this the first Android phone supporting WCDMA 850?
I've noticed that these reviews never include the supported WCDMA frequencies - OK all phones are now quad-band GSM - but if one is interested in using a phone on a particular network (Telstra NextG / WCDMA 850 in Australia in my case) it is useful to know which frequencies are supported.
In this case, a bit of looking around suggests that this one is WCDMA: 850/900/2100 (Tri-Band) - does this make it the first Android handset supporting 850 WCDMA?
Please add supported frequencies in reviews in future.
I've had one for a while now, and after being a lifelong Nokia user I'm loving it.
To answer a couple of questions, it's Android 1.5. Latest rumours suggest that Samsung will be skipping 1.6 and releasing 2.0 in Q1 2010 (I believe this is the same for the HTC Hero, although there are unofficial 1.6 firmwares available for that so I've heard).
The "sync notification" alert tone mentioned in the article can be turned off in the settings menu, the headphones one I don't know, I've not tried.
Yes the Samsung NPS software is crap and doesn't really work apart from to update the phone, but as someone has already pointed out, contacts and calendar etc. is synced with your google account anyway. So there's no need for the app's sync features. You can of course still access the SD card on your computer as a removable disk too.
Camera crap? Well, yes. But that's the same for all the current crop of Android phones, but I think it's OK, certainly in daylight.
Poor battery life? Not for me, I've had over 100 hours between charging and the phone was still at 30%. If you've got background data syncing, wifi, gps, loads of twittering facespace widgets updating every 10 minutes then yes, it's not going to last long.
One possible cause for the big battery drain is apparently if you're using the frankly terrible case that samsung provide with the phone. It keeps the camera button pressed down and prevents the phone from going to sleep.
Do I regret getting it? Not so far, so long as Samsung continue to provide updates to last my 18 month contract period I'll be happy. The HTC offerings do seem to have better support though.
With more and more manufacturers releasing Android phones I think things can only get better.
It's Android - it uses your Google contacts and calendar, there's no need to manually sync anything. Ok, once I decided to get a G1 it took a little upheaval to move my stuff over to Google in the first place, but it wasn't difficult, it just involved letting go of some outmoded habits.
Now I get exactly the same access to my calendar, mail and contacts no matter whether I'm using my phone, desktop, laptop or work PC, with no tedious syncing. Plus I share calendars with my family, so any of us can edit it and it all updates for everyone in real time.
Returning the phone because it wouldn't sync, in my ever so humble opinion, is kind of missing the point.
Oh yes, I forgot to mention...
I forgot to mention in my last post that the battery life can be extended to at least 2 days if you turn off the wireless, bluetooth and gprs. You can install some widgets which allow you to turn these on and off at a touch rather than crawling through the menus. I'm sure I can get even more time out of it if I change the syncing periods of certain apps.