Samsung Galaxy review

December 30th, 2009

Here’s the Samsung Galaxy, Bell’s first Android powered smartphone. Here are the relevant specs: Android 1.5, 3.2″ 480×320 OLED display, 8GB of built in storage, BT,WiFi and a 5 megapixel camera.

Click the video for the tour of the Galaxy.

The screen looks fantastic. One of the advantages of OLED displays is that they have extremely deep blacks – vibrant colours and amazing viewing angles. This makes them great for showing off pictures. The OLED display on the Galaxy does have one problem; it’s horrible outdoors so if you use your phone a lot in the sun you can stop reading here.

When the screen turns off you can turn it back on by pressing and holding a hold button on the right side. This is one of those minor things but when you press the button it takes 3/4 of a second for the screen to wake up. This makes the Galaxy feel kind of unintuitive. When you press the hold button the screen should turn on right away to tell you, that you have to press and hold it.

As far as input goes you get the basic Android keyboard. It works quite well and on the Galaxy’s not-that-small 3.2″ display it works well.

In front of the Galaxy are menu, home, back, send and end keys along with a navigation pad. I didn’t have any major problems with the layout but I kind of wish the back and home keys were swapped since it would make it easier to multitask.

The first thing I noticed about the Galaxy is that it’s very generic – it’s just plain Google customized Android 1.5. Samsung makes a big deal about putting their TouchWiz interface on all their phones so I’m kind of suprised by this. Of course, for some power users this is actually a good thing since they can customize the Galaxy how they want and don’t need to remove things.

While I found the software generic it’s still quite nice. If you use Google products like gmail, calendar, latitude all you have to do is enter your google login and the Galaxy will automatically download your email, calendar, contacts, etc.

You can also access the Android marketplace which has a lot of applications.

The camera has a resolution of 5 megapixel with autofocus and flash. Indoors it tends to use slower shutter speeds so you’ll get a lot of blurry photos if your subjects aren’t still or if you have shakey hands. There aren’t a lot of options for the camera, just resolution and flash really. The flash tends to blast subjects out.

In the end I found it average for a 5 megapixel camera.

Video is limited to a resolution of 352×288 at around 18fps – video capture is not the Galaxy’s strong point.

I noticed a few problems with the Galaxy. First off the Galaxy lags sometime for no apparent reason.  Now lagging can always happen when you’re multitasking but I wasn’t always doing that when the phone lagged.

Another problem is that it occasionally buffers keystrokes. A good example of this is when I’m using the camera. While I use the camera the Galaxy gets a little sluggish when I press the shutter button – I usually mistaken this for it not registering my button press. So in the end the Galaxy ends up taking a bunch of pictures that I don’t want it to since it buffers the presses.

Sound quality was about average – there is some hiss and voices can be slightly harsh.  RF performance was slightly above average. Compared with a Nokia N97 the Galaxy was slightly worse.

Battery life was difficult to test because there very weak TELUS/Bell HSPA signal in my house so the Galaxy sat there searching for signal most of the time..

There are 2 main things wrong with the Galaxy. While I love Android the Galaxy has a pretty plain jane version of Android 1.5. With 1.6, 2.0 and 2.1 devices are already out/just around the corner the Galaxy was released at a bad time. The other problem is the fact that the Galaxy lags at times.

Still there are upsides. Some will appreciate the fact that the Galaxy is pretty much uncustomized. If you’re indoors a lot (like me) the OLED display is a huge upside. I like to look at pictures and show them off and the OLED’s wide viewing angle plus awesome colours are great for this. It really puts most of the LCD displays/monitors in my house to shame. The 5 megapixel camera also pairs nicely with the display.

In the end I liked the OLED display and the 8GB of built in memory (saves you a trip to the store) and to a lesser extent the 5 megapixel display. Otherwise not much stood out about the Galaxy.

Entry Filed under: Bell Mobility,Reviews,Samsung

1 Comment Add your own

    HowardChui.com: Batteries&hellip  |  March 9th, 2010 at 11:26 am

    [...] similar to the Samsung Galaxy I reviewed a while back but it adds a 800Mhz Samsung processor (up from a 528Mhz Qualcomm) plus if [...]

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