Got my hands on the Samsung Galaxy 3, model number GT-5801, the latest Android Smartphone from the Samsung stables. My friend bought it for Rs. 12000, or roughly 260$. A very good pricing for the features and the punch it packs, as I found later.
The box contains a very small user manual, a data cable, handsfree earpieces, the Kies(a PC suite from Samsung, with a very user friendly interface) software cd, and of course, the phone with battery. Also bundled along with the box is a 2GB microSD card and a microSD to SD card adapter. 2GB seems quite less for a Smartphone but, its included free, so can’t complain.
The first impression of the built quality was, oh!! its quite sturdy and though not heavy built, its doesn’t feel cheap. Not much plastic feel to it. Though the looks are average,a nice shiny rim running all around compensates for that. The front is quite a fingerprint magnet though, and I caught myself, cleaning it on my shirt sleeves after 5 minutes of use.
The front contains three buttons, the menu key if you may call it that, the back key and the options key. No other physical key anywhere around it. It all goes touch from here. The top houses the 3.5 mm audio output port, a proprietary usb port for data transfer and charging, and the power switch. Bottom has the microphone hole. And the back has the camera(no flash sadly). Oh! and the back also displays “withGoogle” in bold(indicating that the open source Android runs in it), which manages to be not to intrusive, but give the phone, a classy looks!! I was awed by it.
We are welcomed by the Touch Wiz 3.0 user interface, the popular user interface by Samsung, modified to work with Android 2.1(Eclair). The OS is upgradable to 2.2(Froyo) and the firmware update is already available through Kies. Though I would have preferred Samsung to upgrade it in the factory itself, to spare the users of the hassle. The UI has a feature of creating up to 7 home screens, where we can add widgets from Samsung or Android, shoutcuts and change wallpapers as per our choice. The touch is quite responsive, and scrolling between the home screens is quite smooth.The phone comes with only one home screen, configured with widgets for Gmail, Google search, maps, android market, YouTube, Google talk and phone(for making calls) Also the bottom bar features shortcut for phone function, contacts, messaging and the home screen. The 667mhz processor, does its job quite good. But no extra applications were running in the background and the phone was just out of the box, so will have to wait for a week or so to know more in this regards. Pressing the menu button(center) brings up the widgets and applications installed in the phone.
(Photo Courtesy: www.items-review.com)
Features which I managed to Check
(The phone was for a limited time in my hands so please find a very brief review, or just a preview. Detailed review slated to come in some days.)
Never used a Smartphone before, so wasn’t sure what I was looking at. Took me some time finding out what exactly I was doing. But I know what I want in a Smartphone, and I felt that this one had the potential to seduce me once I had a quick look. The very first widget I saw was allshare, the DLNA app. DLNA is something by which all the future multimedia device are touted to communicate. Basically, if you have a DLNA certified devices, media contents can be shared across them without the need of the complicated transfer routines and cables. Just wifi will do. But this is just the basic explanation. To know more check out here. No other DLNA device at hand, so can’t test. But good to know that its included.
The phone comes with a built in accelerometer, to rotate the display when held in landscape mode. But it comes deactivated and has to be activated from the display settings of the phone. Works quite well when typing a text message. Will have to check out which other applications work with the accelerometer.
Video playback is in landscape mode by default, and the phone speakers are loud and clear if we are watching the video in a group. But the sound quality suggest that they might star jarring after some use. There is an option to select virtual 5.1 surround sound which works when earpieces are connected. Not much difference in sound quality when it is activated. Though the resolution of the screen is less for its size(240 x 400 pixels, 3.2 inches), it does a respectable job of displaying the video. The Music player is good but didn’t get enough time to check if the device had a customizable equalizer. But will surely get to that in the next detailed review very soon.
Sporting a 3.15 MP primary camera, but no secondary camera, this phone lacks that extra edge for use as a true 3G phone. The primary camera is good, and reproduces the images with good clarity in normal light. But the low resolution screen doesn’t seem to do justice to the photos displayed. When transferred to a computer, we can see better results from the camera. Video recording is @15fps which is just average. Will check for any tweaks to get the right quality later. Same for the camera. In the picture gallery, the photos can be zoomed in or out using the multitouch actions like pinching and moving the fingers in opposite direction, just like in iPhone.
The mobile sports a bluetooth, GPRS, 3G, Wifi and EDGE connectivity. I was able to detect my home wireless router quite easily and connecting to it was a breeze. But my internet was down, so even that front has to wait for inclusion in the review.
Android Eclair 2.1 doesn’t support installing applications on the memory card, but Froyo 2.2 does, so a firmware upgrade should solve any memory hogging problems this phone might face. Though there were many apps installed, I was disappointed to find no games preinstalled.
Samsung claims a battery life of 15.5 hours talktime for 2G, and 7.25 hours talktime for 3G, which is quite respectable.
Given that I had less time at my hand, or less time with my hands on it and no internet connectivity at the time of use, this was as much I could make out of the phone. I will strive to get a good look at the features in some days time. Till then check out the specifications as published by gsmarena.
2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
3G Network HSDPA 900 / 2100
Dimensions 113.5 x 55 x 12.6 mm
Weight 113 g
Type TFT capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Size 240 x 400 pixels, 3.2 inches
– Touch Wiz 3.0
– Accelerometer sensor for UI auto-rotate
– Proximity sensor for auto turn-off
– Multi-touch input method
Alert types Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones
– 3.5 mm audio jack
– DNSe (Digital Natural Sound Engine)
Phonebook Practically unlimited entries and fields, Photocall
Call records Practically unlimited
Internal 512MB ROM, 256MB RAM
Card slot microSD, up to 32GB
GPRS Class 10 (4+1/3+2 slots), 32 – 48 kbps
EDGE Class 10, 236.8 kbps
3G HSDPA, 3.6 Mbps
WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth Yes, v3.0 with A2DP
Infrared port No
USB Yes, v2.0 microUSB
Primary 3.15 MP, 2048×1536 pixels, autofocus
Features Geo-tagging, face and smile detection
Video Yes, QVGA@15fps
OS Android OS, v2.1 (Eclair), upgradable to v2.2
CPU 667 MHz processor
Messaging SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Mail, IM
Radio Stereo FM radio with RDS
Games (None installed, Download from Android market)
GPS Yes, with A-GPS support
Java Via third party application
– Orange Application Shop
– Orange Maps, Orange TV, Orange Push Email
– Contact Back & Restore, Orange Photo
– Digital compass
– MP4/DivX/XviD/WMV/H.264/H.263 player
– MP3/WAV/eAAC+ player
– Document editor(Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF)
– Google Search, Maps, Gmail,
YouTube, Calendar, Google Talk integration
– Voice memo
Standard battery, Li-Ion 1500 mAh
Stand-by Up to 620 h (2G) / Up to 480 h (3G)
Talk time Up to 15 h 30 min (2G) / Up to 7 h 15 min (3G)