Thursday, 23 December 2010

Samsung Galaxy 3

Yes … This is all we guys in India were waiting for !!

A cheap worth-it Android phone !!

Ok so here we have it itself !!

The good: Inexpensive; great battery life; Swype text input; plays DivX videos; solidly built.

The bad: Unlikely to get Android 2.2 update; TouchWiz interface can be finicky; no directional pad.

Samsung announced two new Android phones during CommunicAsia 2010, one of them the Galaxy 3 (I5801). Though it comes with a slew of connectivity options, the low-resolution display puts it clearly in the entry-level category. Let's see how the Galaxy 3 performs.

 

 

Design

While it isn't as slim as its high-end cousin, the Galaxy S (9.9mm thin), the Galaxy 3 is quite compact at 113.5 x 55 x 13mm. Even then, the screen is not sacrificed--it has a 3.2 inch LCD, which is a reasonable size for a phone in this category. The resolution of this display is 240 x 400 pixels (WQVGA), which gives a little more screen estate compared with the more common QVGA (240 x 320 pixels) resolution. In comparison with other phones bearing HVGA (320 x 480-pixel) panels, text and images don't appear as sharp. But given its target segment, we found the phone perfectly acceptable.
A single physical Home button is found under the display, flanked by touch-sensitive Menu and Back keys. There is no directional pad, which makes accurate positioning of a cursor during text editing a little difficult.
On the top of the I5801 are a standard 3.5mm audio jack and a covered micro-USB port. A power button is also found here. Though made primarily of plastic, we found the Galaxy 3 to be solidly built. Its black battery cover stays on the phone firmly without wobble but can still be easily removed to reveal the 1,500mAh battery and microSD card slot.
The 3-megapixel camera on the back of the Galaxy 3 has an autofocus feature, but doesn't come with an LED for lighting up dark subjects.

 

Features

The I5801 has no lack of connectivity options. It comes with HSDPA, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and even A-GPS for satellite navigation. All these put it in good stead to take full advantage of the Android operating system (OS) as applications such as the browser and Google Maps are best used with fast connections and location awareness.
The version of Android found in the I5800 is 2.1 (Eclair). This is good because more new applications are requiring phones to have at least version 2.1 of Google's mobile OS. Samsung was unable to confirm if there would be a firmware update that will bring Android 2.2 (Froyo) to the Galaxy 3. We are not too hopeful of this happening as low-end products generally do not enjoy sustained attention from manufacturers' research and development teams.
The interface has been modified with Samsung's custom software, TouchWiz 3.0. This gives a different home and menu layout from vanilla Android, as well as custom Samsung apps. Though we don't mind having TouchWiz, its inclusion didn't greatly improve the experience--standard Android 2.1 is already very competent. Samsung does need to put more work into making TouchWiz less finicky. One annoyance was that the text message notifications refused to go away even after reading the message. This was discussed in greater detail in the Galaxy S review.

Text input is done using onscreen keyboards. Aside from the Samsung virtual keypad, the third-party Swype, which lets you trace words using one hand, is also included. We found the latter text input method more suited for the Galaxy 3 compared with the Galaxy S, as this budget phone's screen is smaller, which makes tapping on tiny keys with the thumbs more difficult.
Music and video playback are supported. We tried playing some DivX files and they played fine without any conversion. Those who like music from the airwaves will be glad to know that an FM tuner is built into the I5801.

Performance

The 667MHz processor and 256MB RAM in the Galaxy 3 kept things chugging along fine. The browser slowed down a little when loading graphics-intensive pages, but this was expected so we weren't too concerned. However, it's a pity Android 2.2 isn't available for the I5801 as this latest version will improve CPU performance, including making the browser more responsive.
For such a small phone, the Galaxy 3 comes with quite a large 1,500mAh battery. This kept the smartphone going for about two days on a single charge with two email accounts on push, Twitter running with hourly notifications, some phones calls and occasional text messages.
We had no issue with voice call quality, though the speaker wasn't as loud as we wished it would be. Video calls are not supported.

Conclusion

The Galaxy 3 is not a bad option for those on a tight budget but who want a smartphone. It retails at Rs. 13,300, but because it has been available for a while, you may be able to find the phone at 12,000 …

However, in light of Huawei and LG offering Android 2.2 devices at a similar price, it may be prudent to compare the features of these budget smartphones before making a choice.

Peace !!

~Aditya Chanana

Source : CNET Asia