We've been looking forward to this; finally a second manufacturer has released an Android phone in Australia. This is nothing against HTC, mind you, we've Android phones storming into mobile phone stores.so far, but with competition comes innovation and we want to see the next generation of
OK, hands up who remembers The Three Amigos? This may sound silly but every time we look at the Samsung Galaxy, with its piano black finish and squiggly silver icons on its buttons, we're instantly reminded of the flamboyant, embroidered jackets worn by Mexican mariachis. This isn't to say that the Galaxy is an ugly phone, in fact we like it. Its 3.2-inch screen size and overall footprint give this phone the same feeling as the , which fits perfectly in the hand.
The Galaxy makes use of five external face keys plus a five-way nav pad, in addition to being a full touchscreen. These front facing keys include a context menu key (an essential hardware inclusion for an Android phone) and a home key alongside the standard calling buttons. On the side of the handset, under the volume rocker, Samsung positions a screen lock button, but the Galaxy has to be the slowest phone to "wake up" that we've ever come across. From having the screen in standby it takes a full three seconds of holding down the lock key to gain access to the home screen, which you have to do every time you want to use the phone.
The AMOLED display is a great looking screen, but it isn't the most responsive capacitive touchscreen we've seen lately. Simple gestures, like scrolling between the three home screen spaces or down the list of your installed apps can be jerky, with the screen always feeling like it was a step behind your commands. This shouldn't impair your usage of the touchscreen, but some processes will have you tapping at the screen with increasing frustration.
Far from frustrating is the 5-megapixel camera on the Galaxy; a first for Android phones in Australia. Like the iPhone's camera, the Galaxy features only the basic user settings, it has options to switch the image resolution and to set the flash to auto or off, but the images it's taken so far have been quite pleasing. Colour reproduction leans towards over-saturation but this gives the pics a rich, warm, happy feel. The auto-focus isn't fantastic, but overall this is a decent camera phone.
If you have been looking forward to seeing what direction Samsung would take the open-source Android OS in, prepare to be mildly disappointed. While companies like HTC and Samsung are preparing fully customised releases of Android, Samsung has opted to release as basic a build of Android as is possible. Out of the box, the Galaxy is running Android version 1.5 (Cupcake); however, aside from a splash screen during the boot cycle there is nothing Samsung-like about this phone.