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Samsung Galaxy Appeal (AT&T) review: Samsung Galaxy Appeal (AT&T)

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The Galaxy Appeal comes with a 3.2-megapixel camera lens for photo and video capture, with no flash and no autofocus. As such, even with the typical array of white-balance settings, effects, and shooting modes, you'll still have to use your eyes to judge the right distance and ambient light, or you may wind up at the mercy of unfavorable lighting conditions and your own hands' degree of steadiness.

Samsung Galaxy Appeal
Indoor lighting wasn't kind to the camera on this shot of desk toys. Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

One or two of my photos came out great, where I got the light and the distance spot on. Others were blurry messes that are sufficient for sharing an idea or moment, but not much more than social-network-site quality. You can compare the Appeal's camera with other phone cameras in our photo gallery.

Samsung Galaxy Appeal
Get everything just right and you'll have a fine photo on your hands. Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Even with the correct lighting, video taken with the Appeal was pretty poor. My sample movies were grainy and blocky, reproducing dull color and capturing almost none of my subject's voice in the microphone.

Samsung Galaxy Appeal
The camera's lack of autofocus made a difference in this attempted close-up. Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

I tested the quad-band Samsung Galaxy Appeal (GSM 850/900/1800/1900) in San Francisco on AT&T's network. The phone's call quality could have been better, mostly because of the persistent white noise that hissed in the background. The audio also sounded "cooler" than that of other phones, though not metallic.

The good news is that I felt comfortable with the volume at its medium setting. More bad news: voices sounded a little staticky, sometimes sounded digital, and never sounded quite clear.

On my chief tester's end, he could hear a little hiss and said I sounded a little distorted, though he had difficulty describing what was off. Apparently, I sounded a tad unnatural at higher volume peaks, and was dogged by general overall muffling. Still, the audio hiccups were just that, minor detractions that didn't make conversation impossible.

Samsung Galaxy Appeal call quality sample Listen now:

Speakerphone sounded fairly hollow when I held the phone at waist level, but not more so than usual. I did have to increase the volume to hear, and when that happened, the phone buzzed when my caller spoke. It's not uncommon, but it is a little off-putting. For my caller's part, he said that speakerphone sounded OK. There was some of the usual echo, but other than that, my voice quality didn't change much between the standard speaker and when I went on speakerphone. He did say he preferred the usual mic to the speakerphone quality.

Deep beneath the back cover resides an 800MHz Qualcomm MSM7225A single-core processor (based on ARM's Cortex A5 architecture). As such, you're not going to get lightning-fast internal speeds out of the Galaxy Appeal, and I didn't. It wasn't too long ago that 3G speeds were as good as you got. Those seeking the fastest data speeds that the market can offer won't be happy with this handset. If your pursuit of data is more occasional, you may not mind the 30-second wait or longer for graphically intense Web sites to populate. System fanatics will want to know that the phone is provisioned with 512MB RAM and 1,800MB ROM.

The Galaxy Appeal has a rated battery life of 7 hours of talk time and 12.5 days of standby time on its 1,300mAh battery. FCC radiation tests measured a digital SAR of 0.42 watt per kilogram.

Most prepaid lineups aren't dazzling displays of top-of-the-market phones. Rather, they offer practical options for people who are looking to buy a phone at full cost up front, with no monthly or yearly commitment. As such, it's good to see another Android smartphone on offer for AT&T's GoPhone collection.

The Samsung Galaxy Appeal isn't the best or brightest of all prepaid Android options -- it's behind an operating-system version and its small screen and camera can disappoint -- but it does have the redeeming quality of being an Android smartphone on a national carrier's 3G data network, and it is one of few with a physical QWERTY keyboard. Although AT&T has a fair number of smartphones, the Galaxy Appeal is on the lower end of that Android price range, and that is fairly appealing on its own.

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