Samsung Galaxy I7500 review: Samsung Galaxy i7500

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The Good Vibrant screen; plenty of on-board memory; good camera, with LED photo light; 3.5mm headphone jack; support for wonderful Android apps; responsive user interface.

The Bad Dull appearance; no multi-touch; sub-par keyboard design; bog-standard version of Android means no innovations.

The Bottom Line Samsung has brought some crave-worthy hardware features to its first Android handset, the Galaxy i7500, like a gorgeous screen, good camera and plenty of on-board memory. But it runs on the bog-standard version of Android, which means it lacks multi-touch and fun custom widgets like we've seen on other phones. It also looks slightly dull. Overall, the Galaxy fails to reach the heady heights of the HTC Hero, but it's a strong competitor to the HTC Magic

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8.3 Overall

Samsung has delivered its own little green robot into the world. That's right, smart-phone fans, the company's first Android handset, the Galaxy i7500, has been born. Samsung has given it some of the features it does best, like a vivid AMOLED screen and a good-quality camera, but it's left Android pretty much alone. The result is a phone that feels like an improved version of the HTC Magic, but doesn't fly with the eagles like the HTC Hero.

The Galaxy is only available on a contract from O2. You can get it for free on a £44.05-per-month, 18-month contract or a £39.15-per-month, 24-month contract. You can also pick it up for around £440 SIM-free.

Look into my screen
The crowning glory of the Galaxy is its screen, which is bright and vivid, with satisfyingly deep blacks. Unlike with the Hero, whose screen seems to sit slightly below the surface of the glass, the Galaxy's display is wonderfully in-your-face. The colours are so bright and saturated that they sometimes seem slightly inaccurate, but we'll trade accuracy for blinding good looks any day.

The Galaxy's buttons are rather dull compared to the Hero's

We only wish Samsung had stuck the beautiful screen into a better-looking body, although, at 12mm thick, it is pleasingly slim. For us, the layout of the keys, with their thin, chrome trim, looks old-school -- and not in a good way. The all-over black plastic is pretty boring. We also found it odd that the menu key is labelled with a cryptic icon rather than the standard 'menu', and the home button is small and wedged between the back and end-call keys.

The five-way navigation key isn't as groovy-looking as HTC's trackball, and takes up more room, although you may prefer it if you have big, clumsy, sausage-like fingers. It also doesn't glow and flash seductively like the trackball, but maybe this toned-down appearance will appeal to users with more conservative tastes.

The 5-megapixel camera benefits from an LED photo light -- a first for an Android phone

AMOLED screens are meant to suck less battery juice than LED screens, and Samsung promises up to 390 minutes of talk time with the Galaxy. The company doesn't specify whether it means 3G or 2G talk time, though. The Magic claims to provide up to 450 hours of talk time on 2G and 400 hours on 3G, but, in our long-term test, we found the Magic barely makes it through a day without requiring charging. Stay tuned for our long-term test of the Galaxy's battery life -- we'll find out if it's really worse than the Magic or if it's just more modest with its claims.

Flash and go
The Galaxy is the first Android phone to offer an LED photo light, to go with its 5-megapixel camera. It's the best camera we've seen on an Android phone, but it's still can't compete with that of a great camera phone, like the Sony Ericsson C903 Cyber-shot. In good light, its photos are sharp and clear, although whites look rather grey. The LED light makes a brave stab at illuminating dark shots, but it only works well when objects are close by and you keep a very steady hand.

We weren't as impressed with the video taken by the Galaxy. It looks jerky because of its low frame rate and bright light isn't handled well. But most mobile phones suffer from these problems, so they certainly wouldn't put us off choosing the Galaxy.

There's plenty of room for photos and video on the Galaxy's 8GB of on-board memory, with support for 32GB more via a microSD card bay. You can also stuff music on there, and the Galaxy has a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, so you can listen to your tunes on your own cans -- something we always love.

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