Product Type: Samsung Smartphone
Newest Review: ... for it and didn't really like how big it was. The shop advisor recommended the Samsung Galaxy Mini; I had a play around with it and reall... more
Advanced features for a good price Smartphone
Samsung Galaxy Mini
Member Name: Carrie23
Samsung Galaxy Mini
Date: 23/10/11, updated on 26/02/12 (59 review reads)
Advantages: Andriod 2.2 OS, good battery life, stylish design, wireless, FM radio, reasonable price
Disadvantages: no camera flash, no autofocus, small keyboard for texting
~ SAMSUNG GALAXY MINI GT-S5570 ~
The Samsung Galaxy Mini is part of the Galaxy series launched by Samsung. It was released on mid-February 2011 and it comes in black colour, with a silver or lime green stripe around the edge and in white.
I bought my black/steel grey Samsung Galaxy Mini GT-S5570 on June from the Carphone Warehouse with the Pay As You Go deal of the "3" network for £ 100. The device was unlocked and "3" was offering the cheapest off-contract price comparing to other mobile networks.
~ Technological Features ~
The phone operating system is Google Android 2.2 that can be upgraded to the 2.3 version. It's a 3G phone with HSDPA for high download speeds, it provides access to applications from the Android Market and the Samsung app marketplace for applications specifically made for Samsung users. It has a powerful 600 MHz Processor and 279 MB RAM.
In terms of internet access, the phone is equipped with Wireless and the quick processor makes it very easy to go online and navigate. On the main Internet page, you can bookmark your favourite webpages (for example Facebook, Twitter etc.) for easy access. It further provides Google maps, Gmail, E-mail, YouTube, Google search, Social Hub etc. The YouTube app supports a lot of options such as like and dislike videos, read the comments and subscribe to channels if you are connected with your Google account.
It includes GPS and Google Maps and there is an option to show you the restaurants, coffee shops, bars, hotels, attractions, gas stations and ATMs near your location by using the Android Market App. In Google Maps, your position is indicated by a blue arrow that shows the phone direction relatively to your destination. This is particularly useful for me that I don't have a good sense of orientation as I can see if I am heading to the right direction. It can further provide traffic information if you travel by car. This option tracks your position and allows you to see if there is a lot of traffic ahead and the approximate distance that the road is blocked by traffic.
The phone is also equipped with FM radio and Bluetooth. The Android Music Player supports ringtones and MP3 songs with great sound quality. The Quickoffice option in the main menu gives access to PDF, Word Documents and Excel sheets, so that you can view them from the mobile but the limited edition doesn't support document editing.
The phone provides 164 MB internal storage that can be extended with a memory card and the card slot supports MicroSD cards with capacity up to 32 GB.
~ The Design ~
This Samsung model comes in a "Mini" size with dimensions 60.6mm (W) x 12.1mm (D) x 110.4mm (H). The black phone case has a plastic finish and all the side buttons are placed on the silver/grey stripe around the edge of the cover. The corners are rounded and there is an inward curve on the back side. The phone size in the hand is good and with the curved design it fits the hand perfectly. The handset weighs only 106.6 grams so it feels very lightweight.
The side controls include volume adjustment buttons, the on/off power/lock button, one USB port, the headset jack and a micro SD card slot. The back cover has a nice patterned finish for secure grab so that it doesn't feel slippery when you hold it in your palm. The 3 Megapixel camera is located at the top and the speaker at the lower part that jumps out of the flat back cover.
The display touchscreen is wide enough, covering the front side of the phone and three physical buttons are placed below the screen for easier navigation: the options button, the home button and the back button.
~ The Display Touchscreen ~
The display is a TFT 3.14" touch screen with 320 x 240 (QVGA) pixels resolution. Multi-screens can be set on the background and different shortcuts for the menu applications and functions can be set at each one of them. You can easily switch between the screens as it also supports pinched zoom to the main screens and the menu.
The screen size is wide enough for web browsing and playing games. The resolution and image quality are good, but when I am online the full web pages are displayed on the 3.14'' screen and it's impossible to read the details. This is partly due to the average resolution of the screen and I always need to zoom in to read those websites that don't have the custom mobile view option.
The screen is very smooth and responsive and the general outline of the menu makes it quite easy and straightforward to access the phone features and applications.
~ Navigation and Menu ~
The main screen has an instant Google search application window and the four icons on the bottom offer a quick way to get to the main menu, contacts, calls and messages. These options can also be accessed by the main menu. Further, shortcuts of the most important apps can be placed on the main screen for instant access.
There is a notification bar on top that can be accessed by pulling it down from top to bottom. The bar provides fast access to the some basic settings that give the option to enable and disable the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, auto-rotation of the screen and silent mode.
A very useful Memo notepad is included to take quick notes of things that you need to remember. The pictures are stored in the memory and they can be accessed by the picture gallery. Basic editing options are also available and the images can be shared with Bluetooth, Gmail, Facebook and Picasa.
There is a virtual keyboard on the touch screen for texting. The buttons are quite small and texting was tricky in the first days but now I text pretty fast. The Swype texting can also be activated which is a word based text entry method. If the Swype feature is activated you can form the words simply by drawing a continuous line above the keys that correspond to the letters that form the words. When you form the letters, the program automatically adds a space between the words when necessary. Personally, I have tried this feature but I prefer the standard keyboard for texting.
~ The Camera ~
The smart device comes with a 3 Megapixel inbuilt camera with 320 x 240 (QVGA) resolution for videos and extra features like Smile shutter and Multi-shots. The camera has fixed-focus and flash unit is not included. Besides the lack of auto focus, many shooting modes (panorama, add me options that can merge 2 images into one) and various scene selections are provided.
The image quality is good but not perfect and the photos are occasionally a bit washed out in colour, depending on the lighting.
~ Battery Performance ~
The battery is standard lithium ion of 1200 mAh capacity. According to the product specifications it offers up to 570 minutes (9.5 hours) of talk time (2G) and 380 min (6.3 hrs) in 3G. The standby time is estimated to be 570 hrs in 2G and 440 hrs in 3G.
In my experience, the battery is quite good for a Smartphone. I usually charge it every 2-3 days, switched off and after the battery is completely uncharged. Every time the battery runs low, you can check the battery use which indicates the activities that spend the most energy between consecutive charging sessions (cell standby, phone idle, display etc.) and the exact time of use since the device was unplugged from the charger. Additionally, you can make a few adjustments on the brightness of the screen or the screen timeout options that will save some extra energy and extend the battery life.
~ My opinion ~
The Samsung Galaxy Mini is my first Smartphone device and overall I am quite satisfied with the performance, the quality and the features that are offered for this budget.
Unfortunately, the particular model that I purchased from the store was faulty and the camera wasn't working. Every time I was trying to access the camera from the menu, the screen was going black and I couldn't take pictures. Additionally, the menu navigation was very slow and the battery was poor (I had to charge it every day). I decided to return the phone and request for a replacement so I went back to the store where they immediately replaced the device with a new model which was working properly.
The new device works perfectly so far. I use this phone for my second number and I am very pleased with the features provided for the relatively low price. The screen is smooth and comfortable to use and it responds very fast to the touch. It is easy to navigate the menu, the battery lasts more than I expected for a Smartphone and it has a lovely and compact design. The web pages are loaded pretty fast but the low resolution makes it a bit difficult to read the full pages if you don't zoom in.
The one thing that took me some time to get used to was the calling options on the touchscreen. The calls can only be ended from red "End Call" virtual button on the touch screen. Since this is my first device with touch I kept pressing the physical "Back" key that takes you to the home page, so when this happens the call disappears from the screen but the line is still open. In that case, the ongoing call is transferred to the top bar menu of the main screen and it can be terminated from there.
The reception is excellent and the calling quality is loud and crystal clear. The speaker phone that is placed on the lower part of the back cover is pretty loud and I am very happy with the sound quality and the impressively high volume levels. The sound from the MP3 player comes out clear even if the volume is at the highest level.
The range of features provided is great and there is the potential to further enrich the phone features by installing more applications or by upgrading the Android operating system. Comparing to the other models in the market, this Smartphone has lower quality display screen and although the design is light and stylish, the plastic material looks cheaper than the metallic (and sometimes heavier) models. The display resolutions might not be perfect but in terms of features the Galaxy Mini can compete many of the expensive models and it's actually a very robust device that functions well and really gets the job done.
~ What's in the Box ~
The power adapter and a memory card (Micro SD) of 2GB were included. But no hands-free were provided in the box when I purchased it. The warranty is for 24 months for the phone and 6 months for the battery. There is also a quick guide with general instructions about the phone (it shows the buttons, how to insert your card, make calls and write texts) but the complete user manual can be found online at www.samsungmobile.com.
~ Availability and Cost ~
The phone is currently available at the Carphone Warehouse from £60 off-contract (with the "3" Pay As You Go deal), it costs £90 at T-mobile and it is also available online at amazon.co.uk from £95 (Sim-free).
~ Conclusion ~
The Samsung Galaxy Mini is an affordable phone with good features and stylish look. Despite the disadvantages I am very happy with my purchase and I would definitely recommend it. I think it's a great starter Smartphone for the price range of less than £100 but if you want to give more money there are many more choices on higher quality and feature rich models that you should consider.
Summary: An affordable Smartphone with good feartures
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