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I recently bought this phone through a contract with '3' and chose it because i think Iphones and Blackberries (both of which i have owned previously) are overrated. I was told that Androids were the dark horse of both Blackberries and Iphones so gave it a shot and so far (after 8 months) i am impressed!
At first, the phone seemed a bit of a handful but it was easy to get used to after a while. It has great graphics and is very accessible, the variety of available apps for the phone is exciting and makes the blackberry look extremely boring!
The sound on the phone is good but since i wasnt after a boombox i wasn't too bothered about that.
What i was looking for - a phone that makes texting, calling and memory-capturing easy - i got, along with a currency converter (which i do need alot of the time), facebook/hotmail on my phone, a great camera (eventhough i am pretty sure it doesnt have flash, if so i have yet to find it), an mp3 downloader, a finance tracker and a great selection of drinking games :P
I have found that sometimes too many apps can make the phones performance slow, it doesnt have the best battery life ever but at the end of the day, it does what i ask and it does it well!
I have had this phone for a while now, and I have to say, it is kind of useless. To begin with, it keeps on freezing, turning off and occasionally restarting. I have missed a few texts and phone calls because of this, as I had to put my pass code back in.
Also, when I first got the phone, it did not have bluetooth enabled, which meant that I had to update the phone to get it to work. This deleted loads of settings and I had to basically start over again with the phone.
The touch screen also has a tendency to not work when my phone is plugged into my laptop, which can get rather irritating.
This phone does have a few good points - when it works, it does the job well. It is pretty robust and I love that it saves my conversations without taking up much memory. The fact that you can download apps is also brilliant, as the games help to pass the time, and the apps can also come in handy.
I am writing this review from a "non-techy" perspective!
It is very easy to go to a search engine in order to gain access to the full specifications of this product, so I would advise you to do that if that's the kind of information you are after.
My review is about what the phone is like to own and use from a qualitative perspective, and I will try to give as balanced a view as possible.
If you don't have time to read the full content of this review I have summarised they key pro's and con's at the bottom.
- What made me choose this phone?
I am a 3 customer and wanted a free upgrade whilst remaining on the same price plan, therefore my search was limited to a few products, this being one of them.
Out of the products available to me I was looking for as close to an i-phone as I could get, and this seemed to be it. (It was April 2010 at the time).
I did look at comparisons against other phones in terms of battery life, camera quality and reliability, but to be honest being the girl that I am it was the phone's appearance that won me over!! I chose the white version and I really like the look of it! I also wanted a decent MP3 facility as I do not own a separate MP3 player.
-How I got on with the handset:
I read all the booklets provided as soon as I got the phone, and although I recommend doing this, they do not tell you everything you need to know. I find that I am still finding things out purely through trial and error.
I was particularly frustrated by the fact that I didn't know how to check the report status of messages I had sent. I have since learned that a whole menu pops up if you press and hold on the text you want to view!! This menu gives you the option to "lock message", "forward", "copy message text", "view message details", "delete message", "view report".
In terms of typing words with it, I also find that my fingers are seemingly too fat for the individual tiles and I accidentally select the letter next to the one I actually want quite often. I do use the predictive text facility and I personally find this helps with this problem in most cases though not all.
Navigating around the phone is quite easy with the help of key icons. there is a switchers icon that allows you to turn GPS / WIFI / Bluetooth / Auto sync on and off very quickly and easily, which is brill given that you don't always want to be connected to the internet plus these features drain the phone's battery much quicker.
In relation to the battery, I find it lasts a good amount of time in-between charges (approx 2-3 days of having the phone switched on all the time, except when it crashes of course!)
Beware though that when it gets down to the last bit of green it is only about half an hour away from going red and switching off!!
-Reliability of phone:
To be honest this is is not a very reliable phone. My Dad and step-mum also have the same phone and they have similar problems as me. It keeps freezing and/or shutting down randomly.
It has a mind of its own and apparently a sleep regime of its own too!!
It happens all to often when I am in the middle of a telephone conversation and I notice it has gone silent. I look at my phone and it appears I am still connected to the call but I can't hear them. This sometimes results in the phone shutting itself down and re-booting, but sometimes I have to take the battery out and switch it back on again. MOST ANNOYING!! - particularly if it is an important telephone call. As I don't bother using my home phone ( I don't even know the number) I rely heavily on my mobile, and I have to say this phone is not very reliable. In fact I have just looked at my phone now and it has turned itself off while I was writing this review haha!
The Android Market is full of downloadable app's and lots of them are free. I have a few games like Mahjongg and gem miner which come in handy when bored waiting for the train etc. Because of the Android, the phone does not come with any games installed when you first get it.
There are lots of free backgrounds and ring tones to choose from as well which I like.
One downside is that sometimes I can't get into the Android Market as it comes up saying "a network error occurred". I have not managed to figure out why this is yet.
I like the MP3 player on it and the sound quality is good when listening with the earphones.
Its also good for using social network sites when away from my laptop.
In summary, there is so much to choose from from an entertainment perspective.
Summary of advantages:
- looks nice!
- Android Market is full of stuff plus free applications available including Google maps
- battery life is good
- MP3 player is very good and the phone comes with decent, comfy earphones.
- good as an alarm clock and for reminders
- good for watching BBC i player - the picture is really quite good
- there is lots of space to store various numbers and addresses for each of your contacts
Summary of disadvantages:
- the help manual is not brilliant
- phone freezes and crashes a lot (mostly every day at least once)
- Despite pressing the key pad lock my face presses icons when I am talking on the phone and the person at the other end can hear me pressing buttons!!
- I get a network error message quite often when trying to access the Android Market.
- Calendar function is not particularly great
- camera does have an inbuilt flash but it is not brilliant
- there is no facility to block specific numbers
The most desirable feature of this phone at least in my opinion is the software - Android. Android has completely changed the smart phone market so that now you don't need to depend on Apple or Blackberry for a capable smart phone you can have the same functionality from any manufacturer. That moves me on to Samsung who don't have a great history of making good smart phone. That was the first thought in my head when I began using this phone, I've had previous experience with Android namely the t-mobile G1 by HTC. I loved Android and was very impressed with the G1 handset but it had it flaws and disappointingly I soon discovered the same flaws in the Galaxy Portal. More about the flaws later on but I will admit that when I began to use the phone I didn't put it down for hours and because of all the built in features I barely used my laptop for the first few days.
The phone itself has 7 buttons on the front and has a rather plasticy feel to it, its also quite thick for a modern phone and theres seems to be a lot of wasted space above the screen where the mobile network has stamped its logo. The phone comes with stock version of Android with a few Samsung tweaks, I guess theres 95% default Android on the device. I was using the t-mobile version in the UK which came with Android 1.5 this could be updated to 2.1 and I'll talk about the problems I faced updating later on.
One of the major flaws with both this phone and the G1 is the small in built memory, now with most phones this wouldn't be a problem as you would just add an SD card and be done with it but because these phones use a pre 2.2 version of Android you face another problem. Pre 2.2 Android doesn't allow apps to be stored on the SD card meaning that you only have 70-80 MB to store apps to and this just isn't enough. The iPhone allows users to have as many has 200 (or maybe more) apps installed at once and these phones struggle with 20. Having to remove apps in order to install a new ones is one of the most frustrating things about this phone. Another issue with the phone is the cramped on screen keyboard, the screen is 3.2 inches but the on screen keyboard has more keys on it than the keyboards on the iPhone and HTC Desire both of which have larger screens. Using the keyboard takes a while to get used to but isn't unusable and when used in landscape mode works OK. The screen can also become damp after being used for prelonged periods which makes it difficult to use and means your wiping the screen with your sleeve every 15 mins.
The camera on the phone is 3.2 megapixels and there is no flash though this may sound similar to the iPhone 3GS the picture quality isn't very good at all and the camera app itself it slow taking several seconds to load and take a picture. I didn't use the speakers on the phone very much but when I did they were functional enough but the call quality wasn't as good as I expected, it was a slight disappointment after the Sony Ericsson W995 I was using before this phone. The music player on the phone wasn't anything to get excited about but functional, though like many default applications on Android third party music players, photo taking apps and others can be downloaded from the Android Market to replace the ones that come with the phone.
One of the features that differentiates Android from iOS, WebOS, Symbian and Windows Mobile/Windows Phone 7 is the widgets that can be used on the multiple Android homescreens. The widgets that come by default are OK but HTC have shown the potential these widgets have using their sense interface. Unlike other Samsung Android phones this one doesn't come with their TouchWiz interface on top of Android some people may prefer this and others may not but a consequence of this is that this phone doesn't come with Samsungs own applications like the note-taking application, Samsungs App Market and Diary app found on the Galaxy S.
The Phone on t-mobile comes with Android 1.5 (the 3 version is preloaded with Android 2.1) but you are able to update it to Android 2.1 not the latest version but a step up from 1.5. To update the phone you need to install Samsungs KIES software onto your computer, the KIES software is only available for Windows at the minute so if your running Mac OSX or Linux your gonna have to find yourself a Windows machine for the upgrade. The KIES software is a piece of crap, for me it refused to recognize the phone, but after a few restarts of the phone and eventually the computer it recognized the phone. The software then told me an a firmware update (Android 2.1) was available for the phone and allowed to me to start downloading the update. The update started then at 1% froze, I waited 15-20 mins and nothing happened. After trawling the net for a solution I found I had to do a hard reset of the phone by pressing ( I think this is correct) the home key, power key and volume rocker. After the reset I ran the update again, this time thankfully it worked and I was running Android 2.1 on the phone.
In conclusion the phone is a good size, easy to fit into your pocket, its highly customizable (thanks to Android), had 10,000s of apps available to download, and has many features that would usually be restricted to handsets twice its price. I had my share of problems with it but if you don't class yourself a power user or expert user you won't have any major problems with it and if you've used an Android phone before you know what to expect: brilliant software with disappointing hardware...
In today's modern technology, smart phones have taken over the market due to their extensive features for business and entertainment. When people think of a mobile phone, they think of smartphones. There 3 types of operating systems competing with each other for new release phones called iPhone, Android and windows 7 phone which is the latest addition.
The latest release phone is the Samsung Galaxy i5700 which is expensive to own outright but very cheap on a plan. It runs on the Google Android platform which is iPhone's closes rival. The phone comes in black and white. The Android platform runs very quickly just like the iPhone, but there are a lot more free apps to download. The downfall with android is that most free apps have many bugs and errors due to Androids verification process when receiving apps from developers, they simply don't check the apps they are just placed live on the Market. As with Apple they run many verification checks before an app is added to the app store which is definitely free from errors, viruses etc.
The screen is 3.2 inches and the touch screen is very sensitive and very easy to use. There are a few controls on the side for volume and locking functionality. It also has photo functions for zooming and taking photos. The downfall is that the phone does not have a flash! But it does have a 3.5mm jack for connecting headphones and listening to music. The picture quality is so vibrant and easy to read, I find it looks better than the iPhone.
There are a few built in apps that you get with the phone such as facebook. The app makes posting and navigating facebook very easy and enjoyable. With its large screen you can easily read plenty of text and images on the screen. The app store for Android is growing very fast and thousands of apps are added daily.
In terms of performance the phone works very quickly and loading times between apps and menus are super quick. All Samsung phones I have owned previously have performed well in this area. The wifi and gps features work nicely and internet is lightening fast. Videos look fantastic and the motion is very smooth. Music playback is flawless and it is nice and loud.
Overall the phone is very easy to use and it takes a while to get adjusted to the large screen and menu layouts, but its very well self explanatory. Battery life lasted me 3 days of heavy use with talking and apps use, which is the longest battery life I have had with any phone. The phone has a build in microSD slot so if you run out of memory with all the apps and videos being downloaded, it can be expandable up to 32GB. I highly recommend this phone to anyone who loves feature packed devices with plenty of entertainment.
i got this phone on contract back in march 2010 and have had nothing but trouble with it. i only chose this phone as the contract that t-mobile were offering suited me great unlimited calls, internet and one perk (i chose texts) all for just 20 pound a month and i cant fault the contract but the phone is another matter.
APPS-i started downloading all the free apps i could everything from coin tosser to little artist for my 4 year old son and although most are free which seems great there pretty pointless. my husband has an i-phone and the quality of apps in comparison is pretty shocking. most seem to be ripped of cheap and nasty versions copied from i tunes i was really disappointed. then the problems really started the phone began to get slower and slower apps wouldn't work and the force close function even started to struggle to close the apps which meant constantly turning the phone off and on again
TOUCH SCREEN- if you have ever used an i-phone you will realise just how bad the quality of this touch screen is. it takes WEEKS for the phone to start recognising your finger patterns and even then it will randomly decide to come up with the most random letters when your texting for example. When plugged in to charge its unusable as the screen just will not recognise any touch command you try and give it a real nightmare
PROBLEMS CLEARING APPS-i decided to wipe the phone of all apps and start again which in itself was really simple just a function in settings and app management but the phone decided to have a mini meltdown from there all my contacts disappeared, my photos countless irreplaceable videos of my son :( which was so disappointing pretty much everything i had on there and i specifically only wiped the apps so i have no clue how this happened so if u need to delete apps i suggest you back up anything of value to you on the computer first
PROBLEMS STORING INFO AFTER APP WIPE- now my phone wont store any numbers take any pics basically do anything other than text or call which as you can imagine with no numbers isnt an easy task. to use the market app to download things such as games you need a google mail account all my details were wiped from this aswell and for some unknown reason i now cannot make a new one or log into my old one so cant get any new apps for the phone not that there is any ones worth having really
PROBLEMS WITH SAMSUNG- as i live in northern Ireland there are NO t-mobie shops in the whole of northern Ireland so cannot take it to the shop to be repaired and have struggled to get them to take my complaints seriously using there website. so i asked samsung what they could do, and they wernt interested even tho this is clearly a problem with their software in the phone they said it was a matter to be dealt with by my contract provider.
luckily i can still use my internet browser for web surfing and facebook but thats about it i cant even use the calender as you need google mail registered first.
Im really gutted i chose this phone once my contract is due for an upgrade i will defiantly be more careful to chose a decent phone and not just a decent contract, be warned.
I have had this phone for quite a while now and I would definitely reccomend it to people.
The touch screen makes the mobile phone much more modern and fun to use. The camera is very good and I have never had a problem with memory space.
To make the phone much more interesting, there is a "Market" - this is where you can either buy applications and games, or download them for free depending on what app you are getting.
When fully charged, the phone battery lasts for up to two to three days simply judging by how you use it - if you are constantly on the games or internet (depending on your tarrif) it won't last as long as if you just leave it idle.
I would definitely suggest getting this phone because it has never failed to work with me and I think Samsung is always very reliable as I have had one of their phones before (see my review on Samsung J700).
I bought this phone around early June, since then the phone has been brilliant, the operating system (Android Eclair I think) is a good, solid and fast piece of software to run such a brilliant piece of technology. The phone runs on a 800Mhz processor which keeps most actions and swipes on the screen smooth, especially when combined with certain application killing apps. However, the overall rating of the phone itself is ever so slightly compromised by the lack of effort which seems to have been put into the units 3.2 Mega pixel camera, this came as a disappointment to me as I was expecting a great camera for a so far great phone, but I was put off by this down side of the phone. The only other slightly off-putting feature of the phone is the amount of buttons on the bottom of the phone, half of which are unnecessary, such as the internet search button, but this is only my opinion. Overall a brilliant smartphone
I was impressed with the amount of cool applications i could download from the internet! You can get anything from a coin tosser to a gps speedometer, my favourite being the fully functioning metal detector...most of the aps are free but there are some sites that charge you for downloading but you dont have to use these as the free aps are more than sufficient.
The phone has built in Wi-Fi so can access the internet for free but if no Wi-Fi hotspots available, you can connect using 3G through your network provider at there tarriff rates and connects within 5 secs.
The Samsung Galaxy Spica i5700 is a tough little phone as i have dropped it a couple of times and expected the worse but the case and screen held together and with no scratches. If your anything like me i would highly recommend for my fellow clumsy people!!
The Battery life is good when your not browsing the net so you might need to take the charger with you but its a small price to pay for the nifty things you can do on the move.
Now for the cons....
The bluetooth was utterly rubbish and may as well not have one as it has trouble pairing to other devices, sending/receiving files, well just about trouble to do anything and as there wont be any future updates on the firmware by samsung, so sorting the bluetooth is nearly impossible meaning you'll have to look for updates elsewhere.
If you can live without Bluetooth by using other means (mms and memory cards)Then i would say go for it, prices range from £199 - £269 its available for now and with a 2 gig momory card and all the funky gadgets is worth the money...
Smartphones are the item to be seen with these days, they are as much a fashion accessory as they are an essential communication aid. It represents the convergence of phone, PDA and computer technology into a simple user friendly unit that does everything you need plus some things you don't need. From the early market dominance of Windows Mobile platform consumers were ripe for the picking until the arrival of the uber stylish Apple iPhone which single handedly revolutionised communications and made the smartphones market into a turf war. A combination of style, pedigree and usability made the iPhone the handset to aspire to and it had an ace in the form of a massive Apps store so users could tweak their phones to the nth degree.
Skip forward and Google enter the market with an open source mobile operating system called Android which debuts on high end phones and also has an apps store by the name of Market. Market is emerging from the shadow of the iTunes store and is growing rapidly, so much so that now it is the number one selling platform in the massive US market. Since these handsets are high end they command a high price for the technology that goes along with them and you can realistically expect to pay between £400 and £600 for the privilege and this effectively prices many out of the market. Until now.
Samsung have released the Galaxy Spica i5700 for a couple of hundred pounds or it is available for free on a cheap monthly contract. The Spica (Named for the American market) or Portal as it is over here ran Google's Android OS at version 1.6 but now has a free firmware upgrade to 2.1. Available in black and white/lime with the latter versions having both white and lime rear panels to compliment the white fascia the Spica is full blooded smartphone with all the bells and whistles.
A large 3.2" capacitive touchscreen dominates the front of the phone with several buttons below which are aesthetically a little crammed in. The left side has a two way volume control and the opposite side houses a dedicated button for both lock and camera functions. The top has a hidden power/data slot which is a proprietary Samsung design and also a 3.5mm headphone socket so you can use any headphones. A basic 3.2m camera is on the rear and has no flash. There is also a distinct lack of a front facing camera for video calling or VoiP.
The selling point of the handset itself is it's operating system which offers three basic home screens which are fully customizable and also the ability to run Samsung and third party apps and widgets simultaneously. Being a Google OS there is a direct live search box on the main screen and also an option to use voice search though this is a bit redundant really as it struggles to understand simple words.
A good example of live services is the Facebook app which runs in the background and posts messages and updates to a pull down tab which has one touch access. SMS and MMS are displayed this way also so you have a live feed as opposed to an inbox and outbox which although initially confusing is much more efficient.
The Android Market offers downloads through various categories for apps some of which are free. It is nowhere near as big as the iTunes store as of yet but I understand that it has broken 50,000 apps and is adding globally around 8,000 daily on average. Since Android is now the leading platform in the US I would expect the Market to grow even more rapidly.
There are far too many apps to relay to you what Android can do so I will just use a few examples:
Augmented Reality: is a genre which overlays digital information over real time video using your phones camera. The app Layar uses built in data and more layers can be added. To use it I chose the option of finding somewhere locally to eat, then using the camera I scan the local area and data is displayed on screen of local diners and cafes. Layar tells you which direction they are in, where they in relation to each other, the distance and also contact information. Very useful indeed. It can also be used in tourist areas to identify points of interest and in a whole host of other ways.
Shopping: I downloaded Barcode Scanner which again uses the phones camera to scan a barcode and identify a product. It will then tell me where I can buy the product and compare prices so that I don't have to visit lots of different shops and waste time looking for a bargain.
Social: An utterly useless but fun app is ASBOrometer. It uses GSM and GPS data to identify your location and tells you what the incidence of anti-social behaviour is in your area and also displays graphical data for such things as eviction notices and served orders. As I said a bit useless really (unless you are thinking of moving) but an example of what can be achieved nonetheless.
Dimensions: 57 x 115 x 13.2 millimetres
Mass: 124 grams (battery included)
Operating_System: Google Android 1.6 now 2.1
CPU;Clock: 800 MHz
CPU: Samsung S3C6410
RAM;capacity: 128 MB
ROM_capacity: 512 MB (accessible: 200 MiB)
Display Type: color transflective TFT
Display Diagonal: 3.2 "
Display Resolution: 320 x 480
Audio Output: 3.5mm
Cellular_Networks: GSM850, GSM900, GSM1800, GSM1900, UMTS900, UMTS2100
Cellular-Data_Links: CSD, GPRS, EDGE, UMTS, HSDPA
Directional Pad: 5 -way
Expansion Slots: microSD, microSDHC, TransFlash
USB: USB 2.0 client, 480Mbit/s
Bluetooth: Bluetooth 2.1
Wireless LAN: 802.11b, 802.11g
Assisted GPS, Geotagging
Camera: 3.1 MP
Battery Capacity: 1500 mAh
Essentially smartphones now bridge the gap between phones and netbooks and do so successfully. With the addition of apps however you are able to push way beyond what is capable of on a standard netbook PC. Like a PC the Spica uses a dedicated CPU which running at 800Mhz makes the interface responsive and fast. Wifi and A-GPS are standard fare on high end phones but are also present here at a substantially reduced price. You may be interested to know that Market now has an upgraded version of Google Maps which now gives you FREE voice guided, turn by turn navigation. I read a recent article which actually placed Google Maps Sat Nav as the best and was actually quicker than Tom Tom, (and rival phones software) which is my GPS unit of choice.
I love this phone dearly. When I first got it I had a few problems working stuff out which is to be expected of course. What floored me though was that fact the battery lasted for four days with a fair bit of use. If you really cane it heavily with net access and power hungry GPS you can kill it in a day but average use I would expect 2 or 3 days between charges. Most top end handsets require charging daily!
There are seven buttons on the bottom of the handset and there have been criticisms of this detracting from the look of the phone. Personally I think not and it actually adds to the user experience. I much prefer the phone in the white casing as it is more striking.
The screen is responsive and of good quality but as it is not AMOLED it is very hard to see in direct sunlight. The resolution makes watching video very easy on the eye though and the screen icons are clear to see.
I haven't really used the camera much but it seems quite reasonable for just 3.2m but the lack of a flash of any kind is a glaring omission which makes night time shots poor quality.
What the i5700 gives you in essence is the experience of high end ownership in the mid price range. Android is a dream to use and I never get bored of looking for different apps to try out though you really ought to get a sizeable memory card as you soon run out of space! The phone in general use is excellent with good call quality, (I am on the 3 network) and stable reliability. I am struggling to put it down at the moment which says something about the high level of features and the all important 'fun element'. I love the funky design of the white model as the black looks very generic. It is an excellent phone that I cannot recommend enough.