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Samsung GT i5500 Galaxy 5

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    9 Reviews
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      16.09.2012 00:59
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      It is definitely one I would recommend.

      I was using this phone for a couple of months when my old phone broke and I had to wait for an upgrade. The phone costs £40 used and £70 new on Amazon.
      The phone and screen are a good size and it is easy to see what you are doing.
      This phone came with a charger and a USB cable so I can charge it when it is plugged into the laptop, I can also transfer videos and music between my laptop and phone.

      This was my first time using a Samsung mobile and I was worried that it would be tricky to use but due to the fact that it is an Android phone and touch screen, it was easy to use as my previous phone was an android.
      At first I would forget to lock the keypad and would phone people by accident but pressing one button locks the phone and sliding an icon across the screen unlocks it which is easier than others where you need to put in a pin code.

      You can text on a keypad screen, a QWERTY keyboard screen or actually handwriting by drawing in a box on the screen. I was used to the keypad input method from previous phones so I stuck with this. If I was planning on keeping the phone for longer than a couple of months I would have maybe tried the keyboard input method. You can also copy and paste from other screens on your phone.

      It is simple to make and receive a call either by dialling a number or browsing through the phonebook.

      You can insert your own memory card, so how much you can store on your phone depends on the size of the card. My card was 4GB and I had lots of room. You can play music on the phone which I only did once or twice, I just had a couple of songs for ringtones really. The ringtones and message tones I find loud enough.
      The camera is 2 megapixel and is good, I only used it to take normal pictures but you can use other features such as continuous mode which takes several pictures after one another, panorama mode, smile shot and video camera.

      There is a calendar, calculator, alarm clock and memo on the phone which are all useful. You can use the phone to send emails, browse the internet and send files to other phones using the bluetooth function.
      You can also download apps, some of these are free and some have a small charge, there are some good free games available.

      The phone is a rectangle shape with rounded corners and is shiny and black on the front and back. I find this shiny finish means the phone gets very smudged with fingerprints and I was constantly having to wipe it clean.
      There's only a couple of buttons at the bottom of the phone used to answer and end a call, zoom in, go back to the home page and select things. Most of the phone functions can be done using the touch screen though.

      I liked this phone, but was used to a bigger phone with a better camera. If it wasn't for the fact that I could get a better phone on an upgrade I would have been happy to continue using this phone. My daughter uses it now and she thinks it's a great phone. The only negative really was that I had to charge it just about every day, this seems to be a common issue wit android phones.
      The phone looks and feels good and is simple to use.

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      10.06.2012 16:03
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      Great budget/first android phone

      I recently got the Samsung Galaxy Europa on 3 (Three) PAYG, as I urgently needed a new phone but didn't have a lot to spend. I really wanted something I could browse the internet with, and preferably with Android.

      I bought mine from Carphone Warehouse - a snip at £39.99 + a £15 add on, which offers 300 minutes, 3000 texts and unlimited internet. It came in a choice of white or black - I chose black as it seemed a bit classier looking to me (and less likely to show dirt). It has Wi-Fi, GPS, Quad-band and a 2mp camera. It also has the Android TouchWiz 3.0 operating system.

      In the box contains the handset, battery, charger, usb cable, 1gb micro sd card (and sd card adaptor - very useful!), set of headphones with inbuilt microphone and button to answer calls, manual.

      The handset itself is a good size to hold in the hand - bigger than I was expecting after looking at online photos which I think make it look tiny. It has a reasonable sized touchscreen, with "proper" buttons for the menus, back, search, call and cancel functions etc. It has a chrome edge, or frame, to the whole unit and a gloss black back cover - which I have found really shows fingerprints and scratches fairly easily. I only had mine a couple of days and under close examination noticed a fair few tiny scratches - but a silicone/gel case bought from ebay for £2 should prevent further damage. I would recommend a case of this type.

      The touchscreen is pleasantly responsive - however I found it even more responsive once I put a protective screen cover on it (which came with the gel case I bought, although can be bought separately). It's worth saying that the phone does initially come with a bit of plastic protecting the screen, but this is very thick compared to proper screen protectors and should be removed (and replaced) or the screen is more difficult to navigate.

      As with most phones, it comes pre loaded with a load of "stuff" you probably won't need or want, such as game demos (sims 3 and tetris in my case), 3 store and google maps etc. There is also the option to download more apps through the Android market place - now called Google Play.

      There are two main downsides to this phone - the main one being the qwerty keyboard being so tiny (even for female fingers) that it takes an age to type anything. You can however download other keyboard apps, such as Go Keyboard, from the Android market place. The other downside is the battery life - which, if the phone is "played with" lots, only lasts a few hours! I usually have to charge it at least once a day.

      Another slight downside is that sometimes when browsing the internet it crashes and turns itself off - often at the most inconvenient time (like in the middle of typing an email - a task in itself due to the keyboard!). However, to be fair this is a budget phone - it really cannot be compared to the likes of an iPhone or high-spec Android phone, which have much more powerful processors. For the price I find the browsing speeds actually very good.

      The 2mp camera gives surprisingly pleasing results - much better than I was expecting. Obviously results are better in good lighting, but I have a separate dedicated camera for any better shots I may want to take. There is no button on the handset which takes you instantly to the camera function, but you have the option to drag the camera symbol to the homepage for quicker access if necessary.

      In terms of using the phone for the obvious basic calling, this does the job as well as you could wish for! Overall I think this is a very smart looking, functional phone for the price - and the downsides I have mentioned often happen with far more expensive phones. I would definitely recommend to anyone on a budget.

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      15.02.2012 23:02

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      A fantastic little phone for most things, but texting requires tiny fingers and lots of patience.

      The Samsung GT i5500 Galaxy 5 is a fantastic phone for watching YouTube videos, playing games, reading books on the Kindle app and almost every other leisure activity you might want to do. The screen is big enough, and clear enough, for most games and other visual apps. The touchscreen is easy-to-use and you can create custom screens for organizing your apps.

      Unfortunately, texting, writing an email or even writing an event in the calendar is almost impossible, unless you have teeny tiny fingers. The letters on the keyboard are too small, too close together and too fiddly to use. The phone will inevitably add words that you didn't mean to type and, unless you can learn to master the art of using Swype, texting will take much longer than it should.

      The battery life also leaves a lot to be desired. If you like to spend time surfing the internet or playing around with the apps, expect to charge the phone every 5-7 hours.

      Despite its downsides, the Samsung Galaxy 5 is a fantastic phone for most things. If you're more of a gamer than a talker (or texter), this phone could be the one for you.

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      04.02.2012 21:25
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      A smart little smart phone

      Samsung Galaxy Europa GT- I5500

      ~~~Background~~~

      I have had this phone for about a year now and have been very pleased with it. I got it free with my '3' contract and I suppose I was drawn to it because it was smart, slimline and had features enbedded that I already used like social networks and Google search. I teach and my school PC will not allow any forum or social networking sites to be loaded (which is fair enough) so using my phone to check emails and my facebook etc was a benefit to me.
      It is my first 'Andriod' phone and to be honest until recently I didn't really know what it meant. Andriod is the software which is used in these phones to enable them to be used like a computer. So the fact that I can access in built features such as 'Facebook, 'Twitter', 'Ebay' and 'Youtube' is all down to the android software.

      ~~~The Phone~~~

      My Samsung is pretty easy to use and has never really let me down. It has once or twice randomly frozen but I just took the battery out and re-started it and it was fine. I think most phones do this sometimes so I don't think it is a fault with the phone. The touch screen size is around 50x70mm, not huge but big enough, The colour resolution on the screen is good and all images, photos and video appear bright and not blurred.

      >>Texting<<

      Text is black on white for actual messaging and white on black for the mesage infomation page (lists all message senders/recipients). This is a handy page for me as you can simply scroll down to a sender or recipient and tocuh name and it will bring up the message history, even if you don't communicate with them often. My oldest one is April 2011. This saves you from searching for them in your contacts, much quicker I think. Each sender/recipient in the list has a picture of a robot (andriod linked I suppose) next to the name and if you touch the picture you get a new bar which gives you the option of calling, messaging, 'whats apping' (I will go over this later) or accessing their saved information. Just touch the messaging option and it wil take you to the message list for you and the recipient. Their name is displayed along with all the messages. Depending on whether you have the phone held landscape or portrait (it will automatically turn for you - if the option is checked in the settings as some might not lke this option) the amount of messages you can see without scrolling is different. I prefer landscape mode as the keyboard is stretched and is easier to see/touch without my glasses and will show me 2 or 3 recent messages. Messages are also displayed with the time sent and each lot of messages come under the date sent. The current box for typing in is surrounded with an orange trim, this tells you immediately that you need to work in that box. One touched it will open up displaying a half page area for typing in and the landscape 'querty' keyboard. The number, capital letter and symbol options are all easy to access while typing. If you go over the standard amount of words/symbols it will automatically take you to another message and tell you it is being sent in 2 or more messages. I think if you have that much to say then you should phone! Photos are easy to add to messages and photos that are sent to you via a message just need to be toudhed to open fully.

      >>Camera<<

      The camera is pretty good compared to others I have had. It has a zoom option, 4 photo effect options (normal, black and white, sepia and negative) and the pictures taken are JPEG format. The camera is easy to use, just touch the camera icon on your main screen and press the central enter button on the bottom of the phone to capture your picture. Pictures are automatically saved to your gallery. I think this is a better option than having to say yes or no to keeping, especailly when you are trying to capture pictures quickly. Accessing them is easy, just touch the gallery icon and you will see them displayed in a layered effect, just touch the top one (the most recent picture) and you can then view them by using the arrows at the bootom, the touch screen swipe option or even as a slideshow. Once you have a picture in your screen you can enlarge/reduce it and access a menu which gives you options to delete share or edit the phot, just like a real camera really. Obvioulsy picture quality is not as good as a real camera but I think it's pretty good and gives me the pictures I need. The phone comes with a usb lead which allows you to acces your pictures via the PC too.

      >> general stuff<<

      Obviously the phone has lots more features which would simply take me ages to go into. Here are some others in bullet point form:
      3G
      video
      radio
      MP3
      flight mode
      140mb memory (with option for more using a memory card)
      bluetooth and wifi


      >>My opinion<<

      The samsung Galaxy is a sleek phone, it's quite slim and light and looks good. It has lots of features and many usual phone options such as a good range of ringtones etc. My favourite thing about the phone is the ability to download APPS from the market, many are free, most are fun and my favourite is the 'WhatsApp' APP. This APP allows you to send free messages and photos to others with the same APP. If you have a limited message allowance (like I do) it really helps you to keep to your allowance. All my family have downloaded it and I now send them free messages. My husband has an iphone now and when my contract is due for renewal I will consider which phone I want. I really feel that the Samsung phones are a good solid option and I hope there is something similar on the market in 6 months time. Thanks for reading and I hope this review has helped.

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      16.10.2011 23:14

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      Not worth buying.

      When I moved out my dad bought me a contract phone- I thought, brilliant, I fancy a smartphone! After much debate, I ended up with this- it's lightweight, fits snug in your pocket and relatively easy to get to grips with.

      It runs on Android but not the most up to date version- this is only 2.1. The apps download quickly but not all of them are compatible with the Galaxy and you can forget watching videos like the other Androids! The memory is a pitiful 130MB so you can expect to buy an SD card for it- the memory card goes under the back cover, which- whilst it keeps the card out of the way- can be difficult to remove.

      The phone is touchscreen and can be flipped on its side for a bigger keypad, switched to QWERTY and also has 'Swype' which is a great feature- you can spell out the word instead of individually typing each letter. Whilst it isn't always exact it does come in handy!

      However the phone has its downfalls. It freezes frequently. Turns itself off. Gets really hot without any use. Not to mention the battery is awful! All in all, don't buy it- there are MUCH better phones out there for the same price on pay as you go or contract.

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      12.09.2011 18:59
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      A feature-packed phone for a much more reasonable price

      When the battery of my LG Viewty Smart died I decided rather than replace the battery I'd get a new phone (much more fun I'm sure you'll agree!). However as I only had a few months until my contract ended and I qualified for a free upgrade I didn't want to get anything too expensive as it would only really be a stop-gap for me. After looking around online for a while I thought the Samsung Galaxy Europa for £60 on pay-as-you-go with 3 seemed like a good choice, allowing me to use my 3 Contract simcard and giving a good range of features for a reasonable price, so that's what I went for.


      === Quick Specs ===

      Size - 108 x 56 x 12.3mm
      Weight - 102g
      Battery - 375 hours standby time, 390 minutes talk time
      Display - 2.8in touchscreen
      Camera - 2MP
      Memory - Phone 170MB, max card size 16GB


      === Getting Set Up ===

      In the box you should find the phone along with the battery, charger, USB cable, headphones and a microSD card and adapter, as well as the manual and other informational papers.

      Removing the back cover to insert the sim card and battery is easy but it does feel pretty flimsy whilst not attached to the phone and I anticipate it could be easily broken. It was at this point that I noticed the microSD slot is rather inconveniently placed under the back cover which I find a bit odd for something that you may want to remove fairly frequently, I would have expected it to be more readily accessible. It is however easy to insert and remove from the phone.

      To charge the phone you can use either the travel adapter plugged into the mains or the USB cable plugged into a laptop or pc. The initial charge seemed to be much quicker than with other phones, taking only a few hours to reach full charge rather than having to leave it overnight, so I was able to start using my new phone much quicker.

      The charger fits securely into it's socket on the side of the phone and unlike others I've had it doesn't come out whenever the wire is even slightly knocked.


      === First Impressions ===

      The phone looks very sleek and stylish and though not the smallest or slimmest of phones it still has a neat, compact look to it. It's not as light as my last phone but it's certainly lighter than it looks and is easy to hold and use. The size fits nicely in my hand leaving the buttons perfectly positioned for comfort and ease of use. The touchscreen is a good size which makes all the swipes and movements of the finger required to perform different functions easy, and the display is crystal clear.

      The case looked like it would scratch really easily so I ordered a protective gel case for it pretty much as soon as I got it out of the box. In the 2 days I was waiting for the case to arrive I was proved right as the bottom of the back case of the phone became scratched even though I'd only been keeping it in the phone pocket of my bag and being very careful when I was using it.


      === Getting to Grips With It ===

      I've had a lot of different phones, including several smart phones, and never before have I found one so difficult to get to grips with. I normally simply play around with a new phone for a few minutes to figure out all the features and settings, never having to bother with the manual, but that was not the case here.

      Trying to figure out how to change certain settings was difficult even following the step by step instructions in the manual. The manual would be telling me to go to a particular screen and press a key which was not there, and it would later turn out I had to change some other setting in order to make that key available, a fact that was not mentioned in the manual and I found out by pure chance.

      Initially I found texting very difficult because the keys were too small and I found I was more often than not pressing the wrong one, or more than one at a time, which made composing even a short message a very long and frustrating process. It wasn't until stumbling across the keyboard settings whilst trying to do something else that I found I could change the keyboard to one with slightly bigger keys.

      There are quite a few things within the settings that I've struggled to find even after having found them several times before (and I'm not a forgetful person so anyone who is would really struggle with this phone). Not everything is where you would expect it to be and as well as a main settings menu there are separate settings menus within certain screens which makes finding what you're after more difficult than it needs to be. There are also different ways of doing the same thing depending on which screen you're on, which makes it even more unnecessarily confusing.

      Luckily the interface makes it quick and easy to navigate seamlessly from screen to screen and cycle through menus by simple swiping actions with your finger, saving you the added frustration of slow navigation on top of everything else.


      === Basic Functions ===

      Once you've got it configured to how you want it the phone is actually much more user friendly than it first seems.

      Texting is pretty easy, though even using the keyboard with the largest keys I still often end up pressing the wrong one so I'm guessing men, or anyone else with larger fingers, would find it difficult to text using the Qwerty keypads and would need to switch back to old-school texting on the 3x4 keypad.

      Making a call is much easier than on other touchscreen phone's I've used as it doesn't rely on the touchscreen, instead having physical call and call end buttons, which means you don't run into problems if the touchscreen becomes unresponsive, a problem I've encountered far too many times with other phones.

      The call quality is good and it's very easy to change the volume during a call due to the conveniently placed buttons on the side of the phone.


      === Features ===

      The camera is only 2MP which doesn't sound a lot in today's terms but it still produces perfectly crisp, clear photos. There are many settings which can be changed and different shooting modes to choose from but again by today's standards it's pretty basic. Unfortunately when I send photos I've taken with the camera the recipient is unable to open them. I've tried changing the resolution and other camera settings but it makes no difference, the photos still can't be viewed and I have absolutely no idea what the problem is.

      Accessing the internet is easy and browsing is quick and virtually seamless. Wi-fi is easy to set up and access, allowing easy access to the internet wherever you are.

      The phone runs on the Android operating system which gives you easy access to Android apps. It comes preloaded with some useful apps such as Google maps, 'Places' which uses the phone's GPS to find buildings and businesses close to where you are and 'Navigation' which is basically just a version of a Sat Nav, and Google calendar, as well as a trial versions of games like The Sims 3 and Tetris. You can buy the full versions of the games or search for and download new apps from the Android Market straight from your phone.

      There is an FM radio as well as a music player, and the sound quality is as good as any phone I've used. The supplied headphones are not the best but they're comfortable enough to use for a couple of hours at a time with no problems and have in-line volume control.

      The phone also has a great deal of other features which you would expect to find on most phones, such as a calculator, memo, clock etc. However, it lacks a basic calendar, asking you instead to sign in to Exchange, Facebook or Google calendars, which is not particularly useful when all you want to do is check what date your next payday, or day someone's birthday falls on. Despite it's many features it's small things like this that let the phone down for me.


      === Everything Else ===

      I've found the phone to be very robust and durable. I'm not the most careful of people and have dropped it quite a few times to no detriment. Other than the easily scratched back cover there's really nothing that would make me think it wouldn't last years and still look and function just the same as when I got it.

      Unlike other Smart and touch screen phones I've used I've not encountered any glitches or errors when using this phone and the touch screen is the most reliable and responsive I've used so far.

      The battery life is fantastic compared to other phones I've had. The first day I had it I played The Sims 3 for around 5 hours (I'm yet to figure out the point of that game) and the battery remained very nearly full. With light use I can leave it well over a week without needing to charge it and with heavy usage, including listening to music, playing games etc, it will last a couple of days before it needs charging.


      === Conclusion ===

      Overall I think this phone is a great option for anyone looking for something which is big on features and small on price, having the same features as many much more expensive Smart phones for a very reasonable price-tag. However, I would say it's one to avoid for anyone who struggles with technology or has found other phones difficult to get to grips with as the settings menus are not at all intuitive and will no doubt only lead to a great deal of frustration.

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        25.08.2011 20:19

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        The perfect phone for touch screen beginners and at a fantastic price!

        Okay... So i know that I definitely rely on peoples reviews when it comes to buying a brand new phone! You can never rely on the people on the shop floor, cause let's face it, they're trying to make money! This phone was one which I bought to replace a stolen phone. I wanted one which had the latest technology, so I wouldn't be needing to update it anytime soon, but at a reasonable price, because I was a student at the time.
        I bought this phone on a pay as you go contract. Which is the only way I could keep an eye on how much I was spending a month! I didn't want to risk going over the limit on any contracts because I genuinly could not afford to!
        Now, I'm a little bit of a technophobe, (or I used to be) so I didn't have much idea about what the latest fashion was with phones. My friends either had blackberrys, or Iphones, but I was a little scared of both! The thought of having something SO expensive (after just having my previous phone stolen) was not something that I wanted to think about.
        Another thing that I had to consider was buttons... did I want to carry on having buttons or did I want to step into the likes of touch - screen? Scary thought for me! What if the screen cracked? What if it gets messy?
        Well, the verdict on this phone is, it is absolutely faultless!! It's a great price for what you get! Android technology, so free apps! It's got a neat little camera on the back, (although the gallery can be a little slow uploading, I would recommend downloading the 'QuickPic' application to view your photos quicker!)
        Nice to hold, nice design, and easy to use once you get to grips with the android programme. For all you first time touchscreeners like me, I would recommend it, unless you have really really big hands. I have tiny hands so when I'm texting it's not a problem atall, but it may be considered more of a girls phone just because it's a little petite!
        But I would honestly recommend this phone, no question!

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        18.06.2011 18:43

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        Good for starting out on Android smartphones

        I've used this Smartphone for about one year, and here's my review.

        Samsung Galaxy 5 is a good phone, with 240x360 touchscreen and 108 x 56 x 12.3 mm size, making it a small, but comfy phone.

        The touchscreen is great, using a capactive touchscreen, it runs smoothly, and the screen is colorful too.

        Samsung Galaxy 5 is using Android OS v2.1 Eclair and upgradeable to v2.2. You can use this for learning about Android Phone before you consider buying high-tier smartphone.

        The interface is user-friendly and easy to use. The sounds quality is quite good and clear.

        The internet reception was good and the Wi-Fi is easy to use.

        I like this phone because it's easy to use and Android is an open source OS so i can download so many free apps and games. Oh, you can try to overclock it too, but i never tried that.

        Overall, this is a good phone for someone new to Android. It's affordable and cute, too

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        06.03.2011 15:09
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        Brilliant budget smart phone

        As another year passes, upgrade time comes round once more, and I'm a particularly lucky little girl, who not only gets her own upgrade once every two years, but also gets to swap that upgrade the following year to whatever upgrade her partner has been offered. Although I started my mobile phone life with a Nokia, over the last few years I've become pretty loyal to the Samsung brand, with my previous phone being my first foray into the world of touch screen technology in the form of the Samsung Monte. This year, I set my heart on a smart phone, but as we only have quite a low tariff (<£20/month) I wasn't sure that my desires would be fulfilled. But once more my luck was in as we were offered the i5500 otherwise known as the Samsung Galaxy Europa, a budget smart phone, that provides many of the features of far more expensive models.

        ==First Impressions==

        Following the candy bar styling, the Europa is a beautifully glossy black with silver detail, and a fairly large 2.8 inch touch screen display. Now I know that is in no way the biggest touch screen on the market, in fact it's actually slightly smaller than the screen on my old Monte, but it is just about big enough, very clear and suffers from very little glare or reflection. The 16 million colours means that photos and pictures are vividly displayed, I really can't say that I've noticed any pixilation. Being a touch screen phone, there are a minimal number of actual buttons, although as it's a smart phone there are more than there were on my Monte. There's a central select button, which is surrounded by four other function buttons, including the answer and end call buttons. The minimalist feel is continued around the sides of the phone, with there being a shared USB/power connection hidden behind a flap, rocker volume button and 3mm headphone jack, while the rear of the Europa simply features a lens and the words Samsung and 'with Google".

        All in all the Europa looks pretty smart, 108mm x 56mm x 12.3mm it's small enough to slip into a pocket and yet not so small as to be uncomfortable to use. And at 102g it's feel reassuring weighty and well-balanced in my hand. Although I really like the glossy black finish, I do find that it really attracts fingerprints and smudges, which can detract from the look. So if you're planning on buying this phone I would suggest also investing in a glasses cloth to keep it smudge free.

        My Europa did come with a few welcome accessories, but I'm not sure if they were all standard or not. A 1GB micro SD card was supplied along with an adapter, I don't know about you, but I think this was a nice touch, as it's not often that a memory card is supplied with a phone. I've not actually used the supplied memory card though, as I already had an 8GB card, with music, photos and videos on it, but I the adapter really does come in handy. Obviously a power adapter is supplied, and what I really like is that this is identical to the adapter on my two previous Samsungs meaning that if I should ever lose or break one I have replacements available. Along with the power adapter, there is a USB cable, that is a reasonable length and as well as enabling quick and easy transfer of files, it also allows the phone to be charged from any computer. The supplied earphones/hands free kit, is rather disappointing, my Monte was supplied with really comfortable earphones, but the one's with this don't even fit in my ears, so it's lucky that I can use any earphones with a 3mm plug.

        Although you do receive an instruction booklet with the Europa, you do not get an installation disc. I have installed this on a Windows 7 laptop though, and the whole process was quick, painless and completely automated. The instruction booklet, is fairly comprehensive and covers all of the Europa's functions in a way that is easy to read and follow, even though I've mostly worked out how the phone works by messing about with it.

        Preparing the Europa for first use, was fairly simple, although I did find it a little difficult to remove the back cover. The indent for lifting the cover is quite small and even with my long, strong nails I struggled, in fact I eventually resorted to used a pair of tweezers. I'm not sure I like the fact that the Micro SD slot is beneath this cover, as it makes changing cards quite awkward. Once the memory card, SIM card and battery are in place, the cover is a lot easier to replace than it was to remove and the only thing left to do is switch on.

        Switching the Europa on is not just a case of pressing the power button and being instantly able to make calls, it takes a good couple of minutes for the phone to boot up and be ready to use, especially if you have a lot of files on your SD card. Powering down is a lot quicker though, not quite instantaneous, but nearly.

        ==The Touch Screen, Menu System, Calling and Texting==

        No matter how fancy a phone, for me the most important aspects are still how easy it is to use and how good a job it does at the most basic of tasks. The capacitive touch screen is a delight to use, it's sensitive and gives reassuring feedback as I work my way through the menu options. Although the screen is a little smaller than I am used to, I have no trouble selecting the various options and the phone responds to the lightest of touches as I swipe between screens. The menu system is logical, with there being a total of seven home screen, each of which can be filled with widgets or icons allowing instant access to most commonly used applications and even folders. On entering the actual menu, there are another two pages of icons to take you to even more options. Although I do like the addition of a home button, that immediately returns me to the primary screen, I still find that I try to press the end call to close an application only to realise that all this does is lock the screen. I must say that I find this a little annoying and more than a little frustrating at times.

        Making calls with the Europa, is a fairly standard affair, it's easy enough to add contacts to the address book and then make calls from here. What I especially like, is that if I look up a phone number on the internet browser, then I can call that number directly from that page. Much cheaper than using a 118 service and quicker too, especially if you need a taxi in a hurry. Once in a call, as long as I have reasonable reception, everything is loud and clear, even when using the loud speaker. I've never had a problem being heard at the other end either and this phone is as good at picking up signal as any other I have owned. I do not like using the supplied hands-free kit though, I'm sure my ears aren't any smaller than average, but the ear buds simply to not fit in my ear holes.

        Texting with the Europa is definitely something that takes a while to get used to. There are various input methods available, including the standard multi-tap. When using the standard keyboard, the different keys are well spaced and the touch screen perfectly responsive, but there are much easier methods available. Firstly, there's the standard qwerty keyboard, that is definitely easier to use in landscape, in portrait the keys are just too close together. The T9 dictionary is reasonable, although as always there are words it will need to be taught, especially if you like to use profanity.

        But my favourite method of typing texts is to use the new Swype function. With this method, you don't exactly type so much as swipe your fingers between the letters. Although this takes a little while to get used to and it is advisable to follow the built-in tutorial, once you do get used to it, you'll wonder how you managed to text without it. I love that I don't have to be particularly accurate, and yet 99% of the time the phone recognises what I want to say and it is so much quicker. I'm not sure about the way the texts are organised though, instead of being organised by date and time, they are organised by contact. Yes this does make it easier to find a particular conversation, but at the same time it makes it harder to find a specific text message.

        ===Android, Internet and Connectivity==

        Now I've never owned an iPhone, iPod or iPad, so I have no idea how Android compares to these, or how the Android store compares to iTunes apps, so I'm going to be tackling these aspects solely as a newcomer to smart phone technology. The Europa's processor is in no way the most powerful available at 600MHz, but it's no slouch either. What really amazes me, is that my first real home PC only had a 700MHz processor and that was only ten years ago, and now there are mobile phones available with the same sort of power. I find that as long as I don't have too many applications open, the Europa copes pretty well with everything I throw at it, whether it be games, mobile television or Facebook.

        I've no idea what the most up-to-date version of the Android operating system is, but this phone runs Android 2.1, which also has the rather strange code name of Éclair (why they would name an OS after a chocolate cake is beyond me). Up until now I've not had a single problem with the phone crashing, freezing or rebooting and with it being a new toy, I have pretty much overused it.

        While Apple users have the apps store, Android users have the Android market, which gives access to countless different applications and games, from the extremely useful to the banal. While some of these apps do incur a small fee, the majority are absolutely free. I will say though that you need a gmail account to use this service, but I really would recommend that you open one anyway if you buy this phone, as Google and Gmail are so well integrated into many of the functions.

        So far I've not really downloaded and installed too many apps, but those I have are pretty good. One of the most important apps I've installed is Advanced Task Manager, which is pretty invaluable for ensuring that other apps are properly closed after use. Another fantastic app is Kindle for Android, I absolutely love this as it allows me to read books on my phone. The print is surprisingly easy to read and I can bookmark exactly where I've got to, but even more impressively there are literally hundreds of free books to choose from all of which are almost instantly delivered to my phone. In fact this is an app that I would recommend to anyone who has an Android phone, it's brilliant. One thing that has disappointed me, is that this phone is not compatable with iPlayer, my Monte had iPlayer installed, but I can't even use the website with this phone. Which is particularly strange considering I have installed another app that allows me to watch ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.

        The supplied browser is perfectly workable, I have no trouble accessing any sites, and speeds while using wi-fi are almost instantaneous. It's extremely easy to zoom in on pages and so far I've had no problem accessing most sites, although I must admit I've not really attempted everything. As far as I'm concerned, as long as I can access Dooyoo, Ciao and my bank then I'm fine. So I've no attempted any browser games, but I have accessed secure pages and some online shops without issue along with general searches.

        Talking about searches, there's also a voice search function on the phone, I'm not sure who thought that it would be easier to search the internet by simply saying what we're looking for, but obviously someone did. Unfortunately, while this sounds as if it could be a good feature, in reality it's poorly executed. I've tried it a few times, and it's really a bit hit and miss. Yes it does occasionally bring up my search and even rarer it appears in the top three of the search options, but more often than not it gets it completely wrong and now I've come to the conclusion that it's easier to just type in my search.

        Along with the actual internet and the Android market, the Europa gives instant access to Gmail, other email accounts, Facebook and other networking sites. Personally, I only have this set up with my Gmail and Facebook accounts and am more than pleased with how easy it is to access these. With my Gmail, I get instant notification of any new emails and can easily send emails from my phone even attaching photos. It's the same with Facebook, it's so well integrated that I can take a photo and then immediately upload it to my Facebook account. I love how easy this all is.

        As I'm sure you've gathered by now, the Europa features a wi-fi internet connection, and this connection is extremely easy to set and offers speedy data transfer. It's easy to search for wi-fi hotspots and then connect to them, it took me a matter of seconds to connect to my home network. Once connected to a network, working on the internet is a delight, and all networks are remembered for another time. Along with wi-fi, the Europa can also be used to connect to the WWW via 3G, which I wouldn't really recommend for extended periods, as not only is it slower but it can also end up costing a small fortune.

        If it's transferring files between phones that you're after, Bluetooth is available with all the standard features of pairing, etc. I love that multiple files can be sent or received along with larger files, with the largest file I've received being 200MB. The Europa can also be connected to a PC via USB, when it works as a mass storage device, which enables files to be transferred much quicker.

        ==Camera, Music and Multimedia==

        If you're buying a phone for it's camera, then this really isn't the phone for you. The Europa's camera is a measly 2MP, but it still produces some pretty good pictures as long as the lighting is reasonable. Ok, so the pictures aren't at a quality where you can blow them up to A4 and put them on the wall, but they are good enough for posting on Facebook and to keep for memories. There are also a couple of special effects available, I especially like the panoramic function, which is great for taking pictures of the countryside about where we live. There isn't a flash though so pictures taken in low light aren't particularly brilliant, and there's only a 3x digital zoom. So not the best camera in a phone, but as I have a 10MP digital camera, that's not a problem for me. Along with still photos, the Europa also has a video function which is again great for off the cuff memories but doesn't produce anything you're going to want to put onto DVD.

        Along with the camera, the Europa does offer a few options for watching and listening to multimedia. The music player is reasonable, with MP3s sounding pretty good through the speakers and even better with a decent set of headphones. Photos and pictures are beautifully displayed and the Europa will even play videos in the MP4/3gp format. I do like to occasionally watch films or TV episodes on this phone while on long journeys and although the screen is relatively small, it's still big enough to be able to view these videos without straining my eyes. Ok, it's not an iPod, but the multimedia capabilities are more than good enough for me. Videos play smoothly, MP3s sound good and there's even a radio.

        The Europa is also GPS enabled, meaning that it can be used as a sat nav, but I must say that I've never used it for this, not having a car.

        ==The Battery And Durability==

        So far I've been nothing but complementary about the Europa, but nothing's perfect and the Europa's big downfall is it's battery life. Although the battery does charge quickly, it also runs down quite quickly too. If the Europa is only used as a phone for making calls and sending texts then it can easily last two to three days. But how likely is it that you are going to buy a smart phone and then not use any of the smart features?

        With the way I use the phone, which is to make occasional calls, send lots of texts, check my emails at least once an hour, surf the web for up to an hour, play games, listen to music, watch videos and read books, the battery lasts me a day, if I'm lucky. Ok so this isn't long, but I do use the phone a lot during the day, so it's hardly surprising that I run the battery down so fast. But before I downloaded the task manager, the battery wasn't even lasting a day, so it's definitely worth making sure that applications are closed after you've finished using them.

        As for the durability, well I've had this phone for just under a month, and have taken really good care of it, ensuring that it doesn't come into contact with anything that might scratch it, so I'm perhaps not the best person to tell you whether it will survive being thrown across the room. But I can tell you that the glossy black surface is very difficult to keep clean and it positively attracts fingerprints and smudges. Although I have only had the phone for a relatively short period, I have used it extensively in that timeframe, as fingers crossed, nothing has actually gone wrong with either the hardware or software.

        ==Price And Availability==

        The Samsung Galaxy Europa is available on both PAYG and contract, costing approximately £100 for PAYG, which I personally feel is an exceptional price for a smart phone, that does so much. I received my Europa free as an upgrade on a £20/month contract with Vodafone.

        ==Final Words==

        The Samsung Galaxy Europa is an excellent budget smart phone, which would make great introduction into the world of this advanced technology. But, I wouldn't say this is a phone that would appeal to technophobes, it does take a while to get used to. Personally, I love this phone and wouldn't change it for the world, well not until next upgrade anyway. Considering it's capabilities, the Europa is available for a ridiculously low price, and while it's not the fastest, most full featured smart phone with the biggest screen, it more than holds it's own. So taking everything into account I'm perfectly happy to give this phone five stars out of five and recommend it to anyone who is looking to dip their toes into the world of smart phones but not yet ready to spend a small fortune.

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