Product Type: Samsung Smartphone
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A Smart Phone at a Smart Price, but Not for Beginners
Samsung GT i5500 Galaxy 5
Member Name: dahlin
Samsung GT i5500 Galaxy 5
Date: 12/09/11, updated on 12/09/11 (104 review reads)
Advantages: Looks good, feature-packed, everything works pretty seamlessly
Disadvantages: Complicated settings menus and configurations
=== 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.
Summary: A feature-packed phone for a much more reasonable price