Please go to http://www.domarmstrong.co.uk/2011/07/samsung-galaxy-pro/ for my review of the Galaxy Pro hardware or http://www.domarmstrong.co.uk/2011/07/android-vs-blackberry/ for and Android/Blackberry comparison.
Samsung have just hit 3 million global sales of the Galaxy S II after just two months of it being on the shelves ... but of course this isn't the only device Samsung have released this year! This review will focus on the Galaxy Pro, an android device released in April 2011 with a full QWERTY keyboard with a style unmistakably similar to the iconic Blackberry form.Where does the Samsung Galaxy Pro fit into the Smartphone world?
I suppose the biggest question is what should we compare this phone to? The price makes Galaxy Pro extremely good for what you get. It's currently cheaper than almost all Blackberry models released in the past year or so and it outperforms most of them in terms of hardware. I suppose we could compare it to last year's models of Blackberry, or the new HTC ChaCha which seems to be a similarly spec'ed device. Really, I think that Samsung are filling a gap in the market: for a phone with a touch screen and a full QWERTY keyboard. Not only that, but they've managed to keep the price down, making this phone and all its wonderful features accessible to everyone!
So... is it as juicy as a Blackberry?
Having scoured the internet I’ve been a little disappointed to find that reviewers have been comparing the Samsung Galaxy Pro to the latest offerings in the smartphone world and poo-pooing it because it doesn’t have the latest or fastest processor, nor does it feature a pixel density so small that an ant could read text on it.
I think these people are really missing the point - this phone isn’t as expensive as its competitors, but it has a lot of features which are better than them. Just because it doesn’t match up to a £500 equivalent such as the such as the BlackBerry Bold 9780 doesn’t mean that it’s bad. Even the HTC ChaCha is currently over £200!
If we’re talking about value for money, then the Pro wins hands down at only £160 on Amazon at the time of writing...
... and for that price, it sure packs a lot of juice!
What do you get, and is it better than similar devices?
So let’s spend some time talking about what you get for your money, and how it faces up to its more expensive colleagues in the QWERTY keyboard realm.
The Screen is a 2.8’’ with a 320 x 240 pixel capacitive touch screen. When a friend passes me their Blackberry, I must admit the first thing I do is try and navigate the screen as though it was a touch screen, and I get bitterly frustrated. The intuitiveness of the touch screen and the ability to use a full QWERTY keyboard (which even today’s best on-screen keyboards still don’t live up to) is simply great! The screen doesn't have multitouch, but zoom keys will pop up on the screen and you can double-tap to zoom which is just as intuitive. Playing touch screen games, such as Angry Birds on the Pro is great.
The TFT screen itself is certainly a little bit more ‘pixely’ than the Galaxy S II with its Super AMOLED+ screen. But for me, it does the job – and at less than a third of the price I’m not going to get all grumpy and pernickety about it!
So: although it might not be as sharp as some other screens - the fact that it is a touch screen, and by no means a bad screens puts this above the competitors.
Certainly the best feature of this phone is being able to use both the QWERTY and Touch screen simultaneously. Being able to navigate and highlight text with ease on the screen whilst typing away on the kaypad has been excellent. I have to admit that I miss having the "feel" of properly buttoned keypad, and the layout and size of the buttons is absolutely perfect: even for my large hands.
The keyboard retains a professional look about it, which the HTC ChaCha just doesn't have. It looks playful and bubbly... it also has a dedicated "Facebook" button which makes my stomach churn... enough said.
Also, just because it doesn’t have the latest or fastest of everything, doesn’t mean that it’s at all slow or that it won’t be able to run the latest apps. With an 800Mhz processor it is faster than, for example, the more expensive HTC wildfire (528Mhz) and in the same boat as the Full QWERTY HTC ChaCha.
It also has a faster processor than most current Blackberry models. Now, Blackberry are a little elusive on their website about the processor speed in their current smartphones, but typically they are slower, with the BlackBerry Curve 8520 and Bold 9000's processor only putting out 512 MHz. The Blackberry Bold 9700 pushes up to 624Mhz, which still isn't as good as the Galaxy Pro and is still almost double the price!
Storage + Memory:
You get 512Mb of RAM and with a 2GB SD card (and card reader) provided as standard. You can further expand the SD card slot up to 32GB which is ample storage space! Current Blackberry models offer similar amounts of storage with 256Mb internal and 2Gb SD card provided for the Blaberry Bold 9700
The camera is extremely good - taking photographs at 3.2MP and featuring all the little extra fun bits, such as the Panorama features and other effects such as being able to add yourself onto different landscapes with the "Add-Me" feature.
The Galaxy Pro has a large 1350 mAh which keeps it running for a good 2-3 days (in my experience) with normal usage. Samsung suggest you can get up to 11hours talktime and 620 hours on standby - that's almost 26 days! This puts the device in the same league as other smartphones - if not a tiny bit better - in the race for battery life.
For the price you pay and the goodies that you get, it's a fantastic device. You get a professional look and a very smart mobile device. Samsung, a company which has seen tremendous growth in the mobile market over the past few years can put a its success down to providing a range of phones and smartphones a variety of prices for all types of people. The motto for their bada platform which runs on the Wave series is “A Smartphone for Everyone” which is actually rather apt for all of the mobile products they've been producing recently, particularly the Galaxy range.
What we have here, then, is a device which, for the first time, merges a full QWERTY Keyboard and a capacitive touch screen. It has enough juice in it to take a slice out of Blackberry and enough oomph to be compete with other android smartphones on the market.