Samsung Galaxy I7500 Review
The Samsung Galaxy I7500 connects to local devices via microUSB cable, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. In the latter two cases, transfers are wireless and the data speed depends on a variety of factors – signal strength, distance to the other device, the presence of objects in the line of sight that may cause interference etc. Using microUSB cable, we managed to achieve better results transferring data to and from the phone built-in memory and copying a single 200MB file in both directions took us about 45 seconds, meaning average speed was 4.6MB/s. Transferring multiple files with the same overall size took 50 seconds and the transfer rate dropped to 4 MB/s.
The internet browser is the standard WebKit-based app that is integrated into Android. The lack of multitouch on the Samsung Galaxy I7500 means you have to zoom in/out much in the same way as on the G1 and Magic – through tapping on the plus and minus icons at the bottom of the screen. Still, there are quite a few good things about the app. Pages load fast and you can easily find what you need to look at. The Galaxy provides smooth bookmarking functionality, adding and picking pages from the list of most visited web sites is easy. There is a tab that contains your browsing history, added to allow faster access to and easier bookmarking of previously visited pages. Finally, web sites visualize without any issues and our only gripe concerns the lack of limited Flash support, which is available in HTC Hero as well.
The Galaxy I7500 comes equipped with a really fast GPS, especially if the A-GPS that enables the phone to download latest satellite position data is switched on. In this way, localizing takes about 30 seconds after hardware restart and is almost instantaneous following a software one. Although the Samsung Galaxy I7500 is not been branded as a Google device, just like on the HTC Hero, the only navigational software that comes preloaded is Google Maps. Fortunately, the Android version of the app has been recently improved and now sports really nice extra features like “Latitude”. Just keep in mind you better go for the plan with the largest traffic allowance so as to minimize the impact on your monthly bill, the app generates a staggering transfer.
The Samsung Galaxy I7500 sports a 5-megapixel camera with LED flash and autofocus. Its interface, however, is the standard one, integrated into Android OS – there are no extra features like color effects, white balance or contrast settings. Just switch it on and you´re game. Sharing captured snapshots and videos (more about them in a second) over Picasa, YouTube or through Gmail is just a press or two away, but unfortunately, there is no option to upload them on Facebook, Flickr, Photobucket etc. Alongside of other Samsung devices, even mainstream handsets, the camera interface of the Galaxy I7500 is disappointing. We didn’t think that Samsung would fail to add the modern options available on their latest handsets like the Star, Preston, OMNIA HD. But, as you can see in the pictures, this is the case indeed.
The overall quality of snapshots taken in natural lighting conditions is above the average and they are properly exposed. The level of details is nothing to write home about and things look slightly blurry, most probably due to the processing by the noise suppression algorithms. Still, colors are saturated and beautiful even when the pictures are viewed on large screens. The LED flash performs well in artificial lighting conditions and manages to properly lit up objects even in pitch dark places. Yet, it is pretty far from what the Nokia N86 or the xenon flash of the Sony Ericsson C905 delivers. As a whole, the quality in these cases drops significantly when compared to pictures taken in proper lighting conditions, but this is quite normal and we find the snapshots passable.
The Samsung Galaxy I7500 delivers the best snapshot quality alongside of the other Android-based handsets on the market as of now, but compared to other cell phones equipped with 5-megapixel cameras, well, it´s an average performer.
Capturing videos wasn’t possible with Android 1.0, but the drawback has been history ever since Android 1.5 rolled out. Similarly to the HTC Hero, Magic and T-Mobile G1, the Galaxy I7500 performs quite badly. The maximum allowed video resolution is CIF (352x288), which looks below par in terms of today´s standards. What´s worse, however, is that the overall quality is really bad. The presence of an additional microphone is beneficial and the audio tracks of the videos sound louder and clearer, but this doesn’t help towards a better image quality at all. Take a look at the test video so you can see for yourself how bad things are.
Samsung Galaxy I7500 sample video at 352х288 pixels resolution
audio player is the standard app integrated into the operating system. In terms of interface design, the phone is as far from the iPhone or the latest Samsung devices as it gets (the Jet, OMNIA HD). This doesn’t mean the phone interface fails to do what it´s supposed to or that it´s unpleasant. The phone library is excellent and definitely deserves the same rating as the Apple´s implementation, plus it´s substantially better than what we saw on recently released HTC devices running TouchFLO 3D.
The boxed headset goes perfectly with the overall style of the phone and creates the impression it delivers awesome sound. This is not the case as our tests showed. The sound it produces is loud, but vocals are muffled and it´s a good thing that the Galaxy I7500 sports a 3.5mm jack, so you can easily plug in a better pair.
The Galaxy I7500 doesn’t sport FM radio, but the lack can be overcome as easily as listening to music online. We think that one of the best available free apps to help you here is iMeem Mobile, because it allows searching by relevant artist and suggests similar music to what you seem to be looking for. The app has certain difficulties with bands that are not in the top charts though.
Like any other Android-running handset on the market, the video playback capabilities of the Samsung Galaxy I7500 are below par to modern standards. It plays MP4 files coded in H.263 and H.264 with the maximum allowed resolution width being 640 pixels in the first case and 480 pixels in the latter. We have said this before, there´s no point in converting your files to resolutions higher than the native screen resolution, since you won´t notice any difference anyway. Watching videos on the 3.2-inch AMOLED display makes for a pleasing experience indeed, the image quality is quite good, colors are vivid and saturated and there is no stuttering at all.
1. sonisoe (Posts: 320; Member since: 06 May 2009)
can the phone be used as a modem ? can the bluetooth transfer/receive files ?
2. dandv (Posts: 3; Member since: 23 Sep 2009)
@sonisoe: Yes, see my wireless tethering section in the Android User's Howto Wiki athttp://wiki.dandascalescu.com/
howtos/android#Network.I've also posted a side-by-side comparison with pictures between the Samsung Galaxy and HTC Hero: http://wiki.dandascalescu.com/ reviews/gadgets/pda_phones/sam sung_i7500_galaxy_vs_htc_hero
3. tweakerbee (Posts: 1; Member since: 04 Oct 2009)
The Hero has an abominable Calendar app. They removed the week view, and the month view does not show the sidebars like the standard Google Calendar. The worst thing is you cannot get the original Calendar app back! Samsung is right to keep the vanilla Android apps. At least they don't remove functionality like HTC.
4. pfm (Posts: 1; Member since: 18 Jun 2010)
I am so disappointed with Samsung about this phone I just have to warn everybody: do NOT buy it. The Samsung update software (New pc studio) from Samsung only works in windows and it doesn't detect nor update the phone. It is absolutely frustrating to have this phone for months with Android 1.5 . My personal opinion, I'll never, ever, buy a Samsung phone again.