Samsung Galaxy Fame Review

6
Introduction and Design
Introduction:

What happens if you shrink a Samsung Galaxy S III? You end up with a Galaxy S III mini. What happens if you shrink the mini then? Well, the Samsung Galaxy Fame would be the end result – a low-end Android smartphone that is about to be thoroughly examined. It offers a 3.5-inch screen, 1GHz processor, 5MP camera, and 4GB of storage. Yeah, that's nothing to write home about, but whoever's attention gets drawn by the Fame would be most likely attracted by its low price tag rather than its specs. Whether it's capable of delivering enough bang for its buck will be known as soon as we give it our review treatment. Read on to learn more!

In the box:

  • Wall charger
  • microUSB cable
  • Quick start guide

Samsung Galaxy Fame Unboxing:

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Design:

Cute as a cuddly critter – that's how we'd briefly describe the Samsung Galaxy Fame. Thanks to its pebble-like shape, the smartphone is a delight to handle and operate, especially since its curvy body makes it fit perfectly in the hand. Plastic is what the device is made out of, but it lacks the cheap feel that entry-level phones are usually associated with. Quite the opposite, the Galaxy Fame feels pretty solid in the user's palm due to its sturdy construction. Our only complaint is that its glossy front and back sides retain a little bit of finger smudge, but that's just a minor issue that most users won't be bothered by.


Samsung Galaxy Fame
Dimensions

4.46 x 2.43 x 0.46 inches

113.2 x 61.6 x 11.6 mm

Weight

4.25 oz (121 g)

Sony Xperia E
Dimensions

4.47 x 2.43 x 0.43 inches

113.5 x 61.8 x 11 mm

Weight

4.08 oz (116 g)

Samsung GALAXY Ace 2
Dimensions

4.66 x 2.45 x 0.41 inches

118.3 x 62.2 x 10.5 mm

Weight

4.30 oz (122 g)

LG Optimus L5
Dimensions

4.66 x 2.62 x 0.39 inches

118.3 x 66.5 x 9.88 mm

Weight

4.30 oz (122 g)

Samsung Galaxy Fame
Dimensions

4.46 x 2.43 x 0.46 inches

113.2 x 61.6 x 11.6 mm

Weight

4.25 oz (121 g)

Sony Xperia E
Dimensions

4.47 x 2.43 x 0.43 inches

113.5 x 61.8 x 11 mm

Weight

4.08 oz (116 g)

Samsung GALAXY Ace 2
Dimensions

4.66 x 2.45 x 0.41 inches

118.3 x 62.2 x 10.5 mm

Weight

4.30 oz (122 g)

LG Optimus L5
Dimensions

4.66 x 2.62 x 0.39 inches

118.3 x 66.5 x 9.88 mm

Weight

4.30 oz (122 g)

Compare these and other phones using our Size Comparison tool.


The Samsung Galaxy Fame is equipped with an excellent set of physical buttons – a volume rocker on the left, power key on its right side, and a home button underneath its screen. All of them are easy to reach and provide very good tactile feedback. The two capacitive buttons that complement the home key are also well within reach.



Display:

The Samsung Galaxy Fame might be pretty, but its LCD screen surely isn't. That's due to its low resolution of only 320 by 480 pixels spread across 3.5-inches in diagonal. Needless to say, pixelation around the curves of graphic elements is easily noticeable. The display's viewing angles and color representation are also somewhat disappointing. Since the screen's surface reflects a lot of the light that hits it, using the phone outdoors on a sunny day is practically impossible unless you boost its brightness to the maximum. That is done manually as it lacks light sensor, via the brightness slider placed in the drop-down notification bar.



Interface:

Although it is just an entry-level smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy Fame comes with a relatively recent version of Android – 4.1.2 Jelly Bean. Layered on top of it we have Samsung's great custom interface with its numerous visual and functional tweaks. These include motion gestures, such as shaking the phone in order to refresh whatever information is displayed on all active widgets and flipping the device face-down to mute an incoming call. We can't imagine ourselves using the former often, but we find the latter useful.

Speaking of widgets, there's a ton of them pre-loaded, including Samsung's weather and clock combo, a very handy widget for taking down quick notes, and an alarm clock widget. It is also nice to see that a broad range of toggle switches for various features are placed in the notification bar for convenience. In addition, by holding down the home button, one can access all sorts of up-to-date information provided by Google Now and the built-in task manager.


The on-screen keyboard on the Samsung Galaxy Fame feels tiny, which comes as no surprise since the display is pretty narrow. Getting used to typing on it takes time, but at least the built-in spell checker will take care of the typos that you'll surely make. Alternatively, you can use the swiping input method, which can be very effective once you get comfortable with it.



Processor and Memory:

With its 1GHz single-core processor and 512MB of RAM, the Samsung Galaxy Fame ranks rather low on the benchmark scoreboards. Its real-life performance isn't out of this world either as delays are occasionally present when launching or switching between apps. These lags aren't too annoying, to be honest, but they do hurt the overall experience somewhat. On the bright side of things, the Samsung Galaxy Fame has enough power to handle a variety of games that don't require a high-end device in order to run. Titles like Angry Birds Star Wars and Temple Run 2 can be played just fine at decent framerates.


Quadrant Standard
Samsung Galaxy Fame 2045
Sony Xperia E dual2424
Samsung Galaxy Ace 21953
LG Optimus L51470


You get 4GB of internal storage with the Samsung Galaxy Fame, out of which only 1.95GB are available to the user. Chances are that's going to run out before you know it, so equipping the smartphone with a microSD card is highly recommended. Otherwise you can pretty much forget about storing music or other media on the device. But in case you're okay with relying on cloud storage, there's 50GB of it included for free for 2 years, courtesy of Samsung and Dropbox.

Web Browser:

There's nothing new to see on the stock web browser present on the Samsung Galaxy Fame. It's pretty much the same application found on all of the company's recent Android devices, with its support for multiple tabs, incognito mode, and saving pages for offline reading. The browser itself gets the job done when it comes to web surfing, but it gets choppy when viewing content-rich pages. What really spoils the experience, however, are the low resolution and size of the smartphone's display.



Camera:

Now that's a nice surprise! Low-end phones usually come with cameras that are mediocre at best, but the 5-megapixel auto-focus snapper on the Samsung Galaxy Fame is actually quite usable. In fact, the images that it produces are very rich in detail, albeit somewhat noisy, and even the ones taken indoors look presentable. The only thing the camera really lacks is speed – it is slow to boot, lags prior to capturing a photo, and then needs some more time before it is ready to take the next shot. These, however, are all imperfections present on the majority of entry-level handsets.


Recording videos using the Galaxy Fame isn't recommended unless there's no other camera around. Simply put, they look pretty terrible when played on anything bigger than a smartphone display, partially because of the low resolution of only 640 by 480 pixels, but also due to the heavy presence of digital artifacts in the picture.

Samsung Galaxy Fame Sample Video:

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The camera interface is pretty straightforward to use. It offers handy features like panorama and various shooting modes, and can be launched right from the lock screen with the help of a shortcut.



Multimedia:

The Samsung Galaxy Fame comes with the very same music player present on all of the company's recent Android smartphones. And that's not a bad thing since the app surely gets the job done. It can sort tracks by title, album, artist, or folder name, while playback controls appear in the notification bar for quick and easy access. A 7-band equalizer and additional sound enhancements, such as reverb and bass boost, are included as well. The built-in loudspeaker is of average loudness, but crackles when its volume is turned up all the way.


Most of the video samples we threw on the Samsung Galaxy Fame couldn't be played. We were only able to watch our MPEG4 videos in resolution no higher than 800 by 480 pixels. That shouldn't bother you much, however, as you'd probably not spend much time watching videos on the Fame's low-quality display, save for the occasional YouTube lolcat video.

Call quality:

Calls made using the Samsung Galaxy Fame are of above average quality. Voice tones emitted by the earpiece are easy to distinguish without even having to turn its volume up all the way. On the other side of the line, our voice is clear as well, although accompanied by a certain amount of background noise.

Battery life:

The 1300mAh battery tucked inside the Samsung Galaxy Fame is removable and can be replaced if needed. We aren't sure how much it is supposed to last on a single charge since its maker hasn't yet posted any official figures, but given our experience with the device, we'd say you'll surely have to refill on a daily basis.

Conclusion:

Low-end Android smartphones are never perfect, but they aren't really meant to be. Rather, these handsets need to be just good enough to suit the needs of budget-conscious consumers. Does the Samsung Galaxy Fame fit the bill? Well, based on our experience with it we'd say that it's a nice entry-level device that will probably get the attention of the younger crowd and the ladies, in particular. We are genuinely pleased with its design and the good quality of its photos is a nice addition to its feature set. Just make sure your eyes can handle its low-quality display before reaching for your wallet.

Checking out some alternatives to the Samsung Galaxy Fame would also be a good idea before getting one. For example, we'd recommend taking a look at the Sony Xperia miro, which is very similar in terms of specs and costs about the same, if not less than the Fame. The Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 might be over a year old now, but it has better specs and also carries a similar price tag. In case your budget can handle it, then you might want to check out the HTC Desire X as it shouldn't cost considerably more despite being superior to the Galaxy Fame in a number of ways.

Samsung Galaxy Fame Video Review:

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Pros

  • Nice camera for a low-end smartphone
  • Well designed
  • Free 50GB Dropbox storage (for 2 years)

Cons

  • Low resolution display
  • Occasional performance issues

PhoneArena Rating:

7.5

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