A review of Samsung’s Galaxy Mini Android.
I have been using Samsung’s Galaxy Mini (model GT-S5570) for the better part of a month, or slightly longer. The Galaxy Mini is being retailed in Kenya for Kes. 12,999.00 by Safaricom which places it in the entry-level range of Android handsets available in the market to-date. This is more expensive than Huawei’s IDEOS which has been a runaway success for Safaricom but its also a more capable phone on many levels. Included in the Safaricom price for the Galaxy Mini is 600 MB of free data for three months or rather 200 MB per month which is decent enough for most people. In reviewing the Galaxy Mini, here are the details based on my experience:
Screen Size: On holding the Galaxy Mini for the very first time, a few things caught my attention. The first was the size of the screen. Its a large 3.14 inch screen which got me all excited. This is almost as large as the screens you get on much more expensive Android phones in the market. However, on turning the phone on, I was disappointed with the quality of the screen – clearly this was no AMOLED or Super AMOLED screen with a fuzzy looking resolution of only 240 X 320 with a range of only 262 colours. However, I got used to it, eventually.
Packaging: In terms of the packaging or the casing of the Galaxy Mini, it does feel low-end in terms of the finish. However, for the price on offer this is hardly a surprise and it certainly does have a “plasticky” feel that seems to plague all low-end (and sometimes high-end) smartphones. Its pretty hefty in terms of weight at 106.6 grams but you really could not compare it to an HTC or iPhone in this respect, which generally have a solid metallic feel. It does however have a “chunky” feel to it that I like.
Responsiveness: In terms of panning through apps on the Galaxy Mini, the experience was generally was satisfactory but not excellent in my opinion. You did feel at times that the processor was light-weight and it took ages for apps to open at times – hanging was not uncommon after a few weeks. But putting things in perspective, this is an entry-level Android that I am STILL using it as I write this review.
Memory: The Galaxy Mini comes with limited phone-based storage. However, you do get a Micro SD card with 2GB which is sufficient for handling most of your multimedia needs for video and audio. However, it is small compared to what you get on more expensive Android handsets which can be in the region of 16GB out of the box. But then again, this is an entry-level handset.
Contacts: As mentioned earlier in this blog post, I was able to download all my contacts from my iPhone and Outlook. However, I was also able to integrate and synchronize Facebook and Twitter contacts as well. This is a pretty nifty feature as it puts everything in one place.
Camera: The Galaxy Mini can do video and stills. Still pictures are taken at 3 MP which is not bad for a phone of this level. However, it lacks autofocus and a flash which are now becoming commonplace on more recent Android handsets being launched globally. Personally, it’s worked really well for me and I have no complaints.
Battery Life: I was actually quite impressed with the battery life on the Galaxy Mini. It does not always last as long as I would like but at least it could take me through a whole day – provided I turned off the Internet when I did not need it from sucking all the battery life. The regular email and social media notifications are quite simply battery draining.
Video: The Galaxy Mini worked well in terms of accessing YouTube videos. However, it does NOT support Flash which is a hindrance to browsing a good number of web sites. I can only imagine that this is the case due to processor constants.
Music: I used the Galaxy Mini in the gym as a replacement for my iPhone. It comes with all the expected accessories such as headphones with basic controls. However, the user interface and overall experience including the quality of sound could not match that of an iPhone or iPod.
Networking: The Galaxy Mini is able to connect to data in a myriad of ways. It supports EDGE and 3G meaning it get online fast. However, it also supports Bluetooth and WIFI networking. Lastly, like the Huawei IDEOS, it can also work as a WIFI hotspot for multiple computers. In a nutshell, it connects, whenever and wherever you need it to!
In concluding, I have found that the Galaxy Mini was able to meet both my professional and personal needs when it came to having an entry-level Android handset. It did however have some short-comings like the screen quality and becoming less responsive as I installed more applications and content. I was able to use it for work email and personal email, as well as social media apps, etc. It worked and continues to work for me. However, it’s not a Galaxy S or Galaxy S2 – but then again these phones cost 3 to 5 times as much. At the end of the day however, the Galaxy Mini is a decent Android phone and I would recommend it with a strong buy if you are budget constrained and want great value for money.