I recently attended the launch of 5 new Samsung touchscreen mobile smartphones including the new Samsung Galaxy Icon (I7500) Google Android phone and they’ve loaned me review phone for a few weeks for testing.
With it’s 5megapixel camera, LED flash, 8GB built in storage, slim shape and 3.5mm headphone jack I think the Samsung I7500 Galaxy could have provided a strong challenge to the more flashy HTC Hero Google Android phone which will be launched soon in Australia but it’s let down by issues like requiring manual firmware updates.
Photos – Samsung Galaxy Icon (I7500)
- Camera: 5 MegaPixel (actual JPG pixel size 2560×1920), Auto focus and most importantly an LED flash.
- Storage Memory: – 944mb to install applications (more than 10 times the space offered by HTC Magic and HTC Dream) + 8GB internal storage (6.7GB available to use for videos, music etc) and it can be expanded using microSDHC cards upto 32Gb in size
- Bargain Outright Purchase: – Yes, spotted as low as $549 which is very competitive against the iPhone 3G and 3GS. It’s also about $150 cheaper than buying an HTC Hero from the UK
- OLED Display: compared to the HTC Android phones to date the Galaxy’s OLED display is noticeably better at rendering colours and blacks. At 100% brightness it’s also brighter
- Speaker: compared to the HTC Android phones to date the Galaxy’s speaker sounds better and is much more powerful with a much louder volume at 100% setting.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Which mobile phone carriers will it be available through? – Optus, Virgin Mobile (which is owned by Optus), Crazy Johns (Vodafone reseller)
- Did Samsung mention a release date? –
late Septembereventually in mid-October, keep an eye on the mobile phone shops for stock
- Does it have a custom interface like HTC sense – no the Samsung I7500 Galaxy Icon has a standard Google Android interface, just like the HTC Dream and HTC Magic
- Does it have a built in compass and accelerometer – Yes
- What CPU does the phone use and whats the speed? – 528Mhz Qualcomm MSM7200A (same as the HTC Magic and HTC Hero)
- Will the phone be sold outright for cash at consumer electronics stores? – Yes
- Will Android updates be sent OTA (over the air)? – No. Updates will have to be manually installed from the Samsung website. NOTE: Samsung says this phone does not officially support upgrade of OS from Android 1.5(Cupcake) to Android 2.0 (we’ll see if any 3rd party custom ROM’s are released)
Features and Specifications
- Operating System: Google Android 1.5 (Cupcake)
- Size: 115 x 56 x 11.9mm which is similar in size to the HTC Hero but manages to be 17% thinner.
- Network: HSDPA 7.2Mbps / HSUPA 5.76Mbps (900 / 2100MHz). EDGE / GPRS (850/ 900/1800/1900) – this means it will be able to make full use of the whole Optus 3G network (which has different parts running at 900 & 2100MHz)
- Display: 3.2″ HVGA(320×480) AMOLED – in theory this means better battery life, able to display more colours and therefore have better image quality than the TFT-LCD screens used by HTC Google Android phones to date. Will have to be tested in various environments: office, home and bright outdoor sunlight to see if this is the case
- Camera: 5 MegaPixel with LED flash.I snapped a few photos on the demo phones at the launch and was impressed by the photo exposure quality and how little shutter lag there was compared to the HTC Dream & HTC Magic
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 2.0, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, MicroUSB (USB 2.0), 3.5mm headphone jack – Kudos to the Samsung engineers for managing to fit this into the thinnest Google Android phone to date
- File Storage: Builtin internal memory: 8GB, optional addon external memory: upto 32GB Micro SD card.
- Battery: 1500 mAh, 11% more than the HTC Hero and 23% more than iPhone 3Gs
- Colour: Black
- Side Buttons: Volume rocker (left), Hold (Unlock) button and Camera button (right)
- Video & Audio playback: Video: MPEG4, H.263, H.264, WMV + Audio: MP3, AAC, AAC+, e-AAC+, WMA, RA
- Google Applications Built-In: Web Browser, Google Search, Google Maps™, Gmail™, YouTube™, Google Calendar™, Google Talk™, Android Market™
- Device Control: multi directional DPAD with OK button in the middle
- Special Features – Accelerometer, Digital Compass, GPS
It puzzles me that Samsung made such a big effort with the I7500 Galaxy’s hardware then it feels like they ran out of energy and just installed a basic unmodified Android 1.5 operating system with few bundled interesting apps & no Android tweaks.
Excellent hardware features like being very small & light, including 8gb internal storage, 5mp camera with flash etc alone wont sell lots of phones. It has to win hearts & minds with a great user experience like the slick Apple iPhone software.
At the moment of writing the Samsung Galaxy costs about $550 to buy outright from a local shop with Australian warranty which is a very sharp price and if “firmware replacement” means something to you than you should able to add the best applications from the Android Market and replace the stock Samsung firmware with more recent, fully featured 3rd party Android firmware.
In comparison if you want a phone with a WOW factor out of the box then spend $150 more and you can buy the fancier HTC Hero from the UK (it hasn’t been officially released in Australia yet).