Till a while back , users looking for a smartphone experience on CDMA networks had almost no options in the Indian market. Users either resorted to just using a feature phone or paying up a fortune for rather unimpressive smartphones. Fast forward to 2011 and we finally have an option available where we can enjoy the benefits of CDMA networks , the power of the Android platform without selling an arm and a leg!
Samsung recently announced a pair of Android powered budget smartphones called the Samsung Galaxy Pop. What was the difference between them ? Well on e of them runs on CDMA networks while the other on regular GSM. Read on as we review the CDMA variant of the Samsung Galaxy Pop before its wide spread availability.
The Samsung Galaxy Pop looks like every other Samsung phone. The front is dominated by a largish screen (for its class) which measures 3.1″. Below it are two hardware buttons for calls and one large central menu button.The screen itself is capacitive in nature and gestures are interpreted easily. The touch experience was rather excellent and all touch inputs very immediately detected. Coming from the masses of resistive touchscreen enabled Nokia devices, this definitely feels like a god send which brings us to the next part.
At 240×320 resolution , reading websites is a massive headache. The text is unreadable and has to be zoomed to enhance visibility. This of course causes problems with website navigation. The colors on the display are dull and readability in sunlight is hard to say the least.
The camera is an integral part of any phone these days. The camera which is with you at the moment is said to be the best one and users expect it to be good.The Galaxy Pop’s unfortunately is not. While it is hard to expect a great camera at this price point , presence of autofocus would’ve been greatly appreciated. The camera takes passable photos in bright sunlight but once the sun starts going down so does any chance of capturing a memory with the camera on the Samsung Galaxy Pop.
The lowly screen resolution also plays truant with enjoying multimedia on the phone. It is not a bad experience , far from that however the screen just doesn’t look as good as those on even competitive models from within the Samsung stable like the Wave 533. Audio is enjoyable on the device. Android gives you access to a large variety of applications including media players. We tested audio via the Winamp player which is very popular on Android. We had no problems in syncing music wirelessly. The audio output was loud and clear, even the speakers were above average compared to the competition. For those who prefer FM Radio , you have that option as well.
Being a phone
No matter how high end you go , the primary usage of a smartphone is still just that.. being a phone ! The Samsung Galaxy Pop excels at that. No dropped calls, loud and clear voice even in low signal areas means that you can stop worrying about not hearing the person on the other end of the phone. Messaging too works well with the integrated swype prediction system which makes it a breeze to type out long sentences.
Being a smartphone
Now here comes the tricky part. It runs Android so you expect it to run all Android apps equally well. That is quite obviously not the case.
The 600Mhz processor does work really well for normal everyday usage with a few applications thrown in. Start stressing it and things start going downhill.
As you will see in our hands on video, it does not handle gaming too well. Angry Birds was quite a laggy experience on the device though it worked very well for social networking related usage. Tweetdeck worked well and so did the Facebook app. Sadly the battery backup on the device was a bit unsatisfactory.
With gmail , gtalk and tweetdeck running , the battery went flat within 3 hours. We expected a bit more as Samsung states that the phone is capable of 4 hours of talktime and over 5.5 hours of browsing over wifi.
Hands -On Video
Samsung has worked hard to bring a good budget Android phone and it shows. The build quality is good and so is the touch response. However we feel that it is still not possible to get the best Android experience on a low end device.
Going by the price bracket , the Samsung Galaxy Pop is a good buy as long as you keep your expectations from it in check. The Samsung Galaxy Pop SCH i5559 will be available soon in India at an estimated price of Rs. 9,500.
2. Good Touch Sensitivity
3. High quality audio output
4. Fast enough for general usage
1. Screen resolution