Samsung Galaxy Portal review

Value Android in vanilla flavour

Samsung Galaxy Portal Samsung’s Galaxy Portal, Spica or I5700 is little brother to the I7500 Galaxy. It’s a basic Android 1.5 touchscreen smartphone, with the punch of a respectable 800MHz processor. Cosmetically a bit chunky and weighing 124 grams, the bottom of the unit sports large and easy to use control buttons.

The 3.2 inch capacitive screen is bright and clear displaying 320×480 pixels. The camera snaps at 3.2 MP with autofocus but no manual settings, ideal novices but not for serious users. Other features include assisted GPS, a 3.5mm headphone jack and microSD support, up to16GB.

High-speed 3.5G internet is present and other networking options include Wi-Fi, USB 2.0 and Bluetooth.

Google Marketplace is a main attraction of Android phones. As an example the Layar augmented reality app is pre loaded. Use the camera and GPS outdoors to have useful information like the nearest pub or rail station displayed as an overlay. Or jump into the market and find all the apps you want for social networking.

So much work has been done in the last year to give Android an improved UI, seeing it in the raw again on the Portal was a bit of a shock. Like re-watching a cherished TV show from childhood, it’s nostalgic, but you might have outgrown it. If you’re new to Android, and want access to apps through the Marketplace this is a great and cost-effective beginning. I had an identical UI experience with my HTC Magic 18-months ago and loved it. However, experienced users may now want more.

Update: Samsung have promised an update to a newer version of Android will be available via download soon.