The outlook is bright for Google's Android OS. 2009 saw the release of Android phones from mobile bigwigs like Sony Ericsson, HTC, Motorola and even Samsung, with more to follow this year. Samsung jumped on the Android bandwagon in mid-2009 with the release of its first Android-based mobile, the i7500, and since then, it has followed up with another. The little brother to its larger predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy Spica i5700 has finally reached our tiny shores.
At first glance, the Galaxy Spica i5700 does not make a strong impression, but it is still reasonably fashionable and sleek. In fact, we noticed that the phone looked eerily similar to its predecessor, with the only visible difference being that the Samsung logo has been shifted up.
Our review set came in a classic black body, with a surface that's pretty prone to fingerprints and a matte back that isn't quite resistant to scratches. However, the phone is slim at 13.2mm, and stays true to its compact nature with minimal navigational buttons (home, call, menu and web) located at the bottom.
Best of all, it comes with a huge and clear 3.2-inch screen that allows for easy browsing (and decently fast too, with its 800MHz processor). Most of the apps we tested had no lag and responded promptly even with several running in the background.
Users familiar with the Android OS will find the Galaxy Spica i5700 a breeze to use. There are "pages", or rather, home screens for the customization of widget, shortcut and folder placement. While the phone comes with the bare minimum, many nifty apps can be easily found and downloaded from the Android Market, including popular social networking apps like Twitter, Google Buzz, and Facebook. Otherwise, new users might take some time getting use to the platform, but thankfully, it is rather user-friendly.
However, when compared to the i7500, it pales in comparison in certain areas. Firstly, the i5700 comes with a measly 200MB of internal storage capacity compared to i7500's hefty 8GB. Secondly, the i5700's 3.2MP camera comes with auto-focus, while the i7500's 5MP camera comes with LED flash, and auto-focus.
These aren't overly serious drawbacks, especially if you aren't a multimedia junkie or someone who enjoy night photography. The camera functions sufficiently well under bright light, but as mentioned, it does poorly in badly-lit places.
There's something decidedly average about the Galaxy Spica. It is definitely sufficient for the average person who works-on-the-go as it comes with a 1500mAh battery that allows the device to run continuously for two days with HSDPA connectivity or three hours of continuous TV streaming with its speaker on.
It is also appropriate for social networking and surfing so if you are looking for an all-rounded mobile with decent performance, it's a device you can count on. For the multimedia fanatics however, we recommend the older brother, the i7500.