Samsung Galaxy Fit in-depth review -

Look and feel

The phone looks great, the curved screen adding a real sense of class and elegance. But the display itself is a big disappointment – and you're faced with that every time you use it

Ease of use

Android is straightforward and this is nearly a vanilla implementation with few distractions from Samsung. However, the lack of backlight on the Back and Menu buttons is poor

Features

All the Android regulars are here in force, so this is a capable phone with Wi-Fi, GPS and more

Performance

The slow processor just can't perform at speed and you're often kept waiting

Battery life

Smartphones never last more than a day, with few exceptions. You'll need to charge it every night

 Samsung Galaxy Fit Review -
3

Review by Sunetra Chakravati,6/7/2010 6:18:08 PM

4

out of 10

Performance

10

out of 5

Look and feel

4

out of 5

Ease of use

6

out of 5

Features

6

out of 5

Battery life

Pros:

Great look and feel. Good price

Cons:

Crummy display, slow processor, some dodgy details

If you want a smartphone but think the Samsung Galaxy S II is just too big and too expensive, why not try a budget Android blower instead? The Galaxy Fit is a dinky handset with lots going for it – not least its low price.

Look and feel

The design is pretty nice: a subtly textured back cover that feels good to the touch and a similarly successful tactile experience at the front. The front of the phone is a flush screen – there's no frame around a recessed display to interrupt you stroking it like a smooth worry stone. As a result it feels classy, sumptuous even, as the subtle curves that fall under the fingers pleasantly.

 

It's light, but still a decent enough weight to be taken seriously and feels good in the hand. The rest of the casing is simple and understated, the gloss black frame to the screen set off by a central direction pad and two virtual buttons for back and menu. The direction pad also serves as the home key.

 

Weirdly, the two virtual buttons don't light up, so if you're trying to get them to work in a dark environment you have to just remember which way around they sit. This is a shame at best, and an annoyance at worst.

 

Touch the screen-waking home button, which in signature Samsung fashion, is on the right edge towards the top. When the button's pressed, the display springs into life. And the phone suddenly looks less classy.

 

Android, as we know, has to work on scores of handsets with different size and resolution screens. So it's no surprise that some look better than others. Samsung makes phones with fantastic AMOLED displays that look bright, vivid and contrasty. But this isn't one of them. The Galaxy Fit has a low-resolution screen, and it shows.

The basics

Of course, when a phone is keenly priced you expect corners to be cut. Some budget Androids have left out Wi-Fi or opted for a resistive screen. Less serious, then, is the low-res capacitive screen here, even though it doesn't look good. Then there's the processor. You wouldn't expect a dual-core super chip here, maybe not even a 1GHz one. But all you get is a 600MHz job, and the difference in capabilities shows. To be fair, Samsung hasn't tried to make the phone do more than it should - it can't manage the many moving wallpapers that higher-priced Android handsets do. So there's only one animated wallpaper on offer. Better that than watching a laggy, slow wallpaper in action.

 

Still, the phone has Froyo, a recent but not quite latest version of the operating software. There are few significant differences between Froyo and the newest phone-optimised Android, Gingerbread. And since some of those changes involve support for technologies like Near Field Communications, you won't miss this as the hardware lacks NFC.

Five-megapixel camera

This is a bargain basement phone so it's going to have a rubbish camera, right? Not quite. There's a five-megapixel sensor on board, though sadly no flash. That's a compromise but actually better that than a lower-resolution sensor and a low-grade flash. Camera phones rarely take good shots in dim conditions and flashes mostly help to bleach out detail. So stick to strong lighting situations and you'll find the snapper here is good enough for casual shots.

 

Let's be clear, this phone is no match for the latest smarties, but it's a highly affordable, neatly compact handset. It looks good and works well, if rather sluggishly at times. But if you're thinking of upgrading from a basic phone to smart one, this isn't a bad proposition. Though the risk is the poor screen and decidedly average processor may put you off Android for life. There are few extras to beef up the Android experience, unlike the richer feel HTC gives its Android phones. There are some Samsung apps but they're few. And pretty average.

 

Know the phone's limitations, though, and it suddenly becomes more enjoyable. True, other budget Android phones like the HTC Wildfire S do the same things better, but this is a creditable alternative.

The verdict

If saving money and pocket space is paramount, this is a cute little Android. But if you can spend a little more you'll find big improvements available elsewhere. Backlit virtual buttons would make a big difference to usability and a faster processor would address performance issues. And you should ask yourself if the low resolution screen will get you down.

David Phelan