Feb 27, 2011

Posted by in Featured, Gadgets, Mobile, Reviews | 23 Comments

Samsung Galaxy 551 Review

The Samsung Galaxy 551 is one of the relatively unknown Samsung Android phones out in the market today. This mid-level smartphone has a feature that’s quite rare in Android phones available locally, a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. If the HTC Desire Z is out of your budget and the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini Pro too small for your hands then this Samsung Galaxy 551 may strike the perfect balance for you.

Design

The Samsung Galaxy 551 got its design from the Corby line but more elongated to accommodate the standard 3.2-inch capacitive touchscreen display.

Samsung Galaxy 551 Samsung Galaxy 551

It’s body is made of the usual plastic you see in Samsung phones with a dark chrome siding. It weighs 117g and feels solid to hold despite its plasticky build. Not too light to make it feel fragile nor too heavy to feel bulky. Veering away from traditional Android phones, it only has three physical buttons at the bottom of the display. There’s the Menu, Home and the Back button. Simple and not confusing unlike the buttons found in the Galaxy 5.

Samsung Galaxy 551 Samsung Galaxy 551 Samsung Galaxy 551

The top of the phone hosts the 3.5mm jack for your earphones and beside it is the microUSB port which has a sliding lid. One the left side is the volume rocker and on the right is the lock button. Really simple yet efficient, although there’s no dedicated camera button for the 3.15 megapixel camera found on its back.

Samsung Galaxy 551

Removing the back panel is easy, just pry it from the bottom and it will pop out revealing a 1200 mAh Li-Ion battery covering the sim slot. The microSD slot is located on the right side which is nice since you don’t have to turn the unit off just to remove or put in a microSD card.

Samsung Galaxy 551 Samsung Galaxy 551

The slide-out QWERTY keyboard slides with an assuring snap and will automatically change the display orientation into landscape mode. The keys have a plastic rubber finish which is ok although I would prefer it to be a bit raised. They are too flat that it’s hard to to feel its edges but at least it goes deep to let you know if you successfully pressed a key.

Display

The Galaxy 551 runs on Android 2.2 (Froyo) OS layered by Samsung’s TouchWiz UI for that iPhone-style application view. It has a 3.2-inch capacitive touchscreen display with a 240 x 400 resolution utilizing 16 million colors. In other words, the screen is really nice to look at. Really!

Samsung Galaxy 551 Samsung Galaxy 551

You can have up to 7 homescreens where you can put widgets, apps you frequent, setting shortcuts, etc. Really customizable thanks to Android and Samsung’s TouchWiz.

Messaging

Thanks to its slideout QWERTY keyboard, fans of touch typing and traditional typing can feel comfortable composing messages here in no time. Even with the not-so big screen and small virtual keys, I was able to type without too many errors in a short span with the Galaxy 551. I do miss Swype input though which is a common thing for Samsung Android devices including the Galaxy 5.

Samsung Galaxy 551 Samsung Galaxy 551

I wish the keys on the slideout keyboard would protrude more since it’s hard to know when you’ve successfully pressed the keys. There’s only one Alt key located on the lower left corner and this makes typing symbols and numbers located on the left side of the keyboard tricky.

Web Browsing

Browsing on the Galaxy 551 is pretty ordinary with all your typical functions like multi-touch pinch and zoom, multiple windows, bookmarks, etc. It can also play flash videos but not inline, it will launch on its own player.

Samsung Galaxy 551 Samsung Galaxy 551

I find pages to load a bit slow. Instead of slowly loading the page object by object, it will load the whole page instantly when it’s done loading so sometimes I didn’t know if the browser hanged or what. Speaking of hanging, multiple windows (like three) will cause the browser to become unresponsive at times.

Multimedia

The Galaxy 551 sports Samsung’s simple-looking yet feature-rich and functional music player. It has the standard views: by artists, albums, songs or playlists. Playing a song shows the music info as well as the album art and there’s also a quick way for you to add it to a playlist. The speakers are quite loud too!

gSamsung Galaxy 551

Unfortunately, it’s not capable of playing DivX/XviD videos. You have to convert your AVIs to MP4 in order to use the Galaxy 551 as a video player.

Gaming

Samsung Galaxy 551

Being an Android phones, there are lots of casual games out there for you to enjoy on your phone during those lull times. Stick to those small and light games though since its 667MHz processor may not give you the smooth gaming experience that you want. It would even stutter on casual games like Ninjump but it was bearable.

Camera

There’s a 3.15 megapixel autofocus camera at the back (no front-facing camera) which captures okay photos when there’s enough light. It won’t really wow you but the autofocus really helps. No flash here so don’t expect much from indoor or low-light situation. Video recording is only at 15fps using QVGA resolution.

Here are some sample photos taken with the Galaxy 551 for you to look at (click to enlarge):

Samsung Galaxy 551 sample photo Samsung Galaxy 551 sample photo Samsung Galaxy 551 sample photo

Battery Life

The Samsung Galaxy 551 gives me about 2 days max without having to charge the battery although I’m a light phone users. Maybe on average with WiFi on and occasional music playing, you would get a day or so out from its 1200mAh battery.

Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy 551 is mainly created to address the market of those who want a slideout keyboard on their Android phone without spending too much. What’s good about it aside from the physical keyboard is the sharp WQVGA screen. It doesn’t try to be fancy nor skimp you on features, well except for the Swype input, DivX/Xvid support and probably a document editor to maximize it’s QWERTY keyboard. You can use it as a portable WiFi though.

Samsung Galaxy 551

It’s a decent and affordable mid-range Android phone that could keep you connected to your social networks when you’re on the go, keep you on track with the GPS, entertain you with music and games and also act as a fairly usable camera when you’re in a pinch. If you’re looking for a Android phone with a QWERTY keyboard, the Galaxy 551 should make it to your short list of phones to consider.

Samsung Galaxy 551 Specs:

  • 3G: HSDPA, 7.2 Mbps; HSUPA
  • 667 MHz processor
  • Android 2.2 (Froyo) OS with TouchWiz UI 3.0
  • 3.2” / TFT / 16million / WQVGA capacitive touchscreen display (240 x 400)
  • 3.15 megapixel autofocus camera without flash
  • Slideout QWERTY keyboard
  • Video playing & recording (MPEG4, H.263, H.264), QVGA@15fps
  • Music Player, FM Radio with RDS
  • GPS + A-GPS Support
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP
  • 160MB internal memory + microSD (up to 32GB)
  • Standby: 370 hours; Talk time: 5 hours
  • 1200mAh Li-Ion battery
  • SRP: Php14,950


  1. Wow! haven’t heard of this before. I like qwerty smartphones as they fill the gap of which I longed when typing without a button. It’s going to be a big hit if consumers were looking for a hybrid phone

    • I inquired about this in several stores, they usually have only two to three units as this unit is not a fast mover raw. It has been available in the country december last year

  2. flizzz0w says:

    I’m planning to buy a new phone, and isa to sa pinag pipilian ko. Kasama ng Samsung B7610 OmniaPro, alin kaya mas maganda sa dalawa? nasa 12k – 15k lang kasi budget ko

    • hmmm the b7610 has a better screen and a faster processor but that’s needed for the the windows mobile 6.5 which is outdated already. it cannot be upgraded to windows phone 7. i tried winmo 6.5 and it’s really a poor OS imho. i would still go for the Android phone.

  3. WHERE CAN I BUY THIS? THANKS!!

  4. TonyChopper says:

    Sir Calvin
    I’m a b7610 user due to the qwerty keyboard, and i want to shift to android, is this a good time for me to buy galaxy 551? or should i wait for awhile?
    and Can i use google docs with galaxy 551?

    • yep you can use google docs with the 551. swak ba sa budget mo yung 551? other qwerty phones kasi na ok medyo mahal na. pero my top two qwerty android phones would be the desire Z and the Sony Ericsson Xperia Pro which I still don’t know if magiging available dito and when.

      • TonyChopper says:

        Just bought a galaxy 551 and it’s a wonderful transition for me. I’m a windows mobile user at the start of the smartphone era. The android OS is simply amazing, very responsive and have many free apps. Too bad really the battery life is just too short for me. Anyways they’re selling this device much cheaper when in cash for 13,200 plus. And others are selling a pink and white colored model for 12,900 and for cash 12,300. i bought the black one hehe.. Thanks for the review i love this gadget.

      • TonyChopper says:

        Thanks for the review. I bought a galaxy 551. And the transition is wonderful. I’m, a windows mobile user for a very long time and using android for the first time is great. The interface is very responsive even with a slower processor than my previous b7610 and there are many wonderful free apps unlike the windows marketplace that I used before but theres a short battery life, sadly. I hope samsung would produce a another qwerty android device with a better specs next time. But for now i’m happy with my galaxy 551

    • I have 551 i bought it last thurs i thought its 3G but its not.. edge lang xa,, I havent browse the phone yet communication lang muna they’re right many apps for android.. I also try the wifi tethering its cool i can connect my laptop to that connection but its really slow :(..

  5. hi.., I wanna ask about the divX support issue. Is it possible for us to add the 3rd party application, so the Galaxy 551 can play the divX file? I fall in love with Galaxy 551 caused of the QWERTY keypad, but I don’t know I’ll buy it or not because some lack off issue… :)

    thank you!

  6. Do you think this would still be available in October? Was thinking of buyng the Wildfire, just for the HTC Sense. I’d rather buy this than the Wildfire in terms of functionality.

  7. Hey, is this phone still available as of now?

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