Samsung is really covering all possible solutions for an Android mobile phone. From touchscreen phones in different shapes and sizes, to slideout keyboards, and now this Android phone with a front QWERTY keyboard popularized by BlackBerry. Maybe this Froyo-toting Samsung Galaxy Pro is Sammy’s way of encouraging BB users to switch to Android? Let’s find out how this smartphone fares.
The Samsung Galaxy Pro looks like a serious phone. I suppose all phones with a QWERTY keyboard and the right materials would look really classy. It has a slim 10.7 mm profile and is also light at 103.4 g. Really pocketable despite its width.
It also has a 2.8-inch screen capacitive touchscreen display and below it are three elongated buttons for your Menu, Home, Back and Search. These buttons does not illuminate by the way so better memorize the layout and there’s no optical trackpad which you probably won’t need anyway. UPDATE: The Android buttons do light up, I’m guessing it was just our review unit. I do wish, however, that there are LED indicators for notifications so you don’t have to turn the device on just to check for new messages.
Below the Android buttons is the QWERTY keyboard that has probably appealed to you. It has the grooves and indentations that would make it easy for your fingers to slide towards the right keys to compose your message provided you’re already familiar with the layout.
On the left side is just the volume rocker which also serves as zoom control when in camera mode. On the top side you will see the micro-USB port with a sliding cover and the 3.5mm earphone jack beside it. The right side only has the power/sleep button. At the back is the lens for its 3.15 megapixel autofocus camera beside a speaker. The textured back panel provides a bit of traction when handling this slim phone.
Performance and Display
The Samsung Galaxy Pro sports a Qualcomm 800 MHz processor which is quite powerful for such a small device. It runs on Android 2.2 OS layered by Samsung’s Touchwiz UI interface that is slightly modified for this form. The 2.8-inch screen capacitive touch display comes with with a modest 320 x 240 resolution. Unfortunately, it can only do 256K colors although you probably won’t mind it on such a small display.
The four quick-access buttons for Apps, Messaging, Contacts and Call are positioned on the right side of the screen instead at the bottom. The space is very limited for widgets as well making your screen look crowded. Should not be an issue though.
Running apps are fairly smooth on this device but because of the wide display, some apps won’t display as intended although they are still usable. The Facebook app will have the icons on the sides cut off while my arcMedia player just won’t display in landscape mode.
Admittedly, browsing on the Galaxy Pro is not quite a good experience. First, the touchscreen doesn’t offer multi-touch despite being on Android 2.2 so no pinch to zoom. Scrolling is a pain as well with its 240 pixel height but if you’re find doing it on your BlackBerry then you won’t have a problem here.
Also for some reason, I couldn’t play embedded Flash objects and videos. I tried downloading Dolphin browser from the Market and it still won’t enable flash content. This is weird because the Galaxy 551 which has a slower processor can view embedded Flash videos.
Even though this phone has a touchscreen, on-screen keyboard is disabled. The whole screen real estate is used for the message box and other essential buttons. You do all your typing on the physical QWERTY keyboard.
I’m not much of a QWERTY keyboard user. I haven’t used a BlackBerry and a Nokia C3 that much so typing here for the first time was quite a challenge for me. However after a day of using, I now find it easy to glide my thumbs across the smooth, ridged keys of the Galaxy Pro. I think I’m beginning to appreciate this type of keyboard. Really useful for long messages. My only qualm is the lack of a right Alt button.
Although you won’t probably used this phone for multimedia save for probably music playing, you will be pleased to hear that his phone has a loud set of speakers. Actually I was impressed on how loud it could get. Just like other Samsung smartphones or feature phones, it will automatically detect MP3s and playlists from your microSD card including their ID3 tags and album art.
FM Radio is also supported buy you need to connect the headset to enable it.
Sadly, there’s no DivX/XviD video support on this phone so you’re relegated to software-based viewing of your AVI files. I downloaded arcMedia and although it can play your AVIs, there will come a point that it will go out of sync because the device can’t keep up with the framerate. Better convert your videos to a lower resolution first before viewing it here.
The Samsung Galaxy Pro has a 3.15 megapixel autofocus camera. It doesn’t come with a flash so easy on those jerky motion when shooting. Because the display is by default in landscape mode, you don’t need to tilt the phone to take photos. Just click the shutter button on the right side of your screen to take your photos.
Am not satisfied with the quality of photos but what can you expect from a small device? It’s at par with other phones in the same price point. Here are some sample shots that I took (click to enlarge):
Battery life on the Galaxy Pro lasted me about 1 and a half day with moderate browsing, testing short videos and downloading apps. It falls within the range of your typical Android device but might be shorter when you play a lot of games with it which I hope you won’t due to its small screen.
Well the Samsung Galaxy Pro will surely have its niche market. Those who love the sophisticated look of the BlackBerry but on an Android device. Or those who want to switch from a Nokia C3 or E72 into an Android phone while retaining a resemblance of the QWERTY keyboard that they love.
Due to its small screen, not to mention 256K color count, you won’t use this too much for content consumption like watching videos or playing games. Basically, this phone is made for productivity. You can even tether it to your laptop or use it as a portable hotspot to share your internet. If you want an Android phone that you can use to compose messages easily, or do light web browsing or updating your social network while listening a bit of music on the side, you could easily consider the Samsung Galaxy Pro.
Samsung Galaxy Pro GT-B7510 Specs:
- 3G: HSDPA, 7.2 Mbps
- 800 MHz processor
- Android 2.2 (Froyo) OS with TouchWiz UI 3.0
- 2.8″ / TFT / 256K colors / QVGA capacitive touchscreen display (320 x 240)
- 3.15 megapixel autofocus camera without flash (3x zoom)
- Front QWERTY keyboard
- Video playing & recording (MPEG4, H.263, H.264), QVGA@30fps
- Music Player, FM Radio with RDS
- GPS + A-GPS Support
- Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
- Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP
- 512MB internal memory + microSD (up to 32GB)
- Standby: 430 hours; Talk time: 6 hours
- 1350 mAh Li-Ion battery
- SRP: Php14,000 (will be available later this month)