Samsung’s Galaxy Pro is a slightly different take on the usual Android smartphone. The design isn’t unprecedented, but it’s rare to see an Android handset sport a mini-Qwerty keyboard and small screen. The keyboard is great, but does Android suit the small screen?
Before we get on to the phone’s ergonomics, it’s worth looking at its general specifications. At the price – Around £150 on Three PAYG, this handset seems good value. You’ve got Android 2.2 and an 800MHz processor that zips along nicely. These two headline features reinforce the good value line.
There’s Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth. The HSDPA rates well, as it supports 7.2Mbps downloads. There’s just 523MB of built-in storage, but the handset comes with a 2GB microSD card to boost that nicely. And the camera, while rated at just 3 megapixels and lacking a flash, shoots reasonably nice images. We aren’t too impressed with video shooting, which is stuck at 320×240 pixels, but overall the specifications are an indication of pretty good value for money.
Unfortunately, these specifications are all undermined by the screen. At 2.8in across the diagonal and with a resolution of 320×240, it’s a little behind the times on paper. Despite being capacitive, it does not support pinch to zoom – and that’s a cardinal sin. Pinch to zoom is something of a staple for the modern smartphone.
Worse than these factors, it simply isn’t suited to Android. You get three home screens, sweep control, and Android does what it should do. But the screen doesn’t do it justice. There’s a lot of vertical scrolling necessary to do things like read web pages, see threaded SMS messages, even work your way through menu options. Switching to ‘tall’ screen mode by using the automatic screen rotation facility isn’t a great help, as the screen isn’t a lot wider than it is tall.
And the shortcomings of the screen are all the more annoying because the keyboard is superb. The large keys, which are individually moulded and domed, are easy to hit. There are plenty of second function options for all those symbols you need to get at, and there’s even a set of four cursor keys that make editing text easy.
Samsung is clearly going for the BlackBerry fan with the Samsung Galaxy Pro, and it has worked hard to produce a good keyboard. The result gives some very good keyboards a run for their money.
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- Good underlying spec, great Qwerty keyboard.
- Screen is woefully small; no pinch-to-zoom.
Overall, though, the Samsung Galaxy Pro is a disappointment. Android just doesn't function well when squished into a screen wider than it is tall, and the low resolution means there's a lot of scrolling needed. If you really want this style of smartphone, we suggest you do some comparison shopping.