By June 6, 2011

Samsung Galaxy Pro (GT-B7510) review

Samsung Galaxy Pro We all know now that Samsung are a force in the mobile phone industry but we also know that they really like the word ‘Galaxy’ as they seem to use it with every phone they release with the exception of a few. So when I found out that I was to review one of Samsungs’ newest devices, the Samsung Galaxy Pro or GT-B7510 I was a little sceptical of what I might find.

So if you are wondering if this phone stands out from the crowded mobile phone market or whether it just doesn’t cut the mustard then please read on to find out.

 

The 10 second review:

 

  • Device: Samsung Galaxy Pro
  • Price: £149.99 pay as you go from Three and from £20 on three also
  • Summary: A well priced phone that just doesn’t stand up to the competition for me.
  • Best of: Physical QWERTY keyboard, speed.
  • Worst of: Screen, Camera, build quality
  • Buy it now: Three.co.uk

 

What’s in the box?

  • Samsung Galaxy Pro
  • 3-Pin UK mains Charger
  • MicroUSB to USB cable
  • Quick start guide/warranty card
  • 2GB SanDisk MicroSD card with MicroSD to SD card adapter.

 

Samsung Galaxy Pro Specification

  • Dimensions: 108.6 x 66.7 x 10.7 mm
  • Weight: 103.4 g
  • Display: TFT capacitive touchscreen, 256K colors, 320 x 240 pixels, 2.8 inches
  • QWERTY keyboard
  • Accelerometer sensor for UI auto-rotate
  • Proximity sensor for auto turn-off
  • 3.5mm jack
  • 512 MB RAM
  • MicroSD, up to 32GB, 2GB included
  • 3G:  HSDPA, 7.2 Mbps
  • WLAN: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot
  • Bluetooth: Yes, v2.1 with A2DP
  • microUSB v2.0
  • Camera: 3.15 MP, 2048×1536 pixels, autofocus
  • Android OS, v2.2 (Froyo)
  • CPU: 800 MHz processor
  • Messaging: SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Mail, IM, RSS
  • Browser: HTML
  • Radio: Stereo FM radio with RDS
  • GPS: Yes, with A-GPS support
  • Java: Yes, via Java MIDP emulator
  • Battery: Standard battery, Li-Ion 1350 mAh
  • Stand-by: Up to 610 h (2G) / Up to 430 h (3G)
  • Talk time :Up to 11 h (2G) / Up to 6 h 10 min (3G)

 

 

General

Firstly on the top of the device as you can see below there is the 3.5mm headphone jack and the MicroUSB slot with a protective door.

Samsung Galaxy Pro-top

 

The only thing on the left side of the Galaxy Pro is the Up/Down volume rocker.

 

Samsung Galaxy Pro-left

 

On the right is the power/lock button.

Samsung Galaxy Pro-right

 

On the bottom the only things to see are a little hole which is the microphone and a little opening in the middle which is the gap to enable the back to be removed.

Samsung Galaxy Pro-bottom

 

On the back there is the loudspeaker grill and left of that is the camera lens.

GalaxyPro-back-angled

 

Finally the front, from the top there is the speaker for phone calls, the 2.8″ QVGA screen and Samsung logo. Then under that there are 4 physical buttons-Menu, Home, Back and search. And finally underneath those is the QWERTY keyboard.

Samsung Galaxy Pro

 

 

Highlights:

  • QWERTY keyboard
  • Price tag
  • Browsing

 

Lowlights:

  • Build quality
  • 2.8″ QVGA screen
  • Camera/Video
  • 800 MHz processor wasted

 

Review

When I received this device along with the Samsung Wave 2 I was a lot less excited about reviewing this one because I personally am not a fan of Samsung handsets and never have been, so as you can imagine I was sceptical from the beginning but I tried to keep an open mind hoping that the Galaxy Pro would surprise me.

Has it? Well in short No not really it is a nice try from Samsung but for me they still have issues that need sorting out.

One issue in particular is that of build quality, Samsung seem to have a different view from the likes of HTC on what build quality actually is. This phone and a lot more of Samsungs’ handsets have been made of very cheap plastics and really haven’t got the feeling of sheer quality like HTC have provided with a lot of their devices. Speaking strictly about this device the first time I held it in my hand I said ‘Cheap’ and my opinion hasn’t changed at all in the few weeks I’ve had the phone. Holding in your hand feels really strange, and I say that because of how wide it is, it feels unnatural even for larger hands like mine.

You can definitely see why Samsung have chosen to use mostly plastics to create their phones but as a customer myself I am looking for quality not quantity, which if I am truly honest Samsung are providing, all you have to do is go into any Carphone Warehouse store and you will be inundated with Galaxy branded phones that have been released needlessly just so that they have something new in the market at all times.

GalaxyPro-angled-right

The design quality of the handset isn’t really much better to be honest because if you look at the phone it doesn’t look proportioned properly. What I mean is that it’s too wide to be comfortable in one’s hand and that is only because of the large keyboard, which to be fair is the most positive thing that the phone has to offer but it is still much too big to feel comfortable. One thing that I don’t think works with mobile phones of this nature is putting the power/lock button on either side of the handset, the reason I don’t like it is because it could become quite awkward for left handed people to use it due to, in this phones’ case it being on the right side, plus it just feels more natural when the power button is on the top of a smartphone don’t you think?

Aside from the size of the Galaxy Pro the back cover although it looks nice is impractical, the reason I say this is because it is very slippery which is not cool! Luckily when I dropped the phone due it being slippery I dropped in on a carpet otherwise I would have got into trouble. The cover makes it difficult to grip the device but also the bezel around the edge of the device is very smooth and also very slippery. It detests slightly tepid hands as well because it picks up any kind of wet which as you can imagine makes it even harder to hold without dropping it.

One other very quick point about design, the back cover is actually really difficult to remove, especially when you don’t have long nails. I had to ask other people to take it off for me as I found it so difficult and was worried about snapping it.

Now we get to the bit that is usually the coolest, the Software which of course with a Samsung Galaxy handset is Android and in this phones’ case it has Android 2.2 Froyo installed out of the box. So let’s see how it performed during testing.

Well to begin with I would like to state that if you have seen Android on any other Samsung phone it doesn’t really have anything different other than a much smaller screen. It still has Samsungs’ answer to HTC Sense, Touch Wiz 3.0 which for the record I am NOT a fan of! But that aside the android platform works nicely I just really wish there was a bigger screen so that it could be seen properly in all of its glory. For those of you who haven’t seen Android with the Touch Wiz overlay here are some photos for you with a little description underneath them so you know what’s going on.

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As you can see in the above screenshot this is the typical Android lock screen which is pretty simple to use, the right side is what you swipe to turn silent mode on/off and the left is to unlock the phone.

Once you’ve unlocked the handset the following screens will appear as if by magic.

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The screenshots above are of the ‘default’ Home screens, all of them are customizable and you can do this simply by holding your finger on any of the screens and the following option will appear on screen, as you will see it offers a list of options for you to choose from.

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As you can see in the above screenshots this is what will appear when you choose the shortcuts option. And if you then pressed Applications a list of all applications installed on the phone/memory card will show up for you to choose from.

The next option that you could choose from is to add folders to your home screens, I personally don’t find this feature useful but some of you might do. So basically what it allows you to do is create new folders or add existing ones onto your home screens for ease of access to a variety of things such as contacts etc.

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Of course there is also option of personalising the home screen wallpaper, this is one of the areas where this handset really disappoints to be quite honest with you. This is mainly due to frankly a quite terrible QVGA display, for example Live wallpapers are a feature that I am a big fan of with android handsets so I was looking forward to testing them out on this phone. But when it came to using them they really didn’t look up to much to be honest. So if you do buy this phone I wouldn’t recommend using live wallpapers because although they do work nicely they do not look nice while doing so. As well as having Live wallpapers to choose from however there is also a few still image wallpapers to choose from (1 of which I showed you with the home screen screenshots) If you have seen android before then most of them are standard and just make the screen look nice, well nice ish in this phones’ case.

As well as the shortcuts, folders and wallpapers there is the choice to add Widgets to your home screens. This is where Android generally runs away with the show due to lovely application widgets available but…again the screen lets a lot of them down more than a bit. Because of the limited space available nearly all of the widgets available to use have been shrunk just so they will fit, I usually use the E-mail, calendar, and music widgets on Android devices but with this one I didn’t like using any of them.

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Above is an example of the type of thing that you are able to add Widget wise to the home screen.

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There is one cool little feature that the handset has up its sleeve when it comes to personalisation however, I’m not sure it is a Touch Wiz thing or an Android thing but you are allowed to add as many home screens as you require simply by pressing the menu button, then edit and away you go. Obviously with the limited space available with this phone this feature comes in handy when you want to add widget after widget.

The rest of the user interface on the Samsung Galaxy Pro is pretty much a shrunken version of every other Samsung Galaxy device with Touch Wiz. It is functional and smooth but it is also an acquired taste nonetheless. In the screenshots below there are 4 pages worth of applications, most of them are preinstalled on the device by the manufacturer and/or network carrier and there are a few that I personally downloaded and they are all on the 4th page. Swiping through the 4 pages is smooth and all 4 pages can be edited to rejig the order of your apps around to suit you.

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The editing is done by pressing the menu button underneath the touch screen and the following will appear.

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Then the process is as simple as pressing the edit button and then little faint boxes will appear behind the applications, when they appear it means that you can drag and drop your chosen apps to your required slot on any screen.

 

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Settings now and to be honest I don’t need to say much other than the layout is exactly the same as Samsung have done before in any of their android devices and it is just as simple to use.

If I am being brutally honest guys Android on a phone with this size of screen is very uninspiring, I think that ruins the usually awesome experience that you get from using Android on handsets with larger screens.

E-mail

As with any android phone there are a few e-mail applications and this phone is no different, this phone has no less than 3 different applications! There is the Android e-mail app, Samsung e-mail and of course Gmail.

First I will talk about Gmail because it is a Google operating system after all, below are a couple of screenshots for you to just get a feel for its look.

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If you have seen this before on other phones that is because it doesn’t really change from phone to phone, and I must say that this application works in exactly the same way as the android E-mail application. Hence why I am only showing you shots of this app. Everything with both applications is really straight forward, to set up your e-mail address you type it in and within minutes the apps will have searched the e-mail servers, found your information and downloaded all of your mails and that’s without you really doing anything!

As with previous android handsets that I have reviewed, the e-mailing was a feature that I use a lot to e-mail James and Matt. With this device I found e-mail quite difficult due to the size of the writing on the screen, I found it difficult to read my mails properly without squinting.

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The other e-mail applications I wanted to show you is Samsung e-mail, this is an app that surprised me by how cool it is to use. You can add multiple e-mail accounts from Gmail and Hotmail right the way to Yahoo e-mail addresses. Once you’ve added your addresses to the app it will then download your e-mails and automatically integrate into something called Social Hub. This is a Samsung application that mixes your messages, facebook, e-mails etc into 1 place just to make life a bit easier for you to be honest. I didn’t really find it useful as I automatically just went into the individual apps to get e-mail, messages etc.

 

Calendar

I thought that with this review I would show you the calendar seen as though I have recently started to use it on my own phone, I have never really been one for keeping time or making a diary etc but Androids’ calendar always looks really nice so I thought I would try using it, and do you know what I think it’s brilliant! Everything within the app is so simple to use, you’ve got your day, week and month views and to add an appointment all you have to do is hold the day and up will appear an option to create an appointment. Very nice indeed!

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Social Networking

In the world of today social networking is a flipping huge thing! I mean tens of millions of people all across the world are using Facebook and Twitter so what I look for in a social networking application is: 1- how easy it is use 2- how good it’s interface looks and most importantly of all 3- do what I want to use it every day.

Facebook to begin with then, I have to be honest gone off Facebook a little bit because I get bored of it quite easily, so when I had real problems actually logging into the pre-installed Facebook for Android application it didn’t make me want to use it more again. I’m not really sure what caused the ‘connection problems’ because on every other phone and device connected to my home Wi-Fi it works perfectly, but when it did finally decide to work the application was OK. Nothing more and nothing less really, it does the job adequately without being very exciting I mean I encountered quite a lot of lag when using the application, even if it was just to do a simple swipe down the screen it seemed to react slowly. So I guess to check facebook now and then the application works well but for anything more it’s quite poor really.

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As for the Twitter applications available for the android platform I simply plumped for the official one, and I have to say I like it a lot. I would obviously have preferred to use the application on a much larger display but for the time I use it every day, I thought the 2.8″ display of the Galaxy Pro was sufficient enough for the job. The app has the lovely feature of swiping down to refresh tweets, I find that much cooler than pressing a refresh button and also the app seemed to download tweets really quickly which impressed me a lot.

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So yes my overall social networking experience that I had with this handset was mostly good but the rest of the time it was OK, which for a device that I think is aimed at the younger generation isn’t really very good at all.

 

Internet

I am going to have to admit that browsing the internet on this device was actually quite good! Putting the awful screen aside the load times were fast, navigation was fast and zooming in and out was smooth (although pinch to zoom is not here) yes web pages render poorly due to the screen, but when you zoom in things become easily readable even for someone with quite poor short sight like me. There was however one important thing lacking from the browser, Text reflow. This disappointed me because of how difficult things are to read while zoomed in on a small screen, the screenshot below of the text is zoomed in 3 times with the + button and you can see for yourselves how hard that is to read. So I found myself zooming in all the way and having to scroll miles across the screen all the time.

Due to Three’s network signal being awful where I live I did all of my browsing on Wi-Fi, which is maybe why load times were fast but browsing the net on an android device is usually really good anyway, so wasn’t really surprised with this. So what I would say is that if you can deal with the screen then browsing will be lovely for you, if you can’t deal with the screen then I would suggest looking elsewhere.

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GPS & Navigation

As this is Android you will find Google Maps and Google Navigation pre-installed on the device, the implementation on this handset is definitely nothing special and to be quite honest I am not really sure why it’s there, I say that because I would never use GPS on a phone this small I mean can you imagine how easy it would be to get lost in the middle of nowhere because you can’t understand where you’re going?!

Anyway as with Google maps on any other handset today it allows you to get directions from point A to point B using simple navigational instructions (if you install the voice guidance from the market) And there is also satellite view and street view (again an extra download from the store)

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Also installed is something that is apparently in Beta, Google Navigation. This is basically a proper GPS application that has voice guidance, speak to find destinations and it just works that little bit better than Google maps for navigation. It is just as simple to use as Google Maps is but in my opinion it works much better, it looks better and seems to find destinations quicker for some reason. I didn’t properly get a chance to use it to navigate but…I did find GPS and set a route to show you how it works etc. The reason I know it works better is because I have used it before on other devices.

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Media

Here is a section that Samsung usually excel in, especially music and that’s what I will begin with.

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As you can hopefully see in the screenshots above, the music player looks very nice and is also laid out really well so that it is simple to use for everyone. If you have music on you MicroSD card then when you open your music player all of that music will appear in list format (as shown above). There are a couple of things that you could do then, you could create yourself a playlist or simply just play your music.

Samsung have done it again sound quality wise, the clarity through my own headphones was superb and even through the loudspeaker it wasn’t too bad! To further enhance the quality of playback there are a few equalisers to choose from, there is around 10 to choose from, not all of them do anything to the music but some of them do and they really do make listening to music that little bit better.

There is also an FM radio built in, which I used briefly because it isn’t brilliant and to be quite frank if you buy a smartphone it is unrealistic to think that many people will care about listening to the radio on it, as there are many more exciting things to be doing.

The application itself works ok, it can auto scan for local/national stations and when it’s found them it will display them all in list format, unfortunately it doesn’t display the names of the radio stations so you have to know the frequencies well to know the names. To manually change the station you have to use the silver wheel which isn’t the most accurate thing in the world so to be honest you will be faffing around with the wheel for more time than you will listen to stations.

What I would say is that if you are in a good FM radio area then playback will be good, otherwise it will be average at best.

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Video playback on this handset is something that I seriously would NOT recommend! The screen makes watching them excruciating to say the least, I think though that if people bought this phone then they wouldn’t be bothered about watching videos on it to be fair as they would be busy texting etc. YouTube is really the only type of video that I can kind of recommend as it works smoothly and plays videos at HQ quite well, but again the screen makes this a struggle.

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News and Weather

This is an application that has been seen on many android devices in recent times, none more recent than the HTC Wildfire S that Matt reviewed, I funnily enough share his opinion on the fact that manufacturers seem to think that us as consumers are obsessed with news and weather!

The application is comprised of some tabs at the top of the screen with the rest of the screen filled with either the weather or the different news categories. The tabs to choose from are: Weather (7 day forecast), Top stories, U.K., sports and entertainment, all of these are basically links to various newspaper websites and other news sources.

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Camera

The camera on the Galaxy Pro is a 3 megapixel auto focus with no flash, and I have to say that it really did surprise me. I was relatively impressed with the kind of photos it produced as you will hopefully be able to see below.

Settings wise there is quite a bit to choose from such as different shooting modes, scene modes, macro mode etc. All of the mentioned do a nice job of improving picture quality but we have to remember that it is only a 3 megapixel but overall it didn’t perform badly at all.

2011-06-02 15.39.38 2011-06-02 15.40.31

The photo to the left is on a very sunny day with me using the daylight white balance and using auto for everything else, it came out quite nicely in the end. The other photo was taken on the same day in a bit of shade but with macro turned on and I also think that this turned out to look nice too.

Once you’ve taken your photos they automatically go into your gallery in a really nice layout as shown below. There is a cool feature with this gallery as it seems to use the phones’ accelerometer to create an almost 3D effect which is quite nice.

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The video recording on this handset is absolutely shocking! As the highest resolution available to record in is 320 x 240 I really wouldn’t recommend recording anything of importance on the phone, it just didn’t work for me.

Reception, voice calls and messaging

I may or may not have mentioned earlier in the review that the 3 network in my areas is rubbish; I can get 1 bar maximum in literally a couple of spots in my house so most of the time I got no signal at all. But as soon as I leave my street the signal gradually increases the further into town I go, and before I knew it while using the phone I had full HSDPA signal! And overall the speed of the network is astonishing to say the least! Internet pages load so fast I couldn’t believe it. So basically if you live in an area where 3 is brilliant then you will be on cloud 9 using this phone, but if you don’t live in a 3 signal area then you will have some problems for sure.

As you can imagine I did find it difficult to call and text on the device during the few weeks I’ve had it but, when I went into town with it the call quality even with lots of background noise was awesome! I could literally only hear what the other person was saying which is brilliant if you ask me.

Obviously as this phone has a full QWERTY keyboard there is no on screen phone dialler as the numbers are on the pad itself.

Texting on this device was an absolute breeze due to the beautiful keyboard, I was able to type texts very quickly and accurately which was a major plus for me as I text a lot during a week. Obviously without network signal this was difficult so I decided that I would use What’s app messenger which works great on Wi-Fi.

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One issue that I did find was the Wi-Fi range, my router is upstairs and my bedroom is downstairs and with any other handset such as iPhone, Samsung Wave 2 etc the signal strength is really good but with this device I found that as soon as I stepped into my bedroom the signal was lost and then it couldn’t find it again. I found this quite odd so I disconnected my iPhone from the Wi-Fi to see if removing a device would help. Which it didn’t, so I tried forgetting the network and trying it again and it just kept doing the same thing over and over again. I’m not sure why this happened as my Wi-Fi at home is very good, so this is a real negative for the phone.

Performance wise I would say that the Samsung Galaxy Pro is on par with most of the Blackberry smartphones if not a little quicker, but to be honest I do think that the processor in this handset is totally wasted because it isn’t really required for a phone of this type to work to its potential. I think that it would have been fine to just have a 600Mhz processor inside but, never mind I still thought that it was a smooth fast reacting smartphone.

One other thing before I end the review, the battery life is said by Samsung to be capable of 610 Hours of standby on 2G and 430 hours on 3G so you would think that the battery life would generally be good right?

In this case Samsung are very wrong, I don’t know if it is because it may be a review model or what but I barely managed a day with rare use some of the time and with heavy use no more than 6 hours, so I was appalled to be honest because if you look at Blackberry’s their battery life is awesome, so Samsung pull your socks up and sort battery life out!

 

Conclusion

If you like QWERTY keyboards but don’t like Blackberry’s then I’m afraid you would be very disappointed with this phone as it just does not stand up very well to the rest of the competition.

There is a very exciting handset very similar to this that I had a look at just the other day called the HTC Cha Cha and it is so much better overall compared to this, so I would say if you have a little more cash in your pocket then I would definitely recommend looking elsewhere.

 

Review by: Chris

[ Post Tags: Samsung, Galaxy Pro, Android, Froyo, tracyandmatt.co.uk ]

Posted in: Phones, Reviews
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About the Author:

More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.
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