Samsung have been releasing galaxy phones all over the place recently for all types of people; they’ve got the Note, the S2, the Ace, the Pro, the Gio, the Mini and the Wonder. The Wonder appears to be for those who can’t quite afford an S2 or the Note, but still want a powerful smartphone that can easily handle any day-to-day tasks.
The question is: after reading this review will you be able to find a place in your pocket for the not-quite-a-hyper-phone but also not-quite-a-mid-range-phone phone, huh? Try saying that all three times, quick!
The 10 Second review:
- Device: Samsung Galaxy Wonder
- Price: £322.80 at Clove Technology
- Summary: An ordinary looking smartphone with some oomf!
- Best of: Runs smoothly and does everything you need it do do.
- Worst of: Feels a little cheaply made
- Buy it now from Clove Technology
What’s in the box?
- Samsung Galaxy W
- Pair of Headphones
- Sync/Charge cable
- 3 Pin plug charger
- 1500 mAh battery
Samsung Galaxy W Specification:
- 2G Network: GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
- 3G Network: HSDPA 850 / 1900 / 2100
- Dimensions: 115.5 x 59.8 x 11.5 mm
- Weight: 114.7 g
- Display: TFT capacitive touchscreen, 16M colours, 480 x 800 pixels, 3.7 inches (~252 ppi pixel density)#
- Accelerometer, proximity, compass
- Proximity sensor for auto- turn-off
- 3.5mm jack
- Memory: 1.7 GB storage, 512 MB RAM, 2 GB ROM
- microSD, up to 32GB
- WLAN: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot
- Bluetooth: v3.0 with A2DP, EDR
- microUSB v2.0, HS
- Camera: 5 MP, 2592×1944 pixels, autofocus, dual-LED flash
- OS: Android OS, v2.3.5 (Gingerbread)
- CPU: 1.4 GHz processor
- Stereo FM radio with RDS
- GPS: A-GPS support
- Battery: Standard battery, Li-Ion 1500 mAh
On the top of the device is a small sliding cover which reveals the USB socket. Next to that the 3.5mm headphone jack
On the bottom of the handset there is nothing but the little place to put your nail to aid you take the back off
The left hand side of the phone is the volume rocker
On the right hand side of the phone is the lock/unlock or the on/off button
On the back of the handset is the 5mp camera with the single LED, the speaker grill and the Samsung logo
On the front is where you’ll find the phone grill, the front facing camera, the touchscreen, a physical button and though invisible at first, two additional capacitive buttons that light up
The Samsung Galaxy Wonder feels like a rather cheap phone from the back, but a very nicely made phone from the front which is why it’s a hard thing to do, to review the physical phone. The back is very plasticy and has a basic texture to it to give it more grip when held whereas the front is made of what seems to be pure glass surrounded by stiff rubberised plastic.
The home button on the Wonder is a very nice button, I know this may sound strange, but it gives a really nice feedback when pressed and is very responsive. I am however sceptical towards the capacitive menu and back buttons, but this is because I found myself hitting them accidentally when using the phone in landscape, but this just showed how responsive and sensitive they were. One HUGE problem I had with the external buttons of the phone was the power/unlock key on the side that is sometimes unusable. It is hard to find as it is so receded into the phone and when you do press it, it doesn’t click, it feels too rubbery when pressed and I often found myself pressing it multiple times because I’d thought I hadn’t pressed it properly; it is definitely a button that requires some firm pressing to work also.
On the front of the phone resides the phone grill which gives off fairly good quality and was very satisfactory, apart from that there isn’t much else on the front of the phone.
Now, the back of the device as i aforementioned is made with a plastic that they have tried to add a bumpy texture to to add some grip to the handset. However, it felt uncomfortable to hold and only made the handset feel cheaper than it is to me. On the other hand, around the top of the phone there is a band of nicer smoother plastic that feels far more premium than the cover for the battery.
The Samsung Wonder is running version 2.3.5 of Android (Gingerbread) which is the most recent version you can get without hitting the new Ice Cream Sandwich. Also with this handset comes Samsung’s very own TouchWiz 4.0 overlay which works absolutely superbly on this phone and feels like it really could be the default Android skin. These two pieces of software really work together well with screen animations sliding or popping out from one another and the scrolling being very smooth. The TouchWiz overlay has really come a long way since it was released when it was more of a nuisance than a happy addition to the OS.
The unlock screen is the same as most other TouchWiz handsets (excluding the Note), it works in that you have an image and you slide the image off the screen to open the phone. I wasn’t a huge fan of this for two reasons; one, that it didn’t feel like I was unlocking the phone, it felt more like I was trying to get past an obstacle and two, that it was very picky with how far you had to drag the image off the screen for it to unlock. However, what i do like about this unlock screen is that if you receive a text, it appears on the home screen in the from of a yellow tab that you can drag along the screen (like classic Android) and it opens the message.
What is different with the Samsung Galaxy series is that the main home screen is originated to the left instead of in the middle. I personally prefer Android phones that have the main home screen in the middle as this allows you have to have important pages on either side for quick access. However, admittedly with the Wonder, it does scroll all the way round when scrolling to the left it goes to the far right panel. I found that adding widgets onto the screen was smooth and very simple to do, even my friend who uses an iPhone could work it out.
Unlike other Android skins, the five (or however many you choose) applications along the bottom stay up when you move from the home screen into the applications tray. When in the applications menu, you scroll from side to side (like the iPhone) to get from page to page. What I also liked about this was how you could add applications into folders, however, you could not add these folders into the main app tray at the bottom.
Another neat little feature that Samsung’s Touchwiz 4.0 has added to the Samsung Galaxy Wonder is the leap feature that allows you to view all of your home screens in one view. Though I found it is not as smooth and polished as Sense’s version of it called ‘Helicopter View’. The TouchWiz overlay in general is really nice and really impressed me; it added to the phone instead of taking away features like some other skins do with Android.
The browser on the Samsung Galaxy W is a surprisingly brilliant experience. When I saw that it wasn’t running a dual-core gazillion Ghz processor, I was doubting the smoothness and speed of the browser, but I was proved oh so very wrong. The broswer opens every page very quickly and lets you scroll every page very smoothly. This proves that you don’t need a dual-core processor to run the internet smoothly on an Android device. However, one minor thing I found was that double-tap-to-zoom didn’t seem to work, it just made the web page bounce in and out.. whether this was something they decided to leave out or forgot or maybe it was something wrong with my device only, who knows?
The Wonder does support multiple tabbed browsing and to make this easier, Samsung have enabled a neat feature in which, when fully zoomed-out, if you pinch the screen, you are taken to the see the other internet windows you have open
When you talk about Media, you instantly think of movies and videos on your mobile device; this on the Samsung Galaxy Wonder is sub-par; let’s just say, it’s good if you haven’t experienced a 5.3″ HD Super Amoled screen. The TFT display on the Wonder is sufficient to show videos clearly and has very good viewing angles to do this so you can watch videos whilst laying down or sitting or standing or in whatever position you watch videos in. However, watching longer videos will be hindered by the smaller display, so is not recommended.
The Music Player on the Samsung Galaxy Wave is the same that I reviewed on the Samsung Galaxy Note a month or so ago; it shows the basics: songs, playlists, artists etc.. It also features the option to listen to your music in 5.1 surround sound which I personally found it to just lower the bass and make it sound like the music is being sung further away from you. if that makes sense. The music player in general all runs really smoothly with the song list sliding up from the bottom when the “List” button is clicked; all-in-all once again another nice and smooth application from Samsung.
The gallery on the Samsung Galaxy Wonder is untouched from the default Android one as with all of the Galaxy series. I personally believe this is because the default gallery application is so beautiful and works so well that not many skins can make improvements on the look or feel of it, so they don’t bother.
The Samsung Galaxy Wonder comes with a 5mp camera that can record in 720p and has a single LED flash. This is the part of the phone that made me feel that this was aimed as a more mid-range device than a smartphone due to smartphones rocking the 8mp or higher cameras and the ability to record in 1080p these days. However, it isn’t a bad 5mp camera, but then Samsung have always put brilliant cameras onto their phones right back from when they were making bricks. The camera application itself is the same as other TouchWiz 4.0 handsets in that it has the settings down the left: a button to choose front or back camera, a button to turn flash on or off and then the settings menu. The settings menu contains PLENTY of settings to keep somebody entertained when taking pictures. The video recorder application is almost identical except it allows different options (obviously.)
The 5mp camera on the back of the Wonder takes fairly average photos, I found that the lighting indoors was a little poor and often came out a little orange, but outdoor images turned out really good. The images also seemed a little distorted when took inside which may have been a problem with the autofocus on the camera.
The battery life of the Samsung Galaxy Wonder was another one of those batteries that impressed me considering the power behind the device. I would regularly get through a whole day of texting, tweeting, checking Facebook (all the usual teenage things to do) and I’d still have plenty of time to charge it at 11/12 o’clock at night when I finally went to bed. This for me is very satisfactory in the modern age; as long as you can guarantee the option to charge it up at the end of the day, then you’ll be fine, however if you are travelling over night and don’t plan to ahead and you forget your charger, you may wish to turn off some settings to save the battery a bit.
Call quality & Signal:
The call quality on the Wonder was pretty amazing to be honest, I used it twice whilst in a busy bus station and I could hear the other person clearly and they had no problem hearing me which is all you really need a phone to be able to do when using it to make calls these days.
As for the signal, this was the first time I have ever been on the network 3 when using a mobile phone and I found it to be very rewarding. I found I could get signal at home which (as mentioned in other reviews) is a massive struggle for me to do, but also, I found myself getting HSDPA and 3G all over the place, even in my local town (which is very uncommon), however, this may have been down to the network other than the phone.
The Samsung Galaxy Wonder very much surprised me when I began using it; for my conclusion I am going to use the quotation I used to describe it to my brother: “it’s like the Galaxy Note is the powerful dad, the S2 is the athletic son and the Wonder is the hench baby.” This phone is a VERY good phone to buy if you can’t quite afford the Note or the S2 as it works very smoothly and I really couldn’t find many things wrong with it (except the stupid power/unlock key.)
Review by: Luke