Form factor and Display
The Galaxy Pro is significantly wider than the average candybar messenger. This gives it a landscape display and very comfortable keys to type on.
In typical Samsung style, it is all plastic, though the back cover presents an illusion of metal – until you touch it and realise that it is all plastic too. The material is good quality, and for the price tag, its a deal.
The Galaxy Pro feels very light in the hand, so light that it does not give any feel of quality. Of course, its a budget device, not a high end smartphone. It slips in the pocket and can be forgotten there easilly.
The display is capacitive, but don’t expect multi-touch. There is no multi-touch on this one. Actually, I found the display to be the Galaxy Pro’s Achilles’ Heel. It washes out in sunlight, does not register accurately when hitting hyperlinks during web browsing, and the resolution of 320 x 240 so belongs in the last smartphone ice-age.
Some 3rd party apps display certain menus horizontally, apparently uncomfortable with the 320 x 240 resolution. Screenshots:
Still, it is not terrible; its just not close to the cutting edge. But again, for the price, the compromises with the display are not unfair. Something always has to give.
Text Input & Manipulation
I live by hardware keypads and I can tell you upfront that this one is quite good and comfortable. It has a few quirks though. Similar to BlackBerry keypads, some everyday characters require using the Alt key to enter, which is quite a nuisance. On the Galaxy Pro, if you want to enter a comma, you have to hit Alt + L. That slows down typing a bit.
In my opinion, the comma, full-stop and ‘@’ should be accessible without using a combination of keys. Nokia hardware keyboards have it right in that respect, and everybody else should copy them.
Having said that, there is very little else to fault on the Galaxy Pro’s keypad. Like I said, this was well done and almost anyone will enjoy typing with it.
Messaging & Social Networking
Text messaging and email are standard Android fare, and are known to be rock solid. gmail support is stellar.
Samsung has the Samsung IM app built-in, but for days, I could not set it up. Whether that was a result of my internet connection or the app, I am not sure. However, eventually, I got through and its been working fine.
Samsung IM supports Windows Live Messenger, Google Talk, and Yahoo Messenger. I setup a Yahoo account and that works well. There’s audio and vibrate notifications, emoticons can be inserted, and you can view a basic profile of your friend. There’s no file transfer here though.
Samsung’s built-in Social Hub also lets you setup Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace accounts.
I gave it a go by setting up my Facebook account. After completing setup, the screen just sat there staring back at me. I returned to the Social Hub main page and selected Facebook again, and it launched the built-in Android browser, loading the mobile Facebook site. Not bad, but all that trouble just to launch the browser?
Of course, you can install a proper Facebook app from the Market if that solution doesn’t work for you.
The browser is stock Android, but without multi-touch. I was able to enter a URL as homepage in the settings, but till now, I can’t find a home button anywhere. This has been an issue with the Android browser, and its just nuts. What’s the sense of setting a home page if you can’t quickly go back to it?
My favourite site for testing Flash support is the Ozone Cinemas website. Loading it on the galaxy Pro’s browser, the Flash animations did not load. As such, while the specs sheet lists Adobe Flash 10.1 support, something seems to be amiss in real life use.
Besides the above limitations, the browser works fine for most tasks.
Organiser & Office
There’a calendar, calculator and memo apps built-in, and a file manager.
The pre-installed ThinkFree Office app is also quite good. It lets you create and edit Word, Spreadsheets and Presentation documents. Editing and formatting documents is sweet. The options available are also wide, making it a comprehensive suite. Top marks here.
ThinkFree Office also lets you create an online account to store, access, and share your files online. This is really cool stuff and making me fall in love with ThinkFree.
While the specification sheet says the Galaxy Pro supports DivX/Xvid out of the box, it could not play any of my existing movies that I copied over. I am guessing that this has to do with the limited 320 x 240 pixel display resolution.
Music playback is good and I had no issues there.
Camera. Simply put, if you are a camera enthusiast, this is not a phone you should be looking at. Of course, the Galaxy pro is not targeted at the multimedia market, so the less than satisfactory camera results (both stills and video) should not be an issue.
The camera is only 3.2 megapixel, and has no flash. Let’s just say that we have seen much more capable 3.2 megapixel cameras on phones in my lifetime.
The Galaxy Pro has got Bluetooth and USB connectivity. However, when connected to both my PCs via cable, they can’t find the driver for the device, and so I have been unable to get anything done via USB.
Bluetooth file transfers work well. I was able to send audio and video files from other phones to the Galaxy Pro once I got them paired. I haven’t tried out any Bluetooth headset with it though.
Battery life has been satisfactory so far. The 1350 mAh battery seems to be adequate for seeing the device through a full day of non-intensive use
The Galaxy Pro is not the most complete mobile experience. It is not designed to be. It is targeted at business users on a budget – and it meets that need well. Its greatest weakness is in multimedia.
With some 3rd party apps – and there are plenty available – it shines in social networking Of course, now there’s full access to both free and paid apps in the Market.
Its greatest strengths lie in email, text entry and office functionality.
For the price, the Galaxy Pro isn’t bad at all. It is currently priced N40,000 – N45,000. My opinion is that the price needs to fall into the range of N30,000 to N35,000 to be truly competitive.