Samsung Galaxy Portal i5700
We love
Firm build, screen is bright and easy on the eye
We hate
Typing is too tricky, stuck on Android 1.5
As budget Android phone goes, we still prefer the LG GW620

The Samsung Galaxy Portal i5700‘s taken its time hitting UK shores, having launched on the continent last year as the Spica. In that time we’ve seen other cheap Android smartphones hit the market en masse, so can this one go toe to toe with them still? Read on and find out in our full Samsung Galaxy Portal i5700 review.


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At a glance, the build of the Samsung Galaxy Portal i5700 is lovely for a cheap communicator. Gone is the smudgy plastic back of the original Galaxy, and in its place is a matte panel that’s much more pleasant to hold. The 3.5mm headphone slot is smartly placed on the top of the phone, and the whole handset has a sturdy feel to it. Happily for a budget blower, Wi-Fi and GPS are included.

Android is as you’d expect on the Samsung Galaxy Portal i5700 since there’s no software skin going on, and while call quality and battery life (Good for two days solid) are both fine, we have a few concerns about the design after extended use.

We don’t like the way you have to hold the unlock button down for so long to get going, and more glaringly, Samsung’s added extra buttons on the bottom, including a separate browser button (unnecessary) and a home button, when the call disconnect button would work fine as it.

Read our T-Mobile Pulse review now
Read our LG InTouch Max GW620 review now

The 480×320 3.2-inch screen goes some way to making amends for this, as it looks superb, rendering videos well (There’s H.264 and DivX support). Unfortunately, while the Samsung Galaxy Portal i5700′s screen looks the part, typing on it isn’t such a pleasant matter. While it sports the standard Android keyboard and a capacitive, supposedly finger friendly display, tapping out messages is a nightmare, and you just cannot match the words per minute of a QWERTY Android phone, or touchscreen phones with HTC’s software keyboard.

The Samsung Galaxy Portal i5700 is also disappointingly laggy in use. Have more than one app open and you can expect to see some big time slowdown, and fire up the  perfunctory 3.2 megapixel camera and you’re looking at an achingly long wait. We’ll be interested to see how it copes with Android 2.1 when Samsung delivers an update, but for now you’re stuck with plain old 1.5, and none of the swanky features of Android 2.0 and 2.1 as seen on the Milestone or Nexus One.

For these reasons, we can’t recommend the Samsung Galaxy Portal i5700 over other budget Android offerings available right now. The lag and lack of a quick way to fire off messages means we’d still plump for arch rival LG’s GW620 QWERTY Android phone every time.

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