Samsung is currently the biggest manufacturer of smart phones in the world, and its Galaxy range of smart phones are the most popular Android phones. There’s a Galaxy phone for everyone, whatever your budget, so let’s take a look at the range and see what each offers.
The baby of the Galaxy range is the Galaxy Mini. As its name indicates, this is a compact smart phone weighting just 107g and costing less than £100 on Pay as you Go. Budget Android smart phones tend to cut too many corners, but the Mini manages to make savings in the right places so that overall performance isn’t too compromised. Being a mini phone, the screen is quite small at just 3.1 inches, which is really the smallest size for an Android phone that is still usable. It runs a relatively slow 600MHz processor and has just 164MB of onboard memory, which is not enough to handle many apps, although a micsoSD card can be added to increase the memory to 32GB. Nevertheless the Mini opens a world off possibilities, with over 150,000 apps available from the Android Market. There’s fast internet access with a full web browser, plus GPS with Google Maps. A fully featured music player and headphone jack make it into an MP3 player, and it also has a 3 megapixel camera with video recording. Just the battery lets down the overall package, with many users struggling to make it through the day on a full charge.
In the mid range is the Galaxy Ace. Costing over £100 on Pay as you Go, or around £15 per month on contract, the Ace is hardly any bigger than the Mini, yet it has a much more substantial 3.5 inch screen, making the menus and virtual keyboard much easier to manage. It has a slightly faster 800MHz processor, but still only 150MB of memory, which limits the potential of the device. Still, you can do a lot with the Ace, whether it’s running games and apps, browsing the web, finding your position on Google Maps or even watching movies, the Ace is a real smart phone with a huge amount of power available to the patient user. An improved 5 megapixel camera and more battery power add to the Ace’s appeal, yet the reliability of the phone isn’t as good as it should be, with some users complaining about system crashes and hardware faults.
The Galaxy S2 is a much more substantial piece of kit, costing around £400 sim free, or around £20-£25 per month on contract. The S2 is Samsung’s most successful Galaxy phone and is the winner of countless awards. Larger than the Mini and Ace, yet ultraslim, the Galaxy S2 has an amazing screen. It’s a Super AMOLED Plus screen – widely regarded as the best technology currently available – and is a huge 4.3 inches in size. Not only does this make the user interface so much easier to manage, it makes a big difference when viewing web pages, images, videos and maps. The S2 is massively more powerful than the Ace, with a 1.2GHz dual-core processor and 16GB of built in memory. This makes it possible to install as many apps as desired, and gives the speed necessary to run those apps without stalling. The S2 runs Android 2.3 and Samsung have added various Hubs to make content more easily accessible. These include the Reader’s Hub, Music Hub, Games Hub and Social Hub. An 8 megapixel camera with 1080p HD video recording completes the package. Battery life is better than the Mini and the Ace, despite the increased power, thanks to a much more substantial battery. The S2 then, is the Galaxy phone to choose if you can afford it, as it fully delivers the Android experience without compromise.
If you can afford to stretch even further, the Galaxy Nexus is available at around the £30 per month mark, or £500 sim free. This stretches the capabilities of the Galaxy range even further. Running the latest version of Android (4.0, nicknamed Ice Cream Sandwich), the Nexus is a significantly larger phone with a massive 4.65 inch high definition display. The onboard RAM has been increased to 1GB, so the Nexus can multi-task with ease and will never falter. An even larger battery is included too. The Nexus is the icing on the cake (or the Ice Cream Sandwich!)