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Review of Samsung Galaxy 580 (i5800, Galaxy3) GSM/UMTS Smartphone

Contents:

  1. Positioning
  2. Design and controls
  3. Screen
  4. Battery
  5. Camera
  6. Networks
  7. Memory
  8. Software
  9. Impressions

In the box:

  • Phone
  • 1500 mAh Li-Ion battery
  • Wired stereo headset
  • Charger
  • USB – microUSB synchronization cable
  • 1 GB microSD memory card
  • User Guide

Positioning


Galaxy Android lineup today – from left to right: Samsung Galaxy S, Galaxy i580 and Galaxy i550.

The smartphone in question expands the Galaxy lineup: the flagship Galaxy S is complemented by two Android handsets with modest characteristics and accessible price.

Samsung continues conquering separate segments. It started with Corby and touchscreen models and now has come the time of inexpensive Android solutions. The company already had a low-cost Android smartphone Galaxy Spica. By unveiling this handset a year ago Samsung probably tested the market and the new wave is represented by Galaxy 550 and Galaxy 580. The first one has been already reviewed by Eldar and today we will discuss Galaxy 580 also known as Galaxy 3 (its index is GT-i5800).

Unlike Galaxy Spica (i5700), which had an advantage over its rivals in price and time of announcement the current pair will have to prove their worth in the competitive marketplace.

Galaxy i550

If in Galaxy 550 the screen became the victim of the positioning Galaxy 580 reviewed today seems to have it all. It is not enough, anyway. If priced lower I would not have any complaints. I think the company cannot (or doesn't want to) offer a more competitive price, because they do not have a goal to get all possible customers in the niche.

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Design and controls

Designwise two "brother" models (550 and 580) have considerable differences. Samsung 580 has fewer controls on the front panel.

It looks calm and natural among other Samsung models on shelves. I can even claim that Galaxy 580 has a slightly dull appearance. There is nothing new here.

The body is made of quality black plastic, which nevertheless gets easily soiled. I was right to anticipate that another model with the keypad (i5510) will be based on the smartphone under consideration. Can we see in future a model for young people with replaceable panels?

The build is good without any squeaking and the model fits any hands well. In testing I had a feeling that a body could have been slightly broader. During the reading I used the volume control button to turn pages and after some time my hand got tired. It can be my own peculiarity (typical of all people with a similar palm size). The dimensions of the model are the following: 113.5 х 55 х 12.4 mm (4.46?x2.16?x0.48?) and it weighs 113 g (3.98 oz).

Comparison of dimensions with Samsung WiTu:

Apart from the abovementioned volume control rocker situated on the left side other controls feature exclusively on the top. Here we have a switch on button, which is also responsible for the sleep mode. Near it is a capped microUSB jack for the synchronization cable and charger. Element No3 on the top is a 3.5 mm audio jack.

Slots for the memory and SIM cards are under the cover on the side. MicroSD cards are hot swappable, but if you take a SIM card out the smartphone will reload after the notification.

You do not have to remember the location of main keys under the screen, because there are only three of them. The left key activates the menu, the right one returns you to the previous page and the central key will take you to the startup screen. Luckily these are hardware keys and each of them has two functions. The first function is activated by a single pressing, while the second one requires a long pressing. There is no backlight and each pressing is accompanied by vibration (Touchwiz 3.0).

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Screen

The model sports a capacitive display with the multitouch support. Its 3.2″ TFT screen has a resolution of 240х400 and reproduces up to 16 million colors. In the sun the screen looks decent and you can always read it.

The screen fits up to 16 text lines and a couple of service lines. Overall screen experience is good and stands head and shoulders above Galaxy 550.

You must have noticed the substandard screen resolution, which theoretically may lead to compatibility issues in certain applications. Such assumptions were justified and if the lion's share of apps worked fine I had problems with games. The first game I downloaded from the Market was "Mean Birds" for Android. It just did not run. I cannot offer any explanation, but it only showed the startup screen.

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Battery

The handset features a 1500 mAh Li-Ion battery. The manufacturer claims up to 7 hours of talktime and 350 hours in the standby mode. One charge was enough for 2 days in my case with 1.5 hours of the music playback, around 1 hour of reading and several brief calls.

The complete recharging tales about 4 hour or even more if you employ the USB port of your computer.

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Camera

Galaxy 580 features a 3.2 MP camera with the autofocus and without the flash. The autofocus makes it possible to read QR codes, which is good. Regarding the picture quality in general I can consider it acceptable if to take the price of the model into account. Test samples are available below. When you see several similar photos I tried to choose the most appropriate shooting mode.

Photo samples:

The following settings are available:

Shooting modes:

  • Single shot
  • Continuous shooting (after 9 shots they are saved)
  • Add me (“pasting” of two pictures)
  • Smile shutter function
  • Panorama (up to 8 shots)
  • Pictures in motion

Scenes:

  • Ordinary
  • Landscape
  • Sport
  • Portrait
  • Night
  • Party\indoors
  • Beach\snow
  • Dawn
  • Fireworks
  • Dusk
  • Autumn colors
  • Text
  • Twilight
  • Backlight

Brightness can be customized from -2 to +2 with the gap of 0.5

The macro mode can be activated in the settings.

Timer: 2, 5 or 10 seconds.

Shots resolution:

  • 2048х1536
  • 1600х1200
  • 1280х960
  • 320х240

White balance:

  • Auto
  • Cloudy
  • Fluorescent
  • Day light
  • Incandescent

Effect:

  • Normal
  • Black and white
  • Negative
  • Sepia

ISO:

  • Авто
  • 100
  • 200
  • 400

Measurements:

  • Center weighted
  • Spot measurement
  • Matrix

Picture quality:

  • Best
  • Excellent
  • Normal

Sliders (from -2 to 2 with the gap of 1) allow the customization of contrast, saturation and acutance.

You can also set the viewing time after the shot is completed, activate the grid, record GPS location of the shoot and choose the shutter sound.

The video is recorded in 3GP (MPEG4 and the sound in AMR format).

The same settings are available here apart from scenes, which are represented only by the ordinary one.

Recording modes: ordinary, MMS limitation

Available resolutions: 320х240, 176х144.

Gallery app:

Video sample (3gp, 1,91 MB) >>>

Video sample (3gp, 2,15 MB) >>>

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Networks

The model works in GSM (850/900/1800/1900) and UMTS (900/2100) with both EDGE and HSDPA supported. Activation and deactivation of different communication modules is carried out through the settings menu.

microUSB cable (USB 2.0.) is used for the synchronization with a PC and data transfer. The following modes are available – Samsung KIES, Mediaplayer, Removable Disk and Modem. The inbuilt Bluetooth 2.1 supports the following modules:

  • Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) – stereo sound transfer via Bluetooth
  • Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP) - music playback control from the wireless headset
  • Generic Audio/Video Distribution Profile (GAVDP)
  • Generic Access Profile (GAP)
  • Hands-Free Profile (HFP)
  • Headset Profile (HSP)
  • Enhanced Data Rate

Поддерживается WiFi 802.11 b/g, а также связь с другими устройствами домашней сети по протоколу DLNA.

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Memory

The phone has 170 МB of internal memory and as I mentioned before 1 GB Micro SD card comes in the box, while the manufacturer ensures cards up to 32 GB are supported. Galaxy 580 has a 667 MHz processor, which is enough for reliable and smooth operation.

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Software

The smartphone uses Android Eclair (2.1) with add-ons from Samsung. You can read a detailed review of Android 2.1.

Full review of Android 2.1 (Eclair)

Now I will mention the peculiar features of Samsung Galaxy 580. It has an unusual screen lockup. Similarly to other Android models you have to move your finger against the screen to unlock the phone. If you have missed calls or unread SMS they will be displayed on the locked screen as puzzle elements. When you move this element to an empty place after the blocking the related information will become available.

In the current firmware it was impossible to install "live" wallpapers, so only ordinary images could be used. Galaxy 580 expects a firmware to upgrade the OS to version 2.2. Galaxy 550 will not get the upgrade.

I would like to attract your attention to the contacts amalgamation. In settings you can choose contacts categories (phone memory, SIM card, Facebook, etc.) to be displayed in the general list. In Events you see latest events and status of you social networks friends.

Standard apps like calendar, browser, dictaphone and notes are still here:

Allshare app allows "opening" of phone contents to other devices and transfer information via DLNA protocol.

ThinkFreeOffice helps to view and edit MS Office documents, while Write and go creates notes you can send in Twitter, Facebook or standard messages.

Among other applications you can find YouTube viewer client, Layar browser, Google Maps and Navigator (beta version).

Radio in Samsung Galaxy 580 supports RDS and requires the headset to be connected.

The music player supports mp3, 3gp, mp4, aac, ogg and wma files.

The video player handles the following formats: 3gp, mp4, avi, wmv,asf,divx (MPEG4, H.263, H.264, DivX and XviD codecs). In real life every video file (extracts from different series) I tried was played with ease.

5.1 mode activation results in additional stereo pan. By the way, the stereo headset from the box offers decent sound. It lacks bass, but this option will definitely satisfy undemanding users. As to the headset I have to say that the earphones are always on the point of falling out of your ears and the cable is too thick and will get frozen in winter. In other words, we have a temporary music and calls solution on our hands.

Smart dialing prompts names of contacts, who have the entered digits combination in their phone numbers.

I can't ignore Swype text input available from the box. To my mind the standard Samsung screen keypad is not large enough and Swype makes the whole experience easier.

Another cool feature is Google voice search. You can also search in Google Maps and YouTube. Slightly later (when Galaxy 580 is upgraded to Android 2.2.) you will be able to use Russian here too.

The model should feature both Android Market and Samsung App Market, but in my case Samsung App only allowed updating of the preinstalled applications. When I tried KIES to install new apps I received the message: the smartphone does not support the service. The manufacturer promises that by the time Galaxy 580 goes on sale Samsung App Market will be fully functional on this model.

Phone and OS settings:

Back to the table of contents >>>

Impressions

In terms of communication quality the model is on par with modern smartphones. Ringtones are very loud, so you have no chances to miss calls if the volume is maximum. The vibro is average and it may not always be felt in a jacket or coat pocket.

The phone costs around €290 and will experience the pressure from the similarly priced HTC Wildfire. Comparing 2 models in real life many will choose HTC device due to better materials and interesting design (tastes differ, though). If you compare Galaxy 550 and 580 you will see straightaway that 580 have a much better screen. Once you add extra megapixels and the autofocus a $66 markup will be more than justified.

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Related links

HTC Wildfire. The First Look

Review of Samsung Galaxy 550 (i5500, Galaxy 5, Corby Smartphone) GSM/UMTS

Eldar Murtazin (eldar@mobile-review.com)
Twitter    Livejournal
Translated by Maxim Antonenko (maxantonenko@ukr.net),

Published — 18 October 2010

Have something to add?! Write us... eldar@mobile-review.com

 

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