The Samsung Galaxy Y is a smartphone approved for all audiences. Perhaps in hindsight, our Galaxy Note review should've been rated PG. But well yeah, we're always wiser in hindsight. Anyway, you don’t just wake up one morning wanting a superphone like the Note. You need a place to start.
The Samsung Galaxy Y is one little step above dumbphones. It won’t be long before you know how big this step really was. Android is friendly, especially in a package like the Galaxy Y, and highly addictive. And there's plenty to explore.
The Samsung Galaxy Y is most likely someone's first smartphone. It comes on the cheap so you don't have to ask yourself if you really need all the extra features. Soon enough, you'll be wondering how you could live without them.
Samsung S5360 Galaxy Y official pictures
And no, the Galaxy Y isn't full of the latest tech. It keeps things neat and simple at a very reasonable price. There's a good package of preinstalled apps and a full connectivity set. The reasonably fast processor and the very recent Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread are a bit of surprise. This is a basic smartphone but one that looks up-to-date.
- Quad-Band GSM and dual-band 3G support
- 7.2 Mbps HSDPA
- 3” 256K-color QVGA TFT touchscreen
- ARMv6 830MHz processor, 290MB user available RAM
- Android OS v2.3.5 (Gingerbread) with TouchWiz UI
- 160MB of internal storage, hot-swappable MicroSD slot, 2GB card included
- 2MP fixed-focus camera with geotagging
- GPS receiver with A-GPS
- Stereo FM radio with RDS
- 3.5mm audio jack
- Document viewer
- Accelerometer and proximity sensor
- Swype text input
- MicroUSB port (charging) and stereo Bluetooth 3.0
- Social network integration
- Low screen resolution limits choice of apps
- No touchscreen haptics
- Fixed focus camera
- No secondary camera
- No camera flash, no dedicated camera key
- QVGA video recording @ 15fps
- No earphones in the bundle
- No Adobe Flash support
The Galaxy Y live shots
With the holiday season fast approaching, a smartphone like this one might be right for teens who like to play Angry Birds and chat away on WhatsApp and Facebook. The Galaxy Y is released just in time to have an impact at the busiest shopping time of the year.
Retail package is decentThe retail package of the Galaxy Y is typical for the price range. Next to the USB cable and charger, you'll get a 2 GB MicroSD card with an SD adapter. What's missing is the headphones and it's not the first time Samsung have done this. They needed to cut costs obviously and maybe the idea was to let users buy their headset of choice. It seems to us though that the headphones are an essential accessory. Maybe Galaxy Y buyers could've done without a data cable or a memory card.
Retail box defined by price class
360-degree spinThe Samsung Galaxy Y is a small handset measuring 104 x 58 x 11.5 mm. At a mere 97.5 g, it's among the lightest droids too. The all-plastic body handles nicely and doesn't raise doubts over durability.
Design and build quality
The styling of the Samsung Galaxy Y is somewhat bland, perhaps a bit too conservative . The handset is entirely made of plastic, but to be fair, it feels good quality. The textured back is nice to the touch and good at hiding fingerprints, while the front is taken up entirely by the screen and black bezel around it. The phone's tapered edges give a more comfortable hand feel.
Size is comparable to the HTC Wildfire S, which is among the main competitors. There's definitely no trouble carrying the Galaxy Y around.
The 3" capacitive touchscreen has QVGA (240 x 320) resolution and multi-touch support. The screen is pleasingly responsive but the image quality however is below par. It's not just the low resolution - the display has poor viewing angles, low brightness and contrast.
|Display test||50% brightness||100% brightness|
|Black, cd/m2||White, cd/m2||Black, cd/m2||White, cd/m2|
|LG Optimus Black P970||0.27||332||1228||0.65||749||1161|
|Motorola Atrix 4G||0.48||314||652||0.60||598||991|
|Apple iPhone 4||0.14||189||1341||0.39||483||1242|
|Samsung I9000 Galaxy S||0||263||∞||0||395||∞|
|Sony Ericsson XPERIA Arc||0.03||34||1078||0.33||394||1207|
|Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II||0||231||∞||0||362||∞|
|Samsung S5360 Galaxy Y||0.40||247||624||0.72||471||625|
Above the display you'll find a proximity sensor. An ambient light sensor is missing so you’ll have to manually set the brightness to match changing lighting conditions. Even at maximum brightness, sunlight legibility isn't up to scratch. There's no front-mounted camera either.
Below the display, there is a single hardware button: the central Home key with two capacitive controls either side: Menu and Back. It's the standard Samsung layout. The Home button is set within its own frame, slightly recessed. It has a nice feel to it thanks to the brushed-texture finish.
The backlighting of the capacitive Menu and Back keys comes on only upon a press. When not used, they're invisible, creating the illusion that there's a single button on the phone. There's no haptic feedback for either the screen or the capacitive keys.
On the right of the phone there's only the power/lock button. It’s thin but sufficiently raised with good press.
The left side of the phone features the volume rocker and a lanyard eyelet.
The top of the Galaxy Y is where the connectivity ports are: a MicroUSB port, hidden under a plastic lid and a 3.5 mm headphone jack.
The microphone pinhole is located at the bottom of the phone, which is where you'll also find the thin slit to put a fingernail in and pull the battery cover open.
The 2MP camera lens is at the back along with the loudspeaker. There's virtually no scratch or fingerprint protection for the camera lens, while the loudspeaker has a small nub that keeps it from getting completely muffled.
The battery cover of the Galaxy Y has a textured non-slip finish. It doesn’t quite affect the actual grip but makes the device a little more appealing. The matt finish is fingerprint-proof but the thin grooves might gather dust over time.
The 1200 mAh Li-Ion battery is quoted at 850h/540h stand-by (2G/3G respectively) and 17h/6h of talk time. Our unit did quite well actually - one benefit of the small, low-res screen is that it isn't a battery hog. Even at the busiest of testing, the Galaxy Y easily stuck out 2 days on continuous 3G and Wi-Fi connection.
The SIM card finds its place under the battery, where it's held by a standard metal hinge. The microSD card can be hot-swapped but you need to remove the back panel to access the slot..
Neat and simple, with a bit of style sense, the Samsung Galaxy Y is affordable without looking cheap. It's plastic without feeling feeble. The back panel is nice to the touch, although it could be the wrong color to some. The phone has a good hand fit and is generally very friendly and welcoming. The low screen resolution is the major letdown. No, we're not saying that because we've seen and tested some HD screens lately. The thing is users upgrading from a feature phone will see no upgrade whatsoever in a QVGA screen.
But then, even if it doesn’t look its best in QVGA, Android is the bigger part of the deal.