Samsung Galaxy Beam review: Home cinema
Impressive office suite
The Samsung Galaxy Beam comes with Polaris Office preinstalled - one of the most feature-rich mobile editors we've seen. You can view, edit and create Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents (Office 2003 and Office 2007 are supported) and there's a PDF viewer as well. The app enables searching through your office files just like in a file explorer.
There are a large number of editing options - from font size and style, justification and bulleting options, to table styles. You can easily pick Excel functions from a list too (a feature commonly missing in mobile editors).
The usual organizational tools
The calendar has four different types of views: list, daily, weekly and monthly. Adding a new event is quick and easy, and you can also set an alarm to act as a reminder.
The list view (often referred to as Agenda view) shows a list of all the calendar entries from the recent past to the near future. It's a very handy tool when you need to check your appointments for the next few days.
There is also a calculator aboard. It is nicely touch optimized - the buttons are big enough and easy to hit. Turning the phone landscape reveals more advanced calculator functions.
The Beam features a decent alarm clock application with a huge number of alarms to be set, each with its own start time and repeat pattern.
The Memo and Mini Diary are self-explanatory. The first app works with text only, while the Diary lets you also attach pictures.
You also get a To-Do app called Task and a Voice recorder for the times when you need the Beam to remind you of something.
Speaking of voice, the Samsung Galaxy Beam comes with a wide array of voice-activated features. Voice command lets you tell the Beam to perform all sorts of actions, from setting alarms and reminders to calling contacts and writing emails. It is activated by a double-press on the home button.
The latest Google Maps
The Samsung Galaxy Beam managed to get a GPS lock in just under a minute without A-GPS. A-GPS can speed up the lock (but it involves data traffic). Cell-ID and Wi-Fi positioning are also available if all you need is a rough location, but they need a data connection too.
Google Maps is a standard part of the Android package and we've covered it many times before. It offers voice-guided navigation in certain countries and falls back to a list of instructions elsewhere. You can plan routes, search for nearby POI and go into the always-cool Street View.
The latest version uses vector maps, which are very data efficient and easy to cache. The app will reroute you if you get off course, even without a data connection. Google have also recently implemented the ability to download certain sections of the map to your device, eliminating the need for an active data connection.
3D buildings are shown for some of the bigger cities and you can use two-finger camera tilt and rotate to get a better view of the area.
The Google Play app store
The Samsung Galaxy Beam has the latest version of Google Play. Upon launch of the Market app you're greeted with the tiled interface of the Featured window. A swipe to the right takes you to the Categories view.
Swiping to the left takes you through Top Paid, Top Free, Top Grossing, Top New Paid, Top New Free and Trending (the ones with growing popularity). New sections are available such as Staff Picks, Editor's Choice and more.
Downloads are easy and won't take more than a couple of seconds. Before you agree to download an app, the Market will show you what features the app requires access to (e.g. Internet connectivity, access to the file system, etc.).