Samsung Galaxy Fame review: In the spotlight

GSMArena team, 16 May 2013.
Pages: 12345678910

Tags: Samsung

Jelly Bean provided by Samsung

The Samsung Galaxy Fame runs Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean out of the box, skinned with the latest TouchWiz launcher, dubbed Nature UX. While the basic functionality of the interface is the same as that found on other Galaxy's running Nature UX, there are various eye candy effects that have been removed so that the limited processor can keep up.

We've shot a brief video showing off the user interface here:

The lockscreen is a standard "tap and drag in any direction to unlock" affair, although the usual water ripple effect has been removed. There are a number of other unlock routines to choose from also: pattern, PIN, and password.

There're three customizable lockscreen shortcuts, and you can drag one to activate the corresponding app.

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The lockscreen

Due to the smaller screen size, the dock at the bottom of the homescreen now fits four custom shortcuts or folders instead of the usual five. The rightmost one always opens the app drawer, but the other four can be set to any shortcut or even a folder.

As usual, you can pinch to zoom out and manage homescreen panes - add, delete or just reorder them. You can have 7 panes at most, which are enough to fit plenty of content even if you use widgets that cover an entire pane.

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The Galaxy Fame homescreen

The notification area is quite feature-rich and offers quick toggles for Wi-Fi, GPS, Silent mode, Screen rotation, Bluetooth. You can swipe to the side to get even more: Mobile data, Blocking mode, and Sync.

Below the toggles is the brightness slider (there's no automatic brightness toggle here though). There are also a couple of other useful things like the Settings shortcut in the upper right corner, the time/date to its left and the carrier name at the bottom.

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Notification area

In Jelly Bean, you get expandable notifications to get more info about them. They can be expanded and collapsed with a two-finger swipe and the top one is expanded by default (if the app that put up the notification supports it, of course).

The app drawer accommodates both app shortcuts and widgets. Unlike stock Android, you cannot move between tabs by swipes - you have to explicitly hit the widget tab. Some will find this more logical (scrolling past the available apps to find yourself in the widgets takes some getting used to).

Using pinch-to-zoom reveals an overview of the pages and lets you rearrange them, but you can't create new ones. Hitting the menu key reveals some more options, including hiding apps or enabling tap-to-uninstall mode.

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The app drawer

The app drawer has three view modes: a Customizable grid (where you can freely rearrange icons), Alphabetical grid and Alphabetical list (this one makes shortcuts easy to hit, but isn't very space efficient). You can also view just your downloaded apps by hitting the Downloaded apps icon.

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The widget list

Jelly Bean comes with a selection of widgets, with some custom additions by Samsung. Some widgets are resizable too - a feature we've seen in some custom UIs is available natively in Jelly Bean. Widgets automatically move out of the way when you're reorganizing the homescreen.

Once you get several apps running, you can use the task switcher to go back and forth between them. It's a Jelly Bean-style vertical list with a screenshot and a name for each app. A sideways swipe removes the app from the list.

There are three buttons at the bottom of the list - one to bring out Samsung's home-brewed task manager, one to launch Google Now and a 'Kill all apps' button.

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App switcher Task manager

Overall, the Nature UX on top of Android 4.1 looks great and the Galaxy Fame does pack most of the cool software tricks of the flagship.

And despite the lack of a quad-core chipset, the Galaxy Fame handles the heavy Samsung skin equally well. It wouldn't choke on heavy live wallpaper either.

Synthetic benchmarks

Unlike a large portion of the older generation of budget range Samsung's, the Galaxy Fame runs on a Broadcom BCM21654G chipset. The Broadcom chip likely results in cheaper manufacturing costs for Samsung, which is why we're seeing in more often in its lower cost models.

Single-threaded CPU tests ended us with good results when compared with similarly-spec'd devices.

Benchmark Pi

Lower is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S II Plus
    409
  • Samsung Galaxy S II
    452
  • Sony Xperia S
    536
  • Sony Xperia go
    543
  • Sony Xperia sola
    551
  • Samsung Galaxy Fame
    603
  • HTC Desire X
    639
  • LG Optimus L7
    773
  • Sony Xperia J
    790
  • Sony Xperia E dual
    800
  • Sony Xperia tipo
    987
  • Sony Xperia miro
    1037
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus
    1037

For our graphics benchmark, we went back to Nenamark 2, since unlike mid-rangers and high-enders, budget range devices don't max out this test. Broadcom's GPU fell in just below the Adreno 200 found on the Sony Xperia E dual.

NenaMark 2

Higher is better

  • Sony Xperia E dual
    27.7
  • Samsung Galaxy Fame
    26.9
  • HTC Sensation XE
    23.0
  • Sony Xperia J
    19.6
  • LG Optimus L7
    19.3
  • Sony Xperia miro
    15.9
  • Samsung Galaxy mini 2
    15.4
  • HTC Explorer
    15.1
  • Samsung Galaxy Y Duos
    13.2
  • Samsung Galaxy Pocket
    12.9
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace
    12.0

Finally, for web browsing we turned to SunSpider and Vellamo, which each put the Galaxy Fame toward the bottom of the pack.

SunSpider

Lower is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    1447
  • Samsung Galaxy S II Plus
    1460
  • HTC One S
    1708
  • Samsung Galaxy S II
    1849
  • Samsung Galaxy Nexus
    1863
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
    1891
  • Samsung Galaxy Fame
    1966
  • HTC Desire X
    2259
  • Sony Xperia E dual
    2824
  • Sony Xperia tipo
    3531
  • Sony Xperia miro
    3532
  • LG Optimus L7
    3661

Vellamo

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    1641
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    1568
  • LG Optimus G
    1522
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    1468
  • Google Nexus 4
    1310
  • Samsung Galaxy Fame
    1234
  • Sony Xperia E dual
    1065
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