Samsung Galaxy Pocket S5300 review: Happy meal
Good connectivity within budget
The Galaxy Pocket is ready for worldwide roaming with quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and dual-band 3G with HSDPA download rates of up to 3.6 Mbps.
The connectivity package also offers Wi-Fi (b/g/n), Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP support and USB v2.0. GPS is on the list too, with A-GPS connectivity.
The Samsung Galaxy Pocket packs a generous 3 GB of internal storage but it comes with no memory card in the box. It still supports microSD cards of up to 32 GB.
The 3.5 mm standard audio port completes the connectivity tally. You can use your favorite headphones with the Galaxy Pocket hassle-free.
The Android Gingerbread browser usually offers a great mobile browsing experience. But on the 2.8" low-quality screen you'll need a lot of patience to go through a page or read an article.
The user interface elements are away from sight, which leaves what little screen real estate there is to the web page. Once the page finishes loading, all you see is the status bar on top of the screen as the address bar hides automatically.
The context menu is where a lot of the functionality is hidden. From here, you can open a new tab, switch tabs, refresh the page, go forward, and open bookmarks. The final button reveals even more options (text copying, find on page, etc.).
The Galaxy Pocket's browser supports three zoom methods - virtual buttons, double tap and multi-touch pinch-zooming. The browser also supports text reflow, which is essential on such a low-res screen.
There's bookmark list that shows a thumbnail of the bookmarked page and you also get a "most visited" list in addition to the history.
The Samsung Galaxy Pocket has the YouTube app to partially compensate for the lack of Flash support. Of course, there are plenty of other video sharing sites and sites that use Flash for completely different purposes, but you have to live without them.
Organizer and apps
The organizing capabilities of Android have soared in the past couple of years. And as with most Galaxy smartphones, the Galaxy Pocket is equipped with all the essential apps.
Starting with the calendar app, it has four different types of view - agenda, 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 Galaxy Pocket comes with Polaris View preinstalled. It's a viewer-only version of the Polaris Office app found in higher-end Samsung phones. The app can open Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents (both Office 2003 and 2007 versions) and view PDFs too. There's Box.net integration so you can store your docs in the cloud.
There is also a calculator, alarm clock and voice recorder among other apps preinstalled on the Galaxy Y Pocket.
You also get the Samsung-made Notes and My Files apps. The first one has not changed since Galaxy S times and is very comfortable to use - you can scribble notes easily, choose different colors for your notes and more. The My Files application is a file manager that can give you access to the entire file system of your phone.
The voice recorder is another app that comes preinstalled on the Galaxy Pocket. You can record as many sound clips as you like and the only limitation is the memory you have on your device. The list tab shows all of your recordings sorted by date.
Google Maps and GPS navigation
The Samsung Galaxy Pocket packs a GPS receiver, which got a satellite lock in about under a minute with A-GPS turned off. A-GPS can speed this up, but requires an Internet connection.
Google Maps is the app of choice and offers the latest touch optimizations like the two finger rotation and tilt, it also features navigation, search for POIs and much more. Street view is, of course, part of the package too.
Google Maps comes complete with Navigation, which can do voice-guidance for free. Availability is still limited though (not all countries have the option), and it relies on Internet connection for the initial route planning.
Still, even without Navigation, there is some kind of guidance: your route and current location appear on the screen so you'll reach your destination eventually, but you'll need a co-pilot to read you the instructions for that one.
The Galaxy Pocket doesn't come with a third-party SatNav solution preinstalled but you can easily snatch one off the Android market. There are both paid and free options on offer.
Google Play market
The Samsung Galaxy Pocket has the latest version of the Android Market - now called Google Play. The new name and icon aside there aren't major changes to the look of the app store. In select countries, aside from apps you'll also find music, movies and books.
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.).
You should keep in mind that not all apps will be compatible with the low-res screen and the relatively old CPU. ICS-only apps are pretty rare for now, so the OS version shouldn't be an issue.