Samsung I5700 Galaxy Spica review: Stars serving Eclairs

GSMArena team, 7 April 2010.
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Introduction

Samsung had a slow start in Android but they are making up for it with some impressive high-tech devices. But the All-star team is certainly not leaving anyone behind and the Galaxy Spica just got its update to the latest Android 2.1. Now it's as ready as ever to hit the competition. And it hits hard.

Devices like the I9000 Galaxy S and the I8520 Beam certainly have the lead but it's down to the foot soldiers to clean up the mess when super AMOLEDs, Snapdragon and WVGA projectors leave the scene.

Speaking of those - you'll know that when it's Samsung and a Galaxy, the middle name is Android. It holds true for the I5700 Galaxy Spica much as it did for the first-born Samsung droid – the I7500 Galaxy.

The Spica goes by the name of Galaxy Lite in some markets, but this has nothing to do with processing power. It packs a faster CPU than the original Galaxy and, as a matter of fact, 800 MHz is better than most droids get.

Samsung I5700 Galaxy Spica (aka Galaxy Lite) Samsung I5700 Galaxy Spica (aka Galaxy Lite) Samsung I5700 Galaxy Spica (aka Galaxy Lite)
Samsung I5700 Galaxy Spica official photos

The phone we’re reviewing is no news really, but Android 2.1 certainly is. Given the OS upgrade, the Samsung I5700 Galaxy Spica is obviously planning to stick around and turn the brightest star in this galaxy. Let’s see what it’s got under the belt.

Key features

  • Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE support
  • 3G with HSDPA, 3.6 Mbps
  • Android OS v2.1 Eclair, upgraded from v1.5 Cupcake
  • 3.2" capacitive touchscreen of HVGA resolution
  • 800 MHz CPU
  • 3.15 megapixel autofocus camera
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g and GPS receiver
  • Accelerometer sensor for auto-rotate
  • Standard microUSB port for charging and data
  • Stereo Bluetooth (A2DP)
  • microSD card slot, up to 32GB support
  • Standard 3.5mm audio jack
  • Great DivX/XviD video player
  • Limited smart dialing
  • Voice dialing
  • Equalizer presets are a first in the Android realm

Main disadvantages

  • Inadequate sunlight legibility
  • No ambient light and proximity sensors
  • Erratic performance under Android 2.1 (noticeable lag in some apps)
  • No Live Wallpapers
  • No 3D view in the gallery
  • No preloaded document viewer
  • No multi-touch support
  • CIF video recording is below par
  • No Flash support for the web browser
  • No two-position camera shutter key, slow autofocus
  • Average loudspeaker performance

The Samsung I5700 Galaxy Spica normally comes with the Android Cupcake (v1.5) but you can upgrade it to the new Éclair (v2.1). That’s exactly what we did. Anyway, the Spica is still a first-gen droid on the outside: plenty of buttons and an average touchscreen – in both size and resolution.

A thing to definitely note is TouchWIZ. In their first go at Android, Samsung were not too keen perhaps on customization. Under Android 2.1 the Galaxy Spica is a different story. It has the company’s custom touch interface on top of Android and although it’s not a complete overhaul, the first impressions are quite positive.

Samsung I5700 Galaxy Spica Samsung I5700 Galaxy Spica Samsung I5700 Galaxy Spica
Samsung I5700 Galaxy Spica live shots

The rest of the package is standard Android with some of the improvements ver. 2.1 implies. The Spica offers a wide range of connectivity options, including HSDPA support, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. You can transfer files over Bluetooth as well. Another Éclair goodie is not there however – the Spica’s 3.2” capacitive screen does not support multi touch. The Live wallpapers feature is also not present.

Media have always been a Samsung forte and the 3.5mm audio jack and 3MP autofocus camera is the least the Spica can offer to assert this claim. What users will certainly cheer is the DivX/XviD video support right out of the box.

Now, joins us on the next page for the Galaxy Spica unboxing and hardware check up.

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Reviews > Samsung I5700 Galaxy Spica review: Stars serving Eclairs