Samsung I5800 Galaxy 3 preview: First look
Multimedia: music and video players, FM radio and Media Browser
The Samsung I5800 boasts an impressive multimedia package Ė in both audio and video.
Letís start with the Music player. Itís a custom job by Samsung and offers 5.1 channel emulation, DNSe with Music Clarity, Bass enhancement, Concert hall, externalization and a few other presets.
Tilting the phone landscape brings up a Cover Flow-esque interface of a rotating set of CDs with album art.
The Video player has a simplistic interface but it was a pleasant surprise when we tried playing DivX videos Ė the player handled every DivX or XviD video we threw at it, including one of 720 x 400 pixel resolution.
The Samsung I5800 has an FM radio, which sometimes gets omitted on Android phones. Itís a good thing to have as a backup if you get bored with the music you have on the phone.
The Media Browser is the picture and video gallery. It does 3D animated transitions and itís very simple to use. The best thing about it though is the ability to view photos from Facebook (both yours and your friendsí) and MySpace too.
There are dedicated apps for Facebook and MySpace, though for simply updating your status you can use the Feeds & Update widget. Unfortunately, the apps couldnít log in, so weíll have to wait for the review to test them.
Mini diary is similar to HTCís Footsteps. You can add entries into it with dates, the weather (automatically pulled from AccuWeather) plus a photo and a short text. Itís great for a travel diary, though we would have liked it to have a way to post diary entries online.
Thereís a preinstalled file browser (by default there isnít one in Android) called My Files and looks and behaves much like the file browser on other Samsung phones. It can browse files on the microSD card (it canít access the internal memory though) and manage files (move, copy, delete, etc.) and also send and receive files over Bluetooth.
There are other apps of interest. Write and go can post Facebook updates, send messages and create memos and calendar entries. Thereís Quickoffice preinstalled, All Share (a DLNA client/server) and an Evernote app (a collaboration service for notes and more), image and video editors and others.
Weíre not sure if all of these apps will make it to the final production version. If they do, the Samsung I5800 will have a very rich application package out of the box.
There are quite a few impressive things about the Samsung I5800. For one, the re-skinned Android looks like Bada OS, but isnít a half-baked mess. Instead, it promises comfort to both Android users and those coming from a Samsung handset with TouchWiz.
Swype too Ė itís a fresh take on touchscreen QWERTY and could easily become the way to touch-type in the future. Itís faster and more accurate than handwriting recognition, and once you get used to it, itís certainly faster than tapping the keys.
The Video Player that handled DVD quality DivX was impressive as well Ė DivX/XviD players for Android are hard to come by. There are other things as well, like the balanced selection of widgets and apps for business and fun.
The hardware, unlike the top-notch software, is average. Thatís not to say bad, but itís not ahead of the competition either.
Well, there you go. Android is a mature platform already and it brings excellent user experience Ė especially with a few tasty add-ons like Swype and DivX video. The Samsung I5800 is one of the finer examples of what the OS can do in the midrange. With the right price tag this phone can really push on value for money.