Samsung I9103 Galaxy R review: Riding shotgun

GSMArena team, 25 January 2012.
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Slick gallery and file browser

The Samsung Galaxy R uses the standard Android gallery. The gallery automatically locates the images and videos no matter where they are stored. It even imports the online photos from your Google Picasa web albums.

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The standard Android gallery

Little about the Gallery should surprise you. It displays full resolution images and supports double tap and pinch zoom. It supports sharing images over Bluetooth, email, messaging along with uploading to Picasa or using DLNA to push the image to a compatible TV.

The Gallery also offers some editing options - cropping, 90-degree rotation and some more advanced features such as image adjustments, effects and selections.

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The Gallery offers several image editing options

The My Files app is a simple to use but efficient file manager. It can move, copy, lock and rename files in bulk, even send multiple files via Bluetooth. My Files will only browse the memory card and the large internal storage (it can’t access the system drive).

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The My Files app

The well-established music player

The Samsung Galaxy R I9103 uses the standard TouchWiz music player. Samsung have enabled equalizer presets (including a custom one) along with sound-enhancing DNSe technology and 5.1 channel virtualization.

By default, tracks are sorted into four categories - All, Playlists, Albums and Artists. From the settings, you can add or remove categories to set up the music player just the way you like it.

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The music player is great • The DNSe settings • Choosing which categories to use

The album art has a central place in the Now Playing interface, but you can replace it with an equalizer. You can skip songs or FF/rewind by sideways swipes.

Another nice feature allows you to quickly look up a song on YouTube or via Google search. The handset also prompts you to select whether to look up the artist, the song title or the album.

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The Now playing interface • Looking up a track

Simple yet powerful video player

The video player offers a simple list-based interface. It displays all video files stored on the phone and you can sort them by name, date, type or size, and it also remembers the last viewed position of the video, so you can resume exactly where you left off.

You can choose between three crop modes for how the video fits the screen. There’s 5.1 channel virtualization and subtitle support, as well.

You can also change font size and adjust subtitle sync (move them back or forth in time) but there’s no option to manually load subtitles; they have to have the same filename as the video file to load properly.

The video player handled most videos we threw at it with ease. DivX and XviD videos at 720p resolution weren't a problem, but 720p h.264 lagged. The player had no trouble with sound codecs (most other phones choke on AC3 or DTS sound).

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Don’t let the video player’s simplistic interface deceive you

Satisfying audio output

The Samsung I9103 Galaxy R did quite well in our audio quality test. The Tegra 2-packing smartphone wasn't particularly loud, but it was almost as clean as we have seen them come.

When used with an active external amplifier the Galaxy R is really great. As you can see from the table below every aspect of its performance is flawless. The only thing you might not particularly like is the below average loudness, but that's hardly a huge issue here.

What's even better, there's not too much degradation to be heard when you plug in a pair of headphones. The main thing to notice is stereo crosstalk which gets average and the intermodulation distortion, which drops from great to good. Frequency reponse is virtually unaffected and the volume levels are average here, so it's a pretty solid performance overall. There are smartphones with better audio output out there, but the differences really aren't huge.

Check out the table and see for yourself.

TestFrequency responseNoise levelDynamic rangeTHDIMD + NoiseStereo crosstalk
Samsung I9103 Galaxy R+0.03, -0.04-89.989.90.014 0.018-90.0
Samsung I9103 Galaxy R (headphones attached)+0.38, -0.10-84.890.00.0093 0.255-54.8
Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II+0.04, -0.09-91.491.90.0042 0.066-89.7
Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II (headphones attached)+1.05, -0.22-90.090.20.013 0.647-49.4
Samsung Galaxy Nexus+0.11, -0.69-90.690.60.0085 0.014-91.8
Samsung Galaxy Nexus (headphones attached)+0.41, -0.61-89.589.50.097 0.267-63.5
Samsung Galaxy Note N7000+0.04, -0.08-90.488.90.0044 0.066-87.4
Samsung Galaxy Note N7000 (headphones attached)+0.12, -0.06-89.788.40.0084 0.112-51.6
HTC Sensation (headphones attached)+0.71, -0.15-89.190.10.019 0.522-70.6
HTC Sensation+0.05, -0.34-90.290.20.012 0.021-91.1

Samsung I9103 Galaxy R frequency response
Samsung I9103 Galaxy R frequency response

You can learn more about the whole testing process here.

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