The Samsung Galaxy Young doesn't do anything profoundly different compared to its predecessor, the Galaxy Y. An HVGA screen and a 1GHz processor are actually the least you would expect, considering the two models are almost two years apart.
The Galaxy Young has a dual-SIM version too, which seems to be the trend these days in the Android low-end. At €20 more than the standard package, the Galaxy Young Duos is a tempting offer. The single-SIM version is priced at under €140 in Europe and other markets shouldn't be too far off.
Of course, at that price you can't expect the Young to break any speed records. The 1GHz single-core CPU and 768MB of RAM are actually more than enough to ensure a smooth ride around Jelly Bean and TouchWiz. In fact, the recent software is one of the phone's major advantages be we doubt it Samsung will put much effort into updating the Young beyond this line.
This means you are getting exactly what you paid for. No more, no less. Still, it would be nice to see what the competition has to offer for this kind of money, before cashing out.
The Xperia E is Sony's direct response to the Galaxy Young, packing the same CPU, a 3MP camera and a slightly larger 3.5" screen of the same HVGA resolution. Sony's entry has a little less RAM, but also runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. It also has its own dual SIM twin, too. Ultimately, it will be brand loyalty, personal taste and the availability of carrier deals to decide this one.
The second generation of the LG's L series offers a couple of alternatives, too. Actually, in terms of specs and price tag, the Galaxy Young is sandwiched between the L3 II and the L5 II. The L3 II is, of course, a lot closer, the lower QVGA screen resolution being the only notable difference.
Having checked out some affordable Androids, the cheapest WP8-powered competition seems to be making a seriously strong case. The Nokia Lumia 520 easily beats the above selection by offering a dual-core CPU (of the Krait variety, no less) and 720p video recording, in addition to more than twice the pixels on the screen. The Lumia 520 costs about the same as the Galaxy Young too, so unless the relatively limited app selection in the Windows Phone Store is a deal-breaker, it's definitely a must-consider.
Unfortunately, the Galaxy Young doesn't really push the bottom of the Android smartphone pricing. Instead, it only replaces an older model in the same price segment. In the same time, last year's midrange smartphone prices have taken a good plunge and today, you can have them for just a little more than the asking price of a commitment-free Galaxy Young.
The Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus S7500 (140€) and the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 I8160 (€160) both have bigger screens, better cameras and both have been promised a Jelly Bean ticket straight out of Gingerbread land. For us, screen size is paramount to having a good and rewarding Android experience, so the small price difference is well worth it.
The Galaxy Young is an easy package to live with if you approach it with the right attitude. Of course you can't expect to be getting a Galaxy S4 for the fraction of the price. We're talking a totally different set of users and, most likely, completely different markets as well. The Galaxy Young couldn't have been clearer about its target demographic. And it looks like the right thing for first-time smartphone users.