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Samsung i7500 Galaxy review



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Samsung i7500 Galaxy
  • Samsung i7500 Galaxy
  • Samsung i7500 Galaxy
  • Samsung i7500 Galaxy
  • Samsung i7500 Galaxy
  • Samsung i7500 Galaxy
  • Samsung i7500 Galaxy
  • Samsung i7500 Galaxy
  • Samsung i7500 Galaxy
  • Samsung i7500 Galaxy
  • Samsung i7500 Galaxy
  • Samsung i7500 Galaxy


Our Score:


We always said Google's Android mobile phone operating system had great potential and it would only be a matter of time before the perfect hardware would come along to make it truly shine. Well, with it sporting a large AMOLED screen, a slim candybar form factor, 5-megapixel camera with flash and autofocus, 3.5mm headphone jack, and 8GB of onboard storage as well as a memory card slot, the Samsung i7500 Galaxy certainly looks like it could just be that handset.

Coming off the back of reviewing the highly stylised Palm Pre, first impressions of the Galaxy are a little underwhelming. While its design is certainly classy - unlike many of the more toy-like Android handsets we've previously seen - it just feels a little too boxy and lacks a truly cohesive design. The mass of buttons on the front and various other flaps, buttons, and holes round the sides also make it look a little cluttered. Now, don't get us wrong, we're not averse to taking substance over style but for those of you who like your accessories to make an impact this might be one to avoid.

Another disappointment is build quality. While many have reported that the screen is made of super tough and scratch-resistant glass, it is in fact just a very hard plastic. Now, it's certainly going to be more scratch-resistant than soft plastic screens but still nowhere near the level of a glass screen. The back is also fairly flimsy glossy black plastic so will scratch very easily. Samsung does, however, include a basic soft pouch that is nice and slim, fits the phone snugly, and has a smooth finish so is easy to get in and out of pockets.

In contrast, the buttons on the front all have a nice brushed finish and are large (or in the case of the little one on the right, sufficiently raised) so easy to hit and they have a nice positive break to them so you know when you've pressed them.

While they are easy to reach, the buttons themselves aren't without fault. While we think dropping the trackball of all other Android handsets and replacing it with a D-pad makes sense, we wish Samsung had thought about dropping some of the other extra buttons as well. In particular, we don't see the need for a separate home button (the little one) as well as ones for back and call end/power. The side-mounted lock button also seems superfluous and is certainly very frustrating - this phone seems to have a mind of its own when it comes to locking and unlocking it (to the point of many a swear word passing my lips in exasperation). We much prefer the simplified layout of the T-Mobile Pulse with its combined lock/power button on the side and home/back button on the front.

At 12mm thick, the Galaxy is on the slim side for a phone of its calibre and its width of 56mm is quite narrow too. Combined with fairly straight sides, this makes it easy to grip securely (unlike the iPhone's slippery curved sides), which somewhat makes up for the unwieldiness that results from a significant height of 115mm. The key, though, is handling this phone never requires you to stretch awkwardly, as the important buttons all fall within easy reach, so it's easy to use one-handed. It's also a little lighter than many large touchscreen smartphones at just 116g.

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October 19, 2009, 7:00 am

I have this phone, quite impressed by it, the screen is awesome. I keep thinking I have it on full brightness when it's always pretty much on its lowest. I find the battery life pretty dysmal though but maybe that's cos I just got it and been testing out all the features. I've gotten used to the keyboard but I read somewhere you can replace it with a HTC one.


October 19, 2009, 1:02 pm

Stick sense on this with a capacitive screen and it'd be ace.


October 19, 2009, 1:21 pm

Pretty sure that the screen on this one is capacitive too. The use of plastic instead of glass doesn't distinguish between the two screen types, you know.


October 19, 2009, 1:42 pm

@sockatume: No, really?...

It's resistive.


October 19, 2009, 2:18 pm

The screen isn't resistive, it's capacitive. (Will admit its tricky to find definitive specs, but everyone else seems to think it's capacitive.)

Anyway, the fact that it can be activated with the gentle press of a finger but not with the (firmer, even) press of a pen or other blunt instrument is sufficient of a test, right?


October 19, 2009, 2:39 pm

@mwardm: Many places have also said the screen is glass and it most certainly isn't. I'll admit, I didn't do the pen test because it just seemed self evident to me that this screen was in fact resistive; it didn't respond to the lightest of touches and a little bit of pressure was required to elicit a response. Comparing it to the T-Mobile G1, the difference was like night and day. Whatever technology it uses, it's rubbish.


October 19, 2009, 2:53 pm

"Whatever technology it uses, it's rubbish"

LOL - That's the sort of shoot-from-hip review I like...more of the same please!


October 19, 2009, 3:58 pm

Capacitive screens are like laptop touchpads, you can calibrate them to different levels of responsiveness, essentially what surface area of the sensor has to be activated before it'll register a touch. I can crank up the sensitivity threshold on my laptop touchpad until it needs a firm press with a thumb before it'll respond, that doesn't suddenly make it resistive.

As has been pointed out, the trivial way to see if a screen is capacitive is to prod it with a blunt piece of plastic. If it responds, it's resistive.


October 19, 2009, 3:59 pm

Just a heads-up: I spoke today to O2's retentions department and they said that the HTC HD2 will be available on contract from sometime around 3 pm today - they haven't been given the go-ahead yet @ 12pm.

I nearly plumbed for The Galaxy a while back, glad I held off now.


October 19, 2009, 4:04 pm

Are you going to go back and correct the review of the Pulse too, then? :p


October 19, 2009, 4:18 pm

It's capacitive, or 'ecran capacitif' in French. Click on 'Specifications' at the top right:


But, as I think Ed is trying to point out, does it really matter? It's rubbish either way. I think this is an interesting example of how capacitive screens aren't necessarily a good thing.


October 19, 2009, 5:04 pm

please, Ed, don't make a fool of you and let Trusted Reviews' reviews to be really trusted. you're making the same mistake that you did at the t-mobile pulse review. both devices have a capacitive touch screen for sure.


October 19, 2009, 5:55 pm

Chris, it's a great example of that, but the review doesn't reflect it. If TrustedReviews' policy is that an even slightly imperfect touchscreen must be resistive (as on the Pulse), the average reader is going to go away with the corollary that any phone that says "Capacitive!" on its spec sheet is going to be nearly perfect touch-wise.


October 19, 2009, 7:30 pm

Incidentally, it's worth pointing out that multi-touch support in Android has little to do with screen tech at the moment and a lot to do with the OS itself. Most Android handsets are capacitive and should support multi-touch, but Android simply does not support it yet. HTC has "baked it in" on their version of the OS but it isn't something you should expect on other manufacturers' handsets, regardless of screen tech.


October 19, 2009, 7:40 pm

Hi All, I've just double checked with both Samsung and T-Mobile and can confirm that the Galaxy is actually capacitive so I will amend the article accordingly. The Pulse, however, is resistive.


October 19, 2009, 8:05 pm

I've had this phone for about 5 days now, it's capacitive (although you've worked this out now). I don't have any problems with the screen, although I agree the Samsung keyboard is a bit of a pain to use - I'm slowly getting used to it though. The lock button also gives me occasional problems, although it's better than it was a month ago from reports of other users who had older firmware. I think it'll be much better once 1.6 (donut) and a couple more firmware updates come out for it.

However I plan to install Galaxhero onto it (once I work out the guide) to get all the benefits of the HTC SenseUI


That all said, the Motorola Sholes (Droid) that was just announced over the weekend with Android 2, slide out keyboard (but still pretty thin) & faster processor is making me consider returning this and waiting another month or so for it.

Tim 11

October 19, 2009, 9:30 pm

I've had this phone since it was first released in the UK. The screen for me is extremely responsive and only requires very gental touches to respond and certainly doesn't require pressure like you said in the review.

There have been only 2 problems i've had with the galaxy. One was the extremely annoying lock button. However with a recent update the time you need to hold the button to unlock the handset has been reduced, which helps alot but still isn't perfect. The 2nd problem was the keyboard which i just couldn't get used to, in the end i download an app called TouchPal and use the QWERTY style keyboard which i find so much easier to use.

Apart from that i love the galaxy, it's very quick and the screen is beautiful!


October 20, 2009, 6:10 pm

i hope that it's not against the rules of this site to link another review. here's engadget's review of the pulse which claims that the screen is capacitive.


they even made the stylus test and it didn't respond to it's touches. the reviewer himself mocked trusted reviews in the comments for stating that the pulse has a resistive screen.


October 20, 2009, 7:15 pm

Well, in case anyone was wondering, I can guarantee 100% that the HTC Tattoo uses a resistive screen.

And to be honest, I assumed the Pulse was the same because they look almost the same apart from a few buttons switched around.


October 20, 2009, 11:34 pm


The Pulse and Tatoo are very different and made by different manufaturers though. Pulse has a much larger screen too. Looks all round much better than the Tattoo and way better value.


October 20, 2009, 11:50 pm

I don't think there was ever any doubt about the Tattoo, given that it was in the spec and HTC told everybody that it was resistive.

I wouldn't say the Pulse looks all that similar, given that it's pretty huge by comparison. Certainly they're both more like bars of soap than the usual sleek or chinny motifs that Android handsets go for.


October 22, 2009, 3:11 pm

@sippet: There's no debate here. The Pulse is resistive. I've double checked with T-Mobile.

Simon 15

October 26, 2009, 9:50 pm

Is having the "barebones" OS worse than having the OS loaded with rubbish which most manufacturers do?

I think its slightly unfair on that point.


October 26, 2009, 9:57 pm

Well, if you read the review again, you'll see I don't particularly mark down the Galaxy for having a barebones OS but rather for what Samsung has done, which is make the keyboard near unuseable.


November 9, 2009, 7:39 pm

"There's no debate here. The Pulse is resistive. I've double checked with T-Mobile."

It's capacitive. The only outlets claiming otherwise are about three trade-show hands-on reports and reprints of your article here. Don't patronise your readers, especially if you're not compentent enough to be correct in the first place. They haven't magically invented a resistive screen which ignores everything but fingers.

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