Under the bonnet, the Galaxy W relies on a 1.4Ghz Snapdragon processor. This is backed up by 512MB of RAM. While obviously not as fast as the S2, it certainly doesn’t hang around when it comes to performance. Menus flick effortless by, apps open in the blink of an eye and generally everything keeps rolling along with an above average lick of speed. We certainly can’t see anyone complaining about this phone feeling sluggish. Go to a graphically heavy webpage, or one that runs flash, and you’ll get some slow down but these moments are infrequent enough not to irritate.
Call quality was on the whole very good too, and battery life, while not amazing, is pretty much in line with other Android devices, so you’ll get around a day to a day and a half out of it before it needs a recharge.
The phone runs Android version 2.3.5 (Gingerbread), but as with all of Samsung’s Android phones the company has added its TouchWiz user interface over the top. It offers a slightly different look to the vanilla Android interface and some elements of the UI heave differently. For example, the home button takes you to the first of your home screens rather than the middle one, and to unlock the phone you swipe away a lock screen picture. Not only are neither of these feature improvements but we can’t say we’re massive fans of Touchwiz’s slightly duller and flatter look, either.
Samsung has also added a few extra apps including AllShare for streaming media from the phone to Samsung TVs or other DLNA devices, a great video player (it played Xvid and HD MKV files without any problems) and a collection of Hubs (Social, Music, and Games). The Social hubs is essential a unified inbox for social networking, while the other two hubs are shops for music tracks and games.
When it comes to snappers, the Galaxy W actually has two cameras. The front facing camera is designed for video calling in apps like GoogleTalk and only has a VGA resolution, while if you flip the phone over and you’ll see the 5.0megapixel camera staring out at you. Next to the lens is a single LED flash to help the sensor out when it’s shooting in low light, and the camera also has autofocus.
Its results are actually reasonably impressive. Colours are captured fairly accurately and detail levels are generally pretty good. Naturally, You don’t get the detail of 8 megapixel shooters and under low light images tend to look a bit noisy, but they’re a lot less noisy than those taken on many of its competitors.
The camera can also be used to shoot video at resolutions of up to 720P HD. As with most of the 720p capable cameras we’ve used on smartphones the resulting video isn’t fantastic. In mostly static videos there are good levels of detail, but as soon as you start to move around detail and resolution drops off a cliff.
The Samsung Galaxy W isn’t perhaps the prettiest Android phone out there, but it turns out to be a pretty nifty handset to use. It’s comfortable to hold, has a good screen and camera, and its 1.4Ghz processor keeps things moving at a spritely pace. Add in the fact that it’s available at very modest price either on PAYG or contract and you’ve got a very appealing package.