Samsung's Galaxy S2 may be the most desirable Android handset on the market at the moment thanks to its massive screen and ferocious dual core performance, but those features demand a high price that not everyone can afford. This is partly why Samsung has created the Galaxy W. It has a more standard-sized 3.7inch screen and a relatively modest single core processor, but it's also much more affordable as you can pick it up for around £228 SIM free and for free on a £22 a month contract from Three, who supplied our test handset.
Samsung's Android phones have never looked particularly beautifully – even the styling of the S2 is a little bit ho-hum in our opinion and sadly the Galaxy W doesn't do anything to change this.
Naturally, a large share of the front of the phone is given over to the 3.7inch capacitive touch screen, but there's a silver Samsung logo sitting above it. Below the screen you'll find the physical home button and touch buttons for standard Android menu and back keys. The edges around the glass of the display are plastic, but have been given a brushed metal look, while the back battery cover has a matte black finish with dimples stamped into it to make it a bit more grippy to hold. We also tend to prefer these rough finishes as they tend to hide scratches better.
Rather than placing the lock button at the top of the phone like many of its Android brethren, Samsung has shifted it to the right hand edge, so it's less of a stretch to get to when you've got it cradled in your palm. The left hand side is home to a volume button, while at the top there's a standard 3.5mm headphone jack and a microUSB port hidden behind a small plastic sliding cover. The back can be prized off via a small notch at the bottom to reveal the microSD card slot, as well as the removable battery.
Overall, while we wouldn’t describe it as flimsy, the phone feels very light to hold. This of course has its advantages but it doesn't give the phone the solid feel of many of HTC's Android offerings for instance. The battery cover, in particular, feels quite plasticky. It is comfortable to use, though, as the smaller screen means it's not as wide or tall as the S2 and the curved edges add to that comfort factor.
Rather than the Super AMOLED technology used for the S2's screen, the Galaxy W makes do with a standard LCD display. However, it's still an excellent screen and one of the phone's stronger points. Its resolution of 480x800 pixels means that pixel density is average but still good for a 3.7inch screen and as a result text looks sharp. It's bright too and its colours are warm, helping to give pictures graphics and videos a pleasingly natural look. Whites really do look white, rather than taking on the blue-ish tinge that you see on AMOLED displays, including those used on the S2 and Nokia Lumia 800.