Expert Review of Samsung Galaxy R
In general, Samsung Galaxy R is a GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz frequency operated device with 3G with HSPA support. This touchscreen bar phone is the obvious winning formula. Its 4.2 inches wide, 16M-color SC-LCD capacitive touchscreen, dual-core 1GHz ARM Cortex-A9 processor, GeForce GPU and Tegra 2 chipset are the most powerful assets. Samsung Galaxy R is very proportionate in its design. It’s so ergonomic, primarily due to its tapered edges, that it can be held in hands with utmost ease. The premium quality material is used in making of Samsung Galaxy R. The front touch-display is quite sturdy and is made up of scratch resistant glass completely. It also packs inside 1650mAh battery, built-in accelerometer, multitouch input, proximity sensor, Swype text input, Office document viewer/editor, 1GB RAM, 2GB ROM, 8GB storage, and further more expandable memory via a microSD card slot. It runs the Android OS, v2.3.3 Gingerbread with TouchWiz 4.0 UI layer. The 5-megapixel auto-focus camera has face detection, geotagging capabilities, and its 1.3MP front-facing camera supports video calls. Its camera easily does a 720p video recording also. For data connectivity, entertainment and more, there is Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP, standard microUSB port, GPS receiver with A-GPS, 3.5mm audio jack and FM radio.
User Interface and UI functionality
The Samsung Galaxy R with Tegra 2 and SC-LCD screens instead of new generation SuperAMOLED Plus saves money as the AMOLED panels are precious. Yet, it’s screen is pretty bright and offers good image quality and viewing angles. The black background is not very clear and deep as on a SuperAMOLED unit, but quite good as per the LCD standards. This can be owned to its TouchWiz UI 4.0 layer. The Samsung Galaxy Galaxy R runs the Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread software coupled with TouchWiz 4.0 lives customizations. Users will also be able to access 7 editable home-screens and all these can be populated with widgets, which may not be necessarily used all at once. The numbered dots identify the home-screen panes and also serve as a scroll bar. It is fun to pinch to zoom out and add or delete homescreens. A press and hold on any homescreen (or Menu, Add) lets you pick one of the four ways to customize the homescreen – add widgets, add shortcuts or folders, or change wallpaper. While editing homescreen, users can look for all the widgets that are docked at the bottom and scroll horizontally. It is a 3D eye candy. While for the shortcuts and folders, vertically scrollable grids can be used. You can remove or edit four buttons docked at the bottom of the homescreen of the Galaxy R except the home button. They stay as it is even when the menu is opened.
The ever accessible notification area of Samsung Galaxy R has five switches for Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, sound, GPS, and rotation-lock. There’s the task manager also that terminate apps and clear RAM. There are three Android keys below the display. There is a touch-sensitive menu and also some back buttons on either side of a hardware home key. The menu key also serves as a dedicated search key as it activates the task switcher when pressed for long.
A total of four new Hubs have been added to this Android superphone. Its Social hub combines email accounts with social networking (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and IM accounts (Gtalk, Yahoo! Messenger, MSN) and shows all incoming messages (even the filtered one) as one list with handy shortcuts and help manage the inflow of incoming updates. Its Readers Hub helps users to subscribe to Internet newspapers, magazines, etc. of extensive genres or buy e-books and download free book previews.
All in all, the hardware of the phone and performance of the software is very good.
The Galaxy R is a bit hefty due to its metallic inlay that also makes it feel very solid. At 9.5mm thickness and 135gm weight, it’s a little chubby. It’s not very wide and tall despite its huge 4.2” screen. The phone has a plastic back cover with a metallic inlay, brushed with metal finish, and that whole needs to be removed to reach the battery.
For the fun and frolic, Samsung Galaxy R has the Music Hub that lets users browse and preview music online and buy song tracks or whole albums. The audio-music quality heard on Samsung Galaxy R is quite enthralling as the music output is via its 3.5 mm audio jack. Its advanced Android music player can run MP3/OGG/AAC/AAC+/eAAC+/AMR-NB/AMR-WB, WMA, WAV, MID, AC3, IMY, FLAC, XMF.
The smartphone, Samsung Galaxy R, has dual camera. The 5 MP camera clicks pictures in 2592 X 1944 pixels, has LED flash and pictures can be viewed in JPEG, PNG, GIF, WBMP, BMP, AGIF image formats. It can also shoot 720p videos and its video player allows users to play and record in MPEG4, H.264, H.263, WMV, DivX, Xvid, and VC-1 video formats. The front-facing 1.3 MP secondary camera enables video chats on this phone.
An 8MP camera and 1080p video recording was desired but if sticking to the 5MP/720p camera specs means lesser price, then there is no rationality in compalining.
Pictures and Video quality
Samsung Galaxy R offers plenty of camera features and these include face/smile detection effects, geotagging, scene modes, manual controls for ISO, and metering mode, etc. Sadly, the touch-focus and blink detection features are missing.
The camera has a LED flash but nothing protects its lens or its physical shutter key. Its software has been updated but its user interface is identical to the other already available Samsung smartphones. The camera interface has two shortcut bars on each side of the viewfinder and their is familiar customizable panel on its left for four shortcuts. The Galaxy R camera has controlled the noise levels considerably while video recording and there’s every intricate detail in the captured 5 megapixels shots. The 1.3 megapixels video camera is identical to the still camera. Video camera records 720p videos.
Samsung Galaxy R has a familiar and a great web browser that seriously impresses us and that is largely due to its screen and its software that produces smooth zooming and scrolling. The interface of the browser follows Google’s policy of minimalism. Users observe an address bar at the top with a bookmarks shortcut next to it while the other controls are accessible with the Menu key. The browser supports pinch zooming, double taps, two-finger tilt zoom, text reflow, multiple tabs, find on page, etc.
Disappointingly, the Flash in the browser doesn’t gel with the Tegra 2 chipset in the Galaxy R. Nevertheless, device very well handle 480p YouTube videos. However,720p HD videos are beyond the reach of the phone's browser. GPS-based navigation is performed on Samsung Galaxy R via its internal A-GPS receiver.
Internal and External Memory
Samsung Galaxy R has plenty of RAM and this Android handset handles all your data pretty well inside it. There is an 8 GB internal memory, 1 GB RAM, 2 GB ROM, and it also supports placement of a compatible 32 GB microSD card inside it.
Applications and Gaming
TouchWiz 4.0 UI of Samsung Galaxy R gathers and synchronizes various apps and themes over it. The handset facilitates playing of various games. In fact, even heavy graphics games may be played quite easily on this device. The Game Hub combined with downloaded NVIDIA’s Tegra Zone apps makes this device a true mobile gaming fans desire. It helps users find the best games optimized for the Tegra chipset specifically as Galaxy R has it. The game titles are segregated into “Social” and “Premium” games. There’s a trial option and it also includes the titles by Gameloft, which are otherwise not available on the Android market.
The Galaxy R smartphone is very responsive and its Tegra 2 chipset performs superbly well. Therefore, the battery of Samsung Galaxy R, having a huge 1650 mAh capacity, can definitely churn out a lot. It delivers 9 hours of talk time and 620 hours standby time.
Samsung Galaxy R has Bluetooth v3.0, DLNA, and Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n for data connectivity. It is indeed a good 3G device with HSDPA support.
HTC Vigor (or HTC Rezound 4G) is a similar Android Gingerbread smartphone available in the market and it can easily compete with the Samsung Galaxy R smartphone. HTC Vigor sports a 4.3-inch 1280 x 720 pixels resolution 720p HD display. It runs the brand new HTC Sense 3.5 UI running on top of Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread. It also kind of matches the Samsung device in shape, size, and dimensions, a great deal. It boasts of a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 16GB of internal storage,1GB of RAM, an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera.