While Nokia seems to be faltering in Africa, especially where the high-end market is concerned, Samsung is getting it right. Let’s face it, the Samsung Galaxy S II is the phone to beat this year. Launched late last year, its screen size, processing power and memory are the benchmark for the competitors such as the iPhone 4S, the LG Optimus, the Sony Experia Arc etc. I’m not saying it’s the best (this is an objective term), but it’s the one setting the standards!
We are still waiting for Nokia to deliver on the high-end Windows phones, so we can compare. The iPhone 4S was launched in Kenya last week, for the asking price of 16GB model at KSh 74,899, 32GB model at KSh 87,999 and the 64GB model at KSh 101,499. The S II 16GB is selling at 60K, I’d say value for money.
When it comes to the mid-level phones, Samsung should make more sales this year with the many variants of the Galaxy in the market, including the Galaxy Mini (which everyone seems to have). This phone is an alternative to the Huwaei Ideos, which is painstakingly slow in response. The Galaxy Mini is an improvement in performance, even though the resolution is compromised. The phone goes for about Kshs. 13000
For the lower-level phones, where Nokia dominates (every mulika-mwizi is a Nokia), Samsung introduced dual-SIM phones. While Nokia dual-SIMs have normal keypads, the Samsung Ch@t 322 and a new model, Ch@t 222 are QWERTY phones. Makes for faster texting.
If you have used 2go, WhatsApp, Blackberry Messenger etc, you are already know what messaging apps are all about. I like the Samsung ChatON User Interface, very pleasant. It gives WhatsApp competition. It is available for all Samsung phones, so you can download it from the Android market or from Samsung Apps for those using Bada. It comes pre-installed in the Ch@t 222 phone.
I think it will be an exciting year and I’m looking forward to the phone wars that will bring down prices for consumers while increasing the benchmark for quality phones!
Meet Lexxy, my new Samsung Galaxy Mini. Goodbye BI- Black Ideot, my lovely ex. Thanks to Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore for that one! (Although I did change BI’s cover to yellow).
This is a phone I’d call the smartphone of Africa. It’s affordable and offers a lot of features for its asking price of Kshs. 12,999. You can find it in Safaricom shops where you get 200MB of data recurring every month for 3 months.
The phone runs on the Android 2.2 platform, which is basically the same as the Huawei Ideos U8150. I would actually it’s closest competitor is the Huawei Ideos which retails for much cheaper and offers almost everything that’s possible on the Android platform, if only with a number of compromises. So my review will compare the two phones. Besides, it’s only natural since my ex is an Ideos.
Both the Ideos and The Galaxy Mini run on the android 2.2 platform, giving both access to hundreds of thousands of apps available on the android market right now. They range from photo editing apps, to social networking apps, to document viewers/editors, media players/converters.. basically everything you can think of. It’s like the rule 34, but now for apps. At this point you might wanna Google rule 34 but I digress.
There is also a Samsung Apps market but truth be told I haven’t checked it out because everything can be found on the Android market.
Both phones have GPS, GPRS, 3.2 Megapixel Cameras (although the Samsung produces much better photographs than the Ideos, much better), Wifi, 3G, HSPDA for data access, tethering and hotspot, microSD support of up to 32GB (both come with a 2GB memory card), micro-USB port/cable, 3.5mm audio jack (so you can use most earphones, it’s like the standard in Kenya), 600MHz processor, 200MB, radio and the other usual features.
Let us just say that most of the differences are in the hardware of the phones.. If you want to see a full list of the features, please check out the GSMArena description; Samsung Galaxy Mini and Huawei Ideos U8150
Colour, Size and Screen Resolution
The Samsung Galaxy Mini is bigger but slimmer and lighter than the Huawei Ideos. The Ideos comes in pink, yellow, blue and black BACK covers, the rest of the phone is black. The galaxy mini comes in black/silver back colours with a lime green trim.
An Ideos fits perfectly in my hand but the mini is a bit of stretch. Also because of size, it’s faster and more accurate to type on the mini than on the Ideos so all those people with the fat-fingers-vs-touch-screens-syndrome will have an easier time
The screen resolution is the same for both: 240 by 320 pixels. HOWEVER, since the screen of the galaxy mini is bigger, it appears pixelleted (I hope this is a real word). This is when you can actually see individual pixels of the display!
So the galaxy mini’s screen compensates by having a higher contrast of colours and brighter display. Still… it makes me kind of miss my smooth-looking Ideos display.
I read a blog review that said the galaxy mini has the lowest resolution and Android phone can actually sink to!
Battery Life/Talk Time
The mini (by now I can drop the galaxy part) has almost double the talk time of the Ideos. With my usage, I used to get low-battery warnings every 3 hours, but with the mini it’s like 6 hours. So just know that the mini’s battery is roughly twice as better as the Ideos, and by better I mean longer lasting.
The Ideos has a weak media player.. if I can use the word weak. The mini has a robust music player/radio that makes listening to it so enjoyable, it is loud without compromising quality. Almost like listening to a surround hi-fi system when your earphones are plugged in.
So whenever I got a call/text/gchat, the Ideos indicator light flashed green. If I got a violet flash, that was a WhatsApp chat. If the battery went low, it flashed red. If it was charging, it continuously glowed red, and as it neared full, it glowed green.
However with the mini, I have to swipe and unlock the screen so I can see my notifications. I miss that feature on the Ideos.
Remember how we used to switch on computers, go make a cup of tea and come back to find it still hasn’t finished booting up? Well, the same happens with the Ideos. It takes more than a minute to come back to life! Something I definitely don’t miss. This can be an agonizing wait in an age where we love instant stuff..
The mini has a much more friendly waiting time. Less than 15 seconds (okay I didn’t time it but the time factor is ignorable-if I could say that).
Other differences include:
Colour-differentiated text threads on the galaxy mini which makes them look better than the Ideos ones.. but I think this might be a theme thing I’ll confirm.
The extra green/red buttons on the Ideos are missing on the mini but that doesn’t affect much really.
The mini supports multi-touch, meaning you can pinch to zoom in/out of a document on the browser or a picture.
The mini supports more screens than the fixed 5 screens of the Ideos. You can add/delete screens which you can’t do on the Ideos.
The camera for the mini is better, clearer.. however, it has NO ZOOM! I don’t expect an optical zoom but it should support a digital zoom like the Ideos though with the poor quality Ideos camera maybe it doesn’t matter. Both cameras have no auto-focus or flash.
Yes. It’s bigger, slimmer, lighter, faster, longer-lasting battery, better camera etc. There is a slight hardware improvement from the Ideos. Also, the Ideos is now too common, probably your watchie is spotting one! I know people who want affordable style, a smartphone but not an Ideos. This is the phone for you.
The Galaxy Mini is retailing for 13K while the Huawei Ideos U8150 goes for 8K. Depending on your budget, make a choice!