Tag Archives: Samsung

The Samsung Galaxy Pocket

I am sure everyone has heard of this phone somehow. From radio adverts, to TV ones, to posters.. the Samsung Galaxy Pocket is the ultimate budget smartphone.

The Samsung Galaxy Pocket. Image from http://mobileraptor.blogspot.com


Here is What I love About the Phone

Slim, sleek design

It’s a relatively small phone, and fits perfectly in your hand. I guess it’s called the pocket because it can easily fit in any pocket without the huge bulge some phones give you!

Brilliant Resolution

It has a screen size of 2.8 inches but a good resolution. The display is smooth and fluid (sounds like PR words I know!) but it’s the truth. There is just no other way to describe it, the display is fair to look upon!

Responsiveness and performance

By now you know I’m firmly #teamSamsung and to quote someone who blogged about Samsung phones:

The new Samsung phones ni kama madem wa Campo. Una-touch, inafungua. Una-touch, inafungua. No delays

The phone will give you a good performance with an internal memory of 3GB and allows you to have a memory card of up to 32GB. This is huge internal memory, the Galaxy Y Duos I’m using has only 160MB of memory for my apps, it’s already full and slows down on me at times and I had to uninstall some apps. The Galaxy Pocket has 3GB of internal memory, you can download as many apps as you want and performance will not be affected.

Camera

The Galaxy Pocket comes with 2 MegaPixel camera, which takes reasonably good photos. With good lighting, you can take printable pics.

Cost

The phone goes for Kshs.9,999. It’s the cheapest Android phone with the best performance. Enough said.

You can read the full specifications of the phone on GSM Arena

I’d recommend this phone to anyone who’s never used a smartphone before. It is a perfect beginner’s phone. I would also recommend it to to anyone who has a budget of 10K and is wondering which phone to buy!

The Samsung Galaxy Y Duos and Y Pro Duos

The problem we have been having as Kenyans is lack of a dual-SIM high end phone. Most dual-SIMs tend to be on the lower end, non-smartphones, and if you’re lucky some kind of Edge connection.

Samsung (I am now firmly #teamSamsung) has the perfect phone for you: an Android smartphone with Dual-SIM capability. If you have been wondering how to try other networks for data, voice, SMS without losing the functionality of your smartphone, you can now do that very easily; while maintaining your previous line. That’s how I got to try out Orange data, which I’m still using.

The Galaxy Y Duos and the Galaxy Y Pro Duos. Image from fonearena.com

I have used both phones, and will review both in one post so you can pick one that’s most suited for your needs. First though, here is what they have in common:

Android v2.3 Gingerbread

Both phones come installed with Android 2.3 Gingerbread, which gives you good performance and a fluid user experience. It means your phone is easier to use, very responsive and looks good too! You are also likely to find a wider range of apps compatible with Android 2.3 and above.

Camera

Both phones have rear cameras with 3.15 MP producing up to 2048×1536 pixels photos. With good lighting, the photos can be of good enough quality.

You can check out some photos I took with the Galaxy Y on this post about Harambee Stars:

A view of the Kasarani Stadium during the match. Photo taken by the galaxy Y Duos

Battery Life

This is a very important feature in a smartphone; even more crucial in a smartphone that is dual-SIM. What drains your battery most is that constant communication with the network that your phone must maintain, unless you have a phone with a huge screen (like the S II) where the screen becomes the chief battery consumer.

Both phones have standard battery, Li-Ion of about 1300 mAh. They can last up two days of both networks on, and data switched on. You can survive a full-day of intensive use.

Memory

Both phones have an internal memory of 160 MB (which can be quickly filled up by apps), 512 MB ROM, 384 MB RAM.

The external memory (memory card) is expandable up to 16GB, but the phone comes with a 2GB memory card.


What Android Offers

(If you understand Android, you can skip this part.)

A lot of people, I have discovered, still don’t understand the hype around smart-phones in general and Android in particular. Here is some of what Android offers:

  • Wi-Fi

    If your office/coffee joint/hotel has (free) wireless internet, you can also connect to it on your phone and download apps, update your apps etc. This is especially important if you have applications that are big (5MB upwards), or if you require to do something with a fast internet connection. Wi-Fi networks can do up to 300Mbps (theoretically), while 3G networks offer up to 42 Mbps (theortically). Just know wi-fi offers you faster speeds than 3G networks most of the time!

  • Ability to use your phone as a modem

    With an Android phone, there is no need to get a modem. Your phone can act as your internet access point. This can be done via USB (takes less power, connects to only one computer) or via wireless hotspot. If you create a hotspot, you can support up to 8 devices on your internet (devices can be computers, other phones, or tablets).

  • Multi-tasking

    The ability to multi-task is one big advantage of smartphones. It means if you receive a text while surfing, you don’t even have to stop what you are doing to read your text. E.g. if you are surfing on facebook with opera mini and you get a text, you can pull it down from the notifications bar, read the text, press the back button and you are exactly where you were before the text. Unlike the basic phone where you have to close down opera mini completely to read the text, and may even have to log in again.

  • Gmail Backup

    In order to use an Android phone effectively, you must have a gmail account. Yes I know Google wants to “own” you and your data, but it’s worth it. You can the download apps from Google Play (formerly Android market). It also backs up all your contacts on your gmail account so if you change phones, all you have to do is “sync” your gmail account and your contacts are in your new phone. Why do you think I switch phones so easily? :)

  • Access to Millions of Apps and Games

    If you can think of any app, it’s already been done. It’s like rule 34 for porn (don’t Google that). Bible apps, apps to read and edit office documents (powerpoint, pdf, word, excel), apps to prank your friends, apps to track your phone etc. Try them out.

    One of my best Google apps is the map!!! You can navigate to anywhere in the world, check out your village via satellite, even see cars packed on the street at the time when the satellite picture was taken. You can ask for directions to anywhere, and most of Nairobi is mapped (except Liddos- don’t Google that either, but that is a story for another day!!!)

    This was a screenshot I took while I was navigating to the Railways Museum for Binyavanga Wainaina's book launch. It had very precise directions!

    You can rotate the map to navigate better, you can even get walking directions. Make sure you are oriented in the right direction and do look up so you don’t bump into people!

  • Android offers this and much more..


What Dual-SIM offers

Now imagine you have all that on Android, and now you have a DUAL-SIM phone so you don’t have to carry around two phones. You don’t need a modem since you can tether with whichever SIM card you prefer.

Both SIM cards are active at the same time. You can receive calls/texts on either simultaneously. However, for data, you have to choose which SIM card to use.

A screenshot showing which SIM card you would like to use for data.

When replying to texts or calls, you can choose which SIM card to use. This can be done by easily selecting the SIM card from the drop down, or for the Pro Duos, there is a dedicated button to switch SIMs. You easily get the hang of this phone in a short phone.

A screenshot showing how easy it is to switch between which SIM card to use for voice and SMS

You can also choose whether to use 2G networks (which saves battery life), or for one SIM card to be on 3G (I advise you keep the data SIM to be permanently on 3G, and your voice/SMS line to be on 2G). I currently use Orange for Data, which I covered in this post.

If you are running low on battery, you can turn off the data SIM, make it inactive, so you can still use voice/SMS for another two or so hours.


Recommendation

So why would you pick either phone?

The Galaxy Y Pro Duos

Check out the detailed specifications here

The Samsung Galaxy Y Pro Duos. Image from phonesarchive.com

This phone is both QWERTY and touch-screen enabled. It’s suitable for someone who doesn’t like touch-screens or finds it cumbersome to type on touch-screen (sausage fingers LOL! Sorry for using LOL but it warrants in this case, I always picture someone typing one letter after another on the touchscreen).

It has a front-facing camera, great for taking self-portraits! This means you can do Skype with video calls.

It has a dedicated key for quickly switching between networks.

Cost: Kshs. 18,000

The Galaxy Y Duos

Check out the full specifications here

The Samsung Galaxy Y Duos and how it looks in your hand. Image from wiserbuddy.blogspot.com

Personally, I prefer an all-touch phone because it is sleek. Fits easily in my hand. Looks cooler. But that is just me.

The advantage with this phone is the screen size, it is much larger because it has no QWERTY.

I do miss the front camera though.

Cost: Kshs. 16,000

The Nokia C1-01: My Review

It’s been a while since I used a feature phone, let alone reviewed one. I used this phone for about 5 days while I waited to return to the sane world of smartphones.

This is Baby C, The Nokia C1-01. Image from paperpk.com

Opera Mini

It’s the cheapest phone with a ‘good’ internet connection that I could find. It comes pre-installed with opera mini so you can start surfing right away. It has an Edge connection (2G network) but it’s pretty decent for a phone that size because its data requirement is minimal. You can do the usual sites: facebook, twitter, gmail comfortably.

Camera

I don’t how many MP it has but either way, the pics are the type give you a headache when trying to view details, so let’s skip the review. It’s probably 1.2MP

Radio

I could listen to X FM pretty well, so can’t complain. Standard Nokia headphones, standard port so you can play music on external speakers.

Music

A good music player, and since it has a slot for a memory card, I could listen to music in peace on my way home to and from town. It’s a long journey to Utawala, and the bus usually has friendly people who want to talk. Earphones will get you out of conversation.

Apps

It has the usual games… including Solitaire and Snake, except the snake is too big so not very responsive! You can download Series 40 apps from the Ovi Store so knock yourself out.

Size and Lightness

It’s a sleek phone, felt tiny in my hand considering my previous phone was a Samsung Galaxy S II named Calypso, but that is a story for another day.

Cost

Picture this: it’s raining. Heavily. It has taken me one hour to get to town from Strathmore, only to find no buses at my stage. I need to make a phone call but I only have a SIM card. I don’t have cash, my money is in MPESA. So when I asked the guy at the shop what’s the cheapest phone with internet, and we tend to trust Nokia brands for lower end phones, I decided to get the C1-01. For Kshs. 5,000. I’m ready to sell it for Kshs. 4,000. Any takers?

Anyway, I have moved on to a new phone: The Samsung Galaxy Y Pro Duos. It’s the one on the right that’s both QWERTY and touch, and runs on Android. Will review it soon. I haven’t named it yet and suggestions are welcome!

The Galaxy Y Duos and the Galaxy Y Pro Duos. Image from fonearena.com

Why Samsung Phones Will Rule Kenya in 2012

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!

The Galaxy S II is the King of them all...

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

The Samsung Galaxy Mini

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.

The Samsung Ch@t 222 is just like the Samsung Ch@t 322 which I reviewed last year. You can read techweez’ review of the Ch@t 222 here.

The Samsung Ch@t 222- pic from courtesy of techweez.com

The Samsung ChatON

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.

A conversation I had with someone using the Samsung ChatON app.

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!

The Samsung Galaxy S II Review: Part 1

Part I of the Review: Physical Specifications

Okay this phone is awesome and I’ve decided to split the review into two parts: hardware specifications/software capabilities so that we don’t end up with pages and pages of review! I have tried giving it kingly names it but the only name that sticks is Calypso. So let’s review Calypso.

When it comes to mobile phones, the Samsung Galaxy S II hardware specifications beats any phone alive today; and that is including the iPhone 5 that is still under conception. When is the due date, I wonder?

Size and Weight

The Galaxy S2 facing down. Sweet looking Calypso.. image from my libraries.

This phone is super light, at only 116g. It feels featherweight in my hands. Coupled with the fact that it’s ultra-slim; at only 8.5mm it’s the slimmest phone on earth, beating the iPhone 5 (leaked specs) by .1mm and the Xperia Arc by .2mm and making the iPhone 4 look like a fat housewife at 9.3mm.

At first I though it was kind of big to be put into a pocket (125.3 x 66.1 x 8.5 mm), but even when wearing my most fitting jeans, it slides smoothly into the pocket. I guess the slimness helps!

Screen Size and Display

It has a 4.3 inch Super-AMOLED screen. This is a big screen by any standards, and watching/reading anything on it makes it a wonderful experience.

A view of a screen shot taken showing all the seven available screens.. and a view of the app icons on each so you can easily navigate to the screen you want.

Super-AMOLED screens consume less power (presumably than the retina display of iPhones), and you can imagine a screen like that would drain a lot of power. Coupled with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels and supporting up to 16M colours, things look better on the phone than they look in real life!!

Watching movies and videos is a pleasure; so is viewing pictures. In fact, even if the picture looks bad and the video has a low resolution, it still looks good on the S2. Especially if it’s a movie that’s pirated; you know how bad it looks on the comp but now since one is viewing it on a smaller screen it ends up looking HD. (P.S. I watched Rango on it.)

Battery Life

The iPhone 4’s standby talk time is 300 hours. The Galaxy S2’s standby time is 710 hours! The battery life is a significant improvement over its predecessor, the Galaxy S. I have realized that using data over a 3G network consumes a lot of power. With the S2, I think you can comfortably watch up to 3 movies of approximately 1.5hrs each. I mean I watched Rango (1.5hrs) and there was hardly any change in the battery level.

With my regular use (I’m never without my phone for longer than 2 minutes), the phone is able to last almost 24 hours. I think though, that higher series Nokia phones still win on battery life.

Battery facts:

Stand-by Up to 710 h (2G) / Up to 610 h (3G)
Talk time Up to 18 h 20 min (2G) / Up to 8 h 40 min (3G)

Processor Speed and Memory

It has a 1.2GHz dual-core processor and 1GB RAM. Theoretically, it’s capable of running the Windows 7 OS! I must admit though, that I am hardly using all this capacity! Unless I open like 30 apps running at the same time, or download a lot of stuff while playing HD videos, I don’t know when I can utilize 100% of the power availble for this phone!

There is absolutely no lag when it’s switching on, readying contacts, launching apps, phone/message/contacts search, loading videos, music.. As Idd Salim said on his blog while reviewing the Galaxy Mini, a low-budget Android phone: The new Samsung phones ni kama madem wa Campo. Una-touch, inafungua. Una-touch, inafungua. No delays

It has internal memory of 32GB or 16GB to store your music/pics/videos/documents.

There is a memory slot that can support up to 32GB of data. Awesome! Currently I’m underutilizing it with a 2GB mem card.. any takers? My birthday is coming up soon :-)

Camera and Video; Music Player

The rear camera is 8 Megapixels with flash; which can be auto or manual. The pictures it takes are crystal clear and beautiful. There is also a front camera with 2MP meaning you can have video calls/Skype.

A waterfall at the Tribe Hotel where I attended some event recently.. looks good, doesn't it?

The camera has autofocus and zoom. However, autofocus is not available on video mode unless you upgrade the OS.

The music player is.. average!! I mean it’s alright, but it could be better. You can never hear the bass and if you increase the volume, it’s like all you get is the high pitch and not an increase in quality. The earphones help though. They are the kind that you can insert deep into your ear canal, making the music penetrate any ear wax in the way of the audio waves :-)

The S2 earphones..

Other physical features:

Micro-USB slot, 3.5mm audio jack, just the usual standards. The loud speaker is not really loud; but it’s good enough.

The phone has no other buttons except the middle button, but the area beside the button is touch-sensitive and on the left is the menu-function and the right, the back function. These function-buttons come alive when the phone is active.

The Galaxy S2. Image from androidzoom.com

P.S.

Here is the phone’s full specifications on GMSArena.

Here is a comprehensive review: very detailed on engadget.com

P.P.S.

Software review coming soon.

P.P.P.S.

I like the name Calypso.