Samsung Galaxy Pro Reviewed - The Galaxy's Turn to Go Pro
written by: Robert Faustus•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 6/22/2011
Smartphones featuring portrait QWERTY keyboards are a fairly untapped market, mostly dominated by the BlackBerry. Samsung has now made another entrance with the Samsung Galaxy Pro, following in the footsteps of the Motorola Droid Pro. But is having a similar name enough?
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The Galaxy Turns Professional
Many people may remember the Samsung Blackjack, Samsung's shot at targeting the BlackBerry market. It was an interesting addition to the Samsung line up, but ultimately wasn't good enough to pull away BlackBerry users. In the current generation of Android powered smartphones, there aren't many that feature portrait QWERTY keyboards, or follow a BlackBerry-like design. The few that are out there are the Samsung Replenish, Motorola Droid Pro, Motorola XPRT or the Motorola Charm, among some others. The Samsung Galaxy Pro is Samsung's attempt to enter this fairly non-saturated market for high end users. It seems Samsung has taken Motorola's approach, tagging on the word Pro to a popular series -- the Galaxy series.
Samsung Galaxy Pro Specifications:
Dimensions: 4.28 x 2.63 x 0.42 inches (108.6 x 66.7 x 10.65 mm)
Weight: 3.65 oz (103 g)
Display: 2.8 inch LCD capacitive touchscreen display, 320 x 240 pixels
Memory: 512 MB and expandable up to 32 GB via MicroSD slot
The Samsung Galaxy Pro is mimicking the recently released Motorola Droid Pro and Motorola XPRT. It takes a heavy design cue from RIM's BlackBerry, which actually is a good thing. The Galaxy Pro is aiming for business oriented users, many of whom have stayed with the BlackBerry, not only due to security but the ease of use brought by RIM. Smartphones with full, portrait QWERTY keyboards are fairly rare when compared with the current popular layouts in the smartphone market, but it is a growing niche.
The Samsung Galaxy Pro comes with a 2.8 inch capacitive touch-screen display dominating the top half of the smartphone. Below the display are physical buttons for the usual Android shortcuts, menu, home, back and search. Beneath the shortcuts you'll find a full, 4 row, QWERTY keyboard. The left edge of the phone holds the volume rocker, while opposite, the right edge has the power / lock key. Up top resides the 3.5 mm headphone jack and the microUSB port for charging and data transfer. Rounding out the back is a textured case and the 3 megapixel camera, but no flash.
Overall the design is nice and clean, and easily builds upon the already successul Galaxy brand of smartphones from Samsung.
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The smartphone actually doesn't perform as well as one would hope. Equipped with an 800 MHz processor, the Galaxy Pro lags a bit, which is a bit disappointing. Running on the 800 MHz processor is Android 2.2 with TouchWiz 3.0, which is another slight disappointment. With Android 2.3 smartphones making their way out the door, the Galaxy Pro being released with Android 2.2 is a bit of a letdown. The overall lag on the Android device is noticeable with slight delays after you touch the screen.
The call quality was decent with outgoing calls coming off fairly clean, though slightly metallic and incoming calls coming in with just a small amount of background noise. The speaker was very loud and clear for both calls and for general usage with applications and games. Overall the performance left a bit to be desired and for a smartphone aiming at business users, the Samsung Galaxy Pro definitely needs to polish up its internal specs to compete with the more heavy hitters that are currently on the market.
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The Samsung Galaxy Pro fails when it comes to user interface, unlike other recently released similar smartphones such as the Droid Pro and XPRT. While the Galaxy Pro shares the same design cues as the other portrait QWERTY candy bar smartphones, the user interface seems to have been lost in the transition. TouchWiz UI 3.0 is not very intrusive, but in the case of the Galaxy Pro, the shortcuts on screen are on the right side of the screen, rather than on the bottom. The notification bar is up top and when pulled down, the four major shortcuts in the notification bar dominate the screen. You can only see about one or two notifications which is quite annoying.
The Galaxy Pro also doesn't have multi-touch on the default browser, which makes the interface quite frustrating. Double tapping the screen to zoom in on text in the browser also doesn't work correctly at times, with the screen focusing elsewhere or the text rearranging in a weird way. The addition of lag in between also causes quite an annoyance when using the phone. It's unfortunate that the Samsung Galaxy Pro fails so badly when it comes to user interface, as Samsung usually does a decent job in this department.
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The Samsung Galaxy Pro really doesn't have much to show when it comes to features. If it was an entry level device, it would be a decent smartphone, but the Galaxy Pro is aiming to pull in BlackBerry users. BlackBerry users are mainly business users and it's a hard task to pull them away from these powerful smartphones. The Samsung Galaxy Pro has to pull out all the stops, but just featuring Android 2.2 and a 3 megapixel camera is not going to be enough.
Speaking of the 3 megapixel camera, the quality on the camera is fairly sub par. The pictures are slightly blurry and they don't come out crisp and clear. It may be due to the lack of any flash, but even the Samsung Captivate, which is in the same situation, comes out more crisp and clear. The panorama picture mode is also a nice feature, but once again, the pictures come out blurry, making the panoramic picture more disappointing than anything.
Overall the features on the Samsung Galaxy Pro, like the user interface, are a disappointment. While other manufacturers have made their business oriented smartphones global, powerful and feature full, the Galaxy Pro seems to have lost sight of what business users want.
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The Final Verdict
The Samsung Galaxy Pro easily falls into the 'Below Average' category. For the market that it's aiming for, it just can't seem to meet the standards set by others. It's quite sad that the makers of innovative and user friendly devices such as the Samsung Continuum and the Samsung Galaxy S2 released the Galaxy Pro. The Galaxy line up should be Samsung's 'prestige' line up, so to speak, and the highest quality smartphones should reside in that line up. It's unfortunate and surprising that the Galaxy Pro cannot live up to those standards.