Samsung took its first step in the Android universe with the release of the the Samsung Galaxy i7500. The manufacturer soon came out with another Android based handset, the Samsung Galaxy Spica i5700, named after the brightest star in the constellation Virgo, Spica. This phone is also referred to sometimes as Galaxy Lite.
The Spica runs Android 1.5 Cupcake just as its predecessor, but comes with a 800MHz processor (as compared to the 528MHz core integrated into the i7500) and support for DivX and Xvid files. The handset has a similar overall design as the Galaxy i7500, but looks more youthful and is available in two color solutions – black-red and white-green.
Build & Design
The Galaxy Spica i5700 looks better than i7500 but has pretty similiar overall dimensions. It features a 3.2 inches capacitive screen, with a resolution of 320 X 480 pixels, and supports 16 million colours. Samsung’s TFT technology further enhances the display giving you beautifully crisp images.
The buttons on the front side are similiar to the Galaxy i7500, a D-Pad with an additional key. There is a home screen button that has its own symbol(unlike the Galaxy) and is transparent . The new key on the Spica is on the left, and is used to bring up a search bar that you can customize to search through various applications such as the contacts, calendar, messaging, Google etc. All buttons are easy to press and have not failed to deliver so far. There is one problem with the buttons – NO Back-light which makes it a little uncomfortable to use in the dark, but once you’re used to it, ALL IS WELL !!
On the left side of the phone is the volume rocker, the right side has a screen lock/unlock and a camera button, the top features a 3.5mm jack and microUSBport and the backside of the phone has a 3.2 Megapixel camera(Sadly without a flash) .
OS & Functionality
When i initially bought this phone, it came with Android 1.5 Cupcake, but i believe that nowadays, the Spica comes loaded with Android 2.1 Eclair. So its pretty much a regular version of Eclair with a couple of Samsung widgets. Something new to the Spica is the built-in support for DivX and Xvid coded content a pre-installed application called Switchers which is a nifty little application that allows you to easily turn on/off your wireless, bluetooth, GPS & Sync.
Messaging is pretty much the standard threaded Android type which i personally dislike so you might want to install Handcent or any other messaging app from the Android Market on your phone.
There is a standard Latin IME keyboard and a couple of Samsung specific QWERTY keyboards on screen for all your typing needs. I personally prefer Swype which is currently in Beta but is hands down one of the best on screen keyboards ever !
For your browsing needs, Eclair has a standard WebKit-based browser which is pretty decent by itself, but has room for a lot of improvement. Luckily though there are many Browsers available on the Market with more features including Flash support which the native browser sadly lacks.
The Spica comes equipped with A-GPS; with Google Maps installed as the navigational software. It supports Google latitude which enables you to share your location online with your friends. The A-GPS is pretty fast and gives you a location/directions in just a few seconds. The A-GPS worked pretty well with twitter apps (I tested on Seesmic & twidroyd) and foursquare.
Camera & Multimedia
The Spica sports a 3.2 megapixel camera without a flash on the top right hand corner of the backside of the phone. I haven’t exactly tested the camera intensively, but its safe to say that you can click some pretty great pictures outside where there’s natural light. If you try indoors though, owing to the lack of flash and the variable lighting inside, pictures can get a little dreary.
Video recording on the Spica is a joke. Seriously bad image quality and distortion and supports only a max of 15 Frames/sec.
The Spica is i believe the first android phone to support DivX and Xvid video playback capability. Thanks to the large TFT screen watching movies/videos is a wonderful experience with absolutely no lag. You might want to use the earphone you got with your phone because the volume ain’t all that loud.
The Audio interface is the standard Music Player app that comes Android and is pretty decent. You might want to try out other apps from the Market also.
For a complete look at the Spica specs, click here.
- Android OS
- Great multimedia functionality(DivX and Xvid support)
- Great Battery life ~3days !
- Very Cheap
- Only 180 Mb internal memory
- No Android 2.2 update
- No Camera Flash
All in all the Samsung Galaxy Spica i5700 is definitely worth its salt. It delivers a powerful and fast mobile multimedia experience !