Samsung Galaxy Spica Review i5700 ~ Pinoy Reviews

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Samsung Galaxy Spica Review i5700

I don't know if Android is a popular OS here in the Philippines, I know of a Pinoy Mac forums wherein iPhone users gather to share info, I know of a Pinoy Windows Mobile forums that supBy ports Windows Mobile users in the Philippines but I have yet to find a dedicated Android forum. Anyways, with that said, there's not a lot of Android handsets in the market. It's only HTC with their HTC Hero but price for the Hero is around 25k for a brand new unit so it's not cheap. Then along comes Samsung and introduced their Galaxy Spica which is the cheapest Android handset we'll see in the Philippine market today. PHP15,000 for a brand new unit is not bad considering that most smartphones retail at around 20k and above.


By looking at the Samsung Galaxy Spica alone, you wouldn't think that this is a smartphone especially the white one which is a bit cutesy and looks a bit like a toy because everything is made of plastic. On one hand, the white unit prevents fingerprint smudges all over the phone so that's a good thing and white handsets tend to turn heads so its another plus for those looking for fashion phones. I hate the fact that the battery cover needs to be pried open rather than the usual way which is to slide it open. The screen is 3.2 inches in size and is an AMOLED screen so expect colors to be vibrant but also expect visibility to suffer in direct sunlight.


Like I've mentioned, the Samsung Galaxy Spica is a smartphone as it runs Android 1.5. Of course, it's not the latest built of Android since the Hero is running 1.6 and the Motorola Milestone is running 2.0 but there's word going around that the Galaxy Spica is due for an Android 2.1 update this coming March. Let's hope that that update reaches Asia.

The Samsung Galaxy Spica has an 800Mhz processor, it's the 2nd fastest processor on an Android device, the first being on the Google Nexus One. The UI is pretty snappy thanks to the capacitive screen. Navigating the handset is almost comparable to the iPhone 3G. I'd recommend downloading a task switcher at the marketplace to kill background apps to make this phone running smoothly. Opening a lot of applications at the same time would bogged down the system.

The onscreen keyboard is similar to that found on the Motorola Milestone, typing is okay and you can make use of the directional pad in case you need to go back and erase typographical errors. The Samsung Galaxy Spica has threaded messaging though since this is an early build of Android, your contacts picture doesn't show in the inbox and your conversations panel. You can import your contacts from your simcard or if you already have contacts in your Google account, you can simply input your Google username and password and sync your contacts and calendar.

Audio quality is good although the speakers can be found at the back so you have to turn your phone over so as to not muffle any sounds. There's a 3.5mm headset jack on top of the phone and Samsung included a cute white headset similar to the iPhone's. Audio quality through the headset is good too.

The Samsung Galaxy Spica supports DivX videos, and this is a first for Android handsets. I was actually looking for DivX player for the Motorola Milestone and I was disappointed to find out that there's no player for Android. The bad news is that the DivX video needs to be the same resolution as the handset resolution in order for the player to play it smoothly. You also can't play your DivX videos directly from the gallery so you need to download a file explorer in order to search for your videos on your microSD card.

The web browser is another thing to love about the Samsung Galaxy Spica. It's not as fast as the one on the Milestone or the iPhone but its faster than the ones on Symbian or windows mobile phones. BTW, there's no multi touch support on the Galaxy Spica but again, let's hope that the Android 2.1 firmware update will resolve that.

The camera is one of the things I hate on the Samsung Galaxy Spica. I mean three options?! Really Samsung, that's all you can do? However, even though camera options are limited, there's autofocus, just half press on the camera button to focus and then full press to take a shot. Image quality is good in sunlit conditions.

The Samsung Galaxy Spica has 3G HSDPA for faster internet connection, WiFi, Bluetooth with A2DP, and GPS. Like the iPhone, Bluetooth file transfer doesn't really work on Android, only stereo Bluetooth pairing with the headset. There's no dedicated GPS application which is really too bad. I miss having the Garmin application or MapAsia to get turn by turn directions here in Metro Manila. You can make use of the GPS for geo-tagging or using Google Maps.

Final Word

15,000 for a smartphone and Android at that? You can't go wrong with the Samsung Galaxy Spica. Of course, the camera is a big disappointment so those looking to be amateur photographers with their mobile phones should stay away from this handset. But come on! Again, 15k for an Android handset? (14k if you look hard enough), this is a bargain and the promise of Android 2.1 in the future, I'd say someone better put up a dedicated Pinoy Android forums soon.


Eman said...

I just bought one a couple of weeks ago and I'm new with this android os, however I find the phone really great for the price, and youre right with the camera. I really do hope that the 2.1 upgrade comes and a serious forum for the android here.
More power.

earl justin said...

Great samsung spica!

earl justin said...

i used it for a week and boom* it works perfect! samsung spica is the best! web browsing smooth! this is next to iphone..

Anonymous said...

Hi guys, im having a hard time connecting my phone to my laptop. I have to use a card reader to transfer pix and music. Can anybody help me on this? Is this the usual prob with an android phone?

Thanks a lot.

Anonymous said...

after seeing the availability of this phone here and knowing that it's already upgradeable to android 2.1, i really regret having bought the star wifi last december :(

robert said...

I'm confuse.. You said that it's AMOLED screen but I saw one in SM Megamall and it's only TFT LCD. Is your unit a different version of Samsung i5700?

Thanks for the review.

pedrosantosjr said...

Where can I get the Spica? Ive been looking around but I cant find one anywhere. I found one Samsung store with the original Galaxy, but no Galaxy Spica. Where can I get this for 15k?

roiji said...

@robert spec sheets says its TFT and not AMOLED :'( even online reviews says its TFT

and you won't get multi-touch even if you upgrade to 2.1 says other online reviews.

you won't get also 3D gallery and live wallpapers as with the review of

@pedrosantosjr i was also looking for the phone in samsung stores but they say they don't have it. you can search for it in ebay... its costs around 13.7k now... (apr 18, 2010)

thanks for the review...

btw, i think you can use the google maps as navigation but you must be connected to the internet to do so.. i tried the google maps from my omnia ii (winmo phone) in NLEX and it found me i also used it in tagaytay.. the omnia ii's gps can't find me in metro manila and north luzon area (pangasinan, tarlac) but it found me (with 9-10 connected sattelites) in tagaytay.

natalie1981 said...

@ Roiji. Thanks for the correction. I thought it was AMOLED. You can't use google maps for turn by turn navigation. It can only pinpoint you but it won't given you directions to your destination as a navigation software usually does. If you have a windows mobile phone, try downloading mapasia. You'll never look at Google Maps after using a navigation software :)

natalie1981 said...

Sorry, I meant MapKing. :)

roiji said...

i didn't meant to pertain to the turn-by-turn spoken navigation as with the US Google Maps..
i meant to say that at least i found myself in the map and it told me the direction i was facing... and locating my destination added a few manual steps (searching for the place and asserting that it's really the place)

thanks for the MapKing suggestion but it doesn't work for me (i tried installing, says invalid)
and i think, (haven't validated [since i can't install]), it only has manila area...

anyway, win mo failed me. my first windows mobile was the omnia II that i bought last december 2009. it was impressive spec wise, and reviews were quite good. it was doing great back then but after 3 months of use... it fails me... it is now so laggy that opening Messages app takes more than 10 seconds and often it doesn't really open. also, opening the menu (via the diamond button) takes at least 8 seconds to load all 3 panes. plus a dozen more bugs!

and samsung or microsoft should not expect me, or other users, to reformat phones often too!! been doing that reformatting thingy in PC's since 2000 just to keep windows working!

TouchWiz overlay maybe the culprit here. But I can't remove it completely. It overlays the messaging app, the email app, the settings app, and all...

I'll give Spica a try. (Almost same spec with Omnia II except for the AMOLED screen + resolution, camera res, front facing camera, and OS).If it impresses me then I'll advocate it (android and samsung). If not, I'll give another Android phone a try (other brand, HTC perhaps. but right now HTC phone are really expensive!! P47k for Nexus One at a certain HTC retailer is over kill!). If if that other Android phone impresses me, then Samsung FAILS!!

But if Samsung impresses me with their Android phone, then I can't wait for the Samsung Galaxy S!!!

I talk too much.. sorry..

Anonymous said...


Where in Megamall can I buy this phone? How much does it cost now? Are there also other Android phone available locally as option. My budget would be 15-25k and planning to buy on Sunday Apr 26.


natalie1981 said...

I don't know of its available in megamall but since your budget allows it, try the HTC Hero.

roiji said...

mine just arrived a while ago.. i bought from a famous online store here in the Philippines. it cost me 13,700 for the unit and 1,850 for a 16GB microSD card upgrade.

I asked the Samsung store (between Motorola and Alcatel, in front of Sony Ericson and Nokia) in Robinson's Galleria last Sunday if they have the Spica and they do, she said it's around 14k... I don't know if they have the white model. Mine's black and I couldn't find a white one online :'(

I think I saw a stall in Megamall selling the spica for around 15k... (the one stall that has a big florescent light back-lit wall with all the prices posted)