Samsung's Galaxy Pro has so much right but doesn't quite offer the best. While it's not a bad business phone, what it lacks has meant that it just didn't do enough to warrant our attention
Can a budget smartphone be a business dream? Samsung is flinging out smartphones faster than we can count these days, seemingly employing a 'carpet bombing' approach to find phones consumers will love. The latest is the Samsung Galaxy Pro, designed to scratch that Android with a QWERTY keyboard itch so many have these days - but it's chosen to do it on the cheap. Will the rows of keys be enough to keep users happy?
Samsung Galaxy Pro: Design
The Samsung Galaxy Pro looks pretty nifty the first time you see it, resplendent in black and silver with large, well-spaced keys. In keeping with the likes of the Galaxy S2 and Ace, the back has a mesh design that keeps your fingers cooler during extended use, and helps avoid those dangerous drops. The screen is large and well-lit within the chassis, and the 11mm thickness makes it pocket-friendly too. We're not overly enamoured with the plastic construction, as it makes the phone feel a little cheap, but given the £130 price tag it makes sense.
Samsung Galaxy Pro: Messaging
As you can guess with a phone that's packing a QWERTY keyboard, messaging is an important function for the Galaxy Pro. Keyboard accuracy was a little surprising as we found ourselves making a few too many mistakes when we started using it, but the combination of easy to hit delete key and raised buttons meant we were rattling out texts and emails in no time. Email, be it Exchange, GMail or webmail, is ridiculously easy to set up with only a username and password needed in most cases, and the inbuilt Google Talk and Facebook Chat (extra download required of the app) meant we were chatting with chums regularly.
Samsung Galaxy Pro: Interface
Samsung's TouchWiz overlay divides opinion at times - some people prefer vanilla Android, but we've always been impressed with Sammy's user interface. We love the customised notification menu, as it offers easy access to the likes of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi toggles - plus quick to find music controls when tracks are playing in the background. There's sadly no multi-touch or pinch to zoom on offer, which is odd; similarly screens flicked quickly under the finger, but we did encounter some slowdown on occasion too, so perhaps a little processor optimisation wouldn't have gone astray.#
Samsung Galaxy Pro: Internet
If this phone is 'designed for the business user' (as Samsung says) then we'd expect a tip-top internet experience... sadly we didn't get that. The screen is too low-res to use regularly, with zoomed-out text illegible, plus we were distraught to see no Flash video on offer thanks to the low-power processor. As we mentioned earlier, pinch-to-zoom is inexplicably omitted on the Galaxy Pro, so you're stuck using the manual keys to get closer to the words. It's not a terrible effort, but even for the price it's not a browser you're going to be turning to in the odd alone moments when your other half is trying on yet another outfit when out shopping.
Samsung Galaxy Pro: Verdict
It began so promisingly for the Samsung Galaxy Pro - tight design and cool keyboard, combined with a low price tag, meant we had high hopes. But even though it's a trifle more expensive, we'd have to recommend the HTC ChaCha over the Galaxy Pro, which has a superior keyboard, much clearer screen and even throws in Facebook integration to boot.
Samsung Galaxy Pro availability: Out now
Samsung Galaxy Pro price: £130 PAYG from Three, £15-£27 a month on contract