Samsung i5700 Galaxy Spica, yet another Android phone in the Philippines

After that long busy week of Cebu Blog Camp preparations,  now, I finally have the time to write a review of the Samsung i5700 Galaxy Spica. The Samsung i5700 or the Galaxy Spica is one of the few mobile phones in Samsung’s line-up of touch-enabled screen that runs in the Android platform. Though the number of models are not that much yet, most of these mobile handsets are not globally released locally available. Earlier in April, we were graced when Globe officially announced the availability of Samsung i5700 Galaxy Spica in both prepaid and postpaid plans. Globe offers the prepaid kit of Galaxy Spica at P14,900 or P10,900 for Plan 500 and free for Plan 1800.

The Specifications

The Samsung Galaxy Spica boasts its 800 MHz processing power which is quite fast already relative to the other phone models that belongs to its price range. The processing speed of the Galaxy Spica made the user experience smooth and fluid. Playing of media files like videos, audio and photo slide shows were also smooth. So far, the phone was able to cope up with my multi-tasking demands and it never experienced crashing or hanging.

For wireless connectivity, the phone supports 3G/HSDPA, WiFi (802.11 b/g), Bluetooth and GPS. For Globe users, you may subscribe to Globe Super Surf plans to maximize the wireless internet capabilities of the Samsung Galaxy Spica.

The 3.2″ TFT capacitive touch screen is good enough for mobile web browsing on a 320 x 480 pixels screen resolution (the same as iPhone’s). The default phone package comes with a plastic screen protector which can be removed to maximize the capacitive screen’s responsiveness.

The phone is also equipped with a 3.2 megapixel camera. The output photo is decent enough for a mid-range camera phone. It has no built-in flash though but the phone’s auto-focus is more than enough to get good photos in a well-lit environment.

What makes the Samsung Galaxy Spica a win for me is its operating system. The Spica is one of the few mobile phones in the Philippines that runs on the Android platform. The Spica is pre-loaded with Android 1.5 “Cupcake”, one of the earlier commercial releases of the Android operating system. Though I haven’t upgraded mine yet, executives from Samsung said that the version 1.5 units can be upgraded to Eclair (Android 2.1) – the same operating system that runs the Google Nexus One. Just bring your Galaxy Spica to the Samsung service center in Greenhills, San Juan City.

The phone has several hard keys for call and navigation functions. The lower front panel alone has 11 keys as  compared to the four soft keys in the Google Nexus One. The side has a dedicated key for screen lock and for camera and two other keys for volume controls.

The Spica also has a 3.5mm jack for our audiophile users. This audio jack can accomodate almost all standard headsets in the market today. Beside the 3.5mm audio input is the USB port for charging and data transfers.

In terms of size, the Samsung Galaxy Spica is a bit smaller as compared to the Nexus One. It also weights lighter. The battery usage is also quite good. The phone can last up to three days without charging as compared to my Nexus One’s one-day battery life.

Judgement

For an Android phone being sold at P14,500.00, the Samsung Galaxy Spica is a good deal considering the tons of good features packed with it. If you’re looking for a good alternative phone for Nexus One (for those who are excited to try Eclair), I recommend that you get the Galaxy Spica and bring your device to Samsung’s service center for a software update. Also, since it runs on Android, the possibilities of getting added features (that are no limited to hardware limitations) are endless. The Galaxy Spica is worth your money.