Saturday

Samsung Galaxy Chat Review


We haven't seen too many BlackBerry-style Android phones hit the shelves, so every new model with a portrait QWERTY keyboard gets examined with interest. One new handset of this form-factor is scheduled to come out pretty soon – the Samsung Galaxy Chat.

This is not the first Samsung handset with the “Chat” monicker. However, the first Ch@ts were simple feature phones that were mainly targeted towards teens who text a lot. Now, with the new Galaxy Chat, Samsung is bringing the Chat family to the world of smartphones, where it might become appealing to a significantly larger group of users.





Design

 

With the Galaxy Chat, Samsung proves that it too can make good-looking phones. We were nicely surprised by the device's stylish looks, as well as solid feel. Of course, it's all plastic, but this phone somehow manages to feel more reliable than something supposedly more premium like the Galaxy S III, for example.


Display

Samsung Galaxy Chat QWERTY Android Smartphone  Samsung Galaxy Chat QWERTY Android Phone Review and Feature
The screen is one of the weakest aspects of the Samsung Galaxy Chat, not because of its relatively small size, but because of its low resolution. The panel measures 3 inches, but its resolution is only 240x320 pixels, resulting in a pixel density of 133 ppi. Needless to say, this display doesn't look very good, and reading is quite difficult with it. Viewing angles are also poor, and so is outdoor visibility. But after all, it's an entry-level model, which has to be easy on the budget, and such compromises are unavoidable if the manufacturer wants to hit a very low price-point. That's why, we forgive you, Samsung!

keyboard



The small QWERTY keyboard below the screen is awesome. Naturally, the keys are so tiny that you have to press them with your nails, but they make the perfect clicking sound and give wonderful feedback. You won't be a speed-demon with this QWERTY, but pressing the wrong key seems to be a bit more difficult with it, than it is with an on-screen one, thus saving you some frustrating moments.

Interface and Functionality

The Samsung Galaxy Chat arrives pre-loaded with Android Ice Cream Sandwich - Samsung Galaxy Chat Review
The Samsung Galaxy Chat arrives pre-loaded with Android Ice Cream Sandwich - Samsung Galaxy Chat Review
The Samsung Galaxy Chat arrives pre-loaded with Android Ice Cream Sandwich - Samsung Galaxy Chat Review
The Samsung Galaxy Chat arrives pre-loaded with Android Ice Cream Sandwich
We're glad to see Ice Cream Sandwich finally arrive pre-loaded on lower-end gear as well. Not only this, but Samsung has also included the latest version of the TouchWiz UI as well – Nature UX. Yep, that's the same one as on the Galaxy S III, only with a number of optimizations to make it more suitable for the smaller screen and slower processor of the Galaxy Chat.

Besides the UI itself, Samsung has also pre-installed its own services like Samsung Apps, ChatOn and the Game Hub. 

We want to note here that Samsung has kind of messed up the scrolling in this handset. As result, when you are scrolling through vertical lists, it can be very difficult to stop exactly at the desired position. That's something which is hard to describe in text, so be sure to watch our video review, where we'll show you what we have in mind.

Another thing we are concerned about is that many apps seem to be incompatible with the QVGA resolution of the device. We tried a number of popular titles but a significant number of those simply refused to install.

Messaging

Samsung Galaxy Chat Review
Samsung Galaxy Chat Review
Besides the physical QWERTY keyboard, you can also use the on screen one, which, as you might guess, isn't as comfortable, especially on that 3” display. Still, it's not that bad and is definitely usable, though we really can't think of a reason why one might choose to side with it. The physical QWERTY will offer you a quite decent input experience, plus it won't take up space on your screen.

Internet

The stock browser of the Samsung Galaxy Chat - Samsung Galaxy Chat Review
The stock browser of the Samsung Galaxy Chat - Samsung Galaxy Chat Review
The stock browser of the Samsung Galaxy Chat - Samsung Galaxy Chat Review
The stock browser of the Samsung Galaxy Chat
With such a low-resolution screen, it should be no surprise that the browsing experience is lacking. The stock browser is quite slow, due to the 850MHz single-core processor, but that is easily fixed by installing a third-party one like Firefox, Opera or Chrome. The trouble is that reading the text on web pages is a real pain, considering the unclear and pixelized letters.

However, if you don't plan to do a lot of web surfing, the Galaxy Chat will suffice.

The handset also comes with support for HSDPA 7.2 Mbit/s and HSUPA 5.76 Mbit/s, so connectivity where no Wi-Fi is available shouldn't be a problem.

Processor and Memory

As we mentioned, the Samsung Galaxy Chat is powered by a modest 850MHz single-core CPU, but then again, we didn't expect anything more powerful. Even with this processor, probably thanks to its ultra-low res, the handset manages to move swiftly, without much delay upon executing various tasks.


Quadrant StandardAnTuTuNenaMark 2
Samsung Galaxy Chat1771336525,3
Motorola Defy Mini951239115,6
LG Optimus L31271255913,2

The handset comes with 2GB of internal memory, which should be more than enough for QVGA apps, but if you still happen to need more space, you can install a microSD card of up to 32GB.


Camera

 
The Galaxy Chat comes with a basic 2MP snapper. Still on this part? OK, so it also has a bunch of settings which are also present with pretty much every other Samsung smartphone. No surprises here.



The pictures themselves aren't pretty. Colors are dull and everything is quite blurred. It's good to know that it's there, but otherwise we can't imagine that many users will be “taking advantage” of this camera.

Video is captured at 320x240 and 15fps, and, as you might expect, it's very hard to look at. In our opinion, Samsung should have included at least a 3.2MP shooter in this phone. Let's hope that the price will justify it.

Multimedia

The TouchWiz music player - Samsung Galaxy Chat Review
The TouchWiz music player - Samsung Galaxy Chat Review
The TouchWiz music player - Samsung Galaxy Chat Review
The TouchWiz music player
The TouchWiz music player is easy to use and pleasing to the eye (as much as the QVGA screen allows it to be). It comes with the mandatory EQ presets and the ability to set a custom EQ, but that's not all. There are also a few additional options, which allow you to add Reverb, Room Size and Clarity effects to your tunes, if you like what you hear.

The handset easily plays MPEG-4 video at resolutions that are higher than its native one (meaning most video that you'll ever find). However, in order to play other codecs like DivX or Xvid, you'll have to install a third-party player like MX Player.

Performance

The Galaxy Chat is an average handset when it comes to phone calls. The earpiece is relatively clean, although nothing mind-blowing, while the microphone seems to be pretty poor, as our callers complained of some very low-quality sounding voices.

The loudspeaker has average power, while the nature of its sounding is neither too sharp, nor deep. It's just an average speaker. It also gets almost completely muffled when the phone is placed on its back.

The battery that's in use by the Samsung Galaxy Chat is a 1200mAh unit, which should allows for 5 hours of talk-time and 15.8 days of stand-by while connected to a 3G network. Not exactly a top-notch performance, but we're used to this kind of numbers these days.

Conclusion

The Samsung Galaxy Chat's biggest assets are its stylish appearance and well-made physical QWERTY keyboard. Sure, it may not give you much of a speed boost compared to the on-screen QWERTYs of today, but there are still a lot of users out there who just can't get used to typing on glass. Truth be told, pressing actual keys gives you a satisfying feeling that you can't experience when typing on a virtual keyboard.

That said, we can't overlook the Galaxy Chat's weakest spot – the low-resolution display. The phone could have been much more functional and pleasant to use if it had a better screen, but with this particular model, Samsung is targeting the low end, so this compromise had to be made. The camera could have been better as well, and with those cheapo sensors getting more and more inexpensive, the company will have to deliver this phone at a really low cost in order to justify the poor 2MP snapper.

At the end of the day, the Galaxy Chat is a fine piece of equipment for those of you who want an affordable and good-looking smartphone, and/or those who are really into physical QWERTY keyboards. But you get what you pay for.

PROS

  • Stylish design
  • Comes with Ice Cream Sandwich
  • Good performance

CONS

  • Low-resolution screen
  • Incompatibility with many apps
  • Poor camera