Galaxy Y on the left, Galaxy S3 on the right
This phone may be very cheap, but Samsung is still promising "great performance with fast processor and downloads". This mobile is also very compact, measuring just 10 cm long, compared with 14 cm for the bulkier and more powerful top-of-the-range Galaxy S3 (see above).
Design & Handling
By trimming this smartphone down to a new level of smallness, Samsung has reached a limit that could potentially have been pushed back with a better-quality screen. But, unfortunately, The Galaxy Y comes loaded with a 3" TN display with 320 x 240-pixel resolution that practically stings the eyes. Plus, the onscreen keyboard is simply minuscule. You'll need tiny fingers to use it in portrait mode, otherwise you have no choice but to switch to landscape. You also need to make sure the phone is lined up in front of your eyes, as from one direction the screen's viewing angle is pretty much blind.
As it stands, the Galaxy Mini 2 does a much better job with its 3.3" screen and 480 x 320 pixels.
The Galaxy Y has a TN screen with a very low resolution (320 x 240 pixels). Plus, it's very glossy, and our tests showed that it's not very well calibrated either. We measured the Delta E at around 12 when this should be under 3 for colours to be considered accurate. Contrast is very low too, at 470:1. Here, the Mini 2 barely does any better, but it still manages to trump the Galaxy Y.
The screen is too glossy and contrast is too low for comfortable use outdoors.
The simple truth is that out of the 40 smartphones that we've reviewed over the last few months, the results from our lab tests place the Galaxy Y in next-to-last place on screen quality.
But in terms of how it actually looks, we reckon it should be in last place, as the excessive shininess of the screen adds a kind of false sense of depth to the display. This makes for a generally quite troubling effect on the eyes that several guinea pigs in our office found hard to adjust to.
Check out the difference in quality below:
Interface & Navigation
In each part of our review, it's becoming increasingly apparent that every feature of the Galaxy Y has been scaled down compared with the Mini 2. So as well as the smaller, lower-def screen, this phone has just 180 MB of internal memory—which no doubt goes some way to explain why general responsiveness could be better. Plus, there are only three homescreens in this handset, compared with seven in the Mini 2.
Again, our lab tests confirm these first impressions. Out of all the smartphones we've tested this year, the Galaxy Y gets the lowest scores yet in our processing and graphics processing tests.
So in spite of Samsung's promise of "great performances," the Galaxy Y's feeble processing power rules out use with power-hungry apps—in fact, you won't even be able to install them. You'll be able to play Angry Birds just fine, but you can forget about the likes of Shadow Gun!
It's the same story with videos too, as watching a film can prove a bit problematic on this phone. The handset tends to keep cutting out the sound for a split second at a time, which soon becomes annoying.
The camera isn't much better either. We have to say that we feared the worst from this 2-Megapixel camera, so it's no surprise to see mediocre results. Still, it sometimes does a better job than the Mini 2, especially in good light conditions. It's not up to much in low light, though.
Audio quality is a bit better—well, it's about average. As is usually the way with mobile phones, the speaker isn't amazing, but with a good pair of headphones things get a whole lot better. That, plus this mobile's compact design, could therefore make it pretty handy for runners and other sporty users. Otherwise, the general volume level could be more powerful and the 5.1 audio option is useless, but straight audio playback thankfully doesn't suffer from the same split-second cut-outs that you get with a video soundtrack.
In our tests, the Galaxy Y held out for six hours of continuous use in video mode (Wi-Fi off), which is sufficient. You should therefore be able to stretch a couple of days' use out of this mobile before you need to recharge. At least that small screen has one advantage—it doesn't use much power!
- Low price
- Very compact
- Could be used as a portable music player (so long as you switch to a decent pair of headphones)
- Nice finish! Not something you see often at this price-point
- Decent enough battery life for multimedia
- Very poor-quality screen
- Poor onscreen colour fidelity
- General lack of responsiveness
- Not much processing power (not enough for the latest games or for decent video playback)
- Camera isn't great
The Galaxy Y could find vocation as an emergency replacement for when your mode advanced smartphone breaks or gets lost or stolen. Who knows, with a better screen we might have been able to recommend it.