I had a Nokia E63 for a couple of years which was brilliant. I then upgraded to a Nokia E5 which was and is an absolute piece of shit. I had problems with it from early days not least of which was the appalling battery life. I even bought another battery in case I’d just ended up with a dud. I went from being excited about getting the E5 to hating it in a relatively short period of time. The final insult was that it packed up completely and stopped working 3 days before I was due to fly overseas earlier this year. I sent it in for a repair but of course it didn’t come back until I was half way through my overseas trip.
Whilst in Stockholm I really wanted to have a phone that I could use for internet and email that wasn’t going to cost me an arm and a leg in roaming charges. I already a pre-paid sim so it was a matter of trying to find a reasonably priced smart-phone at a Swedish retailer. Sweden is bloody expensive for technology so I didn’t like my chances. However I came across the Galaxy Mini at Media Markt (big electronics store in Sweden) at an amazing outright price. Within 5 minutes I was walking out the door with my new purchase.
Android has never been something I particularly aspired to and Samsung as a phone brand had previously not interested me. But all of that was about to change thanks the Galaxy Mini!
It didn’t take long to set up and I was charged up and on the bus heading to Stockholm’s Pride Festival pretty quickly. My new phone was already connecting me to the internet and my email. I had a lot of fun learning how to use the thing, learning how Android and Samsung’s Touchwiz interface operated. Very different from the Nokia Symbian system. My friend James O’Brien who already had the Samsung Galaxy Fit (part of the same series of four modestly priced Samsung Android phones released at the beginning of the year) showed me a few tips and tricks and I never looked back. Nokia who????
The phone was a godsend while I was overseas. It did everything I wanted it to do. If I had one minor complaint it would be the lack of a flash for the camera. Samsung seem to leave the flash out of a lot of their phones. But still, the Galaxy Mini absolutely rocked compared to the piece of garbage Nokia E5 (which I am still paying for!).
The original idea was to have a phone to use overseas and then think about my options when I returned to Australia. When I got back, I picked up the Nokia E5 fresh from its repair, turned it on and just thought “I hate this bloody phone”. So suddenly my Samsung Galaxy Mini became my main phone. And that’s the way it has remained. I couldn’t go back after experiencing the Galaxy Mini with Android and Touchwiz.
The Mini has very modest specifications and doesn’t have a mega-large gorilla glass screen like some of the high-end Galaxy phones (S, S2) but it works for me. The 3.2″ screen is fine for me and the font is large and clear. I’ve downloaded a few apps for it but it had a lot of the stuff I needed out of the box. Setting up the email function was not very painful at all. The Facebook and Twitter apps are logical and easy to use. And scrolling through PDFs on the phone is really smooth compared to the clunky experience on the E63 and E5.
I can’t have a top-of-the-range smart-phone – both because of the price but also because I break things. Especially delicate electronic things. I drop them, bump them and have a lot of accidents with them. With the Galaxy Mini, I don’t worry about that. It is quite plastic (but has a nice feel) and it stands up to my clumsiness well. Also, if I do end up accidentally destroying it, I know I can get another one without it costing an arm and a leg. It’s a win-win for me.
If I had to change anything about the phone it would be to have a better camera with a flash. Not a top-of-the-range 8 mega-pixel camera but just one that took reasonably good photos and coped in low light. But I guess that’s one of the trade-offs you have to make in purchasing a budget-type smart phone.
A pleasant surprise was being able to upgrade the firmware to Android Gingerbread a few weeks ago. It came with Froyo but with a guaranteed update to Gingerbread. The upgrade process, achieved via Samsung’s KIES software, was pretty smooth and easy.
So all in all I’m giving two big thumbs up to the Galaxy Mini. James has also loved his Galaxy Fit (although I think he’d love something more glamorous by now!). The Mini has been the right combination of price and features for me. And it feels good and easy to handle and use. My Nokia E5 is in a drawer somewhere and they only time I think about it is when my phone bill comes in and I see the monthly payment I have to make on it until 2013. Grrrr! No more Nokia for me, I’m a Samsung boy now! 😉