If you've been desperately trying to wrap your mitts around the Samsung Galaxy S2 but just can't bring yourself to sell your grandmother so you can afford one, the Samsung Galaxy W might be the answer. It's another smart phone in Samsung's Galaxy range, packing a 1.4GHz processor, a 3.7-inch touchscreen and Android 2.3 Gingerbread.
It will be available on a contract for around £20 per month, when it launches within the next month or so.
The Galaxy W doesn't look very different to most of the other phones in the Galaxy universe. It's a black and grey rectangle with rounded corners, a flat back and curved edges. This similarity won't be a problem if you're already a fan of the Galaxy range, but, if you like your blower to be more distinctive, you may want to look elsewhere.
The Galaxy W doesn't have the premium look and feel of the Galaxy S2, but, as it's significantly cheaper, we really can't hold that against it. The phone felt pretty average in our hands -- neither particularly weighty and sturdy, nor cheap and plasticky. It seemed built to pretty much the same standard as most of Samsung's other phones. For a model aimed at the lower end of the market, we're pleased that Samsung hasn't made the Galaxy W depressingly cheap and nasty.
The back of the Galaxy W has a rough texture that you'll find very handy if you happen to have wet hands or make a habit of screaming down your phone at someone while on a rollercoaster.
The phone is 11.5mm thick, so it's not as slim as the 9mm-thick S2. It's ever so slightly lighter, though, weighing 112g compared to the S2's 115g. Will you notice the difference in weight in everyday use? Highly doubtful. If you do, please tell us what you're up to that's making you so aware of a 3g weight difference. We'd really like to know.
Screen and camera
The 3.7-inch screen isn't of the Super AMOLED Plus variety, which is one of the reasons why the phone is cheaper than the Galaxy S2. With a 480x800-pixel resolution, it won't be as bright and crisp as its bigger brothers' displays, but it will do the job of displaying your photos, apps and Web pages well enough.
On the back of the phone, you'll find a 5-megapixel camera with an LED flash. We weren't able to thoroughly test the camera in our hands-on session, but we don't imagine it will blow anyone away. It will cope adequately if you just want some party snaps, but, if you want to capture some arty shots, you may want to look at one of the other phones in the range or opt for a compact digital camera.
There's a front-facing camera for video calling or self-portraits. It's only a VGA affair, though, so you won't get great results from it, especially in low light.
Under the hood of the Galaxy W, you'll find a 1.4GHz processor that should provide decent performance. The phone certainly feels pretty swift, and we're looking forward to taking it for a full spin when it lands on our desk for a review.
The Galaxy W runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread, so you can enjoy all the fun of live home-screen widgets and Flash in your browser, as well as full access to the hundreds of thousands of apps in the Android Market.
Samsung's TouchWiz interface sits over the top of Android, enabling you to customise parts of the interface and mess around with the menus to your heart's content.
Samsung has also slapped in a bunch of its own software for you to play with. Its game, social and music hubs grant -- you guessed it -- quick access to various games, social-networking and music services.
The Samsung Galaxy W seems like a decent smart phone for the money. It may not have the sleek appearance and beautiful screen of the S2, but it offers a satisfying taste of Android goodness for a more affordable price.
Edited by Charles Kloet