Samsung Galaxy Europa GT-15500 review

We review the Samsung Galaxy Europa GT-15500, another “budget” Android device but does it have what it takes to stand out from the ever-increasing crowd?

Rating: 
2
Pros: 
Decent touchscreen, responsive digital keyboard, snappy processor, TouchWiz, Android 2.1
Cons: 
Poor camera, limited storage, tiny screen, Samsung Apps, not very pretty
Verdict: 
It’s difficult to like the Samsung Galaxy Europa, it has no stand-out features, is poorly designed and feels cheap in the hand. If you’re in the market for an affordable Android device, we suggest that you shop around a little more before settling on this device.

There are now more budget Android-powered devices on the market than you can literally shake a stick at – and now there’s one more: the Samsung Galaxy Europa. But how does this Android 2.1-powered, TouchWiz UI enhanced budget smartphone weigh up against the best of the rest?

Looks wise, the Galaxy Europa isn’t going to win any beauty competitions. Like the Galaxy S it is very plasticky, despite it’s metallic edging, and feels rather cheap and flimsy in the hand. It also looks like a much older phone than it actually is – kind of like it crept of a drawing board from back in 2003 – and this, obviously, isn’t a good thing.

Being quite a small device (it’s exact measurements are 56 x 108 x 12.3mm) the screen is quite pokey, measuring in at 2.8-inches. The good news is it’s capacitive, so no resistive BS. The bad news is, well, it’s pretty low-grade in terms of its resolution – QVGA (240x320) to be precise.

But this isn’t such a bad thing. After all, the slightly larger screened HTC Wildfire is a brilliant device but the screen on it is utterly appalling – so we’re not going to be too harsh on the Galaxy Europa over this.

The Galaxy Europa is powered by Android 2.1 and skinned with Samsung’s TouchWiz UI. You’ve got seven customisable homescreens, voice search, folder creation and all the speed optimisations that come with Éclair. There’s also a bunch of Samsung Widgets available as well, but the vast majority of which don’t really merit mentioning. 

This isn’t too much of an issue though as you’ve always got the Android Market to fall back on. Samsung Apps is also available on the Galaxy Europa, but it wouldn’t open for us during testing and after more than a few attempts we decided to give up.

The Galaxy Europa’s virtual keyboard – which is absolutely tiny – is very good, especially compared to some other “budget-Android” devices we’ve tested. Composing long emails on it isn’t too much of a chore. That said, we would recommend writing emails in landscape as it does give you slightly more room to play with.

If cameras are your thing, then you’ll be quite disappointed with what the Europa has to offer. For starters, there’s no Flash and this means no night time shots. Second, it’s only 2-megapixels (something that would have been considered paltry in 2003) and therefore very low quality, even when used in well-lit conditions.

Specifications

Typical Price £179.99
UK Launch June 2010
Frequency Quadband
Phone Style Touchscreen
Thickness 12.3 mm
Length 108mm
Width 56mm
Weight 102g
Built-in Memory 170MB + 1GB SD card
Additional Memory 16GB microSD (optional)
High-speed Data EDGE,Wi-Fi,GPRS,3G
Connectivity Bluetooth, MicroUSB
Screen Size 240 x 320 pixels, 2.8 inches
Screen Colours 256K
Camera Yes
Designer Lens No
Camera Resolution 2-Megapixel
Zoom Digital Zoom
Flash No
Video Resolution QVGA@15fps
Ringtones Yes
Music Player Yes
Music Formats MP3/WAV/eAAC+ player
Radio Yes
Speaker Yes
Video Calling No
Internet Yes
Browser HTML
Games Yes
Battery Standby Up to 521 h (2G) / Up to 375 h (3G)

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