Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Handy Guide to the Samsung Galaxy Range

There's one word to describe the Samsung Galaxy smartphone range - confusing . Well, Nokia did much worse with the endless alphanumeric combos like C2-03 and X2-01 and I spent half a day figuring out what they all stood for when I composed my handy guide to Nokia phones earlier this year. Samsung has not made it too easy either. The company tags "Galaxy" to every Android phone/tablet it makes and "Wave" to every bada phone and after that, price is really the only cue to figure out what's at the top of the heap and what's at the bottom.

So here's the low down on the Galaxy range. Earlier this year, Samsung introduced a naming convention to define the Galaxy Range (thanks, Mobile Gazette for the lowdown!) which is as follows;

S = Super Smart (Top End phones)
R = Refined (High End Devices)
W = Wonder (Upper Mid Range Phones)
M = Magical (Mid Range Phones)
Y = Young (Entry Level Smartphones)

In addition, a 'Pro' handset will feature a QWERTY keyboard and 'Plus' signifies an upgraded  version.

The nomenclature of course, means nothing much till we dive into the features and see what Samsung offers in each of its self-defined categories.

1. The S Series (Galaxy S I9000, Nexus S, Galaxy S LCD, Galaxy S II, Galaxy S Plus I9001)

The Galaxy Note and the new Galaxy Nexus are standalone and do not form part of the S Series. However, the other phones here are almost all best sellers for Samsung. Typically, these are in the Rs.20,000-30,000 range  unless you are lucky to find an older model going cheap. All these phones run at least a 1 GHz processor, have a 3.5 inch plus capacitive touchscreen and run Android Gingerbread. Some have Samsung's SAMOLED screen.

The Galaxy S2 is of course the flagship and current bestseller in this range, and should receive the update to the newest Android 4.0 ICS early next year. It is currently priced at. Rs.30,000 on Flipkart.



The best selling Galaxy S I9000 has been replaced with the newest addition in the S Series -  the Galaxy S Plus priced at Rs. 23,000. It offers a 4 inch AMOLED screen and 1.4 GHz single Core CPU and it  runs Android Gingerbread. The CPU has been upgraded from the old 1 GHz processor in the Galaxy S and it runs Android Gingerbread out of the box. 



If you want good specs on a budget, there is still some stock of Samsung Galaxy S I9003 with 4.0 inch LCD screen, which is way cheaper than a SAMOLED and priced at just Rs.18500 on Flipkart. The other specs include 1 GHz Hummingbird processor and 512 MB RAM.  But do note that it only runs the older Android 2.2 FroYo and Samsung has just  announced that it will not receive the upgrade to ICS (Android 4.).



The Nexus S (now discontinued) has a 4.0 inch SAMOLED touchscreen, but otherwise shares the same internals as  the Galaxy S series. It runs stock Android and has already received an update to ICS. 

2. The R series (Galaxy R I9103)

I could not really get a clue how the R series ("refined phones") would be different from S series phones and the Galaxy R I9103 really does not help to solve this puzzle. It features a dual core 1 GHz processor (that's the same power as an iPad 2) and a whopping 1 GB of RAM which should please gamers. However, the 4 inch screen is S-LCD and not AMOLED. It runs Android Gingerbread and sells for a tempting Rs.21,000 on Flipkart. This is an attractive handset if you consider that it's a bit wasteful to spend Rs.30,000 on a phone.



3. The Y series (Galaxy Y S5360)


Targeted by Samsung at young users (who are also on a budget), the Y series Galaxy phones  run Android Gingerbread and have a processor speed of 800 MHz. They also have 3 inch TFT screens and 2 MP cameras - a big step down from the Galaxy S phones, but this also keeps the price point at Rs.7500.

Currently the range offers 2 options - the Galaxy Y and the Y Color Plus which offers 4 additional changeable back panels for a moderate price premium.


4. The Galaxy Pro B7510

Pro devices from Samsung feature a QWERTY keyboard. The Galaxy Pro B7510 has a slightly small (2.8 inch) TFT touchscreen in addition to a QWERTY keyboard and packs an 800 MHz processor. It runs Android FroYo and is priced at approximately Rs. 10,000.



5. The Galaxy Ace S5830

While it does not fall into Samsung's classification system, this mid-priced (Rs.14,000) phone has been justifiably popular. It packs an 800 MHz processor, and the Adreno 200 GPU for handling graphics gives it a little performance bump compared to Samsung's budget offerings. The 3.5 inch TFT screen offers decent real estate for browsing. It runs Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)

6. Entry level phones - Galaxy Fit S5670 and Galaxy Pop S5570

These phones may have gotten a bit outdated with the launch of the Y series, as they run on the older Android FroYo and it's unlikely that Samsung will upgrade them. They have slower 600 MHz processors and 3 inch touchscreens. They are also in the same price range as the Galaxy Y S5360 - in fact at Rs.9000 and Rs.8000 respectively on Flipkart, they are more expensive. It seems unlikely that anyone would pick one of these over the Galaxy Y and I expect that once the stock is over, they will be withdrawn from the market.

Doing this post definitely helped me to clarify my own confusions about Samsung's range and I hope it helps you too!