Samsung Galaxy Mini review: Interface
There are obvious sacrifices that have been made to the performance in order to offer the Samsung Galaxy Mini at a low price. The 3.14-inch capacitive touchscreen is very slow to respond, sometimes forcing you to press harder and repeatedly until you get any reaction.
In fact, on several occasions we experienced software glitches and freezing when jumping between applications, in particular immediately after making a phone call. To be truthful, our experience with the interface was an incredibly bumpy ride.
The Samsung Galaxy Mini comes pre-installed with three Home screens. You can add up to seven, which seems like quite a lot considering it's not a media-rich or app-intensive device.
The main menu flows in the same way as the Home screens, ie from left to right instead of up and down, allowing for consistency in the method of navigation, which is a bonus. Generally it's easy to navigate and is standard to Android, so if you've had an Android handset before, you'll find it very easy to navigate this smartphone.
Widgets can be downloaded onto the Home screens, but they're quite simplistic and a little buggy. For example, the news widget provides a list of real-time news stories from various news outlets, but text gets cut off at the bottom of the window and is borderline illegible due to the tiny font.
The Samsung Galaxy Mini's saving grace is the Android 2.2.1 Froyo platform, which is easy to use for both Android fanboys and newbies to the OS. It's straightforward and does what it says on the tin, making the whole experience much more pleasing.
If this little white number was to be embedded with a clunkier UI, namely Symbian, it would be on top of the recycling pile, for sure.
When downloading apps from the Market, they automatically save on the Menu page, but you can drag and drop them into the Home screens to make them easier to find.
There are several pre-loaded applications on the device, but thankfully it lacks the 'bloatware' of the Samsung Galaxy Ace, which comes with games and gambling apps that can't be deleted when bought on the Three network.
The Samsung Galaxy Mini comes pre-installed with the Samsung Apps application, an app store exclusive to Samsung devices. But we have an inkling that this app store will quickly become defunct, thanks to the fully-stocked Android Market. This is heaps easier to use and generally more fun to navigate.
Samsung's app store only files apps under three categories; Health/Life, Reference and Utilities, and the majority of the apps are currently just foreign language dictionaries.
There's one nifty addition to the Samsung Galaxy Mini – the Recent Activity function. Pressing and holding the menu button reveals the most recent activity on the handset, which allows the user to quickly find a frequently used application. It's handy when you're in a rush to launch an app.
However, although the Galaxy Mini may have some nice quirky extras, it doesn't counter the fact that the 600MHz processor is low quality and juddering occurs when flicking through home screens, apps freeze when jumping between programs and all in all it's not a very fluid experience.
Although it's very easy to use, the interface is clunky and tends to lag, which makes it lose points in terms of performance.