Samsung has to be commended for being the first non-HTC manufacturer to release an Android phone to the market, as it's taking everyone else far too long to achieve the same thing.

The Samsung i7500 Galaxy costs nearly £100 on a £35 per month contract from O2, which is the exclusive provider of the phone in the UK at the moment.

We liked

The design of the i7500 Galaxy is pretty nice – it's certainly better than the HTC Hero (although we're sure the other half of the other love it/hate it divide will have something to say about that).

It's feature rich, with a flash, 5MP camera - the best on offer for an Android phone at the moment.

The Android OS is a good platform, and the phone only stands to get better as updates trickle out, with 1.6 Donut due any week now.

The OLED screen is bright and vivid too, with a decent enough sound pumping out the speaker when used in 'commuter-baiting' mode.

We disliked

Unfortunately, there's a lot to dislike in the i7500 Galaxy too. The main problem is the battery life, which is currently just abysmal. The ultra-long lock button holding is a problem as well, with the length of time needed to press it as much of an irritation as its erratic nature.

The camera is pretty poor as well, especially from Samsung, and we're sad there's not profile settings to change the option you're after beyond turning the volume down to a buzz.

The price is also very high for such a phone, and we're already looking to see how much the i5700 Galaxy Lite is going to be. Budget Android is likely to be big later in 2009/2010, and this might be the wrong time to release an expensive handset.

Verdict

The problem for the Galaxy is others have already shown us what's possible with Android, with Archos, HTC and Motorola already skinning Android to the nines to create a plethora of new functionality.

Samsung has done precisely nothing with the Android OS for the i7500 Galaxy, and it now shows when we've been spoilt by the Sense UI on the Hero. In fact, the phone's main saving grace is the fact it's packing Android, which is an awesome OS, as without it this would probably be among Samsung's worst touchscreen phones.

For the money we want a lot more these days, and you'd have to think the HTC Magic is better value at the moment. Sure, it doesn't have a flash or a headphone jack, but for the cost and performance we'd say it puts the i7500 galaxy in the shade.

We know we're only at the very start of the Android journey, but we can't help feeling Samsung should have done better with its first effort.

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