Samsung Galaxy Portal i5700 review

Can Android 1.5 and black plastic cut it in 2010?

TODO alt text

Samsung galaxy portal

The Samsung Galaxy Portal's camera quality is surprisingly good for a 3.2MP snapper that's been rammed into the body of a mobile phone.

The focus is a bit slow, with the phone pausing, steadying its view, doing a bit more auto-focusing then waiting for you to release the button - and then waiting a little bit longer before deciding to capture what you're pointing at, if it's still there.

It takes a while, so don't go expecting to capture anything on the spur of any moments, but at least there's a dedicated camera shot button, which makes using the clunky default Android camera tool a little bit more bearable.

Photos come out at a decent 2,048 x 1,536 resolution, although, as with every mobile phone camera in existence, it's quite poor in low-light conditions.

Samsung galaxy portal

WIDE SHOT: The camera's a bit over-eager to emphasise the brightness of things. Shadows are wiped out in favour of exaggerated colours when shooting in good light, with shots often coming out more bright and enhanced than necessary

Samsung galaxy portal

Samsung galaxy portal

CLOSE UP: The auto-focus, while slow, does a good job when taking pictures up close - the sample shot we took of our emergency backup Nokia 6680 mobile was surprisingly sharp, even with the camera held around 30cm away from the trusty last-gen brick

Samsung galaxy portal

NO MACRO: There's no macro option, so don't expect to be able to take detailed pictures of the back of your hand, but as an all-rounder the Samsung Galaxy Portal's camera performs very well

Samsung galaxy portal

LOW DETAIL: Detail tends to fall apart into abstract blotch territory when shooting complicated things like, er, grass and trees, but the output is decent enough to more than handle your social networking photo sharing needs

Samsung galaxy portal

STRAIGHT LIGHT: Shooting straight into bright light is not advised on the Samsung Galaxy Portal, with very little detail captured

You can also select "camera nightmode" from the camera menu to enhance brightness, if you don't mind your shots looking like you've taken them within the blast radius of a nuclear detonation.

However, the lack of any sort of flash won't help you snap compromising photos of friends drinking specialist cocktails in specialist bars.

Another feature added in is Android lets you upload photos simply, but just clicking on them and sending them to Facebook or Gmail or whatever else you've installed. It's clever like that.

The Samsung Galaxy Portal's videos are recorded in 3GP mobile format and look passable, appearing in a fuzzy, blocky resolution of 352 x 288 - and VLC tells us they run at a frame rate of around eight or nine frames per second.

We also encountered error messages about not being able to play the video's sound on our PC due to a missing Samsung audio codec.