Samsung Galaxy Fame review

Get ready young'uns - it's got NFC too

Samsung Galaxy Fame review
Fame! I'm going to live forever...etc, etc

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The Samsung Galaxy Fame is another Galaxy handset designed to sit towards the bottom of the range, competing in the challenging budget smartphone market. This leaves it to play against the likes of the LG Optimus L3 2, the Nokia Lumia 520 and Samsung's other offering, the Samsung Galaxy Young.

As the song goes, we looked, and now we're going to tell you what we saw. Given time though, we really don't see the Samsung Galaxy Fame making us forget the rest.

We liked

If we see it, we like it. We're talking about microSD card support. We put it in our "we liked" section a lot, but that is purely because it is omitted from so many modern smartphones. Having support for microSD cards really boosts the internal storage, of which the Samsung Galaxy Fame has very little.

We also like the TouchWiz interface. It has got a lot better since its early days, increasing to become a highly usable and intuitive UI. It gives Android Jelly Bean a really nice feel, being simple enough for novices, yet with enough features to satisfy more seasoned users too.

The design is also very nice. It sits nicely in the hand, is easy to use one-handed, and fits very well into the existing Samsung Galaxy range, being very much the baby brother to the flagship phones. The plastic feel suits the Samsung Galaxy Fame too, given the much smaller price tag.

NFC is also making its way onto the lower-end phones, so it is nice to see that the Samsung Galaxy Fame is another handset that includes it even at the low end cost.

We disliked

Our biggest bugbear is the processor. We've used phones with a single-core 1GHz processor before, and it wasn't too long ago that they were gracing the likes of the HTC Desire or the Samsung Galaxy S.

They have since popped up in the cheaper devices and been fine, yet the Samsung Galaxy Fame really seems to suffer. Loading the camera app from the lock screen is the biggest culprit, with it taking more than a few seconds to kick into gear.

The tiny screen is also a problem. It is low resolution, has no auto brightness feature, and results in a tiny keyboard. This made it very fiddly to use, and the autocorrect function is not really up to the standard we have come to expect from a modern smartphone.

The camera is also really poor. The 5MP sensor takes decent enough photos in the right lighting conditions, but on a bright sunny day, light areas lose a lot of detail. Video recording is also really poor, with the 640 x 480 VGA resolution not enough for filming anything of note.

Final verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Fame is not a phone that will live forever, and it hasn't quite learned to fly. It is clear from the very outset that Samsung has used the ingredients to create a lower-end smartphone, such as the smaller internal chipset, the smaller screen and the low internal storage.

In doing so the Samsung Galaxy Fame, in a continuation of the Samsung Galaxy range's design, feels a little underpowered. The feel of the Samsung Galaxy Fame, with the TouchWiz interface and external design, is reminiscent of the Samsung Galaxy S3 and Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini, and makes you want to see it as a more expensive handset.

The smaller chipset generally nipped along fairly well when swiping between home screens, but when waking up to the camera or loading slightly larger apps, the Samsung Galaxy Fame struggled really quite noticeably, to the point where we were feeling rather frustrated.

We can see the Samsung Galaxy Fame selling a fair few units, especially given its super low price tag, and we don't see that as a bad thing, given that the majority of users will likely be young, and wanting a way of connecting to Facebook, but for anything more substantial, the handset really struggles.

First reviewed: June 2013