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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Since the very first Samsung Galaxy phones, such as the Samsung Galaxy Portal, the Korean firm has been creating and tweaking its TouchWiz overlay.

Samsung Galaxy Fame review

Samsung has fitted the Samsung Galaxy Fame with Android 4.1.2, treating you to the sweet sugary goodness of Jelly Bean, if not in its latest iteration.

The 1GHz of power underneath the Samsung Galaxy Fame's hood is almost instantly noticeable from the lock screen.

The usefulness of being able to have three apps that can be launched directly from here is somewhat subdued when it takes a couple of seconds to load the camera.

Which apps you choose to launch are customisable, but by default are ChatOn - Samsung's answer to BBM and iMessage - as well as the Google Now search engine and the Camera. Don't go expecting any fancy lock screen animations, such as a ripple, either.

The lack of power wasn't so noticeable once we got past the lock screen. The Samsung Galaxy Fame seemed to flow a lot better. There was a definite hesitation, but nothing frustrating.

Samsung Galaxy Fame review

TouchWiz has been built to be an intuitive interface, and it succeeds. Everything is simple to use, with Samsung providing some helpful little tips when you first use the Galaxy Fame. The biggest let down of the phone is one that seems to have appeared on a lot of lower-end handsets - namely the lack of an auto brightness feature. We really can't figure this one out.

The dock can only handle three apps alongside the app drawer launcher, given the smaller stature of the screen. This frustration is somewhat alleviated with the ability to create folders and put them in the dock. When creating folders you can't drag icons onto one another, rather you have to long-press and tap folders instead.

Throughout the phone, Samsung's tweaks are evident, no more so than with the widgets. The weather clock widget available on the Samsung Galaxy Fame is a very smart affair, reflecting the time and weather conditions based on your location.

Apps and widgets can be accessed via the phone's app drawer on the bottom-right, with long-presses dragging them over onto one of the home screens, and up to seven available. Samsung has also kindly given us the option to hide apps within the app drawer, so apps that can't be removed can at least be hidden.

Samsung Galaxy Fame review

One of the key features of any Android experience, emulated on later iOS versions, is the notifications bar. Swiping the bar down gives access to the notifications screen, complete with the quick settings that Samsung has put in every TouchWiz iteration.

There are a lot more options available than you may previously have been used to, and as we mentioned before, it moves across every time you open the bar. We could list all the available power saving options, but needless to say they cover GPS and Wi-Fi, as well as the mobile data and an interesting setting known as Blocking Mode.

Blocking Mode disables notifications, including calls from people who aren't on a set list. It can also be set to a timer, making it ideal for when you're asleep.

Elsewhere in the Samsung Galaxy Fame notifications bar is a brightness toggle, as well as the very smartly laid out clock and date in the top-left, opposite access to the phone's settings.

The Android Jelly Bean experience with swiping away notifications and expanding notifications is also present, making it easy to dismiss the spam emails or a Facebook message that you "don't want" when you're at work...

In all, the Samsung Galaxy Fame's interface is a pretty standard Samsung affair. Anybody used to playing with one of the Korean firm's handsets will feel immediately at home. TouchWiz isn't without its faults, but it is right up there with the best, with the Samsung Galaxy Fame's biggest flaw being the single-core heart beating at the centre.