“Spica,” according to Wikipedia, is the “15th brightest star in the nighttime galaxy” while the “Galaxy” was one of the hottest phones in Samsung’s universe last year. Put them together and what do you get? The Samsung Galaxy Spica i5700, a sizzling smartphone that can blind you with its heavenly features.
First off, we’d like to commend Samsung for not shying away from using physical buttons. It’s a welcome feature, especially since the Spica is an Android smartphone. Android is one of the iPhone OS’ rivals, and though it packs a lot of features, it isn’t the least technologically intimidating of the lot. With the presence of tactile keys, the Spica is more user-friendly and much easier to master than other phones running the same software.
Having said that, let’s move on to the Spica’s user interface. It looks great, yes, but it lacks the responsiveness and the sensitivity that Apple’s iPhone so effortlessly incorporates into its screen. Mind you, the screen technology is the same (capacitive) but execution and implementation is way different, particularly with the Galaxy Spica’s lack of multitouch.
Good thing, though, that an 800MHz processor runs the show, because if it were any slower, we may not have even bothered to check out the other features.
We spent a great deal of time browsing and checking out the Android Market. Using the Spica for the latter is a total joy, although the same could not be said with the former. The screen is much too small to view websites without the need to zoom in. Texts and images come out too small, and no amount of squinting will help. Zoom in and you’ll have a hard time scrolling up and down and from left to right, especially if you have fat fingers. We found ourselves accidentally hitting links most of the time.
It’s no secret that the Spica is a budget smartphone; it has a price tag of P14,900. And as such, you should expect budget specs such as a 3.2-megapixel camera with no flash, Wi-Fi g, and basic 3.6mbps HSDPA connectivity. There’s hardly anything about it that will make you go “wow” except maybe for the fact that it’s an affordable Samsung.
As unremarkable (but not unimpressive) as the Galaxy Spica may be, it does have one redeeming quality: battery life. We’ve managed to get close to 3 days of power on a single charge. That’s no small feat, especially with a processor that could power a 10-year-old desktop PC.
If you’re really set on getting an Android phone, the Spica is a solid choice. It’s selling for 90 bucks cheaper than the former cheapest Android phone in the Philippines, the HTC Tattoo, and it looks much better. Plus, we really love how it flaunts the OS with the cute robot icon up front!
Click here to see the Samsung Galaxy Spica i5700 in the Buyer’s Guide.