We love
Superb QWERTY keyboard
We hate
Screen is a blast from the past
It's the best Android BlackBerry rival so far, but then there's not been any competition.
Launch Price
£213 SIM free


The Samsung Galaxy Pro is the first Android handset from a top tier mobile brand to come packing a portrait QWERTY keyboard. Combined with low specs and a low price, it’s aimed directly at BBM obsessive teens who can’t get enough of tapping out “where r u” and various acronyms incomprehensible to older generations. But is it worth slapping down for with so many stunning touchscreen only Google smartphones available, and the Facebook oriented HTC ChaCha on the way? Read on and find out in our full Samsung Galaxy Pro review.

While we’ve seen Android phones with portrait QWERY keyboards from the likes of Acer and Alcatel before, the Samsung Galaxy Pro is the first from a global player on a major network. Unfortunately, for the experience you get, it should cost even less than it does.


It's squat and unattractive, but it still fits snugly in the palm of your hand thanks to its small 2.8-inch screen

Imagine a mid-range Samsung touchscreen phone, squashed, stretched slightly, and with a QWERTY implant. Congratulations: that’s the Samsung Galaxy Pro. While its squat 199x67x10.7mm dimensions are a break from the norm, the materials are a cheap plastic as you’d expect. You’ll find the micro USB port and 3.5mm audio jack sensiibly positioned on the top of the handset, and there’s even the hint of a Samsung Galaxy S lip at the back as well.

Buy the Samsung Galaxy Pro now

The Android buttons below the screen are physical keys that are easy enough to push – curiously, Samsung has included a Search button, which it usually omits. It seems a little bit unnecessary on a phone with a physical keyboard, but more on that shortly.

We can’t honestly say that the Galaxy Pro feels premium in the way a BlackBerry Bold 9780 or 9700 does, but it is at least rock solid, shrugs off smudges, and feels impressively light, tipping in at just 103g on the scales.

Killer QWERTY?

This is the best Android phone keyboard ever. Period.

So here’s the good news: the keyboard on the Samsung Galaxy Pro is nothing short of superb: it’s a four line portrait number with large keys that pop down nicely, and yet Samsung’s still found space to shove in cursor keys, and Shift, Alt and Symbol buttons in the bottom right.

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Combined with Samsung’s intelligent auto-punctuation and capitalisation, it makes for the best typing experience this side of a BlackBerry, and gives you by far the highest WPM of any Android phone. You can also start an Android search just by typing on either the homescreen or app screen, a very BlackBerry-esque touch and one we love.

One final note: you can activate an on-screen keyboard in the settings if you want, and it’s surprisingly responsive, but as you can imagine rather pointless. Swype does not come pre-loaded as on most Android phones from the company.


Samsung's decision to use such a low resolution screen has backfired

So here’s the bad news: Samsung has cut corners with the 2.8-inch display on the Galaxy Pro, which is a poxy, low resolution 320×240. This has several drawbacks: firstly, everything looks grainy. Websites are zoomed out by default, and you’ll have to zoom in to read – not that the text wraps to fit the screen on Samsung’s browser here. Secondly, it means some apps – particularly more demanding games – simply aren’t supported. This is an issue we noted with the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini last year, and not much has changed on this front.

Then there’s the lack of multitouch. We’re baffled to report that the Samsung Galaxy Pro does not support pinch to zoom gestures, in Google Maps, the browser or images – you’re back to double tapping to zoom step by tedious step, which was something of a blast from the past. It’s curious, because the touchscreen is the more responsive capacitive kind, and if you activate the on-screen keyboard (Pointless, but we like to be thorough), it turns out to be perfectly responsive to presses. Perhaps more damningly, it also renders Angry Birds nigh on unplayable.

As a result, we can only recommend the Samsung Galaxy Pro to anyone moving from a dumbphone or a seriously ageing BlackBerry – anyone else will be used to seeing much better.

Android 2.2

Things go to bad from worse with the Samsung’s Android skin on the Galaxy Pro. Apart from the ace type to search benefits of the keyboard, it’s a barebones version of Froyo with no custom Samsung apps of note (Our favourite DLNA streaming app, allShare, is gone) save for the Social Hub – which is all but pointless since all it does is link out to the web versions of Facebook and Twitter. You’d be far better off installing the apps for each instead. The confusion doesn’t stop there either: while you can lock the screen orientation from the drop down menu, it’s not set by default, and all sorts of apps (Like, er, the Settings menu) that just shouldn’t tilt into portrait mode do anyway – it’s a curious oversight considering no other Samsung Android phones do this.

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Still though, even without added media format support, even without the ability to play Flash, Android itself is its stellar self. With so many free IM and social networking apps, it can replicate much of the BlackBerry Messenger experience for teens.


Don't buy this phone for the camera. Trust us on this one.

The Samsung Galaxy Pro’s 800MHz CPU turned in a by the books performance. The atrocious 3MP camera (with no flash) is slow to load and shoot, but otherwise, your core apps run reasonably fast enough – truth be told, the lack of multitouch and support for games means you won’t use it as much as you would a more powerful smartphone.

Best Android phone: budget Top 5

For the same reason, battery life from the 1350mAh was enough to see it through two days of use with account syncing turned on. We were a little disappointed by call quality however, with noise and crackle invading our conversations quietly in the background. But again, there are likely people out there who’ll accept this compromise for a rock solid QWERTY keyboard.


We’ve said for years that an Android phone shaped like a BlackBerry could render RIM pointless for all but the most hardened and security conscious of suits. Unfortunately, while Sammy has delivered the best typing experience ever on Android on the Samsung Galaxy Pro, it’s forgotten to provide a current-gen screen, and more curiously, tampered with Android 2.2 in a way that was entirely unnecessary. As such, we suspect that social networkers would do far better to wait on the HTC ChaCha, which promises a newer bake of Android and tighter Facebook integration. In the meantime, there’s always the INQ Cloud Touch.

Samsung Galaxy Pro review unit kindly supplied by Three

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000314962648 James Kelly

    :L 320 x 240 resolution is pathetic. The resolution should have been at least 480 x 320, and the screen should be multi-touch.

    • Anonymous

      Couldn’t agree more – it’s what lost it two stars.

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