A leaked Android 4.2.2 firmware for the Galaxy S3 surfaced online. Features like a new Settings UI, a new lockscreen, and more are coming to the Galaxy S3 in the future.
It’s no surprise that Samsung is planning to bring some of the software features launched on the Galaxy S4 to the Galaxy S3. The Korean giant confirmed it, with the obvious limitation being that features depending on hardware, like Air View, won’t be making it to last year’s flagship.
Thanks to a test firmware that leaked online, we now have an idea of what features are likely to make the jump to the Galaxy S3. The firmware, codenamed I9300XXUFME3, has been made available online by the guys at Sam Mobile, who specified that this is a test firmware, and that more features could be included in the final release.
A video of the firmware in action reveal some of the features that Galaxy S3 users should expect in the close future, starting with those coming from the S4:
Improved lock screen, similar to that on the Galaxy S4: users will get to use multiple widgets, change the appearance and size of the clock, new unlock effects, and more
The new screen modes launched on the Galaxy S4, Adapt Display and Professional Photo
New Settings UI, identical to the S4’s
Voice controls (from S4)
Improved S Voice (from S4)
Notably absent are the many software features that Samsung introduced for the camera of the Galaxy S4. Features like Eraser mode or Sound and Shot aren’t hardware dependent, and should work in theory on the Galaxy S3, the Note 2, and other Samsung devices.
For the full list of new features in Android 4.2.2 for the Samsung Galaxy S3, head over to the source.
Sam Mobile also provides instructions on how to install the new firmware. Note that this isn’t by any mean an official release, though the leakers claim that they have tested it and that it works just like an official version.
As for a release date, insiders quoted by the source say that the Galaxy S3 will get the bump to Android 4.2.2 sometimes in June. We’ll keep you posted.
Lock screen widgets, re-vamped settings, driving mode and more
Samsung has a track record of bringing key software features to older phones with major firmware upgrades, and it seems last year's Galaxy S3 is about to see such an update along with Android 4.2.2. Leaked firmware obtained by SamMobile brings the international Galaxy S3 — the quad-core Exynos-powered GT-i9300 — up to Android 4.2.2, and adds many features previously reserved for the Galaxy S4.
New features include a familiar array of lock screen widgets and unlock effects, new display modes, a re-tooled quick settings area in the notification pull-down, a new driving mode and an updated version of the S Voice assistant app. Some of the headline Galaxy S4 features like air view aren't included, though that's because they're dependent on the S4's hardware.
SamMobile has published the new — and very much pre-release — firmware version I9300XXUFME3 online, and it comes with all the usual warnings associated with using unfinished software on your phone. In addition, it'll increase your binary counter (the difficult-to-reset counter telling you how many unofficial ROMs you've installed) by one, even though it's marked as an official Samsung firmware.
If you want to live dangerously, you can find the download and installation details over at the source link. If not, you'll find video after the break.
A couple of new reports offer new details about Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy Note 3 smartphone but also mention a device never seen before in similar rumors, the Galaxy S4 Mega.
Galaxy Note 3
Sam Mobile published a picture (see below) that has been allegedly taken with the Galaxy Note 3. The image has apparently been posted on the forum of a Polish website called SmartFan. Naturally, the information can’t be confirmed at this time, as we’re only looking at details available from EXIF data, and such info can be tampered with.
Assuming it’s real, the image appears to have been taken with a GT-N7200 device running firmware version N7200XXUAMEB. The Galaxy Note 2 has model number GT-N7200, while the Galaxy Note has model number GT-N7000, so it makes sense to assume this GT-N7200 is the third handset in the series.
According to the EXIF data, the device has a 13-megapixel sensor and an aperture of f/2.2, matching the characteristics of the Galaxy S4 main shooter. The Galaxy Note 3 could share the same camera with the Galaxy S4, but it’s too early to have it everything confirmed.
Called the Galaxy S4 Mega, this particular model has been seen in Samsung’s recently updated WatchOn application. As you can see in the screenshots below WatchON has been updated with “added support for the upcoming S4 Mega, S4 mini and S4 Active.” In fact, these product names are mention right on the app’s page in the Google Play Store:
From the looks of it, the Galaxy S4 mini and Galaxy S4 Active we mentioned before also get confirmed, but the Galaxy S4 Mega is a totally new product name.
Considering that the Mega is a new subfamily of Galaxy smartphones (currently there are two models in it, the Galaxy Mega 6.3 and the Galaxy Mega 5.8), where would a Galaxy S4 Mega fit? Is the device a bigger Galaxy S4 Mega? What purpose would it serve?
We’ll be back with more details about upcoming Samsung devices once we have them.
In 2012, Samsung began its familiarity strategy. It’s hard to miss a newer Samsung phone on the streets because they all have that definitive look. Plastic rounded body, usually in white, the devices were basically mini or maxi Galaxy S3 versions.
Samsung is able to churn out a lot of devices aimed at a lot of niche markets and then observes to see which can become hits. This is of course how the Galaxy Note range came to fruition, but now Samsung is taking its familiarity strategy one step further.
Galaxy S4 – the strategy continues
The Galaxy S4 already incorporates many similarities with its sibling, the Galaxy S3, both in physical design and software. This means that there was already a familiarity from the S3, or any Samsung smartphone from 2012 for that matter, and people would be more inclined to buy something they were already familiar with.
This was extremely successful for Apple’s iPhone as the device became almost synonymous with the word smartphone. Of course now the market is much more different. However Android still has a brand recognition problem. Surveys have shown that the Galaxy brand is becoming more recognised than Android, and this could develop into a problem for Google. Are people buying Samsung smartphones for the Google services, or the Samsung Galaxy brand?
Galaxy S4 Mini – mini phone big plans
Samsung gets it, there are some people who are simply not inclined to learn hand gymnastics, or prefer a smaller phone for other reasons. So with the Galaxy S3 Mini, Samsung attempted to accommodate those people, with a smaller version of the extremely popular Galaxy S3.
Of course those in the know would remember that the Galaxy S3 Mini was merely a shadow of its big brother. But thanks to the familiarity and brand recognition it was a good seller. A good enough seller, it seems, that Samsung is interested in making a successor in the form of the Galaxy S4 Mini, or at least that’s what plenty of reports claim.
What the Galaxy S4 Mini means is that Samsung sees a smaller form factor a big enough reason for people to choose a particular smartphone model, even if they have to skip out on the latest and greatest specs. That allows Samsung to leverage the S4 brand and enables it to sell a lot more smartphones than it normally could have, had it blessed the S4 Mini with a name like Galaxy Pop, for example.
This leaves Samsung prone to its strategy backfiring, if Samsung is serious about the smaller form factor, why doesn’t it invest enough money to make the S4 Mini a legitimate competitor to the iPhone 5? That way Samsung could control all three points of the smartphone market in a three pronged attack. The Galaxy S4 Mini for the smaller form factor, the Galaxy S4 for the middlers, and the Galaxy Note 3 towering above the rest.
Unfortunately if the rumored specs are anything to go by, the Galaxy S4 Mini will be nothing but a mid-range phone with a famous name.
A smartphone with a great camera, there’s an S4 for that
The S4 is no longer a single smartphone it seems, it’s a legion of handsets to cover your every need. So if you want to dump your DSLR, but simply aren’t satisfied with the pictures that smartphones produce, you should know that Samsung reportedly plans on introducing a variant of the S4 to please those who take pride in the pictures they take.
Not a lot is known about the Galaxy S4 Zoom, but it is rumored to include a 16-megapixel camera with optical zoom. Whether or not the camera will be good enough to make people get rid of their DSLRs, is a question that is yet to be answered. Although, a purported photograph taken with the Galaxy S4 Zoom has made its way to the Internet and is down below for you to behold.
A tweaker not a tweeter, there’s an S4 for that
The Galaxy S4 Google Edition certainly raised eyebrows, and in some circles clouded the definition of a Nexus device. Samsung’s sales philosophy is very different to Apple’s. Whereas Apple believes in gaining the maximum profit out of its products and therefore only makes high-end devices, Samsung makes a range of products, spanning almost every nook and cranny of the smartphone market.
A sale is a sale, no matter where it comes from. Of course the Galaxy S4 Google Edition isn’t being sold at near cost like other Nexus devices. This version of the S4 is being sold at an eye watering $ 649, so Samsung isn’t sacrificing profits here either.
Whether the S4 Google Edition is merely a peace offering to Google, or not, Samsung further strengthens its brand appeal and flexibility with a stock Android-running Galaxy S4, appealing to a market that would normally not be interested in a TouchWiz version of the S4.
Spend more time on the high seas than the high streets of Manhattan, there’s an S4 for that
The Sony Xperia Z might have attracted Samsung’s attention enough, for the company to contemplate creating an S4 that was water and dustproof as well. Heavy duty smartphones are far from what you call sexy, they are often slow, underpowered, low-specced and wouldn’t exactly win a Miss Universe contest anytime soon.
The Xperia Z changed it all, however with its back and front adorned with glass, it’s far from what we call “heavy duty.” Samsung recognised the appeal of a high-end device that could take a beating and has since been rumored to have begun developing a version of the S4 that was more ruggedized, dubbed the Galaxy S4 Active.
The Galaxy S4 Active is rumored to keep most of the original S4’s specifications, but to have a slightly downgraded processor. So if you wanted to pick up an S4, but simply wasn’t sure that it could take a beating, Samsung wants you to rest assured, a smartphone with you in mind is coming your way.
Samsung has world domination in mind, and the Galaxy S brand seems like the perfect way to leverage Samsung into the forefront of technology. But Samsung’s plan on creating a legion of S4 versions to conquer the world could backfire horrendously.
The S4 Mini’s rumoured specs aren’t exactly to die for, and the Galaxy S4 Zoom’s camera could turn out to be a flop. Even the Google Edition of the S4 with its high price and limited audience could fail, leaving customers with a bad taste in their mouths, and we all know keeping customers happy is a major part of business 101.
Do you think Samsung is doing the right thing including many smartphones in the same high-end Galaxy S4 brand? Or is this simply hurting Samsung’s image? Do you plan on picking up any of the many editions of the Galaxy S4?
A few days ago, Google formally unveiled the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition with pure Android. It’s a modified version of the flagship Samsung handset that we first saw announced back in March, and it stands to offer the standard Nexus user experience. What does this mean for Google’s actual line of Nexus phones? Is the Galaxy S4 with pure Android meant to replace them?
I’m not sure how long Google and Samsung sat through negotiations to try and get a product like this out the door. I think it may have been a long time coming. But it makes so much sense that you have to wonder, why didn’t they do this sooner? In fact, why don’t all Android phone makers release a Nexus-like device of their own? It simply baffles the mind.
What we have with the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition is a device with absolute top-notch hardware paired with the best software that Android has to offer. It is, strictly speaking, one of the best Android phones ever — at least if you’re with T-Mobile and AT&T. The only thing that will keep it out of most people’s hands is its prohibitive price tag. And that’s where real Nexus devices have it beat.
Still, it makes a truly compelling case for an upgrade or a switch. It’s exactly what a lot of people want: a top-of-the-line phone with the latest version of Android. And it will be updated to even later versions of Android when newer ones start coming out. If Google wants to stop making new Nexus phones like the highly rumored Nexus 5, then the Galaxy S4 with pure Android is the perfect excuse. The question is, would Google really go that far?
State of the Nexus
The maker of the current Google Nexus phone, LG Electronics, managed to snag a mere 3% of the global Android market in Q1 2013. This shows that adding high-end hardware and timely Android software updates together doesn’t always result in a killer combination. The Nexus 4 does have a few glaring faults — such as lack of microSD card support and lack of 4G LTE — that might have contributed to its weak sales. But it really should have sold more units and the bottom line is that it didn’t.
Google’s end-game is, as we all know, to get Android into the hands of as many people as possible. So it makes sense for it to partner with the current market leader, Samsung. And as for why it was necessary to inject an already existing phone with Nexus DNA instead of delivering a new one with actual Nexus branding (which they’ve already done in the past)? Well, the Galaxy brand is a much bigger brand than Nexus. It has more clout, and might possibly lead to bigger sales which would then translate to Android getting into the hands of more and more people.
There’s also the fact that the Galaxy S4 trumps the Nexus 4 in terms of hardware and sheer performance, which makes it a sensible candidate to become the latest Nexus model.
The power of the Galaxy
Google’s Nexus effort, as a whole, doesn’t appear to have been very successful. On the other hand, Samsung’s Galaxy brand has been a huge success. Only last week, an exec at Samsung declared the Galaxy S4 to be the fastest-selling Samsung handset ever. It’s on track to hit the 10 million unit sales point by the end of this month. And now we have this, a pure Android version of the same smartphone. Can you imagine what will happen next?
In all likelihood, the standard Galaxy S4 — with TouchWiz and all — will go on to sell many millions more after the end of May. And all the other people who have been keeping an eye out for a true high-end phone with stock Android can now set their sights on the Galaxy S4 Google Edition, which of course in the end means even more sales for Samsung yet again.
The mere existence of the Galaxy S4 Google Edition solves a number of problems all at once. It takes care of the Galaxy S4 storage problem because removing TouchWiz and all the extra software features that come along with it means less storage space is taken up by “system apps.” It also ensures that Android users have a chance to really enjoy the best of the Android software, because the hardware in the Galaxy S4 is more than capable of supporting pretty much everything (except worldwide carrier support, of course, at least for now). Developers will also benefit because now they can treat this phone like a special developer version of the Galaxy S4 (it comes with an unlocked bootloader).
Is this the end for the Nexus?
The Galaxy S4 Google Edition shows that Google is starting to finally get it. Google took a phone from Samsung and made it go from great to greater. Now, ongoing software support can help ensure that it sells fairly well despite the high price tag. But where does this leave Google’s Nexus line of smartphones?
If Google has plans of retiring the Nexus phone, now is the right time to do it. It just put the word out on a Nexus-ified version of one of the most advanced handsets ever, plus as we all know, it is supposed to be working on other high profile projects, such as its first smartwatch as well as the upcoming (still rumored) Motorola X Phone (not to mention Google Glass). Android phone makers are doing a good enough job of producing great models, and the world certainly doesn’t need more Nexus phones. If anything, there needs to be less phones with Android to cut out the issue of fragmentation.
The decision to release the Galaxy S4 Google Edition may be part of an experiment to see how the market reacts. If successful, we may never see another Nexus branded smartphone from Google ever again.
The last of the Big Four to start selling the Galaxy S4 in the U.S., Verizon, appears to have started shipping Galaxy S4 pre-orders already. Meanwhile, last year’s Galaxy S model (the LTE version) has been reportedly spotted heading to T-Mobile stores.
Verizon Galaxy S4
Droid-Life reports that Verizon Galaxy S4 buyers have received notifications that their pre-orders are currently prepped for shipping, and while they have an estimated delivery date of May 23, they could actually reach some of the early buyers faster then expected.
Initially announced for May 30, the launch date for the Verizon Galaxy S4 has been pushed up to May 23, at which point the handset will most likely be available in brick-and-mortar stores.
Verizon sells the 16GB Galaxy S4 model for $ 199.99 after a $ 50 mail-in rebate and with new two-year contracts, and the handset is available in both Black Mist and White Frost. The 32GB model is not in stock with the carrier at this time.
T-Mobile Galaxy S3 LTE
The “old” Galaxy S3 may still be an enticing proposition to buyers, especially T-Mobile subscribers looking to score the LTE version of the handset.
The LTE edition (SGH-T999L model) is apparently heading to stores according to a screenshot scored by TmoNews.
While a release date for the T-Mobile Galaxy S3 LTE edition is not officially available, it looks like only the 16GB white model has been spotted shipping to stores, although we’d expect it to be available in other colors as well.
The non-LTE T-Mobile Galaxy S3 is still available from the carrier and retails for $ 69.99 upfront followed by 24 monthly installments of $ 20 each, so we’d expect the LTE version to have a similar price. However, it’s worth noting that the non-LTE version is currently marked as out-of-stock on T-Mobile’s website.
The special Galaxy S4 “Nexus” edition may be a software-modified T-Mobile Galaxy S4 model (SGH-M919), a new report shows, which could be good news for existing and future T-Mobile Galaxy S4 owners.
According to AnandTech, the available evidence suggests that the Galaxy S4 Nexus edition is actually based on the T-Mobile version, a device that best meets the hardware criteria.
Google revealed little on stage when announcing its partnership with Samsung to sell a Galaxy S4 version running stock Android OS. The device doesn’t have an actual product name to differentiate it from the other Galaxy S4 units out there – which is why we call it Galaxy S4 Nexus or Galaxy S4 Google Edition – but it’s not a Nexus-branded device as you’d expect it to be. Moreover, a model number for the handset is not available either, and we’re yet to see an FCC filing for it.
What’s known about it is that Google will start selling it from the Google Play Store on June 26 for $ 649, or what an unsubsidized Galaxy S4 already costs. n terms of hardware, the handset will offer 16GB of storage and support LTE with both AT&T and T-Mobile. In addition to being carrier-unlocked, the handset will also ship with its bootloader unlocked. Obviously, it will run Android 4.2.2 (or Android 4.3 right out of the box?) and will receive “prompt system updates” like any Nexus handset.
With all that in mind, let’s look at what AnandTech says about the handset:
SGH-M919 has always included support for LTE on Bands 2, 4, 5, and 17 (that’s 1900 PCS, 1700/2100 AWS, 850 Cellular, and 700 Lower B and C) and WCDMA on Bands 2, 4, and 5. At another level, this is the same hardware as the AT&T variant but without the arbitrary RAT (Radio Access Technology) locking that AT&T has put in place to restrict use of Band 4 WCDMA which T-Mobile needs for a good experience. This translates to that support for AT&T and T-Mobile LTE and WCDMA. That also means Snapdragon 600 (APQ8064AB) and no Exynos 5.
In case that will be confirmed, then current and future T-Mobile Galaxy S4 owners will have some reasons to be happy, as they’ll be able to run the Nexus firmware on their handsets instead of the TouchWiz-filled default one faster than anyone else. Of course, it makes sense to assume that the community will bring the Galaxy S4 Nexus firmware to other Galaxy S4 version in the very near future, so a stock Android Galaxy S4 experience may be just around the corner for handset buyers.
Moreover, some Galaxy S4 fans may end up purchasing a subsidized T-Mobile version in order to run the Nexus firmware on it without having to pay the full $ 649 for the handset, especially considering T-Mobile’s UNcarrier approach to selling smartphones, which doesn’t come with a mandatory two-year agreement.
However, nothing is official just yet, and we’ll have to wait for the Nexus 4 to hit stores before telling you with absolute certainty which U.S. Galaxy S4 version it resembles most.
On a different note, we’re not encouraging you to install custom ROMs on any of your devices, we’re just informing you on the available options out there, so don’t blame us if anything goes wrong during such procedures. Whatever path you decide to follow, remember that whatever will happen to your device(s) will fall under your responsibility and yours alone.
A new GLBenchmark test result reveals that Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 model would come with an Intel Atom Z2560 chip inside, which may be a surprising choice for the Android device maker.
Model number GT-P5200 has been spotted in GLBenchmark results both in Wi-Fi-only and 3G versions – we’ll remind you that the GT-P5200 is said to be the Galaxy Tab 3 10.1, although this particular tablet version is yet to be unveiled by Samsung.
According to the benchmarks, the Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 is said to pack a 10.1-inch display with 1280 x 800 resolution, a 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Atom Z2560 processor with Hyper-Threading, a 400MHz PowerVR SGX 544 MP2 graphics processing unit and Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean under the hood.
The Intel Atom Z2560 said to power the Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 is part of the same Clover Trail+ family of mobile chips, with its bigger brother, the Intel Atom Z2580 (clocked at 2GHz) being used by other mobile devices including the Lenovo K900.
Comparatively, the Samsung-made Nexus 10 sporting a 1.7GHz dual-core processor scores around 13000 in AnTuTu. The pricier Galaxy Note 8.0 packing a 1.6GHz quad-core processor scores around 18000 in the same benchmark test (see our review here). Moreover, as you can see in the screenshot above, the GT-P5200 apparently outscores the GT-P5100 (Galaxy Tab 2 10.1) and GT-N8000 (Galaxy Note 10.1) in 3D graphics performance, with the Google Nexus 10 being a better match.
From the looks of it, the Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 may be Samsung’s first Intel-based tablet, but the device seems ready to offer a respectable performance, at least on paper.
That said, we’re still going to have to wait for Samsung to make the Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 official. If recent rumors revealing potential release dates for the three Galaxy Tab 3 models (already announced or rumored) are to be believed, the Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 could hit European markets in early June (Wi-Fi version) and in late June (3G version), so an announcement may be very close.
The Galaxy S4 Active is said to be very similar to the Galaxy S4, pictured above
The upcoming Samsung Galaxy S4 Active showed up in an alleged benchmark result that reveals some of its specifications, including a slightly older processor.
At this point, the consensus in the Android blogosphere is that he Samsung Galaxy S4 Active is real, and that it’s coming soon. The device was even confirmed by a Samsung executive. The Galaxy S4 Active is said to be waterproof and dustproof, and Samsung will likely market it as a phone for the outdoorsy, inspired by the success of Sony Xperia Z, the first major Android phone to feature resistance to water and dust.
Everybody thought that the Galaxy S4 Active (also known as J Active, though that’s likely just an internal name) would be identical to the general purpose Galaxy S4 in terms of specifications. However, a benchmark result uncovered by Techtastic indicates that at least the processor of the Galaxy S4 Active will be different.
Samsung SGH-I537, a codename associated with the AT&T version of Galaxy S4 Active showed up in the GFXBench results database. The device is powered by a Snapdragon MSM8960 (Snapdragon S4 Pro) system on a chip clocked at 1.9GHz. Other specifications revealed by the listing are Android 4.2.2 and a Full HD screen, both identical to those of the Galaxy S4. Note that benchmark listings can be easily counterfeited, and even if the entry is real, it could belong to a prototype.
Why would Samsung swap the Snapdragon 600 for an older S4 Pro on the Galaxy S4 Active? One reason could be cost reduction, though teardowns show that the difference between the two configurations is of only a few dollars per unit. Another possible answer could be a supply issue, though we haven’t heard of any supply bottlenecks related to the Snapdragon 600.
The Galaxy S4 Active has been rumored to be unveiled in the next few weeks, possibly along the Galaxy S4 Zoom and the entry-level Zest. Stay tuned for more details.
When think of Samsung phones, what do you think of? The Galaxy S4? The Note 2? Maybe the upcoming Note 3? Yeah, that makes sense. The Samsung Galaxy Fame, on the other hand, probably isn’t going to be the first thing that comes to mind.
It’s easy to forget, especially for people like us, that budget phones make up a sizable portion of the market. Samsung most definitely has not forgotten that portion of the market, and for proof you need look no further than the Galaxy Fame. It’s small and it’s cheap, but is it worth the money? Read on to find out.
The Galaxy Fame seems to take its design cues from, well, most any Samsung phone currently on the market. It’s a little curvier, but this is probably necessary due to its thickness. Still this makes the Fame a perfect fit for smaller hands. For me, it felt a little on the small-ish side, but it should be fairly usable for most people. One touch that seemed out of the ordinary was the gold-tinted faux metal surrounding the bezel. For some it might seem a little too ornate, but others may find it to be a nice change of pace.
Like most other Samsung phones, the Galaxy Fame is built from plastic. Unlike most of those phones, however, the Fame feels a little heavy for its size. This is understandable: the components don’t get any lighter after a certain point, and neither does the plastic. If anything, it actually gives the Fame a sturdier feel than some of Samsung’s larger phones.
We’ve seen time and time again that one of the main areas where the cuts are made for budget considerations is the screen. Still, for the most part, the main sacrifice is screen resolution. The 3.5-inch screen features a resolution of 480 x 320 and a pixel density of around 165 pixels per inch. If that was the only issue with the Samsung Galaxy Fame’s display, it wouldn’t be too bad, but unfortunately this isn’t the case.
The last time we reviewed a device with a display this size and resolution (the Sony Xperia E Dual) we noticed some pretty big issues with the screen, and we’re seeing a lot of the same problems here. No matter where you set the brightness, the screen looks washed out. Viewing angles generally aren’t too bad, but viewing the screen from the right side results in a not-so-fun viewing experience pretty quickly.
With a single-core 1 GHz CPU and 512 MB of RAM, we weren’t expecting a whole lot in the performance department, but we still ran our usual suite of tests.
Starting with AnTuTu, we ran the benchmark 10 times and calculated the average. In this case, it showed exactly why we run these benchmarks so many times, as the low score was 3,182 and the high score was a somewhat inexplicable 8,412. In the end, the average score was 5,075.
Next up we tried to run Epic Citadel, but the key word in that sentence is “tried.” Unfortunately, while the app launched, it consistently crashed before we got the chance to run the benchmark.
In real world testing, it was clear that TouchWiz bogged down the hardware a bit, as stuttering was present scrolling through home screens. Light gaming was possible, but heavier apps presented too much difficulty for the hardware. If you’re looking for a quick round of Angry Birds, you’ll be fine, but don’t expect too much more.
The Samsung Galaxy Fame runs Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean and, of course, Samsung’s own TouchWiz UI. While striving for a single feel across all devices makes sense from a marketing and design standpoint, we would have preferred to see a less hardware-intensive overlay, or even better, stock Android.
Looking at other software, many of Samsung’s usual apps make an appearance. S Planner, Game Hub, S Memo (simply called “Memo” here) and ChatON are present, but no S Voice. Along with an FM Radio app and the file manager My Files, Quickoffice is the major bundled app. This app allows you to view and presumably edit common office documents, though they can’t be created within the app. As with most phones Samsung currently ships, Dropbox is also included.
Given the specs and price point, we didn’t have the highest of hopes for the Samsung Galaxy Fame’s camera, and as a result, we were somewhat surprised by the quality of the photos it produced. That said, image quality is directly proportionate to the amount of light present when the photo is taken. Outdoors with sunlight or in well lit rooms, you’ll get a fairly accurate representation of whatever it may be that you’re pointing the camera at. In a poorly lit room, however, results that you’re happy with will be much harder to find.
The Galaxy Fame’s rear-facing camera is capable of capturing video, though you’ll probably only ever want to rely on it in a pinch. The resolution tops out at VGA quality (640 x 480), and has the same issues with low light capture as still photos do.
The Galaxy Fame’s battery capacity of 1,300 mAh may have you shaking your head, but keep in mind that it isn’t powering the most demanding hardware or pushing a particularly large amount of pixels. We have found in the past that the manufacturers claims of talk time often link up with general moderate to heavy use. In this case, Samsung claims around 6 to 8.5 hours of talk time depending on the network you’re connected to.
During testing and benchmarking, we found that the numbers did seem to line up. After around 5 hours of fairly heavy testing and benchmarking, the battery was down to around 50 percent. This might seem unusually good in this case, but it’s necessary to keep in mind that we had no SIM inserted and therefore no connectivity other than WiFi. Still, depending on your use, it seems that a full day without a charge should be no problem at all.
So, does the Samsung Galaxy Fame hold up? Well, yes and no. It certainly gets points for style, and anyone pining for the halcyon days of flip phones might like the form factor. On the other hand, its relatively poor performance and less-than-beautiful screen aren’t going to help win the Galaxy Fame any fans.
What do you think? Have you tried the Galaxy Fame, or do you have any questions? Let us know in the comments!