Samsung A551

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Samsung A551
  • Samsung A551
  • Samsung A551
  • Samsung A551

Pros

  • Build quality, access to Next G services, call quality, comfortable keypad

Cons

  • Proprietary headphone and USB port, no included microSD card, no outstanding features

Bottom Line

The A551 is a solid, but not outstanding mobile phone. It does a relatively basic job and access to the Next G services is notable, but there is nothing that sticks out about this handset.

Would you buy this?

A mid-range handset built specifically for use on Telstra's Next G network, the Samsung A551 is a solid, but not outstanding phone.

The A551 offers HSDPA speeds of up to 3.6Mbps and we were impressed with the results. Being a Next G phone, the handset offers full access to the Next G portal, as well as Telstra's Mobile FOXTEL service.

Call quality is very reasonable and volume levels are adequate, even in noisy environments. The handsfree speaker phone also works well, though we'd recommend a dedicated unit should you wish to make a habit of this.

In terms of design, the A551 is sleek but doesn't stand out. The gloss black finish on the front is a nice touch though and the slide mechanism feels relatively smooth and well built. Slid open, the A551 reveals a flat, but comfortable keypad. Our only complaint is that the first row of buttons are quite close to the bottom of the slider -- meaning it's sometimes hard to press the 1, 2 and 3 buttons.

Unfortunately, the display is average and is not as crisp or clear as many other handsets on the market. Considering its positioning and price point though, we can't complain too much. Despite access to Next G services, this isn't a handset that we'd recommend for excessive multimedia use.

The A551 has its fair share of features, headed by a 1.3-megapixel camera and a VGA camera on the front for video calls. A media player handles video and music, but once again Samsung's insistence on a proprietary headphone jack is an annoyance. Bluetooth 2.0 with the A2DP profile is a nice inclusion and means that you can wirelessly stream your music to a compatible set of Bluetooth headphones. In addition, a USB cable is included in the package.

A voice recorder and a reasonable amount of PIM features consisting of alarms, calendar, memo, tasks, calculator, converter, timer and a stopwatch are all present. There is 40MB of internal memory as well as a microSD card slot, though there is no card in the sales package, so you'll have to factor this into your purchasing decision.

Battery life is below average, rated at up to 140 minutes talk time and up to 175 hours standby time on the Next G network. We found ourselves charging the unit every second night -- sometimes every night with excessive use.

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