Samsung Galaxy 551 Android phone (preview)

Samsung Galaxy 551: A mid-range Android smartphone that may be an ideal first step into the world of Android

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Samsung Galaxy 551
  • Samsung Galaxy 551
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Pros

  • Full QWERTY keyboard
  • Reasonable outright price
  • Most functions and features of Android

Cons

  • Limited internal memory
  • No Flash support or live wallpapers
  • Modest processor

Bottom Line

The Samsung Galaxy 551 combines a full QWERTY keyboard and Google's Android operating system at a competitive price.

Would you buy this?

Android smartphones with physical QWERTY keyboards are a rarity compared to their touchscreen keyboard counterparts, but Samsung is keen on offering this feature without breaking the bank. Its Galaxy 551, available exclusively through Telstra, is a mid-range Android phone targeted at consumers on a budget.

Read our guide to the best upcoming smartphones in 2011 and see other top Samsung phones.

Although Samsung's flagship Galaxy S II might steal all the headlines this year, the company has clearly not neglected its other Galaxy phones. In addition to the Galaxy Ace, a mid-range Android phone without a QWERTY keyboard, the Galaxy 551 is the third Galaxy-branded phone Samsung has launched this year.

Like the Galaxy Ace, the Galaxy 551 aims to bring all the features and functions of Android to a compact handset at an affordable price. The Galaxy 551 runs the 2.2 'Froyo' version of Google's Android operating system, has a 3.2in capacitive touchscreen and features the now standard connectivity set of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and 3G. The Samsung Galaxy 551 is a Telstra-exclusive, so it will obviously work on Telstra's 850MHz Next G network.

The Samsung Galaxy 551's 3.2in touchscreen may pose an issue; we think it's a little small. Based on our experience, the comfortable medium with Android phones seems to be 3.5in. The Galaxy 551 also has limited internal memory (160MB) and a modest 667MHz processor — a significant downgrade from the now standard 1GHz processors in more expensive Android phones. We'll be keen to see if the slower processor impacts on performance during day-to-day use — the fact that the Galaxy 551 doesn't support Flash video or live wallpapers suggests performance shouldn't be an issue due to the reduced workload.

The Galaxy 551 also includes Samsung's TouchWiz UI overlay. It offers seven customisable home screens for widgets and shortcuts, a built-in task manager, and a number of pre-loaded apps. Samsung's Social Hub app — a service that combines social networking, contacts, calendars and messaging activity in a single inbox — is not included.

The Samsung Galaxy 551 is available through Telstra stores or online for $480 outright or $0 upfront on Telstra's $59 Freedom Connect plan. The plan includes $550 worth of calls, unlimited text messages and 1.5GB of data per month.

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