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I have been using the Samsung Galaxy Mini GTS-5570 for around five months now, I bought it from a Vodafone shop. I looked at various smart phones, I needed one which was a reasonable cost to buy so I could use it on a pay as you go tarriff.
The Galaxy Mini is smaller than most smart phones which are similar in size to the iphone, this means its screen is not the widescreen format but a squarer aspect ratio, the camera is fairly basic with no zoom, but it can stitch together images into a panoramic view by sweeping across. I have not used the camcorder function, but the MP3 player works well.
The main reason for buying a smart phone is obviously to download apps to suit your lifestyle and I have downloaded many using the supplied Samsung Kies software, this is fine for downloading and choosing apps but its not good for syncing, it would not recognise Outlook 2000 on my old laptop, and is not compatible with Windows live mail on my new one. As a result I cannot sync notes or calendar, I can sync contacts with Yahoo or Google mail though, and backups still work. Transferring pictures to and from the phone is easy, as is MP3s. Kies takes a very long time to start each time and Samsung need to bring it upto date with the latest software sync support.
Using the phone for calls and texts is fine, the usual swiping for taking a call and expanding finger gesture for zooming and scrolling is used as on most other phones. Reception is much better than my previous phone.
I wanted a phone with bluetooth to connect to my car speaker so I could make and receive hands free calls, but I have not managed to get this working at all, the voice recognition system seems to want to search the internet instead of my contacts even though its set to contacts, I have given up with this now.
Battery life is poor as with all smartphones, I suspect the small size of this handset makes it worse as I only get 2-3 days use on standby, use any functions or make calls and that drops right down.
There is so much already bundled on this phone even before any apps are added that it would take forever to review every aspect of it, so I will take the opportunity to compare this small format phone to the more expensive iphone sized models. Apart from the battery life and screen format already mentioned the main difference I have found is that full sized phones usually have the facility to watch TV content from iplayer, but the Galaxy Mini lacks this, not a problem for me as I have never used iplayer, but this appears to be somewhere they have saved money. The phone does come with a dedicated YouTube player, though you need patience for it to load, I suspect you need to be in a 3G reception area for this to work.
All in all this is good value for money, costing between a quarter to a third the cost of a full sized phone, just be aware of the limitations. Of course the shortfalls of the Kies PC software apply to all Samsung phones, not just the budget priced Galaxy Mini.