March 1, 2013

Hands on: Samsung Galaxy Fame review

Get ready young'uns – it's got NFC too

The Samsung Galaxy Fame offers a lot of technology for what will presumably be not much dollar – looking at the spec sheet you can see this could be seen as the natural successor for the why-won't-it-die Samsung Galaxy Ace.
Of course, you can argue that the Galaxy Ace 2 already has that mantle, but with sales of the predecessor still eclipsing that model, a case can be made for a new competitor.
Samsung Galaxy Fame review
The Fame, like most of the phones spewing out of Samsung's factories, is modelled closely on the design language first seen in the Samsung Galaxy S3.
Its white polycarbonate chassis feels light, and unlike the more premium devices in the Korean firm's stable, it feels worth the money you'll likely pay for it.
Samsung Galaxy Fame review
While it's 'only' got a HVGA screen, coming in at 320 x 480 pixels, the device has a 3.5-inch screen to really mitigate the lack of sharpness you'd expect. Compare it to a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and you'll see the difference, but in standalone tests it really doesn't do too badly.
It's not a great experience when watching video or the like, but it's not impossible to use. We found the colours surprisingly vivid, but that screen size is never going to be attractive to anyone wanting a marathon movie session on the train.
Samsung Galaxy Fame review
Similarly, the screen resolution makes browsing the internet a tiresome experience, although it's rather quicker than we'd expected.
The Galaxy Fame is also treated to a spot of Android Jelly Bean, as well as packing NFC under the hood. This doesn't really mean much in the world of mobile payments yet, but it does mean that the phone will be able to share data with its bigger brothers using S Beam, as well as connect easily to the new Samsung HomeSync device.
Samsung Galaxy Fame review
It's got a 1GHz processor chugging along under the hood, and while we did encounter a fair few instances of apps slowing down when trying to do crazy things like open them, on the whole we didn't find ourselves wanting to throw the phone at the wall. Big tick there, then.
Samsung Galaxy Fame review
It's also backed up with 512MB of RAM to help save on the effort needed; given the Samsung Galaxy Fame only has a 1300mAh battery, it's going to need all the help it can get, but that should see it last for quite enough time to download apps and socially networkalise when you want to.
Samsung Galaxy Fame review
Another key difference between this and the Samsung Galaxy Young is the offering of a 5MP camera with flash – it might not have the sheer zip of the Samsung Galaxy S3 when it comes to taking snaps, but at least it will be able to capture the moments you're after.
Samsung Galaxy Fame review
Samsung Galaxy Fame review
We're pleased to see the addition of a microSD card slot under the lid of the phone (which comes with a removable battery) and that's also hot swappable, making it easy to load media when you want to. At the lower end of the market this is still a really key feature, since onboard storage (yet to be confirmed) is still likely to be pretty low.

Early verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Fame won't set pulses racing any time soon when it comes to specs, but there's clearly a strong budget market to be attacked and Samsung knows what it's doing here.
We're still awaiting final prices for the phone, but if it comes in anywhere near the Samsung Galaxy Ace shelf-tag then this could be a real winner. That's if the Samsung Galaxy Young isn't even cheaper and more attractive, of course…



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