Samsung Galaxy 551 review: Value line

GSMArena team, 24 January 2011.

A good 3MP camera

The Samsung Galaxy 551 is certainly no cameraphone with its 3MP snapper but it's rare enough auto focus on lower midrange smartphones. What's more it's got several more bells and whistles such as face and smile detection and geo-tagging too.

The user interface is standard Samsung for the most part – and that’s not a bad thing. It’s easily thumbable and offers readily accessible scene and shooting modes.

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Galaxy 551 camera interface

The Galaxy 551 lacks a dedicated shutter key so you’ll have to use the virtual key. To activate face detection, you should switch to Smile shot mode.

The image quality is as good as you can expect from a 3MP camera. The contrast is nice as is the color rendering. The amount of captured detail is satisfactory and the noise levels are kept reasonable. Overall, you get some quite pleasant results, even in macro mode.

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Photo quality comparison

We’ve also added the Samsung Galaxy 551 to the database of our Photo Compare Tool. The Tool’s page has a quick how to guide and also what to look for.

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Samsung Galaxy 551 in the Photo Compare Tool

QVGA video recording

The Samsung Galaxy 551 can record videos in QVGA resolution at 15fps. This falls into the barely usable category – OK for MMS, but not much else.

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Camcorder interface

Here is the video sample from the Samsung Galaxy 551.

Connectivity

The Galaxy 551 covers its connectivity bases alright – worldwide ready quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and dual-band HSPA with download rates of up to 7.2 Mbps and upload at 2.0 Mbps.

Samsung Galaxy 551 offers Wi-Fi (b/g/n), Buetooth v2.1 with A2DP support and USB v2.0. The USB interface is standard microUSB, which makes finding a suitable cable a lot easier.

Android 2.2 Froyo allows file transfers via Bluetooth, so there’s little else left to ask for.

The Samsung Galaxy 551 doesn’t pack much internal memory (160MB is downright low for app installation), but it comes with a 1GB microSD card and supports cards up to 32GB. Thanks to Android Froyo you can move individual apps to the SD card as long as the app supports it.

The 3.5 mm standard audio port completes the connectivity tally. You can keep your favorite headphones and use them with the Galaxy 551 hassle-free.

No Flash for the web browser

The Android browser is one of the best available on a mobile device. It’s fast, problem-free and easy to use.

The user interface is pretty much nonexistent at first sight. Once the page loads, all you see is the URL bar and the bookmark button on a line at the top of the screen. Once you zoom in and pan around though even that line disappears (scroll to the top or press menu to bring it back).

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Browsing GSMArena.com on the Galaxy 551

The minimalist UI is quite powerful – hit the menu key and six keys pop up. You can open a new tab, switch tabs, refresh the page, go forward, and open bookmarks. The final button reveals even more options (text copying, find on page, etc.).

The Galaxy 3 browser supports three zoom methods – dedicated buttons, double tap and multi-touch pinch-zooming. The browser also supports text reflow – a moment after adjusting the zoom level, columns of text adjust to fit the screen width.

The bookmark list shows a thumbnail of the bookmarked page and you also get a “most visited” list in addition to the history.

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Page options and settings

The screen is big enough to fit complex pages well, though the text isn’t as sharp at low zoom levels as it is on phones with higher resolution. Regardless, it’s still readable and panning and zooming are fast so the Galaxy 551 scores a good mark in web browsing.

Despite the Galaxy 551 is running the Flash-capable Android Froyo, there is no Flash support in the web browser. The situation is quite similar with the LG’s Optimus One – the phone’s processor isn’t capable of handling Flash content.

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A YouTube app partly makes up for the missing Flash support

The Samsung Galaxy 551 relies on the YouTube app to partially compensate for the lack of Flash support. Of course, there are plenty of other video sharing sites and sites that use Flash for completely different purposes, but you have to live without them.

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