Samsung Galaxy 551 review: Value line
The organizer misses document viewer
The calendar has four different types of view - agenda, daily, weekly and monthly. Adding a new event is quick and easy, and you can also set an alarm to act as a reminder.
The agenda view shows a list of all the calendar entries from the recent past to the near future. It’s a very handy tool when you need to check your appointments for the next few days.
There is also a calculator aboard. It is nicely touch optimized - the buttons are big enough and easy to hit.
The alarm clock app is descent and allows a huge number of alarms to be set, each with its own start time and repeat pattern. Voice recorder is also available.
As usual Samsung has included the My Files app – a simple to use but functional file manager, which also doubles as an image gallery. It can move, copy, lock and rename files in bulk, even send multiple files over Bluetooth. It will only browse the memory card.
Unfortunately there is no document viewer pre-installed, but you can get one from the Android Market.
Samsung filled the Galaxy 551 with a few of their home-brewed applications and we really appreciate their work. Most of them are quite useful and can be updated via Samsung Apps – the secondary app repository on your phone . Whenever Samsung updates some of the current apps or widgets, or releases new ones, you’ll find them here.
The AllShare app allows you to stream content to and from different kind of devices (TV or computer). We didn’t give it a proper run for its money, but we guess it works over DLNA.
The Memo is self-explanatory and works only with text.
Social Hub is the messaging and media sharing Holy Grail – this one app allows you to create a message (it may pack media content too) and then send it to various services – SMS/MMS, email, social networks.
Text and Go does almost the same job, but updates only your social network status.
The popular Layar Reality browser is also pre-installed. It’s a search app enhanced by augmented reality. Your search results for various POIs – gas stations, hotels, parking, restaurants, shops, etc – are returned and displayed in an augmented reality environment using the handset’s GPS and camera.
All the apps are in the Android Market
The Samsung Galaxy 551 is running the latest available version of Android, but has a WQVGA screen, giving you somewhat limited access to the Android Market (some apps won’t run on low-res screens).
The structure of the Android Market is quite simple – featured apps on top and above them, three sections (Applications, Games and Downloads). There is also a shortcut up there for initiating a search.
The Applications and Games sections are divided into subsections (e.g. Communication, Entertainment etc.) so you can filter the apps that are relevant to you. Of course, there is also an option of displaying them all in bulk, but you’ll probably need days to browse them all that way.
There are all kinds of apps in the Android market and the most important ones are covered (file managers, navigation apps, document readers etc.).
GPS relies on Google services
The Samsung Galaxy 551 comes with a GPS receiver, which got a satellite lock in about four minutes with A-GPS turned off. A-GPS can speed this up quite a bit, but requires Internet access.
It comes as no surprise that Google Maps come preinstalled. Unfortunately, voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation by Google Maps still has limited region availability.
Still, even without Navigation, there is some kind of guidance: your route and current location appear on the screen so you'll reach your destination eventually, but you’ll need a co-pilot to read you the instructions for that one.
Quite naturally, the app also supports the Street View mode. In fact, this mode is probably the best part of Google Maps. If the Street View is available in the area you're interested in, you can enjoy a 360-degree view of the surroundings. When the digital compass is turned on it feels like making a virtual tour of the location!
The Galaxy 551 doesn’t come with a third-party SatNav solution preinstalled but you can easily snatch one off the Android market. There are both paid and free options on offer.