Samsung Galaxy 551 review: Value line

Value line

GSMArena team, 24 January 2011.

Vanilla gallery, downsized images once again

The Samsung Galaxy 551 comes with the stock Froyo gallery, rather than a modified TouchWiz version. It has good functionality, cool 3D looks and nice transition effects, but unfortunately (and again) only shows a downsized version of your images.

Images and videos placed in different folders appear in different sub-galleries that automatically get the name of the folder, which is very convenient - just like a file manager.

The different albums appear as piles of photos which fall in neat grids once selected. If you have online albums over at Picasa those show up as separate stacks as well.

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The gallery certainly is a looker

Alternatively, you photos can be organized by date with the help of a button in the top right corner, which switches between grid and timeline view.

In grid view, there’s a date slider, which can also be used to find photos taken on a certain date.

If you are checking out a photo, you can use the tabs at the top of the screen to jump back to the main gallery screen, without having to go through its folder.

The gallery supports finger scrolling or panning so you can skip images without having to return to the default view. Just swipe to the left or right when viewing a photo in fullscreen mode and the previous/next image will appear.

Thanks to the Galaxy 551 multi-touch support pinch zooming is also available here but you can also use double tap or even the +/- buttons. Unfortunately zooming in isn’t going to reveal much more detail (if any at all).

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Looking at a single photo

The Android gallery still shows only downsized version of you images, though if you send one from here the full-res shot is received on the other end.

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Zooming on a picture won’t reveal much more detail because it’s downsized

There are tons of options for a picture – you can crop or rotate it directly in the gallery. The Send feature offers quick sharing via Picasa, Email apps, Bluetooth or MMS.

Poor video player

The player on the Samsung Galaxy 551 can handle 3GP and MP4 video files. DivX/XviD support is missing, but at least we had no problems playing videos at up to WVGA resolution.

720p videos wouldn’t play, but those are overkill on a WQVGA display anyway. Luckily, you’re not limited to the Galaxy 551 display. Thanks to DLNA you can view photos and videos on compatible hardware – like TVs or computers with the right software (the latest version of Windows Media player for example).

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The Galaxy 551 video player

The video player interface itself is as simple and as it could possibly be – there almost isn’t one. You can use the Gallery or the My Files app to browse videos. The on-screen controls boil down to play/pause and skip buttons as well as a scrollable progress bar.

Great music player

The Samsung Galaxy 551 makes use of the TouchWiz music player. The interface consists of several tabs for the sorting options: current playlist, all tracks, playlists and albums, artists and composers. You are free to remove those you don’t need to make the interface easier to navigate.

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The music player has benefited greatly from the TouchWiz UI

In addition, Samsung has enabled equalizer presets on the Galaxy 551 along with Samsung’s DNSe technology.

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Now Playing view • Landscape mode • settings

The great feature that allows you to quickly look up a song on YouTube or via Google search is also here. The handset also prompts you to select whether to look up the artist, the song title or the album. What’s even better, the YouTube search results are loaded straight into the YouTube client.

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Quick search options • Equalizer and DNSe settings

Unfortunately the eye-candy Disc View from the Galaxy S lineup is not available.

FM Radio

The Samsung Galaxy 551 is equipped with an FM radio with RDS too. The interface is simple – there’s a tuning dial and you can save as many as 6 stations as favorites. You can also listen on the loudspeaker, but the headset is still needed.

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The FM radio app

Unspectacular audio quality

The Samsung Galaxy 551 audio output is pretty good for the most part, but the high stereo crosstalk sends it directly in the below average category on overall performance. Strangely enough the stereo crosstalk is most pronounced when no headphones are attached to the Galaxy 551, unlike every other handset we have tested so far.

Still if you are willing to let this drawback slip, you should know that the device does pretty well in the other parts of our test. The frequency response is good enough, while the noise levels and dynamic range are excellent. Some intermodulation distortion creeps in when you use headphones, but it's certainly nothing to worry about. And the Galaxy 551 is decently loud too.

And here go the results so you can see for yourselves.

TestFrequency responseNoise levelDynamic rangeTHDIMD + NoiseStereo crosstalk
Samsung Galaxy 551+0.11, -0.45-
Samsung Galaxy 551 (headphones attached)+0.79, -0.22-
HTC Gratia+0.13, -0.69-
HTC Gratia (headphones attached)+0.24, -0.68-
HTC Desire Z+0.11, -0.09-
HTC Desire Z (headphones attached)+0.70, -0.17-
HTC Desire HD+0.09, -0.44-90.690.40.0140.517-92.6
HTC Desire HD (headphones attached)+0.09, -0.44-
Samsung I9000 Galaxy S+0.03 -0.04-90.790.60.014 0.019-90.6
Samsung I9000 Galaxy S (headphones attached)+0.40 -0.12-90.790.60.018 0.329-43.3
Apple iPhone 4+0.01, -0.07-90.590.60.00410.011-92.0
Apple iPhone 4 (headphones attached)+0.01, -0.07-90.490.40.00360.092-68.4

Samsung Galaxy 551 frequency response
Samsung Galaxy 551 frequency response

You can learn more about the whole testing process here.

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