Samsung S5560 preview: First look

GSMArena team, 15 December 2009.

Gallery

The S5560 comes with a single picture gallery. However, that can't be considered a drawback since the gallery available is fully functional. You'll most likely not miss the Photo browser despite its eye-catching qualities.

The gallery is an inherent part of the file manager and launching it is as simple as opening any folder that contains images.

Once you open a picture to view, you can sweep you fingers across the screen to see the next image without having to return to the image list.

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Viewing a single image

The gallery also has a slideshow function and an accelerometer-based browsing feature. It lets you browse pictures in fullscreen landscape mode by simply tilting your phone on its side (plus, of course, you get automatic rotation of the photos by changing the device orientation).

Music player

Along with the standard 3.5 mm audio jack and the microSD card slot, the S5560 music functionality is complemented by the great music player usually found on Samsung devices.

The music player got a face-lift - now the album art takes the entire top half of the display with the basic controls underneath it. Track name, artist and album are just bellow the album art and below them - the play, previous and forward keys (which double as fast-forward and rewind keys). At the very bottom are three more keys - Playlist, Send via and More. These take care of things like sending a track to someone or setting it as ringtone.

Tapping on the album art overlays additional controls - the progress indicator, a button to change the repeat mode, a shuffle button and an equalizer preset button.

The music player allows filtering tracks by author, album, and genre. Automatic playlists (recently added, most played etc.) are also generated and can subsequently be used as filters. If that doesn't seem enough, you can create your own custom playlists.

The music player can naturally be minimized to play in the background.

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The music player is up to scratch

The music player also has a dedicated widget, allowing quick access to the full version of the application with a single tap. You can also start, stop and skip tracks direct on the home screen.

The equalizer offers the standard presets like pop, jazz, classic as well as the sound enhancing widening, dynamic and surround effects.

Radio

The Samsung S5560 features an FM radio with RDS. The radio app offers intuitive controls and has the Find Music recognition service implemented, which works much like Sony Ericsson's TrackID. The app itself got a facelift too and looks much better now, though changes aren't as big as in the music player.

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The FM radio application

There's an option to record radio broadcasts as well, which can be a cheapo way to get individual tracks or whole song sets off the radio. There are three levels for the quality of the recording.

FM broadcast records are in the MP3 format, 192Kbps 32KHz for High quality (that results in about a megabyte for each recorded minute). You can also pause the recording if you want to skip the commercials for example.

The radio app is in the main menu but the Radio widget on the home screen gives you more immediate access. Tapping on it brings up the radio or you could just use the widget's controls to start/stop the radio or change the station. It can only skip between saved stations though, and if you want to search you'll have to do it in the actual app.

Samsung S5560 Marvel screenshot
The radio and player widgets

Speaking of stations, you can save stations but they are labeled just by their frequency and you can't rename them. There's a separate list for your favorite stations though.

Camera

The Samsung S5560 is equipped with a 5 megapixel autofocus camera that can take photos with a maximum resolution of 2560 x 1920 pixels. An LED flash is supposed to improve the low-light capabilities of the handset but as one might expect it doesn't really make that much of a difference.

The camera also has a number of nice built-in features including the Samsung proprietary WDR (Wide Dynamic Range) option, the anti-shake digital image stabilization, face detection, smile shot, blink detection as well as viewfinder gridlines.

The camera interface is nicely touch-optimized and is certainly one of the most comfortable camera interfaces on a touchscreen device so far. The autofocus options are now accessible directly from the viewfinder, which is great. In the Jet, you had to go to the 3rd screen of extended settings if you wanted to activate face detection.

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Samsung S5560 Marvel screenshot Samsung S5560 Marvel screenshot
Samsung S5560 Marvel screenshot Samsung S5560 Marvel screenshot
The camera user interface

The camera snaps photos quite quickly and is ready for the next photo without much delay. Disabling the automatic preview reduces the shot-to-shot time even further and makes taking photos with the S5560 a very enjoyable experience.

The image quality is excellent with good contrast, precise color rendering and a decent amount of resolved detail - it's comparable to the Samsung S8000 Jet, though not quite as good. Noise levels are fairly low, even in dark areas, however the noise-removal algorithm takes its toll on fine detail. It's not as fine-tuned as the one in the Jet and introduces artifacts near the edges of objects.

Here are samples so you can judge for yourselves.

Samsung S5560 Marvel camera sampleSamsung S5560 Marvel camera sampleSamsung S5560 Marvel camera sampleSamsung S5560 Marvel camera sample
Samsung S5560 Marvel camera sampleSamsung S5560 Marvel camera sample Samsung S5560 Marvel camera sampleSamsung S5560 Marvel camera sample

The Samsung S5560 offers video recording too, but it's nothing to get excited about - it can only manage QVGA at 15fps. on our books, that's good only for MMS purposes. Now here's a sample, if you'd like to check it out.

S5560 video sample, QVGA@15fps