Is your mobile phone your Music Player too ?
Just like most people I use my phone to carry my music collection with me and whilst most phones do an acceptable job when it comes to audio, I find there are some niggly frustrations. After all, these device focuses on being a phone first and being a music player is somewhere down the list of capabilities.
One of the frustration that we all encounter when it comes to audio is that the phone has its speakers built into the back of the phone. Sound is directional. So this means that when you want to show someone a cool video clip or you want to listen to music, you tend to turn the phone over so the speakers face you. This is a problem when you want to see the screen too or want to change tracks or just pause.
Samsung has brought out the Samsung Galaxy Music phone which, as the name suggest, is specifically optimised for music.
I took the phone on a road-trip and here are my findings:
Look and Feel
The phone is small measuring at 110.1 x 59 x 12.3 mm and weighs in at 106.9 g. It has a sexy cool feel to it and is blinged with a chrome bevel around the edges and two metal grids covering the two front facing speakers. Samsung hasn’t used metal on their other Galaxy devices.
The device fits comfortably in your hands and you can easily operate it with one hand. It’s rounded edges make sliding it in and our of your jeans-pocket not a problem either.
It has the traditional Android buttons at the bottom but these are not backlit which can be irritating in low light conditions as you aimlessly push the general area hoping to tap the right button.
On the left it has the volume up/ down button and the Galaxy Music has a microSD slot on the left side too making it is easy to load music from your pc onto the microSD and insert it directly into the phone. There is no need to remove the battery to access the slot and the 32GB microSD is hot-swappable which means it does not require a reboot to “see” the new music on the newly inserted microSD.
On the right is the power button and then there is a dedicated Music button below that. Tap the button once and it pauses the currently playing music and another tap un-pauses it. Hold this button down and it launches the music player – all of these functions happen regardless if the screen is locked or not.
Its not going to win any wow-awards as the device is pretty average.
The screen is a TFT capacitive touchscreen with 256K colours (~133 ppi pixel density).
It has 4 GB of storage and 512 MB RAM running on a 850 MHz processor single-core Cortex-A9 architecture. It does tend to stutter a bit when launching multiple apps but this stutter is not frustrating enough to notice.
The Galaxy Music runs Android 4.0 (Ice-Cream Sandwich) which is supposedly upgradeable to 4.12 (Jelly Bean) but mine did not want to do that so assuming it is not available in South Africa as yet.
When it comes to connectivity, the Galaxy Music connects to cell networks at speeds up to 3G, it has Bluetooth and WiFi connections too.
The camera is a rear-facing 3MP which does an OK job.There is no flash but does have some built in software options such as Panorama and Smile Shot.
It is important to note that the SIM is a regular size SIM making it ideal for those pre-paid SIM cards that you get at most large convenient stores.
Having the font facing speakers makes such a difference to the listening experience. The phone is not excessively loud but does hold its own even in a room full of chatting people. It is certainly much nicer to listen to than other devices with rear-facing speakers. The Galaxy Music has a built in FM tuner and unlike other devices it does not require a headphone to be plugged in to listen to the radio allowing it to be placed on your desk whilst it belts out music from the radio stations.
There are some sound setting that you can play with to enhance the music experience further.
The Galaxy Music is a basic device that has a certain appeal to it. It does look the part so can be a hit with teens who are looking for a music device and not looking to spend too much money. With a recommended retail price of R1799 it is certainly cheaper than the iPod Touch but places it in the iPod Nano territory. At the same price you also have the choice of the Huawei Ascend G510 which does boast better specs but it not musically inclined.
I could not find major flaws in the device and it coped with the everyday tasks admirably well. Email and Web browsing were good enough and using the music-dedicated button was rather cool and will be missed on other devices
Finally a big plus is the hot-swappable 32GB microSD that makes sharing of music content with friends an absolute breeze.
A nice overall phone that is placed at a good price bracket.