Samsung Galaxy Express Review: Not Bad for Free
Samsung's Galaxy Express is a cheap smartphone for budget consumers. The hardware and software don't have gaping flaws, but frankly, it's unexceptional, boring and hard to get excited about.
What's the Phone?
You could call the Express a "Galaxy Lite," since it has the telltale signs of a high-end Samsung device: a curved rectangular slab of glossy fingerprint-attracting plastic. In fact, the lone home button looks just like the one on the higher-end S3. But it positively embodies the word "generic." Once you get up-close, you'll notice it's much thicker, yet still lightweight and easy to hold. But the cheap plastic makes it look like a toy. In the Galaxy family, the Express is the fat illiterate second cousin.
The 4.5-inch screen is large, but it's not especially clear or vibrant. That's because the 800-by-480 resolution has a low 200-pixel per inch density -- compared to the iPhone's 326-ppi, for example -- so images look pixelated. If you want a sharp display, you'll need to pony up for a higher-end device. But if you're on a budget, you won't find any device with a decent screen. Unspectacular visuals aside, it boasts wide viewing angles, so you can browse the Web -- I don't recommend watching movies -- on crowded subways. The color saturation is okay, but bluish tints can creep up at odd angles.
The 5-megapixel camera, meanwhile, is not bad. Outside, photos are clear and vibrant with well-defined lines. Indoors, the flash helps illuminate low-lit areas, but noise creeps into the frame. Overall, though, you get more than you pay for. You can record 720p video, and for the most part, clips are pretty smooth. Quality is similar to stills, including increased blur in low-light. You can choose from a slew of options, such as panorama and cartoon, and settings like white balance, metering and ISO. A front-facing 1.3-megapixel lens lets you video chat.
The Express runs ICS and not Jelly Bean. You won't get Project Butter, for a speedier interface, but the platform is still easy-to-use and robust. Samsung, though, added its TouchWiz interface. The seven home screens are convenient, but you won't get multi-window support. It's smoother than older skins, but it still tends to bog down Android for nothing more than flashy menu tweaks. If you have any questions, Samsung has useless pop-up tutorials to help you figure it out.
AT&T added bloatware that ranges from useful, like Code Scanner, which lets you read bar codes, to useless, like ChatOn, which is a worse version of WhatsApp -- there's no reason to keep it. Then, of course, there's FamilyMap app, which tracks family members. I suppose it's a boon to suspicious spouses and overprotective parents, but if you value your privacy, turn it off. You can't remove all the bloatware, so it will take up a small piece of the 8-gigabytes of storage. But if you need more, there's a microSD slot. If you plan to listen to music or download movies, buy an extra card.
The Express runs on AT&T's 4G LTE service, and you can quickly connect to Google Play to download from the largest choice of apps. The generous 2,000 mAh removable battery kept me powered for over 15 hours on a single charge, so it'll easily last you through the day. The formidable 1.5-gigahertz dual-core chip and 1-gigahertz of RAM, meanwhile, runs without a hitch, even during intense gaming, so don't worry about lag or delays when you open apps or switch between homescreens.
You'll Want It If...
You want a cheap smartphone. The Express is a decent choice, but I wouldn't recommend it, since nothing stands out. The most appealing feature is the low price, but if you can shell out a little more -- do it.
It's Not My Thing -- What Else Ya Got?
Take a look at the Motorola Atrix HD. A year into your two-year contract, you'll be glad you have a better phone.
Agree or disagree? We'd love to hear your thoughts. Share your experience and leave a comment below. ♦
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Super AMOLED Plus (Accelerometer / Proximity Sensor / Ambient Light Sensor)
The guy who wrote the review don't know anything!
I like all the functions, the resolution is not bad AT&T all, the 4G works perfect and there is Jelly Bean and not ICS what ever it is?
I don't like most of the so called Samsung free apps. No one wants them, please make it possible to delete the as soon as possible.Was this review helpful to you?
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