Affordable Android: Samsung Galaxy Spica

Samsung Galaxy Spica

This is the Samsung Galaxy Spica, also known as the GT-I5700, or the Galaxy Lite, depending on what part of the world you’re currently in. It’s my newest phone, mostly a result of my Nokia N79’s refusal to send SMS when I most need to.

I’ve been not–so–privately salivating at the Google Nexus One since some of my friends got theirs. At $530 USD though, it doesn’t come cheap. Having one shipped all the way from the US tops the 30k barrier, hardly a reasonable price for a mobile phone, no matter how good.

I first heard about the Galaxy Spica through one of Globe’s newspaper ads, promoting an affordable Android–powered smartphone that can be had for only 14,495 pesos as a prepaid kit. I later learned I could get it for 1,000 a month for 12 months if I’m getting one of their new Globe My Super Plans, a good deal for a phone paired with a good service plan. To my disappointment, it was only for new postpaid subscriptions then.

Since I can no longer wait trying to bear with a phone that magically refuses to send SMS, I went visiting one of those Samsung stalls that seem to sprout in all shopping malls these days. You can’t miss them, they’re conveniently placed to occupy your field of view. All of it.

I asked about the Galaxy Spica and they said it goes for 16,000 pesos, but it can be had for only 13,700 if I pay cash! It was too tempting, so I went for it!

So you’re wondering, how’s the Samsung Galaxy Spica? It’s a lot of a phone for the money. You get Android 1.5 Cupcake, the Google–backed operating system for mobile phones and portable devices. 1.5 is not the latest version, but it’s the most widely used so you’re fairly covered. An update to 2.1 is coming too as those in Europe have been getting this same model with the latest Android.

The screen is a 3.2 inch TFT, not as bright nor as colorful as the Nexus One, but nothing to complain about. Unlike the Nexus One, the screen color appears true and not exaggerated. Since Samsung opted to leave it at vanilla Android 1.5, you don’t get any unnecessary apps or interface tweaks, making the phone feel snappy even with just an 800Mhz processor and around 180MB of RAM. There’s a 3.2 megapixel camera that’s robbed of a flash, but usable enough in bright settings. The battery’s rated at 1500mAh, a bit better than other moderately–priced smartphones. It can get more than a day of use, but it’s the type of battery (and phone) that you charge at night to give uninterrupted power the following day. Unless if you have a girlfriend who loves to play games on your phone, then there may be days your phone shows the low battery warning just before midnight. And because this is an Android phone, you’ve got lots of games and apps available for you, many of them free!

If you’re looking for a smartphone now, get the Samsung Galaxy Spica. 13,700 pesos cash gets you most of the things you need in a mobile phone. Better yet, if you’ve been putting off going postpaid, now is the best time! Get Globe’s Surf–All–You–Can paired with My Super Unli Super Plans and put this phone to good use with unlimited internet and Globe–to–Globe calls. You won’t regret getting this phone.

16 Responses

  1. In fairness, I was looking for a phone like the Google Android because of the same reasons you mentioned. Good thing you blogged about this! :D Now, I’m thinking about getting a Globe postpaid plan.

    • I’ve only played with the iPhone and iPod Touch a few times and I feel Apple’s touchscreen experience may just be a bit smoother. Compared to the Nexus One, the Samsung’s touchscreen lags just a bit though I think it’s more related to the Android version used instead of the hardware.

      The Galaxy Spica uses a capacitive display too, just like the Nexus One and other smartphones. It’s the resistive screens you should be avoiding.

  2. have you updated your firware to 2.1v? mine kinda heats up when charging and playing. is that normal?

    • Nope, not yet. The only 2.1 updates I’ve seen are unofficial, so I’m not too keen on it, yet. But who knows, I just might do that soon.

    • Not so sure about that. Android is rumored to be not supporting true 16M colors though I’m not sure if that has already been fixed in 2.1 Eclair.

      I believe the 65k versus 16M color issue is mostly an OS issue and should be a non-factor as far as the hardware is concerned, though I could be wrong.

  3. Now I’m already thinking of getting one too. It’s a choice between a Blackberry Curve 8520 and The Samsung Galaxy Spica. And I’m on postpaid too. Haaaaayyyy…

  4. hi markku :)
    i salivated for the spica quite a few weeks, until i asked for a demo at a samsung stall, and the unit they were using for the demo kept hanging. :-s
    does your spica hang?
    it’s also very important for me to be able to create and/or edit documents on my phone, would you know if there’s a doc editing app that can be loaded on the spica?
    oh, and would you know if SWYPE can be installed on the spica?

    sorry, daming tanong. :)
    one last…

    would you be able to tell where you got it for P13,700? that’s a very good price for brand new. :)

    thanks for this post. :) i had given up on the spica and was going to buy nalang one of the nokia e-series phones…

    best regards

    • My Spica rarely hangs at all, and if it does it’s mostly because of crazy things I do. ;)

      I rarely edit documents on my phone and I doubt it will ever be as easy as doing it on a PC anyway. But I believe there are apps that can give you that functionality.

      I’m sure you can get it for 13k in Greenhills, probably even less now.

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