Samsung Galaxy 5 Android smartphone

Samsung Galaxy 5 review: the cheapest Android smartphone on the market that doesn't skimp on too many features.

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Samsung Galaxy 5
  • Samsung Galaxy 5
  • Samsung Galaxy 5
  • Samsung Galaxy 5


  • Capacitive touchscreen
  • Loses minimal capabilities of more expensive devices
  • Swype text input


  • Glossy finish
  • Low resolution display
  • Poor camera

Bottom Line

The Samsung Galaxy 5 is the cheapest Android smartphone currently available in Australia. The reasonably stylish Galaxy 5 has most of the capabilities of more expensive devices, though its low res display and mediocre camera aren't impressive. At this price, we have few complaints though.

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Not to be confused with the flagship Samsung Galaxy S, the Galaxy 5 smartphone is an entry-level prepaid smartphone. Excusive to Telstra and retailing for just $199, the Samsung Galaxy 5 is the cheapest Android phone on the market but despite this it doesn't skimp on too many features.

Read reviews of other top Samsung phones, and check out the best upcoming smartphones in 2011.

The Galaxy 5 looks similar to the Samsung GenoA and the Samsung S3653, which were also entry-level mobile phones. It has a distinctive, rounded design with a curved back; this makes it comfortable to hold, but it rocks slightly from side to side when placed on a flat surface. The Samsung Galaxy 5 has an attractive glossy black finish with chrome edging, but the handset quickly becomes grubby with fingerprints and is hard to keep clean.

Most of the Samsung Galaxy 5's front is taken up by a 2.8in capacitive touchscreen, while below this sit the standard Android shortcut keys (menu, home, back and search) as well as a five-way navigational pad and answer and end call keys. The navigational pad doesn't get much of a workout as the capacitive touchscreen is responsive and easy to use. A capacitive display at this price point is a real plus, though its low 240x320 resolution — the same as the HTC Wildfire's display — means viewing angles aren't the best, nor is legibility in sunlight. The small size of the display also means both the on-screen keyboard and the Web browser do feel a little cramped.

The Samsung Galaxy 5 runs the 2.1 version of Google's Android operating system and it includes all the regular features and functions of more expensive Android smartphones. Access to the Android Market for third-party apps, an excellent notifications taskbar and automatic and seamless synchronisation with Google services are all part of the experience. The Galaxy 5 can have up to seven home screens for live widgets and shortcuts, and Samsung has also opted to use its TouchWIZ interface which includes Feeds and Updates (Facebook, Twitter and MySpace aggregator), and Buddies Now (a rolodex of photo contacts). Though the Feeds and Updates widget is fairly useful and stops you having to log in to separate applications all the time, it lacks some advanced features, such support for multiple Twitter accounts and URL shortening when tweeting.

Samsung says the Galaxy 5 "may" be upgradeable to the latest 2.2 version of Android (called Froyo) but hasn't specified a timeframe. Froyo will add full Flash support, built-in wireless tethering, and the ability to store third-party apps on your SD card, as well as a range of other improvements.

One of the more impressive features of the Samsung Galaxy 5 is Swype text input, an option that allows you to slide your fingers over the letters you want to type in a single motion, letting the software work out the word you are trying to write. Swype is an excellent feature and considering the small screen of the Galaxy 5 compared to the larger Android phones like the HTC Desire, it is a smart inclusion.

An annoying aspect of the Samsung Galaxy 5 is the excessive amount of Telstra customisation built into the software. Although you can arrange your home screen shortcuts and widgets in any way you like, the main menu has exactly 25 shortcuts to Telstra applications and services and while some of these may be useful, most are simply Web links.

Samsung has cut corners when it comes to the phone's camera and the screen. The basic camera is just 2-megapixels and lacks a flash for night-time photography. The smaller display has a negative impact on Web browsing. The Galaxy 5 also lacks multitouch support, meaning you can't pinch the screen to zoom in and out of applications like maps, the browser or photo albums. Other features include a built-in accelerometer, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a digital compass and a GPS receiver. The Samsung Galaxy 5 has a microSD card slot for extra storage, located behind the rear battery cover. Samsung includes a 2GB microSD card in the sales package.

The Samsung Galaxy 5 is exclusive to Telstra and will be available in mid-October for $199 on a prepaid plan.

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GREAT phone also takes very good pics !



Does anybody know how much it costs to unlock this phone?
I really don't want telstra



I had my Samsung Galaxy 5 upgraded to Android 2.2 (Froyo). I did not get the firmware from the manufacturer but it is working alright.



How often do you need to recharge this phone? I'm doing it every day and this is with minimal use ... the last phone I used was a Samsung Preston, and this wouldn't need charging for at least a week ...
I have all the screen displays etc set for less power use ...



Does it receive picture messages?? People have said they have sent me
some but I havn't got them which I kinda need.



i agree with the picture messages and also ive downloaded several music videos and they arnt coming through well i carnt find them anyhow

Ross Catanzariti


Hi Dale,

Telstra should unlock this phone free of charge if you want to use it on another carrier. Call them on 125 111 to unlock.



Can someone please tell me if it is easy to put the Samsung Galaxy 5 phone into speaker phone mode without having to jump through numerous hoops?

I currently have the Samsung Preston and to get it into speaker phone mode it's not easy and a dam nuisance! So I don't want to get stuck with another phone that is difficult to put into speaker phone mode.




I have just bought the Samsung Galaxy 5 and it keeps using all my credit. Can anyone tell me if I can get on Facebook for free on this phone?




FACEBOOK is NOT free! The phone requires a data plan or it will drain your pre-paid account!!!



Hi Imogen and JJ...

- Imogen -
To get facebook for free on this phone, you should first visit the 'Bigpond Portal', it is distinguished by the BigPond logo. If you scroll down it might say under 'Communication/Social' a website called 'Tribe'. If you can't find this simply go to . It is a bit basic but it's free! Any website with a green dot and says 'unmetered' means it's free :)

- JJ -

Yes it is, , maybe you should research a little before you put such incorrect information on here.... hmmm?



Hi my son's phone has just been locked due to his little sister trying to guess his 'pattern'. I have been told that to have the phone unlocked we need to send it in and it's not covered by warranty. I have read the book from cover to cover and there is nothing about this in the book. Any help would be appreciated.



This phone gps is a rubbish,no working,a totally rubbish



if I buy my daughter a samsung galaxy 5 can i track her movements with my lap top or phone and how is this done

Your Secret Rapist


Got this phone today, and I must say, after having the Telstra Smart Touch, it is such a relief to have this one! I am impressed with just about everything anout this phone(:



I'm interested in buying this phone and want to use it to listen to music too but I'm concerned about how long the battery will last. Does anyone have an idea of the battery life? Thanks.



this phone is great but a let down is the lack of storage on the phone and u cant fully clear the phone

Ron Smith


Why cant i receive or send photos on my samsung galaxy 5



have just bought samsung galaxy 5 how do I reply to messages?



To send and receive photos on this phone you need to make sure it is set to 3G. Ring the help number in your handbook. They talked me through the process and hey presto.



I can't get the WI-Fi to work. It keeps on disconnecting and won't reconnect. Totally spasmotic!!!!!! Some sort of time out or something. Does anyone know what setting I need to change. I am stuck..;. Thanks

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• • •

I had the Htc wildfire S before this and there is no comparison, the htc owned its ass. Signal always drops out, terrible for multi-tasking and has the worst web browser ever made




I don't know
• • •

I'm not sure if I should buy this phone please tell me if I should




• • •

Its really annoying when i text if i like press the button once it comes like 50 times its really annoying

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