Samsung Galaxy Europa

Style and handling summary for Samsung Galaxy Europa review
Smooth, slim and alluring, the Galaxy Europa boasts the kind of style some more expensive phones can only dream about
Samsung Galaxy Europa

User friendliness summary for Samsung Galaxy Europa review
Android is pretty simple to use, and Samsung's skin serves to complement it without making any huge differences. It's a shame about the small screen though.

Feature set summary for Samsung Galaxy Europa review
The Europa has a pretty decent set of features, although multi-touch capability is missing and the camera is worse than mediocre.

Performance summary for Samsung Galaxy Europa review
You'll find faster processors on similar phones, and it shows occasionally in the Europa's slightly sluggish performance

Battery power summary for Samsung Galaxy Europa review
Battery life is better than many Androids - you should get a full day's use, and take the phone into the next day, on one charge

Full Review and Specification for the Samsung Galaxy Europa

If you were a fan of the curvy design of the Samsung Corby, the latest budget Android device may be right up your street. If you're not familiar with it, the Corby - although with a far more glamorous fa├žade here - is a slender candybar phone with barely a straight edge in sight. It was a nice enough phone, but the Galaxy Europa surpasses it - it's smooth and strokable, like a comforting worrystone.

First impressions

The Galaxy Europa looks businesslike and smart, thanks to its dark chrome frame and the black edge around the 2.8in touchscreen. It features the latest version of the Android operating system - 2.1. While the screen is colourful and light, it is just an LED and lacks the stunning images of the AMOLED screens on Samsung's handsets. There's the usual four buttons - search, back, menu and home. Remember where they are, because they are not backlit, so if you're using your phone in a low-light situation you'll have to find them by touch! There are another two buttons to start and end phone calls, and finally there's a direction pad - a square with round corners - and a confirmation button in its centre. That's a lot of buttons for a touchscreen device!

Android OS

Samsung has not done much in the way of dressing up the basic Android system - but then this is a pretty new version of the software. You'll find seven home screens with a bundle of shortcuts on the first one. When you scroll between the homescreen, you'll find that three of the icons continue to stay in view - Phone, Apps List and Contacts. That's because despite all these physical buttons, none of them leads you to the dialler - you'll need to tap the phone icon for that. Mind you. It's not so bad as at least every home screen has a dialler.

Bonuses courtesy of Samsung include an apps list that can scroll sideways (like the Samsung Galaxy S) as well as some very useful shortcuts lurking behind the window shade that switch Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on and off and turn on both vibrate and silent profiles. Social media fans will like the Social Hub, which mixes your Google info with MySpace, Twitter, Facebook and so on, so you can gather all your contacts' details.

Many budget phones cut costs by opting for the cheaper resistive touchscreen or deciding not to include Wi-Fi, but Samsung has managed to include Wi-Fi and provide a capacitive display, so how has it saved money? Well, you don't get the benefit of multitouch, so if you're a fan of pinching and zooming, you might feel the Galaxy Europa is lacking, However, we found the double-tap facility worked just fine - and as the phone fits text to the size of the screen, it still looks good.

Make it snappy

You can take photos with the handset if you want, but the camera is evidently where Samsung cut some of its costs - it offers just 2 megapixels and has no flash.

It's also lacking in the processor department. Smartphones so often have 1GHz processors, but the Europa's 600MHz chip might seem a tad sluggish. In practice, it rarely appears slow in use, but it's not as lightning quick as some of the top-of-the-range devices.

The verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Europa is an excellent handset for its price. If you're looking for a budget Android device, the HTC Wildfire is still superior, but the Europa comes a very respectable second. It's got all the other features you would expect of it, including a 3.5mm headphone jack. And of course, it's got those good looks...