The Samsung Galaxy Pro isn’t like other Android phones – it doesn’t want to be an iPhone.
Instead it takes its inspiration from RIM’s Blackberry handsets, though it seems to be borrowing more from the ancient 7000 series than the current range of Curves.
The Pro is wider than both my iPhone 4 and Blackberry 9700 and, despite flattering myself that I have pretty big hands, it’s uncomfortable to hold.
One of the problems with it being so wide is you can’t comfortably hold it and type with a single hand as you can with a Blackberry.
Clutching the far side tightly meant my thumb couldn’t reach the left-most keys, and relaxing the grip so it could meant the phone felt in danger of falling out of my hand.
In short – unless you’re Hulk Hogan or Giant Haystacks this is a two-handed phone and that’s a major fail in my book.
One curiosity, the loan phone’s battery ran low while it was sitting on my desk waiting for me to cast my critical eye over it. Plugging it in to recharge I found myself unable to then turn the phone back on with the charger plugged in, I had to let it charge for a few minutes, remove the plug, switch it on and then plague the charger back in.
Whether this is by design or some errant bit of software behaviour I can’t say but it was annoying and unnecessarily cumbersome.
A related and equally bizarre limitation is that the phone won’t wake from sleeping if you hit any of the buttons or keys on the front. Instead I had to reach round to the power button and tap that to reawaken the phone.
This short video demonstrates the issue:
End of the world? No, but it’s hardly convenient or user-friendly either.
The smaller, square screen which results from the presence of hard keys means this phone isn’t ideal for heavy web use. The Pro also lacks pinch-to-zoom so as you scroll through a webpage the already small amount of screen space is reduced by the presence of of some zoom icons.
This is fine if you want to grab a quick news update from BBC.co.uk but if you’re planning more frequent use this probably isn’t for you.
While not being ideal for browsing is fine in a smartphone which excels at texting and emails, the size and comfort issues I mention above means this isn’t great for those uses either.
The Pro looks and feels like the designers settled on the screen size first and worked backwards with nothing – especially aesthetics, ergonomics – subsequently being allowed alter that starting point.
In all a sadly disappointing handset. I was initially pleased to see something which didn’t follow the herd but the Pro has a distinctly retrograde and underwhelming feel about it.