Samsung Galaxy Gio

The Samsung Galaxy Gio is outstanding value for money, basically delivering last year's best smartphone experience in a cheaper, affordable package.


8.5
CNET Rating
7.1
User Rating

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Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies. Twitter: @Joseph_Hanlon


Design

Across the range of smartphones in Australia, the trend is towards lower prices for the top-tier devices, but how does this affect the pre-paid segment? Happily, while pre-paid handset prices remain fairly static, the quality of the handsets at this price point is on the up. The Galaxy Gio is an excellent example of this; for AU$149 (locked to the Optus network), you get a far better phone than the phones in this price range last Christmas.

The Gio is solidly designed, although its frame is constructed entirely from plastic, and Samsung retains the good looks of its more expensive handsets. A faux-steel rim surrounds the edge of the Gio, and we like the dimpled texture across the battery cover.

The screen doesn't sound great on paper; we've criticised other phones with 3.2-inch HVGA displays recently, but this screen appears to be noticeably easier to read than the others, and the colours looks vibrant, too. Off-axis viewing can be troublesome, but, for most daily smartphone use, this screen will do just fine.

The handset includes the range of ports and slots that we saw on phones 12 months ago, with a single micro-USB port for charging and data transfers, a dedicated 3.5mm headphone socket and a microSD card slot handily located on the right-hand side of the phone. There's no camera button (you use software buttons to take photos), and no HDMI port — but then, we wouldn't expect that in an AU$150 phone.

User experience

Probably the best part of this pre-paid package is that Samsung basically delivers the same user experience that you get in last year's top-end Galaxy S smartphone, but for a fraction of the price. Samsung's TouchWiz UI is employed here, which gives you seven home screens to customise with widgets and a clean, horizontally scrolling apps drawer, which is really easy to navigate quickly.

Features

When you're browsing pre-paid smartphones, it's common to wonder, "what doesn't this phone have?" rather than looking for what's included. Impressively, this list is rather short. The Gio supports 3G browsing on the Optus network (900 and 2100Mhz UMTS frequencies), Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth. Samsung includes social networking apps and Navigon maps out of the box, plus DLNA media sharing, so you can share pictures, music and video with a compatible TV or Blu-Ray/DVD player over Wi-Fi.

There's also a 3-megapixel camera included in this package, with auto-focus software and a range of scene modes, smile detection and a panorama shooting mode. There's no flash for illuminating dark scenes, so you'll want to avoid nightclubs with the Gio, but otherwise the photos are reasonably good.

The Gio runs on Android Froyo version 2.2, and although this is a few generations older than the latest Android systems, we haven't noticed any major downsides during our tests. With 2.2, you have the ability to create a Wi-Fi hotspot and share your 3G data with a computer or tablet, and speech-to-text functionality for creating text messages and emails without typing. Samsung also improves keyboard input by including Swype software, allowing you to compose messages with continuous swiping gestures rather than tapping at the screen.

Performance

For AU$149, we can't say that we expected too much performance out of this pre-paid handset, so we were extremely impressed with what we discovered when using the Gio. This user experience is extremely punchy for a phone with an 800MHz processor. Samsung has done a great job of stripping back its system to its leanest, and the result is an extremely responsive system that reacts to input immediately. Turning the phone on, jumping to menus, scrolling across pages of apps — all of the daily tasks happen without any delay or any stuttering in the animation.

Battery life is good, but not remarkable in any way. The handset's 1350mAh capacity battery is generous for a phone of this size, but, with regular use of the internet, email and social networks, we found that we charged the Gio every second day.

Overall

If you're looking to dodge a carrier contract and have AU$200 to spend on a phone, we highly recommend the Galaxy Gio. It's 3.2-inch display is better than its rivals, and the performance of this system is outstanding. It runs an older version of the Android OS than most other phones in the market at this time, but this doesn't hold it back in any way that we could find. The Galaxy Gio is outstanding value for money.



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TimB8 Facebook
4
Rating
 

"not for telstra customers"

TimB8 posted a review   

The Good:price

The Bad:battery life

bought this phone a year ago. it broke down once a few months ago and was repaired but recently changed over to telstra and the phone does not access the new 3 and 4g networks so now am forced to update to another model.

 

MichaelaG posted a comment   

This phone is really bad. I loved this phone for the first three weeks. Then it started restarting by it self. The battery after 5 months of use only lasts about 5 hours if I don't use it. The battery lasts 3 hours if I even use the phone at all. I have to restart the phone sometimes because it won't send my text messages. The camera isn't not very good but ok for the price. The phone freezes and its really slow. Like really slow! Sometimes ill need to text or call someone really quickly and it does this, I unlock my phone and it vibrates, and every time you try to click on something it will open up a menu so you have to then restart the phone and that takes ages. It randomly hangs up in calls. I don't recommend this phone to people. It randomly takes screen captures and opens up google search bar, when not commanded to.

GijsS Facebook
7
Rating
 

"A lot of phone for the price"

GijsS posted a review   

The Good:Cheap, Smartphone experience for little €

The Bad:gets slow, small internal memory, buggy

I got this phone for €150 with a €50 cashback.
For€100 it's a very good little smartphone. You get to experience what a smartphone is like without going bancrupt.

A few issues:
- I've got a bug that Google search comes on a lot unsollicited. Every time I touch the screen it pops up. All I can do is restart the phone.
- Small internal memory. A lot of apps can't be stored on the sd card so downloading a new app or game, means deleting at least one other app/game.
It slows down after a few weeks/months. Nothing I can't live with, but the fast performance as describe din the review above, doesn't last long.

Overall, A lot of phone for the small price.

noctambule
8
Rating
 

"Exellent phone for a small price"

noctambule posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Have all the functions of a much more expensive phone

The Bad:Small internal memory

Have owned this for some months now, and are very satisfied except for one thing: I thought it would be no problem with the small internal memory as I bought an extra memory card: But a whole lot of the programs has to sit in the internal memory and you can't move them, this soon creates a problem- also some of the programs that comes with the phone and you don't want cannot be erased.

 

LiamM1 posted a comment   

This phone is really bad. I loved this phone for the first three weeks. Then it started restarting by it self. The battery after 5 months of use only lasts about 5 hours if I don't use it. The battery lasts 3 hours if I even use the phone at all. I have to restart the phone sometimes because it won't send my text messages. The camera isn't not very good but ok for the price. The phone freezes and its really slow. Like really slow! Sometimes ill need to text or call someone really quickly and it does this, I unlock my phone and it vibrates, and every time you try to click on something it will open up a menu so you have to then restart the phone and that takes ages. It randomly hangs up in calls. I don't recommend this phone to people. I know it looks fantastic but. It's not. I'm also not the only one with this problem. My best friend has the exact phone as me and she has all the same problems, except hers randomly takes screen captures.

 

DougR posted a comment   

slow, freezes all the time, other than those two big issues its a great phone

Darryl D.
8
Rating
 

"Great phone for the price ... or any price"

Darryl D. posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Intuitive with gingerbread, easy to read and use, price

The Bad:terrible video if that's important to you, battery life suspect but not iPhone4 bad

Bought this phone from DSE for $122.50 (optus prepaid) in a closing down sale 3 weeks ago and it is my first venture into smartphone territory after a decade or more of nokia phones.

Went with the very cheap postpaid TPG who use the optus network and moved all the optus bloatware to page 7 of the apps screens. I haven't read the manual at all and found this phone very intuitive with its gingerbread release.

My kids have SGII's which I played with a bit before getting this and found them too big if you're basically after a phone. This Gio is a terrific size if you don't plan on web-browsing except for practical reasons. I don't bother taking pics with my phone either and the spec sheet shows that video recording is rubbish, if that interests you.

Internal memory is small so I'm staying away from loading up apps. I put in an 8Gb microSD card and loaded my music onto that - no performance hit there.

The only big negative is battery life and I seem to be constantly flirting with running out of charge. I try to remember to turn off wifi after using it at home but I definitely need to install a battery-saving app. Just looking up news and train timetables, and making a few calls, and it seems like the battery would barely make it through the day if I made another call or 2. It isn't as bad as work colleagues though, who are always sharing their iPhone chargers throughout the day.

Overall, a fantastic little phone that anyone will figure out in no time. Just install a battery saver.

maaaatt
5
Rating
 

"Faulty..."

maaaatt posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Cheap, faster cpu than competitors

The Bad:Bad screen, laggy interface, screen looks terrible when scrolling, slow.

My handset had dead pixels on the screen out of the box, very noticable with a mainly black interface. Both Samsung and the seller seem unwilling to replace or repair.

Ok phone for the money

banisters_mind
8
Rating
 

"Excellent Handset, but..."

banisters_mind posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Same user experience as my Galaxy Tab, Surprisingly zippy performance.

The Bad:Audio quality with headphones in is a little disappointing, apparently doesn't support WMA files.

I was given this handset as a replacement from Optus b/c I'm not yet out of contract and I have to say that in the main, I am really happy with it. It basically performs the same as my Galaxy Tab for most functions and I'm surprised at how well it performs given it's 800Mhz processor. However, a couple of things that I take marks off for is the fact that it doesn't seem to support WMA audio out of the box. I've had to d/l a 3rd party converter to port my music into MP3 format for use via Kies. The second thing is audio quality with headphones. I'm noticing a background hiss and pop with a lot of audio though it doesn't seem as bad via bluetooth. They are minor gripes with an otherwise excellent handset which will keep me going til I can upgrade to the S3 later this year.

ElliotV Facebook
10
Rating
 

"The easiest cellphone to figure out in the world"

ElliotV posted a review   

The Good:Has number block which is awesome, letters/numbers are large and easy to see

The Bad:Haven't found anything bad yet...only had it two monthsl

I have to say I was skeptical when the sales lady told me how great this phone was, and to be fair I've only had it for two months so it's too soon to comment on it's life-span, but in terms of being user friendly, this is an amazing phone.
I had a Blackberry for nine months prior to the Gio and I could never figure out how to do even the simplest things on it. But the Galaxy is sooooo easy to use. I would highly recommend it to anyone who isn't super savy when it comes to cell phones. A big thumbs up from this consumer!


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User Reviews / Comments  Samsung Galaxy Gio

  • TimB8

    TimB8

    Rating4

    "bought this phone a year ago. it broke down once a few months ago and was repaired but recently changed over to telstra and the phone does not access the new 3 and 4g networks so now am forced to u..."

  • MichaelaG

    MichaelaG

    "This phone is really bad. I loved this phone for the first three weeks. Then it started restarting by it self. The battery after 5 months of use only lasts about 5 hours if I don't use it. The batt..."

  • GijsS

    GijsS

    Rating7

    "I got this phone for €150 with a €50 cashback.
    For€100 it's a very good little smartphone. You get to experience what a smartphone is like without going bancrupt.

    A few issues: ..."

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