Affordable Galaxy phones are like buses: you wait months for one and then four come along all at once. But with the Mini, Ace, Gio and Fit to choose from, it’s hard to know which of the Galaxy S2’s so-called ‘little brothers’ to choose. We’ve given the Fit a thorough work out to see how it shapes up.
For a phone you can pick up for the pocket-money price of £99 on pay as you go or free on contract deals from under £20, the Fit feels reassuringly expensive. Thanks to its chrome screen bezel, it feels satisfyingly substantial in your palm despite actually weighing in at 108g. And it’s a looker too, boasting the same subtle looks and classy rounded display as the top-end S2 – albeit in a slimmed down form factor.
Fire it up, though, and the more tech-fixated among you might be disappointed to find that the Fit is running the ageing 2.2 version of Android (aka Froyo) and not the up to the minute Gingerbread iteration. Still, because this a newish phone there’s a better than evens chance that’ll Sammy will bung out an update soon, so it’s not all bad.
As with most budget smartphones, the Fit is a mite smaller than the top of the range rivals, measuring a compact 110.2 x 61.2 x 12.6 mm. That means there’s only room for a smaller 3.3-inch touchscreen. But in it’s favour, that makes this a supremely compact bit of kit that’s much more pocketable than some of the more costly behemoth blowers competing for your smartphone buck right now.
The Fit’s button layout is a fairly standard for an Android phone. Although there’s no search button, home, back and menu buttons are present and correct. And the decision to make the latter two capacitive buttons adds a welcome minimalism to the handset that you wouldn’t expect at this strata of the market and more than offset the slightly cheap feeling plasticky battery cover.
Perhaps the Fit’s standout feature is that it’s Android phone. And although it’s not equipped with the latest version of the platform, it does mean that you get to choose from a massive array of free and paid-for apps and games from the Android Market.
It also comes with some smart Google apps pre-installed (think: Gmail, YouTube and Google Maps) to get you started. And it allows you to tether your phone to get online with other web-enabled devices – sort of like a de facto wireless hotspot. Elsewhere, there’s a five megapixel camera of surprisingly good quality with autofocus and smile detection and the option to record standard definition video. There’s also a microSD card of 2GB supplied, with the option to add a whopping 32GB card to ensure you’ve got room for all your music, apps and clips.
For a phone with a 600MHz processor, the Fit also breezes along pretty fast and. unlike the Galaxy Europa, handles multi-touch gestures capably – although we did notice the odd lag when playing games.
Android 2.2 is overlaid with Samsung’s social networking focussed TouchWiz custom skin, including the ace Social Hub. This integrates all your social networking profiles, email accounts and instant messages in a single location to make it easy to keep up to date with your nearest and dearest. TouchWiz also makes it easy to set up new hubs, which is simply a matter of flicking across to the homescreen in question.
You also get the rather cool Swype touchscreen typing app pre-installed. This takes some getting used to. But once you’re up and running can really cut text entry time.
Android makes the Fit a breeze to set up, with all your Facebook and e-contacts imported for you. It’s also easy to customise the layout, which is simply a case of dragging and dropping widgets around the screen until you’ve got your phone, your way. Even if you're a smartphone novice, you’ll find you’ll pick it up in no time.