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Samsung Galaxy Europa review

 Review: February 2011  

Last updated September 2012

Rating: 4 stars

In a nutshell: The Samsung Europa GT-I5500 is a cut-price Android smartphone that manages to steer a fine line between cost-cutting and preserving essential Android features.

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The Samsung Galaxy Europa is a sub-£50 Android phone. The price is right, but have too many corners been cut to get to it? The answer, you'll be pleased to know is "not too many."

This is the cheapest smartphone on the market by a long way, so we were a little sceptical about what it might deliver. But the runaway success of Android proves there's a hunger for low-cost Android smartphones, so the existence of the Europa is to be welcomed. The Europa is smaller than most Android phones and looks a little cheaper. Samsung have given the Europa an unusual asymmetric design (when viewed edgeways) and have loaded the phone with buttons. These include a D-pad and call and end buttons and seem superfluous in a touchscreen phone, but some users may find them helpful, especially since the touchscreen is rather small.

The Europa runs Android 2.1 (Eclair) and has a moderately fast processor (600MHz) with a capacitive screen, making it respond well to the touch and process user actions without much hesitation. The screen is pretty small for an Android phone, at 2.8 inches, but that's normal for budget touchscreen phones and if you want a bigger screen you know you're going to have to part with some extra cash. The screen supports Swype fingertip control, which lets you slide your finger around the QWERTY keyboard for fast text entry. In portrait mode you have an old-style alphanumeric keypad with predictive text. Samsung have customised the user interface with the TouchWiz 3.0 user interface, helping to make the most of the smaller screen size and adding some additional functionality to the core Android operating system. You can customise to your heart's content, with up to 7 screens available for arranging shortcuts and icons.

Being an Android smartphone, you have full access to Android Market with over 150,000 apps now available, and there's plenty of functionality already installed on the phone, such as the Social Hub which integrates contacts, calendars, facebook, email and twitter feeds. This has got to be one of the best features of the phone. There are plenty of games available for download too, such as the famous Angry Birds.

Another great feature of Android phones is GPS with Google Maps. This works moderately well on the Europa. The screen size comes into play again, and the interaction with the maps was slower and more clunky than with higher-spec Android phones, but it does work, and frankly you're very lucky to find GPS in the under-£50 zone.

The music capabilities of the phone are good, with an FM radio with RDS available in addition to the digital music player. With a 1GB memory card supplied, there's room for storing a few hundred tracks, and you can upgrade this if you want more storage. The Europa has 3D sound emulation, but as always with budget phones the sound is rather tinny. You'd be better off listening through a set of headphones. A 3.5mm headphone jack is provided for this purpose.

Pennies have been saved ruthlessly when it comes to the camera, which is just 2 megapixels with fixed focus and no flash. It's fine for daytime snaps and uploading to facebook though. The camera is used for driving the Layar Augmented Reality browser, which tells you information about your real-world surroundings through your camera viewer - you'll never need to look at the world through your own eyes again :)

The phone does have support for fast 3G - HSDPA at up to 7.2 Mbps - which is handy when you're downloading apps or checking out facebook. There's also Wi-Fi support, which will give you even faster data access when available, and also Bluetooth and USB. The fast data access also enables you to browse the web and watch youtube videos, although in the case of web browsing the smaller screen size does start to compromise the experience.

The battery isn't as large as the high-end Android phones, but it's quite respectable, at 1200 mAh and will give 2-3 days of use between charges.

We've come out of this review feeling very positive about the Europa. Yes, there are compromises in the spec: particularly the screen size, the processor speed and the camera. But the screen is still larger than the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini, and larger than many other phones in this price range. The responsive feel of the capacitive screen, plus the provision of all those extra buttons compensates for this. The processor speed turns out not to be a problem either. And the camera ... well, if you're looking for a great camera phone, look elsewhere. When you cut the cost there have to be compromises and we feel that Samsung have handled these well. If this is your first step into the world of Android, we don't think you'll be disappointed by the Samsung Galaxy Europa. If you want to spend a little more, try the Samsung Galaxy Ace or HTC Desire C.

Samsung Galaxy Europa features include:

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Samsung Galaxy Europa user reviews

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Average rating from 47 reviews:

Reviewed by BarsaaT from United Kingdom -red passport. on 7th Nov 2013
Hello, Bye! :) Phone is slow and it is bad

Reviewed by sunshine munna from bangladesh on 28th May 2013
If someone ask me what is your favorites phone? I definitely sayy galaxy 5.... I use everything in my galaxy 5, like email, fb, twitter,pics art,.. but the mic is soo weak, please fix it.....

Reviewed by frank from uk on 29th May 2012
A basic but not bad phone. For anyone looking to experiment with android its a bargain. Followed youtube tutorial and rooted and unlocked myself, and i'm no kind of hacker!

Reviewed by Guest from UK on 25th Apr 2012
I've had this phone on PAYG now for months and it just isn't worth it. Its a good phone for the initial cost, but having to top up 15 a month to be able to use the internet and all internet related apps means it isn't worth it. Can't be upgraded to above 2.2, WiFi is unreliable with very poor range, battery life is about 8 hours for standard daily use.
Only good as a transition to smartphones.

Reviewed by Alisha from England on 17th Apr 2012
brilliant value for money. Had no problems with it at all, its been my phone for about 6-7 months. camera is good and the keypad is really good. totally impressed with the design of the phone and its nice to have a few buttons aswell as touchscreen. buy it!! :)

Reviewed by hi from jaho on 7th Apr 2012
terrible phone. Slow ugly old and not my thing. Not reccomended

Reviewed by Robert from England on 15th Mar 2012
This is the worse phone I have ever had,just after 3 months the Microphone has gone and no one can hear me when I speak.I called Three Mobil and they will not fix as they claim does not come under Warranty.

Reply by moontrip from england on 18th Jul 2012
go back to the shop and remind them of the "sale of goods act" - it states that goods must be of sound quality and that they should last a reasonable amount of time if they get a bit huffy about it, just say your next stop is trading standards - this normally gees them up a bit!!

Reviewed by lee from England on 3rd Mar 2012
me again (last time promise) for just two pounds and fifty pence, all the way from china, via ebay, a 1500 mAh battery is a must. My daughter is now getting two days use, and she plays games on it!
Didn't mean earphones, talking about unit itself. Haven't touched the earphones that came with it. Three: my daughter got through ten pounds in four days. It used to be free between three phones (my wife is on three). I am going to change all family, a number of operators still offer free calls and texts between their phones.

Reviewed by lee from England on 28th Feb 2012
earlier on i criticized earphones. i would still maintain there is a small background "noise" at low volume, but after actually giving it a go i have to say this is one of the nicest sounding mp3 players i've listened to. and i've listened to a few!
just received a new 1500 mAh battery today, 2.50 off ebay. will let you know how it performs.
deleted kies - it felt good. still get mass storage mode. not sure why i couldn't get it before. to anyone still on their 15 top up, try adownloader (free app) and go shopping at isohunt (i shifted sixty gig)
three have now changed their terms. free texts only last 45 days. new customers now only get 500mb for a fiver. i'm gonna get this unlocked and join giffgaff

Reviewed by megan from hampshire on 23rd Feb 2012
this phone is ok, offers a wide range of android features, matching up to those more expensive anroid phones. however had problems with it from begining with the phone bringing through the same text multiple times, making it very difficult to use. after not even a year im looking to change it because of this. sometimes is slow, esp with utube, however battery life is quite good for the price of the phone.

Reviewed by mike tudor from uk on 10th Feb 2012
i have to say this is one of the best i,ve ever had , i have a htc desire and this little phone matches up to it in many depts and all for 39 !!! best samsung phone i,ve had by a mile .

Reviewed by Mike from UK on 3rd Feb 2012
update to my last review: After reading other reviews the first app I downloaded was a battery saver and was only getting 18hrs charge. I decided to deleted the battery saver and I'm now getting well over 24hrs


Reviewed by Mike from UK on 26th Jan 2012
I bought this about two weeks ago (my Nokia E5 was seriously playing up), My first android and my first touch phone and I'm impressed (camera is poor but I use a camera to take pictures and my phone to take "snaps"), battery life is poor (But I only used to get 18hrs from my E5 and as my company issue Blackberries I leave it on charge when at my desk), screen is bigger (just) tham my E5 and has more colours, I can get all my emails (appart from Ovi), satnav etc, when my contract is up in November I may well look at a Larger Samsung touch handset.

Reviewed by lee from England on 23rd Jan 2012
yes. i wanted to see what all the android fuss was about so picked one up from cpw, 39, last week. I'll be honest, I'm hanging onto my G502 at mo, I like my keyboard. My daughter's took the galaxy - she's got smaller fingers. its not the sturdiest of phones but its not to flimsy either. Has all features, sat nav, wi-fi, etc. Amazing for price, a fantastic piece of kit for price. I wasn't to keen on having to purchase 15 top up cause i'm already on three and only really wanted phone. On plus side, includes all you can eat data so have slapped in 8 gig card and when not at school its downloading hard (a 700mb film with lots of seeders comes down in twenty mins!) and its gonna be doing that, have to leave it plugged in to charger all night, for next thirty days (and nights) one problem I did have was getting mass storage mode up on computer. I ended up having to download samsung Kies. If i'd wanted to have to download a bloated piece of software onto my computer I'd have brought an iphone. Got there in the end using android app, not sure if Kies drivers helped or not. One other thing, there seems to be background noise over earphones at low volume. seems to go when louder - but maybe just drowned out by volume. I do like to lie in bed at night and listen to mp3s, so this bad point to me. Like android phones, may buy a more expensive one!

Reply by PengeBoy from England on 7th Mar 2012
Lee: I agree with all your positive comments about the Europa BUT connectivity quickly became AN ISSUE. When I first connected the phone to my PC over USB I could transfer data quickly and easily through the Windows file system - the phone appears in "My Computer" as a removable hard disk. I wanted more sophistication, such as synchronisation of Contacts, so I downloaded the monster KIES. Then I went through the gargantuan Update. I could not get KIES to recognise the phone. Then the PC stopped recognising the phone and vice versa, whether Kies was running or not. The same was true when I tried Bluetooth - KIES wouldn't recognise the phone. I could pair with another phone and exchange Contacts over Bluetooth, so Bluetooth was working properly but not with KIES. Ditto WiFi, but this phone does not support KIES With WiFi. A quick search of AndroidForums, for example, shows that I'm not the only victim of this maddening USB error. It seems a small problem BUT I want to be able to backup Contacts without removing the SIM card or the memory card. The USB should work but it doesn't. And KIES is indeed a monster.

Reviewed by achmed from england on 22nd Jan 2012

Reply by lol from england on 2nd Mar 2012
loooooooooooool sme

Reviewed by Sara from England on 22nd Jan 2012
A good phone at the start, but lacks personalisation and is rather confusing! Android is slow, as is YouTube. When I bought it in O2 it was 112.00 now it's down to 40.00! Rip-off, thought it was great at the start as my phone before was the standard LG Cookie, but now with Blackberrys and iPhones everywhere, it's time to cast it aside! DO NOT BUY! Rubbish phone, and when you drop it, even once, it chips there are about 10 chips around the phone, so not a durable phone at all!

Reviewed by Jon from Wales on 15th Jan 2012
I've got this phone on contract, it is absolutely appalling, battery life is a miserable 5-8 hours. Processor is nowhere near fast enough, it will not update to Android 2.2, it seems to think android is not compatible with the Europa. Other problems include heat, whilst charging, it gets alarmingly hot if you do anything, unplugging the charger costs you anywhere from 6-20% of your battery. There's more, with no way to transfer apps to your memory card, this phone actually REJECTS text messages if you have too many apps on your phone. The Europa is totally unacceptable. I would only recommend this phone to people I really didn't like.

Reviewed by Stan from UK on 14th Jan 2012
Excellent for the price. I used it for a few months until I got an s2. Only real difference is speed.

Reviewed by Linda from Ireland on 11th Jan 2012
I bought my phone last weekend and I m only getting about 12 hours battery life- barely a days work... should I bring this back?? It doesnt even get much usage within the 12 hours.

Reviewed by mike tudor from uk on 6th Jan 2012
having had a few cheaper android phones i have to say this is the best i,ve had ...battery life is good screen is good , its a little slow at times but for the price cant complain . real value for money .

Reviewed by randika sampath from uk on 4th Jan 2012
this is my 1st touch screen phone.it's much cheaper than other android phone with excellent features.but the 2-mega-pixel camera unable to take good pictures and it should include LED flasher unless unable to take photos in little dark environment. the other drawback is i have seen, Flash Player doesn't work in this phone. i have tried to install via android market, but it's fail.

Reviewed by lee clark from england on 17th Dec 2011
i got one i think it's a excellent little phone for wot it dose and on price got it becouse i hated my iphone it dose a lot that the iphone dose if u use the same way plus more you can put your own ring tunes on it and dont have to pay for them on android unlike itunes got excellent navigation on it gets me to were i wont to go dont have to pay for it unlike with apple were u may have to pay up to 60 to get it got a upgrade in two months can not want to get the samsung galaxy s2 not sure in wot to get it in black or white but i will be keeping this as well excellent for kids as a gift for christmas or if u have not ever had a samsung galaxy model befor to try

Reviewed by Naseem from England on 22nd Nov 2011
This is my 1st touch screen phone, i love it to bits, and i like the fact you can us wifi for surfing at home as well, as this quite easily take away any reason, why a laptop would need to switched on for, when the phone is more than capable for this event. It's one of the best phones i have owned, i would go samsung and android again, got my eye on the new Galaxy W, with 1.4 Processor at the moment.

Reviewed by georgina from ireland on 2nd Nov 2011
i got the phone i think it was great no proloms at all i think if your geting a phone get this one it is handy and i think it will last for a very long time so for any boys or girls geting a phone get this one because it works and i love it sooooooooo much and i dropped it so may times it would never brack on me at all

Reviewed by christine glover from uk on 27th Oct 2011
i bought this phone a few weeks ago and i absolutely love it! it's a fantastic phone,does what all the other more expensive smartphones do,and the camera is great! don't know why people say it's rubbish,i've taken some great pictures with it,the colours are so vivid,even better than the digital camera i have! the video recorder is great too,on some phones the video is very shaky and blurry,on this phone it is so clear and no shakes on it. There are 1000s of apps to download from android market,i have downloaded some, the wifi is great too! battery life not to bad depending how you use it,for me i charge it everyday, but then again i am always playing with it-surfing the web-downloading apps etc,etc,i can't leave it alone!! all in all i can't praise this phone enough,if you are wondering wether to buy it or not i would say 'don't hesitate,go and buy it today!!!'

Reviewed by Oke from USA on 11th Oct 2011
nice phone ,but why the key pad do not light up

Reviewed by psssss from uk on 8th Oct 2011
I start by saying I am not a phone pundit but I am really surprised that this phone, that comes with android 2.2 (at least mine), only cost 50 pounds. Its a cool little phone. Basically if it wasnt for the camera it could easily compete with much more expansive phones. Would recommend it!

Reviewed by PJ from UK on 4th Oct 2011
Horrible Phone. This was sold as an 'upgrade' to a Nokia N97... it's poor in every respect compared to the Nokia.

Reply by Mobile Phones UK from UK on 4th Oct 2011
PJ, I think you were mis-sold. The N97 was Nokia's flagship product. The Europa is an entry-level Android phone.

Reviewed by marius from ireland on 24th Sep 2011
I have it for about a week now(39.99 from three). good phone,loads of apps,good battery(good enough) and...a good pone in general! WiFi works great,music is good and the apps...GREAT! and by the way...mine came with Android 2.2 Froyo! :))

Reviewed by Petko from Bulgaria on 19th Sep 2011
I have this phone for a month and I think he's great solution between price/performance.Working fast with all advantages of Android make this device nice for everyone !

Reviewed by Aiga from Latvia on 6th Sep 2011
Great phone. have it for a month, and i love it.

Reviewed by Para from England on 24th Aug 2011
About a week in. It's fantastic. The camera is sharp and the music is fantastic. I have no multiple messages, probably because of the firmware (froyo). Recommend.

Reviewed by Kathy from England on 11th Aug 2011
Multiple messages ! Well what can I say I have had 195 messages from 14th July and 191 of them are repeats and some have come at 0230 and 0530 in the morning !!! I am so pleased that I have read that there is an upgrade to stop this problem. If you use the swype for texts it is much easier. I would rate this 5 stars once the problem with multiple texts is solved.

Reviewed by lauren from england on 11th Aug 2011
I had this phone for nearly a year and it was great its easy to use the camera is amazing but i lost all my contacts about a week after getting it and also about 8 months after getting the screen broke and it no longer worked i strongly advise that if your carless with your phones to not buy this phone as the screen breaks easily.

Reviewed by jollof rice from peckham on 7th Aug 2011
I got this phone today and it was brilliant!!!!!!!!!!!!! The best phone I have ever used. Better than the iPhone 4. If you read my comment you better buy this phone or else you have me to deal with. Absolutely by far the best phone in the world. Better than the BlackBerry Torch. Thanks for reading, Sir Jollof Rice I (King Of All Good Jollof Rice)

Reviewed by Paul from England on 22nd Jul 2011
Excellent phone for the price. If you want to disable internet via data then goto setings - wirless & networks - mobile sttings - access point names and delete all the apn's except the one with green dot by it click on this and where it says apn (which might be like giffgaff.com) change it to anything like xxx.com. The phone will never connect to 3g or any other type of data internat

Reviewed by Bob from Uk on 12th Jul 2011
Bought one of these from O2 shop for my wife for 39.99 last week when they had an offer on. For even double the price this is a great android phone. I have an Apollo and toyed with the thought of given that to my wife instead and keeping this one. It looks smart, the screen is crisp and colours are vivid, it's smallish size (for an Android phone) isn't too much of a problem. Connect it to your PC and download Froyo 2.2 via the Kies program and this phone is even better, battery life is unbelievable, my wife leaves wifi on all day and although she doesn't make many calls (just texts) after 3 days it was still showing over 50% charge! Only slight issues are: screen is a bit sensitive (easy to type letters twice) and doesn't have "pinch to zoom" feature that other phones have.

Reviewed by Nigel W from UK on 12th Jun 2011
Re- multiple messages, my daughter's mobile suffered this problem so took to nearest O2 shop. There is an upgrade which cures the problem. It can be done in shop but with my daughter's phone for some reason it didn't work so had to be sent away for two weeks. On return, the problem was cured. However, as it's my daughter's mobile on Pay As You Go, we only wanted WiFi access so before the 'upgrade' I'd fixed it so all the background services were disabled and removed so it didn't connect to 2G/3G services. On return, the services seem to be running in a different way - I didn't recognise what's running where, so it seems almost impossible to stop the background services connecting to 2G/3G network - hence my daughter gets charged 1 every day for her ZERO usage of the internet. She wants to use at home on the WiFi but if it connects initially to 3G network (before she can change the settings) she gets charged. This is REALLY irritating. Apart from that major gripe, the phone itself is really quite good. So can't give it 4 or 5 stars because of this one niggle.

Reviewed by sgh from uk on 4th Jun 2011
had it a week and must say im impressed with android 2.2, touch screen is very responsive. only downside is the battery life usually lasts a day if utilise wifi etc (i think this a common theme with all smartphones though)excellent all round compared to my previous sgh monte which is roughly at the same price.

Reviewed by Ben from England on 31st May 2011
I have the same problem as someone else mentioned, get the same message constantly, sometimes 50+ times, and often don't get messages from people for days after they are sent, which makes the phone completely useless for me.

Reviewed by tukun from UK on 2nd May 2011
hi, i just bought it a week ago. its a great mobile. i already upgraded it to froyo, my OS is now android 2.2.........its really K0ol.........

Reviewed by chantelle from scotland on 12th Apr 2011
You get exactly what you pay for. A mobile that works for the first week then everything goes wrong!!. Would not reccomend this to anyone. The phone is constantly freezing, apps are forever force closing and i always get the same messages through about 10 - 15 times. Also when i get a phonecall, it takes a couple of seconds for the name of the person who is calling to come up, then after that another couple of seconds for it to actually answer, this has cause me to miss a few calls before!. All in all the phone really is poor quality and not even worth the small price it is!

Reviewed by east end lad from UK on 11th Mar 2011
Pros: comfortable to hold, smooth touch-screen operation (and I'm not big fan of touch screens), easy wifi connection, free google maps, general samsung quality. Cons: 'keys' on touchscreen a bit on the small side, even when turned sideways for wide screen; cannot use calendar without a google account (how stupid is that?); once you log in with said google details the google mail is locked to that account and only way to remove it is factory reset which will wipe out all data) I'm tempted rate the phone just a 3 but really the problem is not the phone it's the android googleware that's rubbish. Hence I give it a 4.

Reviewed by daz from england on 8th Mar 2011
hi i bought this phone for a lady friend of mine for 69.99 was her first android phone,and its really pretty good for the price download apps wifi etc,i have a htc google nexus one which is blazing fast but that cost nearly 4 times as much so no suprise there.if only the camera was a bit better that wud be great but still good for day time shots. to sum up if you want an android phone and have a budget of around 69 go get this little beauty you wont be dissapointed

Reviewed by jesus from israel on 6th Mar 2011

Reviewed by Bhavya from India on 1st Mar 2011
I've played with this phone, upgraded to froyo, bricked it and got back to normal. What else i can say. Btw i installed froyo from this tutorial ankurtechblog.blogspot.com /2011/01/how-to-install-android-22-froyo-samsung.html

Reviewed by tony from uk on 26th Feb 2011
just got this get it updated to 2,2 froyo and its a bargin i even have sygic satnav in 3d on it runs a dream its better than the htc tattoo which is stuck on donut 1.6 costs more to

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