The Galaxy Fame: Samsung’s budget smartphone

Samsung Galaxy FameThere’s no doubt that Samsung’s flagship S4 is the stand-out performer of the tech giant’s Galaxy range. But, priced at nearly £600 for a Sim-free model, the S4 is out of many people’s monetary reach.

Now, the South Korean multinational is aiming its sights on the bottom end of the market with the new Galaxy Fame. While it may sound fit for a superstar, this phone has no celebrity price tag. Available Sim-free and unlocked for around £180, it is a good option for those looking for something pocket friendly.

The new device effectively means Samsung will be competing against itself as the Samsung Galaxy Young, which costs around £120, is still on the market, although this is, as it says on the tin, aimed at a younger demographic – as a starter smartphone, perhaps a youngster’s first one.

Samsung is hoping its Galaxy Fame will have wider appeal and will be going head to head with the likes of the Nokia Lumia 520 and the LG Optimus L32.

Cheap it may be, but Samsung has still put a lot of effort into the design, creating a curvy, robust handset that sites nicely in the hand, although it is heavier than you would expect, weighing in at just over 120g.

And, clearly, the quality on offer is not the same as with Samsung’s more high-end offerings. The screen is fairly small by today’s standards, at just 3.5-inches and the resolution of 320 x 480 is pretty standard. There’s also a big emphasis on the use of plastic in the smartphone body.

But the Fame does come in a range of colour options – black, white or metallic blue – making it appealing to a range of consumers. And the curved back wraps tightly around the handset, offering a reassuringly snug fit and speaking of high production values. It seems to have taken its design lead from the ageing Galaxy S3.

Samsung Galaxy Fame picInside, there’s a single core 1GHz processor, along with 512M of RAM. There’s also a front-facing camera and a 5MP rear snapper that has flash for snapping in low-light conditions.

The battery isn’t very big, but because of the low-res screen and single-core processor, the Galaxy Fame doesn’t need too much juice. You should get around six hours of talktime before needing to recharge.

There are only three home screens that you can fill up with all your apps and widgets, so users will have to be fairly selective when it comes to what they give pride of place to. But, there is a grid in the apps list where you can put anything that is left over so you can still access it.

Samsung boasts the Fame has “almost the same power, speed and usability of a computer,” with “advance performance that users will be in awe of”.

Some critics have, however, already criticised the Fame for being slugglish. So, it remains to be seen whether those looking for a budget smartphone opt for the Galaxy Fame in a market which is becoming increasingly packed with Android phones.