Samsung Galaxy Portal Interface

13 May 2010
Samsung Galaxy Portal

Samsung's Galaxy Portal is a lot less futuristic than its name suggests, but it certainly provides mainstream consumers with a door through which they can pass into the realm of the Android-based smartphone. The Samsung Galaxy Portal interface, which is operated via a touchscreen display and a fairly generous smattering of physical keys, keeps up with a majority of its more expensive rivals and although it lacks the sheen of some customised platforms, it will impress anyone who has never owned a smartphone before.

The Samsung Galaxy Portal interface relies on its homescreens to stay relevant. The latest version of Android has five homescreens to customise, but the Galaxy Portal, which uses the older Android 1.5 platform, has just three. However, for most people three homescreens will be more than enough interface to get your head around. The purpose of multiple homescreens is to allow the user the chance to completely modify the way their phone is laid out and how they access their apps and services. For example, you might choose to group all of your shortcuts to social networking sites on one homescreen, whilst you dedicate your second homescreen to apps and the third to multimedia functions such as the camera and music player. Alternatively you might choose to lay out the Samsung Galaxy Portal interface so that when you are at work you are using one homescreen, with homescreens two and three for when you are out socialising and at home relaxing. These few examples are just a couple of ideas in what is a completely limitless world of choice. You can fully modify the look and feel of the Samsung Galaxy Portal interface to suit you.

Switching between the different homescreens of the Galaxy Portal is as simple as swiping from side to side to select the one you are after. The speed of the processor really makes this feel slick and natural and the Galaxy Portal does not seem to slow down at any point. Swiping your way through web pages and extensive lists using the touchscreen is also a breeze and even after you have put the phone in standby for extended periods the handset can boot up virtually instantly without having a few seconds of interface lag whilst it sorts itself out.

The Galaxy Portal's touchscreen itself is a rather impressive beast and it feels much more expensive than the swathes of black plastic which surround it and engulf the whole phone. The screen is capacitive rather than resistive, which means it is not the pressure of your finger that is registered, but the bioelectric field that surrounds your body. As a result you cannot use your fingernail or an inanimate object to jab at the screen. This does mean that the Galaxy Portal's screen is sensitive to the gentlest of touches from your finger and you will not have to make multiple attempts to get your input registered. Because the screen is capacitive, Samsung has chosen to use glass rather than plastic. Glass is a good choice for a touchscreen phone because it will resist scratches and scrapes that might make a plastic screen difficult to view after a while. However, you will really want to avoid cracking the screen of the Galaxy Portal and it is a bit of a magnet for fingerprints. There is little to be done about this and many of its rivals suffer from the same issues.

The main problem with the Samsung Galaxy Portal interface is that it lacks the showbiz gloss that some other Android handsets exhibit. However, it is difficult to fault it in terms of user friendliness and fluidity and you will wonder how you got by using stiff old keypads in the past.