Samsung's major smart phones like the Galaxy S2, Galaxy Note and Galaxy Nexus may grab the headlines, but it has some cracking Android handsets that are a little less pricey too. These come in the shape of the Galaxy Ace, Galaxy Mini, Galaxy Fit and Galaxy Pro. But which of these moderately more modest mobiles is most marvellous? Read on to find out.
Samsung Galaxy Ace
The Galaxy Ace looks a lot like Apple's iPhone 4, at least at first glance. But delve a little deeper and the differences emerge. We like the textured pattern along the back, for example.
We'd be lying if we said the Ace felt classy as it's constructed from plastic. But on the plus side, it's very light, at just 113g. While 11.5mm in thickness isn't that slender, the Ace is skinny enough to slide into your jeans pocket.
The Galaxy Ace packs a 3.5-inch touchscreen that proved speedy and responsive in our testing. The resolution isn't too high though, at only 320x480 pixels. When you're viewing text on web pages you'll need to do some serious zooming in to make out words. The display itself is of the LCD variety, rather than the lovely AMOLED stuff you'll see on high-end mobiles like the Galaxy S2.
When we tested the Ace, we found a secret weapon stuffed inside its casing: the battery. It easily survived two days of use without needing to be charged overnight, and that's with both 3G and Wi-Fi switched on. While phones that are twice as expensive struggle to survive a day away from the mains, our tests suggested that the Ace's battery capabilities would make it a much more tempting alternative.
That said, while the Ace delivered for us, a recurring theme in our user reviews is disappointing battery performance.
Sporting a 5-megapixel camera, the Ace takes reasonably good photos, but it won't blow you away with its photographic prowess. There's an LED photo light though, to help you out when it's dark.
The Ace arrived running the Android 2.2 operating system, but it's since been updated to Android 2.3 Gingerbread. However, it doesn't support Adobe Flash, which means some online videos and annoying flashing banners will lie tantalisingly beyond your grasp.
Samsung Galaxy Mini
Despite its name, the Mini is a similar size to the Ace, but a little thicker at 12mm deep. The design is more rounded, with a big, angular home button nestled beneath the screen. It's dead light though, tipping the scales at just 105g.
The screen is something of a let-down. It's small at 3.1 inches on the diagonal, and the 240x320-pixel resolution leaves everything appearing a touch blurry. Photos, videos or web pages won't look as good as they should on the Mini.
There is a silver lining: because the Mini doesn't have to render high-resolution images, it's a swift device, moving smoothly and quickly despite an unimpressive 600MHz processor.
The Mini isn't powerful enough to handle graphically demanding games though.
The phone is also lacking when it comes to Adobe Flash support. But access to Android Market means you can fill it with social apps like Facebook or Twitter, which is handy for keeping in touch with your buddies, or figuring out where they are so you can avoid them.
The camera is a bit naff. With just 3 megapixels to its name, it fails to take great snaps and lacks niceties such as a flash or autofocus.
All in all, the Mini delivers a decent introduction to the world of Android, but anyone who wants to get some serious web browsing or gaming done should look elsewhere.
Price: Like the Ace, you can pick the Mini up for £15 on an 18-month contract. Carphone Warehouse is flogging it for a little under £110 SIM-free though, making it significantly cheaper than the Ace if you're buying the phone unlocked.
Samsung Galaxy Fit
The Galaxy Fit looks very much like the Mini's rounded design. However, the screen is a little bigger at 3.3 inches.
Unfortunately, while the screen is larger than that of the Mini, it's got the same 240x320-pixel resolution. So again, photos and web pages will look blurry and a bit rubbish.
Adobe Flash is off the menu once more, sadly, but there is something the Fit does much better than the Mini, and that's taking pictures.
This 5-megapixel snapper is impressive. It's got an auto-focus, which helps make your photos much sharper. The images it captures are of a decent quality, as are the video clips it records. Lovely.
You'll need to charge the Fit every night, but with moderate use, the battery inside this diminutive mobile will last through the day.
All things considered, while the Fit isn't very powerful, it's a capable little mobile if you don't have loads of cash to splash.
Price: Our mobile deals site shows the Galaxy Fit coming in at £26 per month on an 18-month contract. If you want to track it down SIM-free, expect to pay about £150.
Samsung Galaxy Pro
The Samsung Galaxy Pro is the only phone in the line-up to feature a physical keyboard, so if you have an aversion to touchscreen mobiles, this could be of interest.
The keyboard itself is comfortable to type on, with each key pleasantly sloped to make it easier to identify where one key ends and another begins. Unfortunately the space bar is very small, which could prove frustrating in the time it takes for your fingers to get used to finding it without looking.
The Galaxy Pro is really wide at 67mm across. We'd hazard that it's not as stylish as the other mobiles in this round-up. The screen is also disappointing -- it's a 2.8-inch affair, with a grim 240x320-pixel resolution. Web pages and the like will look woeful. Worse, there's no support for multi-touch pinch-to-zoom, so focusing in on web pages is a nightmare.
The lack of pinch-to-zoom and the peculiar screen shape mean that popular games like Angry Birds or Grand Prix Story are almost impossible to play.
The 3-megapixel camera isn't too bad though -- it takes some surprisingly decent photos.
Price: The Galaxy Pro can be yours for £15 per month on an 18-month contract. It will cost you about £200 if you want to find it SIM-free.
Of these four mobiles, we think the Samsung Galaxy Ace holds the crown. We like the design and it boasts the biggest screen, with a higher resolution than the other blowers. Considering how much time you'll spend looking at the darn thing, we think it's worth it. It's not the cheapest of the group, but we think it could offer the best value.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy Ace
What do you think? Do you already own one of these mobiles? Do you love it or loathe it? Tell us in the comments or on our Facebook wall.