The Latest Android Phone; Samsung Galaxy Grand Duos
The Samsung Galaxy Grand is the latest big-screen Android smartphone from the Korean company. But this isn’t a handset that will have Galaxy S III or Galaxy Note II owners enviously eyeing the latest hardware. Although it gives you massive screen real estate, the specs look rather reserved, with a lowly 800 x 480 pixel resolution. Lets see if it meets up to the challenge of todays smartphones.
Build Quality and Design
Samsung has often been questioned about their build quality and the materials used in construction of their phones, but like before the build of the phone is quite sturdy. The Samsung Galaxy Grand is a pure mix of plastics and nothing else, the front display is made of glass which to the disappointment of some is not Gorilla glass, but is fairly solid nonetheless.
The bezel on the Samsung Galaxy Grand, just like the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, is a plastic bezel which has been coated to resemble metal. The hardware home button in the front is also quite identical to the one on the Galaxy note 2 but seems a lot more tactile.
The design overall is reminiscent of a fusion of the Galaxy Note 2 and the Galaxy S3 as elements from both appear to be at play. The phone is an elegant option in terms of looks and design, and also somehow despite the large nature of the display , does not appear to be overly huge.
Not a retail Box
Box Contents and Hardware
In the Box of the Galaxy Grand you will find the standard set of things along with a Samsung flip cover for the Samsung Galaxy Grand, which makes the phone resemble the Galaxy Note 2. (See unboxing below)
The hardware on the Galaxy Grand has been of controversy since the day the phone was announced. Sporting a pesky 800 x 480 WVGA 5 inch display the Galaxy Grand was deemed as an underdog with a lowly display. On the inside as well was an unannounced dual core chipset and a GPU of no ranking. Which we later found out was a Broadcom chipset with a dual core 1.2 GHz cpu and Broadcom GPU. The back and front have impressive 8MP and 2 Mp cameras, the rear one capable of 1080p video recording. the battery is an impressive 2100 mAh pack which works well, read more below.
Much to the surprise of many, the display on the Galaxy Grand is quite nice, even though its a WVGA display with a 187 ppi screen, which in comparison to their other devices is around half value. The display is also an LCD Capacitive touchscreen with 16M colors, and not an AMOLED display.
Outdoor visibility is okay, where as indoors you really cant tell if the screen is that poor. Most tasks are not a bother on the display and text is fairly clear to read even when browsing websites. Watching videos will also not be affected while on this display and somehow Samsung has managed to keep pixellation at a low.
You do however feel the grunt of the display while playing games, especially heavy games including NOVA 3, yes it does play that.
UI, Performance and Gaming
The TouchWiz user interface has been built on Android Jelly bean 4.1 for the Grand and it is really fast and snappy. You have the usual set of TouchWiz features on the device, allowing a lot of customizations and handling. An active task manager, S Voice, S Note are pre installed, you also get nifty features, like an active lock screen ticker, and motion activations like panning, and launching the camera from the lock screen.
But the most satisfying features of higher end devices like the S3 and the Note 2 have been ported to the Grand and include Pop Up Play and Multiscreen multitasking. Samsung has gone out and given this feature to the original Note, the Note 2 the S3 and now the Grand.
The Samsung Galaxy Grand actually surprises you when you hold it in your hand and start using it. The phone has managed to woo every owner of the device yet and did so with us as well. The Grand actually performs at par with the likes of flagships in carrying out daily tasks and phone operations. You will find yourself multitasking easily and using inbuilt features of the Touchwiz Nature UI with ease. The browser on the grand also manages to handle web pages, and maintains smooth operations through many tabs of content.
The Benchmarks on the grand simply blew us away, while we didn’t expect the phone to be anywhere close to its score on quadrant, it managed an impressive Nenamark 2 score as well.
The Grand shows little or no lag in operations, but once in a while you will notice the phone stall up and remind you of the difference between the Grand and a flagship.
Gaming on the Samsung Galaxy Grand Duos took us by a shock as well, the phone not only handles basic games but eases past higher and demanding games including the likes of NOVA 3. You can see our detailed report on Gaming here
Multimedia, Audio and Camera
The Samsung Galaxy Grand handles multimedia operations well, and thanks to the impressive viewing angles on the display watching movies is an effortless experience. While many would refute the capability of the device, it handles all formats well, and plays back 1080p video with any need for worry.
The speakerphone is pleasantly loud and will cater to your needs in a busy room. In-fact you might manage to bother some of the people with the high volumes.
The camera on the Grand is great, its fast and accurate to focus and unlike the camera on the S3 it actually gets the colors right. The camera UI is directly out of the likes of S33 so you get exactly the same quality of UI with a more balanced camera.
Phone and Networks
The Samsung Galaxy Grand is also an impressive phone, combined with the Samsung dialer, the phone is capable of 3G video calls, and can handle two 3G sim cards at the same time.
You can switch the data type from sim card to sim card, and the Galaxy Grand also comes with smart standby, which automatically diverts calls to a free number, but beware this is a network chargeable feature and your mobile network will charge for diverting calls.
Phone call quality was very good and we have no complaints with the way the Samsung Galaxy Grand handles networks. The network holds good throughout the day and you will seldom find the need to wait for a network flash to get over.
Powered by a 2100 mAh battery, we had initially hoped to get a full days usage with the Grand and that is exactly what we got. Some people are complaining of the battery life issues on their new phones, but we were quite happy with the battery performance on our unit.
Talk time : 4 – 5 hours
Internet : 5-6 hours
Music : 10 Hours +
Video : 3-4 Hours
Average battery life : 1 Day +
The Samsung Galaxy Grand, although overpriced (considering a quad core South Korea variant is available for 16k) seems to really deliver a good package to the Indian consumer. The phone is a good performer and matches up in looks, along with its nifty software features, including Jelly Bean , Touchwiz, Samsung Apps, and UI elements like Multiscreen push it way ahead in the competition.
While there are many domestic brands available and many products with somewhat better sounding specs headed for the market, we feel that the best bet for a dual-sim phablet at present is the Grand Duos. The Samsung Galaxy Grand Duos offers stability, a known Android UI, latest softwares and design to go along with it. Samsung might have actually killed its own market because, an S3 buyer will be quite happy with the Grand as well.