GadgetsLab: Samsung Galaxy Grand

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Specifications:

Dimensions: 143.5 x 76.9 x 9.6 mm

Weight: 162 g

Screen: 480 x 800 pixels, 5.0 inches (~187 ppi pixel density)

Processor: Dual-core 1.2 GHz

[3/19/2013 2:20:48 PM] Alcantara Ruben C.: RAM: 1GB

Internal Storage: 8GB, expandble via MicroSD

OS: Android Jelly Bean 4.1.2

Camera: Main: 8MP, Front: 2MP

Battery: Li-Ion 2100 mAh

2G Connectivity: GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 – SIM 1 & SIM 2

3G Connectivity: HSDPA 900 / 1900 / 2100 – SIM 1 only

WiFi  a/b/g/n, dual-band, Bluetooth v4.0 with A2DP, LE, EDR

What’s Hot:

•  Great value

•  Top-tier software features at mid-   level price

•  Comfortable screen size

What’s Not:

• Low-res screen

• Washed out colors

Bottomline:

If you don’t feel the need to watch HD videos on the go, but want a phone that does a little more than the average mid-tier device, this is the absolute perfect phone for you.

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Smartphones are everywhere. There are just so many out there that any would-be smartphone user would be absolutely spoilt for choice when it comes to picking the phone that meets their requirements. Samsung knows this, and they have always aimed to give some of the best phones to consumers. The Samsung Galaxy grand is no exception. It’s a large-screened, full-featured device that brings Samsung’s A-game to the lower segments of the price tier. This usually means a few cut corners here and there, so does the Grand suffer too much sacrifice, or is it the perfect balance of price and utility? We got to find out firsthand.

One of the first things you will notice about this phone is the build. Samsung has shied away from metal builds on their smartphones for some time now, partly to keep cost and weight down. The Galaxy Grand is no exception to this rule. The back case is plastic, and a little on the thin side. It’s not flimsy by any means, and flexes just enough to keep it from shattering under weight. Popping open the back reveals the decent 2100mAh battery, microSD card slot and two SIM card trays. It’s really nice of Samsung to offer a dual-SIM device at this price point, for this kind of phone. It gives people who want a decent mid-level phone a real option when looking for a device to support multiple networks. The device is pretty slim, and quite light; on the whole very comfortable in hand. It doesn’t have a Gorilla Glass screen, so prospective users may want to invest in a screen protector as soon as they pony up the cash for one of these babies.

Powering up the device reveals a very roomy five-inch screen. While it isn’t HD, at a pixel density of 187ppi, the screen is more than adequate for most tasks, up to and including browsing the web and watching videos. The resolution of the screen, while important, really isn’t a huge factor in dealing with a device this size, particularly for the price point. The colors are a little washed out, but won’t be noticeable until you look at photos on the Grand’s screen against a better one, such as your main computer. Once the device had powered up, I was very pleased to see Android 4.1.2  Jelly Bean installed right out of the box. It has the same OS as all of the Korean company’s flagship phones. As a matter of fact, if I didn’t know any better, I would easily have mistaken the device for the Samsung Galaxy S III. It has very similar styling cues, down to the default wallpaper, lock screen and OS animation. Performance of the phone under regular system load is more than adequate. It was as smooth as any other device I had ever used; the dual-core 1.2GHz processor coupled with 1GB of RAM made short work of task switching, apps and videos, even one piled on top of the other.

Something extremely pleasant (or frustrating, depending on your point of view) is that Samsung decided to include the same multi-pane multitasking interface on the Galaxy as is present on the Galaxy Note II. This means you can run a few of the stock apps concurrently without any special tricks. Just launch the multitasking menu, tap the relevant app and you’re off. This is  clearly a great thing for people who want the extra perks of the Note II, without the steep price tag. The Galaxy Grand handles it flawlessly, and it seems that the RAM and processor have enough power in them to multitask without breaking a sweat.

The Galaxy Grand’s camera is a beautiful 8-MP deal, and takes shots fantastically. Color reproduction is great, given enough light, and more than a few of the shots I took with it have been used as wallpapers, posts and screensavers on much larger and more detailed screens. Low-light performance is not nearly as good, with grain and noise showing up the moment light disappears, but the overall performance is more than adequate. The front 2MP camera was more than sufficient for video calling via Skype, and I came across clear and sharp as long as there was both enough light and a decent WiFi signal.

Battery life on the Grand was more than adequate. I was easily able to get a full day’s use on the device with about two dozen text messages an hour, 60 or so minutes of calls, some WiFi internet browsing, and a Bluetooth headset connected. If you’re a little more careful with power use and stay off the 3G network, I imagine you could squeeze 2 days out of this phone.

On the whole, the Samsung Galaxy Grand is a solid mid-range phone. It does all of the necessary functions, plus a little bit more, without costing as much as it should, in my opinion. The phone is available for about PHP 16,000 off-contract, and should be more than enough to serve the needs of all but the most hardcore of Android users.

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First published in Gadgets Magazine, April 2013

Words by Ren Alcantara