Sunday, February 10, 2013

Review - Samsung Galaxy Grand – The New Mid-range Segment King!

Samsung recently launched its new phablet sporting a 5.0 inch screen, 1.2GHz dual core processor, 1GB RAM, 8GB internal storage (expandable to 64GB), 8MP primary camera, 2MP secondary camera and Android OS, v4.1.2 (Jelly Bean). Those who find Samsung Tab 2 too large and Note II too expensive can actually consider Galaxy Grand which is mix of both worlds i.e. you get a large screen yet compact enough to handle and features & respectable performance for every day's use. 

My sister was looking for a new Android based smartphone and within the budget of 20K no other phone caught my fancy.

This device is available for Rs. 21,500 and if you are lucky then you may get this phone for little lower depending on the place of purchase. We bought this phone for Rs. 21,000 and it comes with a free flip cover worth Rs. 1500 and 50GB dropbox contract. This is a dual SIM phone and that is advantageous.

(Please click on the picture to view high resolution version)

The exterior body has premium glossy touch along with chrome boundary line.

Coming to the exterior - The Galaxy Grand looks identical to Note II and S3 which is quite obvious as this phone is stripped down version of these phones. Features like smart stay of Note II is also available on this phone. Now even being a phablet it is very easy to hold and use the phone with single hand. The 5" inch screen is LCD Capacitive touchscreen with 480 x 800 pixels, 5.0 inches (~187 ppi pixel density). I am not really happy with the resolution offered by Samsung on device of this size, it must have been greater but that's not a deal breaker for sure.

It has a 2MP camera for video calling purpose and an 8MP snapper which is capable of doing 1080p videos @ 30fps. Other features like autofocus, geo tagging, smile detection etc are also available. Picture quality is fine for outdoors but could have been better for indoor low light condition shots. Shutter is not as fast as compared to my HTC One V which comes with dedicated image chip.

Like most Samsung phones it has a volume rocker on left side. 

The usual 3.5mm audio jack on the top of the device.

The charging/data transfer port.

 The power button on the right side of the phone as in most Samsung phones

The Phone looks premium and looks like mini Note II 

The original Samsung flip cover for Galaxy Grand.

The Box and the phone

Please note that the screen is normal LCD type unlike the super AMOLED display which comes in high end S3 and Note II. Along with that the resolution is below par and just may not satisfy people who are used to high end smartphones like Note II. But still it's just fine, it's responsive and serves the purpose. 

Galaxy Grand comes with a 1.2 GHz dual core processor which is capable of running most of the usual stuff which an average android user looks for. It has 1 GB RAM which will be sufficient for most games like Temple Run II, raging thunder 2 etc. Samsung is not providing a free SD card with the phone yet as it comes with 8GB internal storage out of which around 5GB is usable. However one can add a SD card upto 64GB as per requirements. 

The sound quality is fantastic both for external speaker and stock earphones which came with the device. One can add two SIM cards in the phone but I have not done that yet so can't comment much on this. On the rear side you will find an 8 MP camera with LED flash and a speaker. Call quality is excellent - way better than my HTC One V. 

Performance wise this device does fairly well considering its 1.2 GHz dual core processor and 1 GB RAM. It would have been even better if Samsung provided 1.5 GHz dual core heart for this phone. 

Galaxy Grand comes with Android 4.1.2 Jellybean and few pre-installed Samsung Apps like Chaton etc. 

The familiar music player which is easy to use and loaded with features


There are 7 homescreens which you can customize according to your requirements by adding number of apps and widgets. It has multi window feature which offers instant multitasking and comes very handy for power users. Navigating through different screens, menus and apps is smooth and snappier. Samsung is providing 50GB of dropbox storage space free for 2 years. Browsing is quick and smooth with the stock browser. Pinch feature is convenient to use.

Battery capacity is 2100 mah, removable type which is a kind of good thing. It is quite early to comment on the backup time but it will easily last for a day as I am fiddling with this phone since morning and there is still around 20% juice left in the battery. Will update after using it for few more days.

Summing up this review I would say that this phone is just perfect combination of Tab2 and Samsung's flagship models like Note II and S3 in terms of screen size, features and respectable performance.

In fact I would say that this is the best Android smartphone that money can buy in mid range segment.

PS - I am in no way an expert Android user/reviewer. This review is completely based on my views, user experience and may have possible shortcomings. Please bear with that.

Thanks folks for reading!

Complete specification sheet (Source: GSM Arena)

GENERAL2G NetworkGSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 - SIM 1 & SIM 2
3G NetworkHSDPA 850 / 1900 / 2100 - SIM 1 only
HSDPA 900 / 1900 / 2100 - SIM 1 only
SIMDual SIM (Mini-SIM, dual stand-by)
Announced2012, December
StatusAvailable. Released 2013, January
BODYDimensions143.5 x 76.9 x 9.6 mm (5.65 x 3.03 x 0.38 in)
Weight162 g (5.71 oz)
DISPLAYTypeCapacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Size480 x 800 pixels, 5.0 inches (~187 ppi pixel density)
- TouchWiz UI
SOUNDAlert typesVibration; MP3, WAV ringtones
3.5mm jackYes
MEMORYCard slotmicroSD, up to 64 GB
Internal8 GB, 1 GB RAM
SpeedHSDPA, 21 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps
WLANWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band, Wi-Fi hotspot
BluetoothYes, v4.0 with A2DP, LE, EDR
USBYes, microUSB v2.0
CAMERAPrimary8 MP, 3264x2448 pixels, autofocus, LED flash
FeaturesGeo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection, image stabilization
VideoYes, 1080p@30fps
SecondaryYes, 2 MP
FEATURESOSAndroid OS, v4.1.2 (Jelly Bean)
CPUDual-core 1.2 GHz
SensorsAccelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
MessagingSMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Mail, IM, RSS
RadioStereo FM radio with RDS
GPSYes, with A-GPS, support and GLONASS
JavaYes, via Java MIDP emulator
ColorsBlack, White
- Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
- SNS integration
- MP4/WMV/H.264/H.263 player
- MP3/WAV/eAAC+/AC3/FLAC player
- Organizer
- Image/video editor
- Document viewer
- Google Search, Maps, Gmail,
YouTube, Calendar, Google Talk, Picasa
- Voice memo/dial/commands
- Predictive text input
BATTERYLi-Ion 2100 mAh battery
Stand-byUp to 440 h
Talk timeUp to 10 h 10 min
MISCSAR US0.37 W/kg (head)     1.11 W/kg (body)    
SAR EU0.24 W/kg (head)     0.29 W/kg (body)    
Price group