Samsung Galaxy Core review: Two for one

GSMArena team, 27 August 2013.


Dual-SIM devices are almost exclusively a money-conscious affair and the Samsung Galaxy Core sticks to the playbook. It's just that when you look to optimize you monthly mobile spending by taking advantage of two different contracts, you don't usually want to spend big on a high-end smartphone and look for value-for-money offerings.

Despite its sub-€200 price tag the Samsung Galaxy Core, which also comes in single-SIM flavor, still offers a dual-core CPU, very reasonable 217ppi screen and a 5MP camera, as well as a styling reminiscent of the Galaxy S4 flagship. And it's all squeezed in a 9mm slim body, which while no longer impressive in the higher market tiers is quite the feature with entry level smartphones.

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Samsung Galaxy Core official images

The Android version is charge of the Samsung Galaxy Core is also very respectful - 4.1 Jelly Bean is basically as good as it gets in this price range. It should keep things nicely smooth thanks to its Project Butter Optimizations and it's easily more functional than Windows Phone 8, which is the main Android rival in the lower market segments.

The spec sheet is often louder than words so check it out.

Key features

  • Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE; quad-band 3G with HSPA; optional Dual-SIM with dual stand-by and 3G on both SIMs
  • 4.3" 16M-color WVGA TFT capacitive touchscreen; 217ppi
  • Android OS v4.1.2 Jelly Bean with TouchWiz UI
  • Dual-core 1.2GHz Cortex-A5 CPU, Adreno 203 GPU
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 5 MP autofocus camera with LED flash, 480p video recording @ 30fps
  • VGA front-facing camera
  • Wi-Fi b/g/n, hotspot
  • GPS with A-GPS
  • 8GB of built-in storage
  • microSD card slot
  • microUSB 2.0 port
  • Bluetooth v3.0
  • Stereo FM radio with RDS
  • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Accelerometer and proximity sensor
  • 1,800mAh battery; user replaceable

Main disadvantages

  • No HD video recording
  • No NFC
  • No ambient light sensor
  • Feeble chipset

Of course the dual-SIM smartphone market is no longer the wasteland it was a couple of years ago, so the Samsung Galaxy Core will face some stiff competition. Devices like the HTC Desire 600 or Sony's Xperia M are ready to take advantage of any chinks in the Galaxy Core armor and when you read the fine print you realize there are quite a few those.

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The Samsung Galaxy Core at HQ

The CPU core count and clock speed are quite nicely sounding, but its Cortex-A5 nature certainly puts a big question mark over the performance. And while we have seen some pretty good 5MP snappers from Samsung this particular one fails quite miserably on the video front.

Then again it's not about setting benchmark or pixel density records in these parts of the market. What matters here is that least corners are cut and the smartphone performance is well balanced. Those are the two things we are about to test right now - join us after the break as we give the Galaxy Core a thorough hardware examination.

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