Samsung Galaxy Grand I9082 review: GrandisSIMo
This is by no means intended as a moment of relief from the building tension, but our timing isn't without a sense of humor. Assuming that all eyes are set on Samsung to, again, deliver the godfather of Android smartphones, the one we're about to review is more like the...grandfather.
It may seem quite unfortunate for the Galaxy Grand that a week from now it'll be yesterday's news. But on a second thought, it has a better insurance policy against irrelevance than most of last season's Samsung phones that tried too hard to emulate the Galaxy S III.
Dual-SIM support is obviously not a universally sought-after feature but demand for smartphones that can operate two SIM cards has been consistently strong in certain markets. This fact should at least begin to explain why the Galaxy Grand is currently the second most popular handset in this website's database.
So, Samsung has been busy lately releasing phones styled after the outgoing flagship, the Galaxy S III. Think a particular screen size and level of equipment, and the Koreans most likely have it. Now, a massive screen and dual-SIM support doesn't sound like the combination on many people's minds but what do we know. It may've made all the sense in the world for Samsung to unleash a big fat five-incher in a niche that other smartphone makers like Sony, HTC and LG are very much interested in too.
- Quad-band GSM (SIM 1 & SIM 2) and 3G (SIM 1 only) support
- Dual SIM stand-by
- 21.1 Mbps HSDPA and 5.76 Mbps HSUPA support (SIM 1 only)
- 5.0" 16M-color TFT capacitive touchscreen of WVGA (480 x 800 pixel) resolution
- Android OS 4.1.2 Jelly Bean with Nature UX
- 1.2 GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU, Broadcom VideoCore IV GPU, 1GB of RAM
- 8MP autofocus camera with LED flash, face and smile detection, image stabilization
- 2MP secondary camera
- 1080p HD video recording at 30fps with stereo sound
- Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n support; DLNA and Wi-Fi hotspot
- GPS with A-GPS connectivity and GLONASS; digital compass
- 8GB of inbuilt storage, microSD slot
- Accelerometer, gyroscope and proximity sensor
- Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
- microUSB v2.0 port
- Stereo Bluetooth v4.0
- FM radio with RDS
- The five-inch diagonal stretches the WVGA resolution really thin
- Middling screen contrast and overall quality
- Poor low-light video recording
- No dedicated camera key
The dual-SIM Galaxy Grand is powered by the same dual-core chipset as the recently released Galaxy S II Plus. Switching from Exynos to Broadcom looks like a minor step down in terms of GPU, but as we saw on the S II Plus the superior power efficiency more than makes up for it. In fact, combined with the low (by today's standards) screen resolution this might turn the Galaxy Grand in one of the longest lasting smartphones on the market.
Oh well, that's at least one redeeming quality of a screen that has the pixel density of an entry-level HVGA unit - the Galaxy Mini II should be a proper reference. The huge 5" diagonal obviously stretches the resolution (480 x 800 pixels) thin.
Other than that though, there isn't much else that's seriously wrong with a handset that clearly positions itself in the midrange. The Galaxy Grand has some of the advanced features courtesy of Android Jelly Bean and the latest TouchWiz. The build quality is above average and the battery backup sounds promising - and that's an important asset for a dual-SIM phone. Let's see. We start with the design and build, as usual.