The Galaxy Grand will be available in two different colors and versions. One of these versions is the Galaxy Grand DUOS, a dual-SIM device. The Samsung Galaxy Grand will be available in a blue and a white version. Now that the Galaxy Grand DUOS has been released for a while, we think it’s about time to review this device for you! We at Sam Mobile own the blue version of the Galaxy Grand DUOS device.
As mentioned before, the Galaxy Grand DUOS is available in a blue and a white version. The Galaxy Grand can pretty much be seen as a smaller variant of the Galaxy Note II, or as a bigger variant of the Galaxy SIII depending on your point of view. If you’re used to having a Galaxy Note II and you’re holding the Galaxy Grand DUOS it feels very comfortable to hold in your hands. Not only the Galaxy Grand is a bit smaller than the Note II, it’s also a bit thinner. Pretty much the whole design of the Galaxy Grand has been copied from the Galaxy Note II. The device feels pretty solid to hold. The back texture on the device has been changed to a textured background just like the Galaxy S4 has.
At the front of the device we can see the front camera, level sensors, speakergrill, home button and of course the 5.0” screen. The volume rocker of the device are located on the left side of the device, the power button is located on the right side. On the top of the device there is the 3.5mm headset plug-in hole. Samsung hasn’t moved the Micro USB charging point from the bottom of the device since it was introduced there on the Galaxy SII device, so the Galaxy Grand’s Micro USB connector is also located on the bottom of the device. On the back of the device there is a LED flashlight, speaker and the 8MP camera sensor. The complete device has been made out of plastic. This doesn’t have to be a real problem as Samsung produces very strong plastics, but on the other hand it makes the device lose its premium feeling. Below we will show you some design photos of the Galaxy Grand. In case you might wonder about the color blue used on the device, it pretty much matches the color of the Galaxy Camera or the back of the Galaxy Note.
The Samsung Grand DUOS uses Samsung’s own Nature UX interface. This interface can also be found on the Galaxy SIII and Galaxy Note II devices for example. But because of Samsung’s own system requirements, Samsung had to downgrade it’s Nature UX version a bit to make it run smooth on the Galaxy Grand. This means that not all smart functions are available on this device. One of the smart functions the Galaxy Grand DUOS does have is Smart Stay. Smart Stay is able to detect if you’re using the device or not by monitoring the front camera. This way the screen can switch quicker between on and off. It also makes sure the screen won’t turn off unexpectedly because of the set screen timeout. Another smart feature of the Galaxy Grand DUOS is Multi-Window. The fact that the screen of the device is pretty big combined with the Multi-Window feature makes it able to open two windows on your screen at the same time. This is great if you like multitasking. Multi-Window works pretty well in our opinion. However, not all applications are included with Samsung’s device by default.
As stated before, the Galaxy Grand has an 5.0” screen. Samsung’s Nature UX interface is pretty easy to use. This works great most of the time, but can sometimes also be annoying to the end user.
The Galaxy Grand has a screen resolution of 480×800 pixels, which can sometimes make the icons look pretty large. This might bother some people, but you will probably get used to it pretty fast. The Nature UX used on the Galaxy Grand contains a homescreen, menu and widgets. This is the same as for the other devices using the Nature UX. The widgets are resizable in both width and height.
Because we’re testing the Galaxy Grand DUOS variant in this review, we’re also testing it with two SIM cards inserted. When changing between the SIM cards is done, the background of the device also changes to make it clear that the SIM has changed. This feature can also be found in the older Galaxy S DUOS device. Samsung has also made a settings menu to manage the dual-SIM settings. This way the end user can choose which SIM to use for the internet connection and which SIM to use to make phone calls. It is also possible to temporary disable a SIM card or enable both of them at the same time.
While navigating through the interface we have noticed that the device can be used very smooth when navigating the menu. However, sometimes we did notice a small delay which might be more firmware than hardware related. This might be gone in the next firmware update. We’re pretty sure the device will get updated to Android 4.2.2 in the near future.
As you might have noticed, we did not really go into too much details of the Nature UX interface. This is mostly because the interface is not new to the most people. This interface can now even be found on Samsung’s second flagship device from a while ago (2012), the Galaxy SIII. The good thing about the Nature UX is the fact that it is really easy to use. Pretty much all functions do not need any explanation thanks to this interface. Some more hardcore users might find this boring however, it’s a matter of personal preference mostly.
The Galaxy Grand DUOS uses a 5.0” LCD screen with a resolution of 480×800 pixels. Because this resolution is pretty low, the pixels per inch (PPI) are also a bit lower than usual. The PPI of this device is 187 pixels per inch. Compared with the Galaxy S4 (same screen size), which has a PPI of 441, the difference is very clear as it is more than twice as much! But the price of the Galaxy Grand has also a lot lower price than the price of the Galaxy S4, so a bit of a lower-spec screen can be expected as the price is also about half of the Galaxy S4! Nevertheless the screen is pretty good for the price. The colors seem very natural to the end user. The major disadvantage of the LCD screens like these are the black colors of the screen. This is mostly a problem when watching videos (eg Youtube), especially when you’re used to AMOLED screens. On AMOLED screens the color black means the screen is actually off, which makes black really look like black. The Samsung Galaxy S series are equipped with AMOLED screens for example. The disadvantage of AMOLED screens on the other hand might be that some users feel like these colors might look a bit over-the-top (not natural) anymore. Our summary is that the screen of the Galaxy Grand is just good. The resolution might have been a bit higher but the overall display is very good considering the price of this device.
Samsung is using a 8MP back camera in the Galaxy Grand DUOS and a 2MP front camera as well. The 8MP back camera can take excellent pictures at a maximum resolution of 3264×2448 pixels. The Galaxy Grand DUOS allows Full HD filming as well. Most people barely use the front camera in everyday usage as video calling isn’t really a mainstream success (yet). However, the front camera is very useful for smart functions like the Smart Stay function discussed above.
The back camera can take pictures in a lot of modes. One of these modes is the brightness. By adjusting the brightness, you might be able to take even better pictures with the camera. Some different landscape modes are included by Samsung as well. Other modes worth mentioning are the Smile, Burst and Panorama modes. For Panorama photos the maximum angle of the pictures is 180 degrees. We hope the next update will support 360 degrees photos for the Panorama mode. Below you will find some screenshots of the camera modes of this device and some photos taken with the actual device. A video from the Galaxy Grand DUOS is also included.
Samsung has used an excellent battery in the Galaxy Grand DUOS device. The capacity of this battery is 2100mAH; enough to cover a full day of intensive use of this device. The standby time of the Galaxy Grand DUOS is very good however, the standby time of the regular Galaxy Grand is even better as it doesn’t have dual SIM cards connecting to a mobile network. We did not have any complaints about the battery ourselves. With regular use the battery can last about 1 to 3 days. For intensive use of the device it will last about 1 full day. The standby time of the device is about 2 to 3 weeks.
As we have mentioned above the speed of the Galaxy Grand DUOS is pretty good but not excellent at some points. Most people probably won’t notice this, but we did. However, we must add that the Galaxy Grand is positioned in the market as a Mid-range Android phone and we usually only use High-end Android phones ourselves so this isn’t really a fair comparison. The Galaxy Grand features an 1.2 GHz dual-core processor which is fast enough to give the end user an enjoyable experience for daily usage. However, intensive gaming is not meant to be done with this particular device.
The Galaxy Grand DUOS is a great device for end users with two SIM cards. It is comfortable to hold in your hands and is pretty fast. Also the Nature UX interface by Samsung makes it very easy to use. We are a bit disappointed by the screen especially the screens resolution might have been a bit higher in our opinion. This would make the icons a bit less big and the PPI a bit higher. The camera and the battery on the other hand are pretty good.