Samsung Galaxy Grand Review (dual-SIM)

Phablets have emerged as big and popular smartphone category and consumers want them in every price-segment. We have seen in the recent few months how attractively priced Micromax Canvas phones were an immediate hit, and the creator of this segment Samsung realised how they were losing out on this front and thus the Korean manufacturer came out with Galaxy Grand. It might not be in the category of Canvas series smartphones, but is it a worthy investment for the consumer looking to grab a super-sized Android smartphone without spending their whole month’s salary, we will find out in this review.samsung_galaxy_grand_duos_standing

But, first take a look at the Samsung Galaxy Grand duos key specifications

  • 1.2 GHz Dual Core processor
  • 5.0” WVGA TFT LCD
  • Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean)
  • 8 Megapixel Auto Focus Rear Camera with Flash
  • 2 Megapixel Front HD Camera
  • A-GPS, Glonass
  • Bluetooth v 4.0 ? LE, USB 2.0, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n (2.4 GHz), DLNA
  • Accelerometer, Light, Digital Compass, Proximity, Gyro
  • 1GB RAM
  • 8GB User memory ?microSD (up to 64GB)
  • 77 x 143.7 x 9.6 mm, 162 g
  • Li-ion battery 2,100mAh

Review

Hardware

samsung_galaxy_grand_duos_jackWhen Samsung announced Galaxy S III last year, it came out with something that it dubbed as a nature inspired design. Company has been following the same designing principle in many of its succeeding phones like Note II, Galaxy S III Mini. Samsung Galaxy Grand also follows the same design principle.

samsung_galaxy_grand_duos_portIf you let go of the thickness and width of the smartphone, Grand looks a lot like Galaxy S III or Note II, which is not at all a bad thing. Samsung Galaxy S3’s design is a tried and test one. You might not get an original looking phone in Grand but you certainly get a tested one.

I must point out here that given the size of the smartphone, people will normal sized hands like me will surely struggle in day-to-day handling the phone. This is a phone for people, who really want a big screen smartphone aka phablet and not a normal smartphone.

Coming to the specifics, the front of the Galaxy Grand packs the 5-inch WVGA display along with the usual home button and capacitive keys. The Samsung logo, front camera, earpiece and couple of sensors are also present on the front. The chrome ring on the sides is pretty much clean apart from the usual volume rocker on the left, power button on the right, 3.5mm audio jack on the top and micro-USB 2.0 port on the bottom with microphone.samsung_galaxy_grand_duos_resting

Samsung Galaxy Grand duos features a removable battery cover, which is made of usual Samsung plastic. There is also 8MP camera, LED flash and speaker on the back. Behind the battery cover, you will find the 2100 mah battery, two SIM card slots, and microSD card slot.

Overall, the S3 inspired design and looks of Galaxy Grand and pretty decent, and you will not be disappointed.

Software/ User Interface

Samsung has loaded Android 4.1 Jelly Bean along with Nature UX on the Galaxy Grand. The interface is same as other Samsung smartphones like Galaxy S III, S III Mini, and Note II.  The big screen specific customisations like multi-window are present here and by default 11 apps on the Galaxy Grand can now make use of multi-window. We would love to see more apps supporting multi-window, but still, there is a decent support.

2013-02-27 18.57.14Basic Jelly Bean features like Google Now, enhanced notifications and improved widget support are all present here. Rest of the Jelly Bean features get lost in Samsung’s own customisations.

Thanks to all the refining over the last few months, the interface of the Grand is more than decent, normal Android users will find it easier to use.

Samsung is introducing something called myServices with Galaxy Grand in India. It is like a destination for most of your content needs – music, movies, Educational content, TV and Concerts.  The first time you use the app, it installs separate apps for all the content types mentioned above, which is really a pain as it taken a lot of time. Samsung should have ideally pre-loaded these apps out of the box on the phone.  Parts of myServices are ultra-slow to use and taken a lot of steps to do simple tasks.

Suppose, if you want to download a song, you will have to open myServices app, then choose myMusic, then choose the song, select download, the download link will open in a browser window, enter your password and then again click download. Clearly, Samsung India was least worried about the user experience, while designing the app.

Display

Samsung Galaxy Grand comes with a 5-inch 800x480p resolution display, which really isn’t that bad as it sounds, although we would have certainly preferred a better resolution. If you have ever used a better resolution smartphone, you will be disappointed with Galaxy Grand display, however if this is maximum display resolution phone you have ever handled, chances are you won’t have any issues.

Resolution aside, the display on Galaxy Grand is decent and sufficiently bright. The viewing angles are good; however the under-sun visibility is average.

Cameras

samsung_galaxy_grand_duos_backThe smartphones comes with 8MP rear camera and 2MP front camera. The image quality of the rear camera is good; however the detail is missing from images, opposed to cameras in high-end phones like One X, S III or Note II.  Low-light shots are decent, but quite some noise creeps in the photographs.

The camera also supports full HD 1080p video recording and the quality is average. The front 2MP also works nicely and you won’t any issues with your normal video chatting needs or self-portraits.

You can see a few sample shots taken from the Galaxy Grand camera below, use the links given below the images to download the images in full resolution.

Download Full Size
Download Full Size

On the camera app front, there are almost the same options present in S III or Note II in Grand camera app. You can edit camera settings like Exposure value, Scene mode, ISO, White balance and more.

Performance/ Battery Life

Samsung has included a 1.2GHz dual-core processor in the phone along with 1GB RAM, which is enough for normal smartphone needs. During the course of this review, I did not find the phone laggy and there were no issues with the interface.

samsung_galaxy_grand_duos_camera_openCasual games run perfectly, and you can also play high-graphic games like Dead Trigger, Shadowgun etc.  Voice-calling, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS also work as expected and so does the dual-SIM performance. Samsung Galaxy Grand Duos packs two GSM SIM card slot, which support dual-standby, however thanks to Samsung’s smart Dual-SIM technology, if you are on call on one SIM and there is a call on the other SIM, the phone will forward the call to the first SIM, this you will not miss any calls, however for the forwarded call, your second SIM provider will charge you with the normal local call rates.

samsung_galaxy_grand_duos_openThe phone also supports 3G video-calling, so you can make use of that.  I won’t go in to the benchmarks and all as it is the real world performance that matters and Grand does not disappoint in that department.

The Korean manufacturer has packed 2100 mAh battery on the phone, which a little less powerful considering the huge 5-inch display on-board and the dual-SIM connectivity. If you are an average smartphone user, the battery will be sufficient for the full day usage, but for the advanced users, you better keep a charger nearby.

Verdict

Samsung realised the importance of big-screen smartphones also known as phablets at the right time and is now reaping the profits. In the same bid, company came out with Galaxy Grand, knowing the consumer expectations to see a phablet in mid-range price segment and does it have a winner?

Yes, apart from display resolution, Galaxy Grand Duos performs in every other department. We would have liked a lot of other things in Galaxy Grand Duos, but after reviewing the phone, none of them seems a deal-breaker. However, it is still a phone for only who explicitly want a phablet, because for me it is just too big and bulky and if you too are looking for a normal smartphone, there are several other choices available. But, if you want a mid-range phablet, Samsung Galaxy Grand Duos is worthy of consideration.

Alternatives:

If you have no issues with Micromax phones, you can also look at A116 Canvas HD, which is priced less and should become available in the next few days after the initial sell-out.

Pros: Good performance

Cons: Battery life, Display resolution

Price: INR 21,500

Ratings (Out of 10)

Design: 7

Display: 7

Performance: 8

Software: 8

Camera:  6.5

Battery Life: 6

Value for Money: 7

Overall: 7

Samsung Galaxy Grand Duos Gallery

  • ven

    samsung galaxy grand duos is not good phone. its working very lazy. when we go for service center siple they are useing one word FORMAt . what is this we are lossing our total data every time. problem also coming every couple of months. its one of the bad experiance with samsung mobile phone…….

  • ven

    one of lazy phone in samsung galaxy

  • chinna

    i just buy …galaxy grand ..its looks sexy …i like it …..but its 2g or 3 g any one can tell me?
    when am using net phone thru laptop net is very slow ………..y??????????????????

    • mr.A

      it is 2g ang 3 g both.

  • ami12

    Somebody pls help me i wanna buy a phone for 30k or less and the only two phones that i could find were samsung grand and xperia ion … I want a phone with good battery life and good camera gaming and toughness and i want it to b upgradebale …. Can someone tell me anyother choice or which of my choices r good ?

  • nupur

    kindly tel me shud i opt dis phone or nT???

  • Binga

    I think LG Optimus VU is a much better choice which is now selling for a similar price bcoz this is a horrible device targeted at those who just want a huge display and nothing else does matter..

  • Kartik

    @sushrut I completely agree with you.

    Normally i tend to agree with the reviews on this site but I must say, this a samsung skewed review. I owned this phone for only 3 days before I had to get rid of it. There are so many problems that its more of a hassle to own. First off the touch on this phone is horrible, it is worse than my first android the LG Optimus one. The OS id highly unstable and the notification center crashes a couple of times a day, fixed only by a boot.

    QUOTE” During the course of this review, I did not find the phone laggy and there were no issues with the interface.” UNQUOTE

    I am soory but i do not believe this statement, the phone is extremely laggy, coupled with the poor performance and bad touch interface, its the worst phone out there. Looks like Samsung has finally realised that India is a crappy market and they can sell the junk of the world here.

    Mr. Gaurav Shukla, I respect your site and your opinions and I never thought you would put out such a good review of such a horrible phone.

    • http://www.androidos.in Gaurav Shukla

      @Karthik

      Thanks for the feedback, but personally I am no fan of Samsung or have any reason to write a Samsung skewed review. Anyways, did you get your Grand unit checked out anywhere, may be there was some problem with the unit itself?

  • Ironman

    My xperia s died out in 3months and it costed 27000
    I switched to this and it’s way better

    • Jeet

      Died means what? it was not in warranty period? In which way do you think this phone is better than Xperia S ?? The WVGA resolution on 5″ screen looks really like a garbage, I have seen it.

      • Ironman

        It randomly started switching off and soon even stopped turning on
        Idiots at service center had it for 2 weeks couldn’t fix it
        WVGA is not that bad as the fonts are bigger and Colors are pretty good

        • Jeet

          Well can’t be said anything, with each device, each user has a different experience, like kartik has written his bad experience with Grand….

  • sushrut

    worst mobile of the year.Worse than any chinnese manufacturer phone which cost less than 10k. Worse than spice,micromax,lava,xolo,celkon etc…,Even worse than Gfive.
    You can purchase sony xperia s which is far better than it at 19000 at ebay which has dual core, 720×1024 screen,1gb ram

  • Dalip

    good to see the first review by u.
    keep it up.

  • Amjath

    There is no issue with the battery life, for this crappy resolution the battery is more than enough
    http://blog.gsmarena.com/samsung-i9082-galaxy-grand-duos-battery-test-is-over-here-are-the-results/

    PS: not comparing with other Smart phones