Samsung pioneered the trend of a new breed of devices, now more commonly
known as 'phablets', smartphones that are (almost) nearing tablets in
size. After the company's successful Galaxy Note device, many followed
suit including homegrown manufacturers like Micromax and Karbonn who are
offering devices in the under-15k, and even under 10K price point.
compete with these, Samsung has launched the Galaxy Grand Duos, though
it has been priced at Rs. 21,500. Is it the 'Samsung' brand value or
does the device really live up to user expectations? We take a look.Design/ Hardware
first impressions, the Galaxy Grand Duos bears striking resemblance to
the Note II mainly due to its huge display. But Samsung has managed to keep
the Galaxy S III essence alive in the device. We reviewed the Elegant
White unit, and the device is also available in Metallic Blue.
9.6mm, the Galaxy Grand Duos is pretty thick and feels quite bulky as
well weighing 162 grams. Those blessed with little hands will find it
tiring to carry the device around. But the overall build quality of the
device is quite sturdy, though the back does feel cheap, just like the
Galaxy S III. The back has a miniscule-chequered pattern that manages to
cover your fingerprints very well. It is prone to attract scratches
very fast and we'd suggest you to be careful while using it. A chromium
strip runs along the device's perimeter that is sure to wear off
The 5-inch display takes up most of the space in the
front with a thin bezel on either side and like the other Galaxy
handsets, we have the sensors lined up on top alongside the earpiece and
the front-facing 2-megapixel camera. The bottom has the physical home
button in the centre with the capacitive menu and back buttons on either
side. The rear of the device features an 8-megapixel camera with LED
flash and the loudspeaker sitting adjacent to it.
allocated a port/button on each side of the device. The right side
houses the power/wake button, the left has the volume rocker, the bottom
has the Micro-USB/charging port and the headphone jack is situated at
Some users may find it difficult to open the rear cover
at first, since the trick is to open from the top left side, as opposed
to most devices that need to be opened either from the top or the
bottom, including the Galaxy S III.
Once you're through, you'll
find the 2,100mAh battery, two GSM SIM card slots (one on the top left
and other on the bottom right) and a microSD card slot adjacent to the
bottom SIM slot.
A scratch guard for the Galaxy Grand Duos isn't
available in the market yet, but our retail box came with a white
navigator flip cover. Not just that, the company has also thrown in a
spare rear cover for the device.
The display of a
smartphone is one of the key elements that users consider when making a
purchase decision, and companies are setting higher benchmarks each year
based on new innovations.
The Galaxy Grand Duos has been
criticised quite a bit for its poor resolution and we thought that this
would be the biggest disadvantage for the device. We weren't wrong. The
480 x 800 pixel resolution translating into 187 ppi, is way lower than
the company's Note devices and it is quite poor.
The Galaxy Grand
Duos has a 5-inch TFT LCD display with decent viewing angles and colour
reproduction, that isn't the best in the industry, but gets the job
done. Reading text, playing games or watching videos offer a pleasant
experience. The icons do appear slightly larger than normal, but we
However, it is difficult to view content on
the screen under bright outdoor conditions even at full brightness
levels. You'll find yourself constantly using your palms to cover the
screen and attempt to see what's on it.
Grand Duos comes with an 8-megapixel auto focus rear camera with LED
flash and has the same sensor as seen in the Galaxy S II. Outdoor stills
produced are detailed and crisp with almost accurate colours. Pictures
clicked indoors don't disappoint either, though background noise does
tend to creep in. The device also handles macro shots pretty well.
wise, the Galaxy Grand Duos offers an array of camera options as seen
in the Galaxy S III or the Note II. Users can choose from a host of
camera settings like Panorama, Face detection, Flash, Exposure value,
Scene mode, ISO, White balance and so on. You can also GPS tag photos,
set a timer ranging from 2-10 seconds or use grid lines to capture a
The Share Shot feature allows you to share
photos with other users via Wi-Fi Direct. The Buddy photo share option
lets click and share photos with friends via face detection.
shot mode, however is a miss, possibly due to the processing
capabilities of the device. It is capable of full-HD video recording and
you have the option of adding filters as well. The front facing
2-megapixel camera is pretty average and offers 480p video recording.
It would have been easier to click pictures with a dedicated camera key owing to the sheer size and bulk of the device.
Galaxy Grand Duos ships with Android 4.1.2 on-board skinned with
Samsung's TouchWiz UI atop. The amalgamation of both, especially Jelly
Bean's Project Butter, offers a pleasant and smooth user experience. The
interface is pretty fluid that can be attributed to the ARM Cortex-A9
MPCore SoC powering the beast.
Though many would like to see
Samsung get rid of the TouchWiz UI from its devices, the skinned UI does
offer deeper social integration and various options compared to the
stock Android apps.
There are seven customisable home screens
that can be populated with apps and widgets as per your convenience and
preferences. You can take screenshots by holding down the power and
home buttons. The Gallery app quickly stores these and imports other
pictures via your Facebook and Google accounts.
Apart from the
stock Android browser, the device also has the Chrome browser that
offers a refreshing experience. You can choose from a variety of options
when it comes to sharing, saving or just adjusting your reading
The device inherits most of the nifty Premium Suite
features such as Multi Window, Facebook Lock Ticker, Contextual Menu and
Tag, Page Buddy and Sound Balance amongst others. In order for these to
work, you'll need to head over to the Settings menu and accordingly
change them for the features you wish to access.
lets you choose to view the most frequently used ones first and comes in
handy especially when you're looking through apps to find files to
attach. Contextual Tag lets you tag the weather, date and place
immediately when you take a picture on the phone.
With Page Buddy,
your phone will smartly predict what you intend to do according to your
actions, while Facebook Lock Ticker allows quick access to your
Facebook News Feeds on your lock screen. Sound Balance allows you to
adjust the balance of volume on each side of the earphones.
of other proprietary applications include Smart Stay, S Planner, S
Memo, S Voice, S Suggest, Chat On, Games Hub and myServices along with
an array of motion based gestures. The standard Google apps including
Gmail, Youtube, Maps, Chrome, are present as well. As a Jelly Bean user,
you can enjoy the benefits and convenience of Google Now, that gets
better and better on device usage overtime.
Galaxy Grand Duos is powered by a 1.2GHz dual core processor coupled
with 1GB RAM. It offers 8GB of internal storage with additional
expansion support up to 64GB. As part of the company offer, users can
also avail 50GB of free Dropbox storage along with Rs. 8,000 worth of
movies and music from the myServices app.
The device runs pretty
smoothly without any lags, especially while playing games like Temple
Run 2, Jetpack Joyride or even multi-tasking for that matter. The
browsing experience on the device was pleasant as image heavy websites
rendered flawlessly with panning and zooming being smooth and lag free.
stock keyboard works well and offers a "floating keyboard" in
split-screen mode that can be positioned anywhere on the screen while
using two opened apps simultaneously.
That said, typing messages
on the device could be tedious for someone with small hands, especially
in the landscape mode due to the device's size and weight. It does get
tiring after a while. An alternate solution is to use the handwriting
prediction mode, where you can write the words with your finger. This
works pretty well.
Apart from display, the other feature that is
really disappointing is the battery life. The device has standard Li-ion
2,100mAh battery that has just enough juice to last about 6 hours or so
on a single charge. Wi-Fi connectivity, web browsing, playing games or
watching videos at decent brightness levels, totally take a toll on the
device's health and you'll find yourself reaching for the charger in no
The smartphone performs well over both Wi-Fi and 3G
cellular networks. The device offers quad-band GSM support and tri-band
3G support, dual-band Wi-Fi with hotspot capabilities and Wi-Fi Direct,
Bluetooth 4.0 and GLONASS. Samsung has tied up with Vodafone and is
offering 2GB of data download free per month for the first two months.
You can choose to configure which SIM should use 3G packet data.
Galaxy Grand offers dual-SIM (dual-standby) functionality, though it
claims to use software to forward calls from one number to the other if
users have call-forwarding on one SIM and call-waiting on the other.
However, it didn't work for us with default settings, with users calling
SIM 2 getting the 'unreachable' message typical of dual-standby phones.
The phone also makes use of the 'Smart Dual SIM' feature that allows
the flexibility of selecting different mobile billing plans for either
SIM to enable switching between them and make the most of competitive
call and data plans. The call quality is pretty good too, even in low
The audio quality of the device is pretty
good with the bundled headphones as well as the rear speaker. Higher
volume levels aren't jarring and movies and music are enjoyable on the
big screen. The video watching experience is a bit disappointing,
especially YouTube videos that get pixelated even when watching in High
The video player supports most formats including AVI
and MKV and offers a decent experience and 1080p playback also seemed
flawless. You even get a screenshot feature along with the option to tag
your friends in the video, edit and also set a timer to switch it off
The Galaxy Grand Duos looks like the
Galaxy S III and is as big as the Note, which is being offered at a
cheaper price. As an all rounder device, this is the best you get from
Samsung at a price of Rs. 21,500. The device does offer a good overall
performance with a smooth Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean experience.
device has great media capabilities, dual-SIM functionality, a good
camera with 1080p recording and most of the features of the Note II such
as multi-window and a few other Premium Suite features along with a
good build quality.
If you are brand conscious and can stand the
poor battery life and the low resolution display that aren't in its
favour, then you wouldn't mind flaunting the Galaxy Grand Duos amongst
friends and family.
But if you don't want to go over budget and
are looking for an HD experience, you'd definitely want to consider the
Micromax A116 Canvas HD priced under 15k, that is the hottest selling
budget Android phone right now boasting impressive specs such as a
5-inch IPS LCD 720p display, a 2,000mAh battery, 8-megapixel rear and
2-megapixel front cameras, a quad-core 1.2GHz MediaTek MT6589 processor
coupled with the PowerVR Series5XT GPU and 1GB RAM.
Samsung Galaxy Grand Duos in picsPros
- Solid performance
- Good camera
- Poor display
- Disappointing battery life
Price: Rs. 21,500
Ratings (Out of 5)
- Design: 3
- Display: 3
- Performance: 4
- Software: 4
- Camera: 3.5
- Battery Life: 3
- Value for Money: 3
- Overall: 3