Home News Samsung GALAXY Grand 2 Review: A grand looking smartphone with subpar performance

Samsung GALAXY Grand 2 Review: A grand looking smartphone with subpar performance

by Warren

From the looks of a smartphone, you can more or less tell the personality of that owner, he or she could be a very geeky or fashionable person. Today, smartphones can be designed in any material to make it look premium and expensive, such example would be like the device that we have for today – the Samsung GALAXY Grand 2, the gold color finishing and it’s faux leather back cover simply makes it one of the nicest looking Android smartphones out there, does the grand and luxurious feeling translate into an unforgettable user experience? Let’s find out.

Samsung GALAXY Grand 2 Video Review

Stunningly Elegant and Premium

It isn’t everyday that you see a Samsung smartphone that has a great design like this, the GALAXY Grand 2 brings forward theGALAXY Note 3’s design foundation with a smooth chrome frame and the faux leather backcover. Our review unit here is the Gold color model which recently went on sale, unlike the usual black and white color variants, it makes you feel as if you are carrying a super expensive smartphone like a VIP or a very rich person, we totally fell in love with the phone’s design, despite the fact we know that it is actually a mid-range device, the phone feels really great on hand and doesn’t feel plastic at all. With that faux leather backcover, we can guarantee that you will be running your fingers over it most of the time – Ohhh, that luxurious feeling.

Alright, you’ve probably got a feeling on how much we love the phone’s hardware, now let’s get on to the real stuff – the phone’s hardware power and trust us, it isn’t as “grand” as the phone:-

Samsung GALAXY Grand 2 Hardware Specifications

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 Quad Core 1.2GHz

RAM/ROM: 1.5GB/8GB (expandable via MicroSD)

Display: 5.25″ 720p (1280×720) TFT LCD display

Camera: 8MP Autofocus (Main), 1.9MP (Front)

Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, BT 4.0 LE, USB OTG

Features: TouchWiz, Dual SIM Standby, My Magazine

Networks: DC-HSPA+/GSM

Battery: 2600mAh

The phone’s specifications received a major upgrade from its predecessor, most notably the phone’s display and camera. The phone’s 720p HD resolution display is good at 279PPI which doesn’t feel pixelated at all, viewing angles and screen brightness are good for outdoors however color saturation is pretty inconsistent as they can be either too washed out or over saturated, you will realize that on bright app icons.

Android KitKat to the Rescue

The phone was running Android 4.3 Jelly Bean when we unboxed it and fortunately, it received its major OS update to Android KitKat, which manages to save itself from us on giving it a bad score rating. Yes, the phone is very much unusable when it was back then, we kept running out of application memory, the phone freezes that forces us to remove the battery and we experienced a terrible battery life. After upgrading to KitKat, everything became so much better with a more reliable software experience, you will still face lags but definitely better than the phone was on Jelly Bean. In the new Android KitKat update,Samsung introduced two missing software features – My Magainze News Feed and Multi-Window, which is more than welcoming however not a necessity.

Really, we can’t help feeling disappointed with the software experience of the GALAXY Grand 2, the phone has such a great hardware design that makes you look forward to a polished and reliable software, unfortunately the phone’s CPU and RAM struggles to keep up its pace with the phone’s heavy TouchWiz UI, you will start realizing that after loading your phone with a few apps and enabling account synchronization.

The Camera is the ONLY thing worth mentioning

Great hardware and poor software, you got that right and now we finally have something great to talk about – the phone’s camera. Thankfully, the 8 Megapixel camera is fully loaded with shooting modes in its camera app and we love it, it also takes pictures decent enough to be your social camera and substitute your point and shoot camera. Check out the camera samples down below.

Benchmarks, Battery Life and Call Quality

Benchmark scores are pretty good for a Snapdragon 400 device like this based on few recent devices that we’ve reviewed, unfortunately we can’t translate these scores into real world performance.

The phone’s battery life is fortunately impressive, based on a with Dual SIM standby and an always on HSPA+ data connection, some amount of heavy web surfing and texting, the phone’s battery lasted us a day or sometimes more than that in a single charge. Calls over the phone’s speakerphone is an enjoyable experience with our callers reporting clear voice from our end, the loudspeaker is sadly soft and mostly unusable on phone calls.

A grand and luxurious hardware without a great software experience

Everyone wants a beautiful smartphone that comes with a strong horsepower, the Samsung GALAXY Grand 2 is supposed to deliver that aspect, the phone is one of the worse Snapdragon 400 devices that we’ve ever reviewed, the phone is one the most luxuriously designed hardware in its class and look extremely expensive to be able to afford one, but really, the not-so-grand software experience is the culprit the pulled the score rating down. The GALAXY Grand 2 also retails at RM999, though the price make sense for such hardware specifications (don’t compare to Chinese made smartphones), there are much more capable phones out there that does a better job in both software and hardware, we simply can’t recommend the GALAXY Grand 2 as a value for money device, but if you want a luxurious looking smartphone without paying too much while having a decent camera and display that won’t make your friends laughing stupidly at your purchase, this phone is probably yours.


Grand and luxurious, that’s what you will be proud of carrying a Samsung GALAXY Grand 2; the software, is what you’ll hate about the Samsung GALAXY Grand 2.

The Good:

+ Luxurious and solid build design from Samsung

+ Runs on Android KitKat

+ Great battery life

+ Decent camera

+ Good call quality

The Bad:

– Poor software experience

– Display color saturation inconsistent

– Soft loudspeaker

We rate the Samsung GALAXY Grand 2 at 3 out of 5 stars.

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