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Samsung Galaxy Y Duos GT-S6102 Review

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Banking on the success of the Galaxy Y handset, Samsung is releasing the Galaxy Y Duos, a dual-SIM Android handset that’s technically an update of the Galaxy Y.  The Samsung Galaxy Y Duos is still within the budget phone category, but it is not as “budget” as the predecessor.  While the Galaxy Y retails for P5,990, the Galaxy Y Duos is priced at P8,990.  The Galaxy Y Duos of course has improved specs, but is the bump in specs worth the higher price tag? Read on to find out.

Samsung Galaxy Y Duos GT-S602 Specifications

  • 3.14-inch QVGA TFT LCD with 240×320 resolution
  • 832MHz processor
  • Android 2.3 Gingerbread, TouchWiz
  • 3 Megapixel fixed-focus camera
  • Video Recording QVGA@24fps
  • 3.5mm Ear Jack, Stereo FM Radio with RDS
  • Dual-SIM
  • ChatON, Samsung Hub, Kies
  • A-GPS, Geotagging
  • Bluetooth 3.0, USB 2.0
  • micro-USB storage up to 32GB
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Accelerometer, Digital compass, Proximity
  • FM radio
  • 109.8 x 60 x 11.98 mm, 109 g
  • Li-ion 1300 mAh battery

Hardware and Design

The Samsung Galaxy Y Duos is an upgrade of the Samsung Galaxy Y so it’s not surprising that in most respects, the two handsets are similar.  The front part of the handset looks like the Galaxy Y, expect for the trimming on the edges that overflows on the lower part to the front surface.  And where the silver accent on the Galaxy Y was distinctively chrome in finish, the one on the Galaxy Y Duos is decidedly less flashy.  The back cover is where the two handsets really differ.  For the Galaxy Y Duos, Samsung opted to go glossy black instead of the textured silver finish on the original.  The glossy back cover on the Galaxy Y Duos easily reminds me of the iPhone 3GS.

 

Now on to the display of the Galaxy Y Duos.  When I reviewed the Galaxy Y, I was very particular of the screen quality of the handset.  I was not too happy with the resolution, although for the price of P5,990 I couldn’t really complain.  The screen of the Galaxy Y Duos is now bigger, but not by much.  While the older model had a 3-inch screen, the Galaxy Y Duos has a slightly larger 3.14-inch display.  The sad part is, it has the same 240 x 320 resolution as the older model.  At this resolution, the pixels on the screen are pretty visible, which of course translates to a less satisfying user experience.  The display type is also the same QVGA TFT LCD used on the Galaxy Y, so both screens have the same qualities.  The display’s brightness and color rendition are quite acceptable but I cannot say the same when it comes to viewing angles.

The  Galaxy Y Duos has a 832MHz processor, the same as the one on the Galaxy Y.  Thankfully, the camera has been improved.  The 2 megapixel camera on the Galaxy Y is quite limited, so Samsung’s decision to use a 3 megapixel sensor on the Galaxy Y Duos is commendable.  The camera is capable of recording QVGA videos at 24fps.

For ports and terminals, the Samsung Galaxy Y Duos has only a few.  On the front you’ll see the Home, Menu and Back buttons.  The Home button is a clickable physical button while the other two are touch controlled buttons. Just above the Home button is the text “Duos”.  On the left side of the phone is the volume rocker while on the right side is the power button.  On the top is the 3.5mm headphone jack while the 3-megapixel camera is located at the back beside which is the speaker grille. When you remove the back cover (a very easy feat), you’ll see the microSD card on the top left while the two SIM card slots are located under the phone’s battery.

The overall appeal of the phone is that of the iPhone 3GS, although smaller and pudgier.  The phone is admittedly attractive but in daily use, the back cover easily gets handprints and hand marks.  The marks of course can be easily wiped off but this could be an inconvenience to some users.  In terms of construction, the Samsung Galaxy Y Duos is fairly solid.

Performance, UI, Battery Life

The Samsung Galaxy Y Duos bears the same 832MHz processor that’s running on the Galaxy Y, so the performance is a bit similar.  It’s fast enough for most applications but when you load multiple apps, you feel the power’s inufficiency.  Games like Angry Birds and Paper Toss will have no problem running on the Galaxy Y Duos. It’s with graphics-intensive game titles that you encounter stuttering, or in some instances, they simply won’t run on the phone.  However, the Galaxy Y Duos is still fairly within the budget phone category so you might want to see past the lack in processing power.

The Galaxy Y Duos runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread and it’s quite sufficient for normal use.  The phone renders the UI quite fast enough for a budget phone, although as previously mentioned, when a lot of apps are running in the background, you still notice some stuttering.

 

The UI on the Galaxy Y Duos is the same as that on the Galaxy Y, which is a lighter version of TouchWiz.  The default screen unlock mechanism is still the same. It’s a swipe gesture that works in all directions, but this can be changed on the settings.  Users can still opt for a pattern, PIN or password unlock.  There’s a built in Task Manager, an FM Radio Player, Memo creator, a file viewer in My Files, and the Social Hub app which integrates phone messaging and social messaging.  Other than these special apps, the OS is pretty much basic. Not so much bells and whistles.  You have access to the Android Market of course so you can have pretty much any app you want running on the Galaxy Y Duos, except of course the graphics-heavy ones.

The 1300 mAh battery on the Samsung Galaxy Y Duos is pretty decent.  A full charge lasts about a day on regular use.  Regular use includes playing games, Wi-Fi browsing, calls and texting, and video playback.  The battery lasts longer on lighter use.

The Dual-SIM Functionality

Dual-SIM functionality is one of the selling points of the Samsung Galaxy Y Duos.  Apart fromt he slightly bigger screen and the improved camera, dual-SIM functionality is one of the reasons the phone is priced higher than the Samsung Galaxy Y.  The dual-SIM feature on the Samsung Galaxy Y works, as it should.  There’s no issues with the phone’s reception of calls and messages from two networks.  It handles these tasks rather efficiently but this is not surprising since Samsung has already dabbled in dual-SIM phones in the past.  The networks I’ve tried simultaneously are Smart and Globe, so if you plan on using SIM cards from these two telcos, you shouldn’t have any problems.

Camera

The camera is one of the upgrades of the Galaxy Y Duos from the Galaxy Y.  The Duos has a 3 megapixel sensor, as opposed to the paltry 2-megapixel shooter on the Galaxy Y.  I was disappointed with the performance of the Galaxy Y’s camera, but thankfully, the camera on the Galaxy Y Duos is much better.  Not by much of course but it’s still considerably better than the one on the Galaxy Y.

The camera UI on the Galaxy Y Duos is fairly simple.  There are rows on the left and the right.  On the left are the Shooting Mode, the Scene Mode, the Brightness selector, and the shortcut to the camera Settings.   On the right row are the camera/video mode selector, the Shutter button and the shortcut to the Image Viewer.  The Shooting Mode has the Single Shot, Smile Shot and Panorama modes, while the pre-set Scene options are the Landscape, Night, Sports, Party/Indoor, Beach/Snow, Sunset, Dawn, Color of Fall, Firework, Candlelight and Backlight.  There are no in-camera editing options except for rotating and cropping the image.

As to image quality, the shots are much improved from the ones taken on the Galaxy Y, but they are at best just ordinary.  There’s no surprise here since the sensor is only 3 megapixels.  The shots lack sharpness and detail, although for basic needs like posting on social networking sites, the shots will do.  The shots also need some tweaking with respect to contrast details.   Shooting under a bright background will result in much better shots but night shots reveal too much noise.  Overall, the camera on the Samsung Galaxy Y gives you shots that are fairly expected from the handset’s price.  It’s  a case of you get what you pay for.

Here are some sample shots from the Samsung Galaxy Y Duos.

  

The Competition

The Galaxy Y Duos is fairly priced considering the specs.  I remember that the first HTC Wildfire, for instance, retailed for P16,000 so the Galaxy Y Duos is really cheap.  Still, the Samsung Galaxy Y Duos may be a hard proposition, not because of the lack of good features but because of the current competition.

The Galaxy Y Duos is priced at P8,990, quite steep compared to the P5,990 Samsung Galaxy Y.  For the higher price, however, you get a slightly bigger screen at 3.14 inches, a slightly better camera at 3 megapixels, a new external design, and of course, a dual-SIM functionality.  On the other hand, you get the same screen resolution, the same OS and the same UI.  The screen is definitely not a reason to upgrade from the Galaxy Y since the resolution is the same and the display is only 0.14-inch bigger.  It boils down to the 3-megapixel camera and the dual-SIM functionality.  For those who need dual-SIM features and a decent camera, the Galaxy Y Duos can be a good choice over the Galaxy Y.   Otherwise, the Galaxy Y will still seem as a good choice considering its price.

Now there is another option if you need a dual-SIM Android phone.  You can check out the Alcatel Blaze Glory 918N which is also a dual-SIM phone but with a 3.2-inch display, a 3-megapixel camera and retails for P5,990.  Admittedly though, the Samsung Galaxy Y Duos has a better battery life compared to the Alcatel Blaze Glory 918N.  It lasts a full day (sometimes longer) on a full charge, something that I did not get from the Alcatel Blaze Glory 918N.  The Samsung Galaxy Y Duos also looks slightly more premium than the Alcatel Blaze Glory, not to mention it has a faster processor. Here are photos comparing the two handsets.

 

Your other option is the Lenovo A60, another dual-SIM Android phone that runs Gingerbread and has a 3.5-inch display and 3.2 megapixel camera.  It retails for P7,990.

Wrap-Up

The Samsung Galaxy Y Duos is a decent phone.  It’s an Android 2.3 Gingerbread phone with dual-SIM functionality and a 3-megapixel camera.  In terms of specs, it is clearly better than the Galaxy Y.   Note, however, that the Galaxy Y Duos’ screen’s resolution is still the same at 240 x 320 and the screen size has only increased by 0.14-inch.

The camera is a different story since it has clearly improved from the 2-megapixel camera on the Galaxy Y.  The camera UI is also quite nice and offers a lot of options and features.  If you dig the iPhone’s design philosophy, you might also dig the Galaxy Y Duos’ looks.  From afar you’ll mistake it for the iPhone 3GS.

After taking everything into account, it’s clear that the selling point of the Samsung Galaxy Y Duos is the dual-SIM functionality.  Among entry level Android phones, this is one of the few with dual-SIM features.   If the Galaxy Y Duos were offered at a cheaper price, it could easily be ahead of the competition but there are other options at this price range like the Alcatel Blaze Glory 918N that has a lower P5,990 price tag.  However, that the Blaze Glory has a shorter battery life, a slower processor, and a less premium appeal.  If branding and looks is a big deal to you, get the Samsung Galaxy Y Duos.  The brand is simply reliable.

There is also the Lenovo A60, but I have not been able to use or review this handset so I can’t say how it fares compared to the Samsung Galaxy Y Duos.

Rating: 8/10

 

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