Samsung launched the Galaxy Star (GT-S5282), the company’s cheapest Android smartphone earlier this year. It launched the Samsung Galaxy Star Pro (GT-S7262), an upgraded version of the Star few months back, with a large screen, more internal storage and a slightly better battery. This uses the same single-core Spreadtrum chip and runs on the same version of the Jelly Bean OS similar to the Star. Is the Star Pro a decent upgrade to the Galaxy Star? Should you go for it? Let us find out in the complete review.
We unboxed the smartphone recently. Check out the unboxing below.
The box contents include,
- Samsung Galaxy Star Pro smartphone
- 1500 mAh battery
- 2-pin micro USB charger
- Quick start guide
It doesn’t come with a micro USB cable in the box, which is disappointing.
Hardware and Design
The 4.0-inch WVGA screen at 480×800 pixels with a pixel density of 233 PPI, is decent for the price. The viewing angles are just average and the sunlight legibility could be better. Since the phone uses a capacitive touch screen, the display is sensitive and the touch response is good. Since the display is glossy, it is prone to fingerprints. Samsung has changed the egg-shaped design from the Galaxy Star to a better design. Even though the Star Pro has curves sides, this looks more like other mid-range Galaxy smartphones.
Above the display, you have an earpiece with chrome finish. You can see the Samsung and Duos branding below the earpiece. Lack of a front-facing camera is acceptable considering the price tag, but Samsung did not include an ambient light sensor or a proximity sensor in the phone. When you make a call, the screen doesn’t turn OFF to save the battery, but actually locks itself. Due to the lack of ambient light sensor you have adjust the brightness of the screen manually in brightly lit conditions to view the display content properly.
You have Samsung’s signature hardware home button below the display with a chrome finish around it. On either sides, you have the menu and back buttons. These are not backlit and doesn’t offer haptic feedback when pressed. These touch buttons make Samsung’s signature water drop tone when pressed. This could be turned OFF from the sound settings.
The phone has a chrome strip running on the sides. The power button is present on the right side. Since the phone is easy to hold, it is easy to access the power button when holing the phone in a single hand.
On the other side there is a volume rocker. The phone is 10.6 mm thick, bit thinner than the Galaxy Star.
On the bottom you have a micro USB slot and a tiny microphone hole.
On the top there is a 3.5mm audio jack.
The phone has a glossy back cover which gets smudged easily. As you can see from the image above, the phone is compact to hold, even though it has a 4-inch screen. The width of the phone is a bit less than the Galaxy S, which also had a 4-inch screen. It weighs 121 grams, that is normal for devices in this range.
On the back there is a 2-megapixel fixed-focus camera, similar to the Galaxy Star. You also have a loudspeaker grill next to it.
Once you open the back cover you get to see the 1500 mAh battery. You need to remove the battery to view dual micro SIM slots. Even the Galaxy Star had micro SIM support.
There is a micro SD card slot near the camera module. It accept cards up to 32GB. Since the micro SD card slot is hot swap, you can insert and remove the card without turning the device off.
Even though the phone has just a 2-megapixel camera, it has a range of camera features including different shooting modes (Single shot, Panorama, Share shot and Smile shot), Effects (Black and white, Sepia and Negative), Scene modes (Landscape, Party/Indoor, Sunset, Dawn, Autum Colour, Candlelight, Backlight and Night), Option to adjust the brightness, white balance and image quality. Images are decent in daylight, but low light shots are poor, mainly due to the lack of LED flash. Check out some camera samples below.
The phone can record videos at QVGA (320 x 240) resolution, which is below average. You can also limit the video resolution for MMS.
The Star Pro runs on Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean), similar to the Galaxy Star with Samsung’s own TouchWiz UI on top. As usual you have option to create folders to the homescreen and add up to 7 homscreens. There are toggles for WiFi, Sound, Screen rotation, Bluetooth, Mobile Data, Blocking mode and Sync in the drop-down notification bar. You also have an option to adjust the bright using a slider and option to switch to either SIM cards. Since the phone runs on Android 4.1, you have rich notifications, that lets you perform several actions directly from the homescreen. You also get several options on the drop-down menu when you plugin the headset that lets you launch related apps quickly.
You can easily go to Messaging Inbox easily from the lockscreen just by dragging the SMS notification into the box. You can’t launch the camera or Google Now from the lock screen. You have pattern, PIN and Password unlock, apart from swipe to unlock option.
You can press and hold the home button to view the multitasking screen. It has options to quickly launch the device manager, open Google Now and clear all the background apps. You can also press and hold the menu button to open Google Now quickly.
The Blocking mode option lets you disable notifications, alarm and timer for a period of time. The motion option has smart alert that lets you know that you have missed calls or messages with a tiny vibration. It also lets you enable an option to mute incoming calls or pause playing sounds by flipping the phone.
You get 2.41 GB of user memory out of 4GB of internal memory and 430 MB of usable RAM. You can’t move the apps to the micro SD card or select the default storage option.
The phone comes with several pre-installed apps. The utility apps include, Calculator, Clock, Email, Gallery, My Files (File Manager), Memo (Note taking app) and Voice Recorder. It also comes with Google Apps, including the Chrome browser, which is the default browser. It comes with ChatON, Samsung’s own cross-platform messaging app and Dropbox app. Apart from the Google Play Store, you have Samsung Apps, which lets you download apps and games.
Music Player and FM Radio
You just get the Google Music App instead of a Samsung Music player. It can play MP3, M4A, 3GA, AAC, OGG, OGA, WAV, AMR, AWB, FLAC, MIDI, IMY audio format. Audio from the loudspeaker is decent and the bundled earphones could be better. Audio from the loudspeaker gets muffled when you place it on a table. The phone also has a FM Radio with RDS, but lacks an option to for recording. It also supports MP4, M4V, 3GP, 3G2, MKV, WEBM video formats, but it can play videos only at QVGA resolution.
Smart Dual SIM and Connectivity
The phone has Smart Dual SIM feature similar to most of the recent Dual SIM Samsung smartphones. This automatically forwards calls from the phone number on SIM 2, even if a user is on the phone with SIM 1’s number. The SIM card manager in the settings lets you enable the Smart Dual SIM feature. It doesn’t work on all the service providers since some of them don’t allow call forwarding when busy. Call waiting is free but operators charge for call forwarding.
Apart from Smart dual SIM, you can also enable option to enable data on the secondary SIM when receiving a call on primary SIM.
The phone has 2G (EDGE) support and also has WiFi hot spot, Bluetooth and USB tethering. Other connectivity features include, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, WiFi-Direct and Bluetooth v3.0 with A2DP. You have assisted GPS, but the phone lacks GPS.
Performance and Benchmarks
It has a 1 GHz single-core Spreadtrum SC6820 processor based on ARM Cortex A5 CPU and has Mali 400 GPU. So you can’t expect much from the phone. The performance is just average, mainly due to slow single-core processor and just 512MB of RAM. If you have few apps installed that runs in the background, it’s not a problem. Games are decent with good graphics, due to the Mali-400MP GPU. There are occasional lags and frame drops in some high-end games, but small games like Subway Surfers and Temple Run 2 ran smoothly. Check out some synthetic benchmark tests below.
The phone manages to score 2119 points in the Quadrant Benchmark.
AnTuTu Benchmark 3.3
It holds the last place in the AnTuTu Benchmark 3.3.
Vellamo 2.0 HTML5
In manages to score 1113 points in the Vellamo 2 HTML5 browser benchmark. Check out the complete set of Samsung Galaxy Star Pro Benchmarks here.
The 1500 mAh battery lasts for a day with both the SIM cards enabled, with few hours of audio playback, few image captures and some gaming. Even though this has a larger screen, maintaining the screen brightness at 50% helps to improve the battery life. The phone doesn’t have any power saving mode like the Grand Quattro or the Grand Duos to improve the battery life.
At a price tag of Rs. 6730, the Galaxy Star Pro is a decent upgrade to the Galaxy Star, but the performance is not impressive considering other smartphones in the similar price range. You can spend a bit more and opt for Samsung Galaxy Trend that has 3G support. You get a comfortable after sales experience with Samsung, which makes people opt for these Samsung smartphones, but hardware needs to be improved to compete with other vendors in the entry-level smartphone segment.
- Dual SIM support with Smart dual SIM feature
- micro SIM slots
- 4GB of built-in storage with expansion slot
- Occasional lags, mainly due to slow processor and less RAM
- No proximity or ambient light sensors
- No 3G support