Samsung’s new offering in the budget segment is the Galaxy Core. Released in June, the device is a bid to counter the growing threat of local vendors like Micromax and Karbonn. Micromax has managed to successfully bite into a lot of Samsung’s market share over the last year, and has managed a tenfold growth in the last 12 months. The Galaxy Core is an effort by the South Korean manufacturer to address that, and if the mobile can achieve anything close to the extraordinary success that was the Galaxy S Duos, Samsung has nothing to worry about.
Having said that, the Galaxy Core, much like the Galaxy S Duos, is inherently flawed. It comes with hardware that is outdated even before it has been released, and sells because of the brand value associated with Samsung. I can understand the rationale that goes on behind buying the Galaxy Core. It goes something like this: I’m getting a device from Samsung that runs Android for Rs. 13,000. In fact, most users dismiss local alternatives like the Xolo Q1000, as they feel that the device is nothing but a glorified Chinese knockoff. That feeling could not be farther from the reality. While Micromax, Xolo and Karbonn get their devices manufactured in China, so does everyone else. Eight out of ten new mobiles that are launched are manufactured in China.
And associated with that kind of thinking is the notion that Indian vendors cannot match the level of build quality that is associated with international brands. While that may have been the case earlier, that is not true now. Micromax Canvas 4, for all its other shortcomings, is a very well-built device and is quite sturdy.
In actuality, the Canvas 4 feels better than the Galaxy Core in every way. Most might argue that it is so because it costs more, and they would be right, but it is warranted considering it comes with much better internal hardware. And this is the crux of the matter. Devices like the Galaxy Core and Galaxy S Duos aren’t that good to use on a daily basis. Having used the Galaxy S Duos extensively, I can attest to that. The S Duos featured 768 MB of RAM, of which only 300 MB was available, as the rest was utilized by TouchWiz, Samsung’s UI skin that can justifiable be called bloatware. Mobiles should be designed so that they fit your needs, not the other way around.
The Galaxy Core comes with 1 GB of RAM, but it will likewise be limited, as games and other utilities need more RAM to run nowadays. So, users on the Galaxy Core should be ready to inculcate words like lag and stutter into their everyday vernacular, because they will be seeing a lot of it. The processor on the Galaxy Core is a dual-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A5, which is not going to be sufficient and will turn into a bottleneck the moment you decide to multitask. I know this for a fact, as the Galaxy S4, which feature 2 GB of RAM and comes with high-end internal hardware, lags when you’re switching between utilities. Now imagine how the Galaxy Core will fare. The device’s measly 5 MP camera cannot match what Micromax offers on the Canvas 4 which comes with a 5 MP front shooter. And considering that the Galaxy Core price in India is currently around Rs. 12,500, it doesn’t hurt to look for other mobiles that cost similar and offer more.
I’m not justifying why you shouldn’t buy the Galaxy Core. I’m just stating why buying the device will be a bad investment choice, considering most users stick with a handset for two to three years. So, if not the Galaxy Core, then what device should you be buying?
This is where we talk about a Chinese manufacturer called MediaTek. MediaTek takes ARM reference designs and manufactures mobile SoCs. One such chip is MT6589. This has revolutionized the budget market, and has made quad-core CPUs accessible to all users. While Qualcomm targeted the high and mid-range segments, MediaTek focused on the budget segment, which it has a firm control on. The MT6589 features a quad-core 1.2 Cortex-A7 CPU, which given the price it is available for, is a great offering.
Any mobile that uses the MT6589 should be a worth alternative to the Galaxy Core. These devices include the likes of Micromax Canvas HD, Canvas 4, Xolo Q1000, Karbonn Titanium S9 and Gionee Elife E3. Even Sony got into the act with the Xperia C. All these mobiles cost about the same as the Galaxy Core, and offer much more value to the user. We are far enough along the evolutionary cycle of mobiles that we do not have to settle anymore. There is a lot of variety and choice out there. You just have to find it.