Recently launched Sony Xperia C joins the Samsung Galaxy Grand Duos as a tough rival for mid-range Phablets. Is this Sony’s reply to the well marketed Galaxy Grand Duos? Read on to know what’s best for you.
Design and Display
The Samsung Galaxy Grand Duos, by design, is a 5 inch xerox of any other Samsung mobile. It has pebble-like curved edges, and a plastic back, which doesn’t strike as premium. Love it or hate it, no on screen buttons, Samsung likes its capacitive buttons below the display, but look on the bright side, you get more screen to use. The display resolution is just WVGA, resulting in a not-so-crisp ppi. It is not an AMOLED display, blacks are not as deep as Samsung’s flagships. The display just gets the job done in terms of viewing angles, and is fairly visible under sunlight.
Sony always gets it right with its design, in this case it doesn’t seem so. It is clear that Sony has sacrificed certain designing aspects to pull down the phone’s price. The 5 inch display, in spite of being qHD, feels a bit cheap ( unlike Sony). Big side bezels make the phone bigger than what it should be. But then again, the device is easier to hold than the Samsung Galaxy Grand. The rear of the device has a nice texture, and repels fingerprints quite well. On screen buttons will take up some part of the display. The display performs respectably well in sunlight. It inherits the Aluminium power button from Sony, which we all love.
Processor and Performance
The Samsung Galaxy Grand Duos has a Dual-core 1.2 GHz Cortex A9 processor and a rather unusual Broadcom Videocore GPU. On paper, the specifications are not very appealing. Albeit the weird specs the phone does manage to run pretty smooth, at least for an average user. We’ve seen games such as Nova 3 run on this device, one can expect occasional jitters while gaming though. The recent update to 4.2.2 seemed to slow down the device a bit, but Samsung was quick to act on it with a new 12.8 MB update. We guess, the surprising performance may owe to the fact that it has a low resolution display.
The Sony Xperia C is not a bad phone at all, in terms of performance. It inherits the same 1.2 GHz MediaTek Quad-core that we saw in devices manufactured by brands like Micromax and Karbonn. This processor does surprisingly well for low resolution displays. Sure, the Xperia C is not a gamers paradise, but you get what you paid for. Also, the PowerVR SGX544 is a pretty good GPU, at least we know where it stands.
Both devices come with 1 GB of RAM, the real difference is when it comes to internal memory. The Sony Xperia C trails in this case with just 4 GB of internal memory against the 8 GB in Galaxy Grand. In opinion it does matter a lot. Why so? For good or bad reasons, JellyBean insists that you install apps and games on your phone memory, for the Sony Xperia C that’s bad news, you’ve got only 4 GB to play with. But then again, Rooting is always an option. Also the Samsung Galaxy Grand has microSD expansion up to 64 GB, you get only 32 GB expansion with Sony Xperia C.
In this case, it’s TouchWiz up against Sony’s UI. The good thing is that both devices seem to have retained full versions of the UI found in their respective flagships. Samsung Galaxy Grand enjoys all flagship features such as S-Voice, S-memo etc. It also retains cool features such as direct call ( enables you to call someone by placing the phone by your ear), flip to mute ( flip your device to mute an incoming call), shake to update, and swipe over your screen to take a screenshot. S-Voice doesn’t work as well as Google Now, but you can always use the latter if you want to. In addition to this, the Samsung Galaxy Grand lets you run apps in Multi-Window mode, i.e run multiple apps on the same screen like watching a video and sending an email at the same time. One may question the usefulness of this feature, but it can’t hurt to have it in the bag. The UI looks cartoony as always. The notification bar has some pretty useful toggles too.
The Sony Xperia C runs the lightly skinned Sony UI. The interface is exactly the same as other phones in the lineup. Sony allows you to use apps as small windows on the homescreen, these are collectively referred to as small apps. The UI looks very neat with Sony’s new icons. There are a variety of themes to choose from. Watch the LED at the bottom jump into action while changing themes, and watch it light up rhythmically while playing song tracks. Sony has done a good job in making the LED a characteristic part of the UI. It also lights up in many different colors, and doubles as an excellent notification LED.
Both devices have 8 MP rear shooters, but they are quite different. Sony gave its device the Exmor RS Sensor that we first saw in its flagships. As a result the Xperia C camera performs extremely well in bright light. Also, the Sony camera has HDR, which seems to be absent in the Galaxy Grand camera. HDR (High Dynamic Range) allows you to take pictures at different exposures and output the best image, and it works. All this aside, the Camera is not so great with low light photography and often looses detail. That being said, the camera does a magnificent job in capturing Full HD videos.
The Samsung Galaxy Grand 8 MP primary camera is good, but not as appealing as the Xperia C. Does a good job with the well lit surroundings. It suffers in low lit conditions. The Grand has a 2 MP front camera as well, which the Sony Xperia C does not. This enables you to use video chat. Both devices have camera apps with a wide range of settings and options.
One of the benefits of having a big screen is that you will always have a good experience while viewing videos, and these two devices pack the punch. Sound output is acceptable both on speakers and headphones. Though, we must say that the Sony Xperia C seems to have the upper hand. The Sony Walkman app is much more elegant than Samsung’s app. The fact that, it the app uses the LED, gives the phone a cool feel, it will turn a few heads.
The Sony Xperia C has a higher battery rating at 2390 mAh, while the Samsung Galaxy Grand has a 2100 mAh battery. You will get more than a day of moderate use. Needless to say, playing games or using WiFi and 3G will drain significant battery. Some software tweaks such as the stamina mode found in the Sony Xperia C might help in this case.
The Samsung Galaxy Grand is a clear winner in terms of internal memory and user experience gimmicks which make the phone fun to use. The Sony Xperia C might be a good go for music lovers, and those who do not need the secondary camera. It is important to note that there is limited internal memory with the Xperia C.
We have better alternatives in the market. A valid suggestion would be to not buy either of these phones, shed in INR 1000 more and get better near-flagship devices like the newly announced Canvas Turbo from Micromax, Sony Xperia SP and the LG Nexus 4. If all this do not feel top notch enough, you can just wait for the Nexus 5 with its release just round the corner.