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Sunday, May 20, 2012

2012 Smartphone Tech News Update: Samsung Galaxy Y Duos S6102

It got around the block quickly enough that entry-level Androids are big money earners. Not that Samsung needed the heads-up. They've had a foot in that door for as long as we can remember. As of late, their Galaxy Y series have taken over from the likes of the Galaxy Gio, Mini and the Fit to offer affordable smartphones for youths and emerging markets.

Samsung Galaxy  Y Duos Samsung Galaxy  Y Duos Samsung Galaxy  Y Duos Samsung Galaxy  Y Duos 
Samsung Galaxy Y Duos

At one point an almost exclusive Nokia territory, the low-end market is now fair game for cheap smartphones and the Galaxy Y Duos doesn't have to try hard to make itself comfortable.

The Galaxy Y Duos builds on the single-SIM Galaxy Y with a slightly larger screen, a higher-resolution camera, larger capacity battery and, most importantly, an extra SIM slot. The latter will, of course, be its key selling point in emerging markets, but here's what else is on offer.

Key Features

  • Dual-SIM (dual stand-by)
  • Quad-Band GSM and dual-band 3G support
  • 7.2 Mbps HSDPA
  • SIM switch in notification area
  • 3.14" 256K-color QVGA TFT touchscreen
  • 832MHz ARMv6 processor, 290MB of RAM
  • Android OS v2.3.5 (Gingerbread) with TouchWiz UI
  • 160MB of internal storage, hot-swappable MicroSD slot, 2GB card included
  • 3.15 MP fixed-focus camera with geotagging
  • GPS receiver with A-GPS
  • Stereo FM radio with RDS
  • 3.5mm audio jack
  • Document viewer
  • Accelerometer and proximity sensor
  • Swype text input
  • MicroUSB port (charging) and stereo Bluetooth 3.0
  • Social network integration

Main disadvantages

  • Low screen resolution limits choice of apps
  • Fixed focus camera
  • No secondary camera
  • No camera flash, no dedicated camera key
  • QVGA video recording @24fps is pretty low
  • No Adobe Flash support

The Galaxy Y Duos is aimed at entry level smartphone enthusiasts who want to make the best out of a limited budget. This dual-SIM droid is based on the original Galaxy Y - which in turn was a cut above the usual dumbphone.

We guess the two won't directly compete with each other: the dual-SIM smartphone will probably reach a different demographic. A package like the Galaxy Y (single SIM) is a more short-term affair - a phone to learn the basics with before moving on to something more advanced.

A dual-SIM phone on the other hand is the sensible choice for the budget-conscious - a typically older audience that's not as keen to upgrade ever so often. On the other hand, teens too will probably enjoy the flexibility of mobile plans that two SIM cards provide.

Anyway, Samsung have a solid dual-SIM track record but what we're interested in is how two phone lines are managed and operated in an Android environment. The first thing you'd notice is the lack of dedicated SIM management key and hot-swappable SIM cards. On the other hand, a handy SIM switch is integrated in the Android notification area and a SIM manager tops the settings menu. Quad-band support on both SIM cards and dual-band 3G are of course more than welcome.

Samsung S6120 Galaxy Y Duos Samsung S6120 Galaxy Y Duos 
The Galaxy Y Duos at HQ

But enough spoilers - let's see how the Galaxy Y Duos handles its two jobs, a smartphone and a dual-SIM phone.

Retail package

The modest retail package of the Samsung Galaxy Y Duos is hardly a surprise considering the low price. You do get a standard microUSB cable and charger, along with a 2GB microSD card complete with an SD adapter.

What the package omits is a set of headphones - you'll have to get them elsewhere if you want to enjoy the music player or the FM Radio on the phone. This may be a region-specific thing though, judging by user feedback to our original Galaxy Y review.

Samsung S6120 Galaxy Y Duos Samsung S6120 Galaxy Y Duos 

The retail box of the Galaxy Y Duos

Design and build quality

The styling is the usual Samsung, there are minor differences to the single-SIM Galaxy Y. The most notable is an elongated Home button, as opposed to the square Home key of the original. The chrome-like front frame is more prominent but it doesn't fit so well with the rest of the phone's design - particularly the rubbery rear. On a positive note, the build is quite good.

The 3.14" TFT display of QVGA (240 x 320) resolution is at the bottom of the food chain in terms of specs, and, we're afraid, the real-life image quality reflects that too.

Samsung S6120 Galaxy Y Duos Samsung S6120 Galaxy Y Duos 
The Galaxy Y Duos up front

Images are highly pixelated, while the low contrast and inadequate brightness make it uncomfortable to use on a bright sunny day. Here's the full rundown below.

Display test 50% brightness 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
HTC Sensation XE 0.23 172 761 0.64 484 752
Nokia 701 0.64 619 964 1.12 1022 905
LG Prada 3.0 0.19 184 993 0.81 835 1031
Samsung S7500 Galaxy Ace Plus 0.27 239 873 0.6 528 888
Samsung Galaxy Y Duos 0.34 272 808 0.64 538 842
Samsung Galaxy Y 0.40 247 624 0.72 471 625
Apple iPhone 4S 0.14 205 1463 0.52 654 1261
Samsung Galaxy Nexus 0 112 0 247
Motorola RAZR XT910 0 215 0 361
Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II 0 231 0 362
Samsung Galaxy Note 0 287 0 429

Below the screen is the usual arrangement of a physical Home button and two capacitive Menu and Back keys. They light up only when touched and otherwise stay out of the way. Above the display there's an earpiece and a proximity sensor to disable the touchscreen during calls. What the phone lacks is a front-facing video-call camera.

Samsung S6120 Galaxy Y Duos Samsung S6120 Galaxy Y Duos 
Controls and sensor around the display

Near the top, on the right side of the Galaxy Y Duos, which is the usual place in Samsung phones, is the power/lock button.

Samsung S6120 Galaxy Y Duos Samsung S6120 Galaxy Y Duos 
On the right side of the device

The left side features a lanyard eyelet and a single-piece volume rocker with good feedback.

Samsung S6120 Galaxy Y Duos Samsung S6120 Galaxy Y Duos 
The left side

At the bottom of the Galaxy Y Duos you'll find the microUSB port for charging and data transfers and the microphone pinhole.

Samsung S6120 Galaxy Y Duos Samsung S6120 Galaxy Y Duos 
Bottom of the phone

There's a 3.5 mm headphone jack at the top.

Samsung S6120 Galaxy Y Duos Samsung S6120 Galaxy Y Duos 
At the top

The battery cover is plastic (as is the case with most Samsung phones these days) but looks durable and feels nice to the touch. The rubbery finish ensures good grip.

The 3.15 MP camera lens is centrally placed at the top and there's a loudspeaker grille on its right. A Samsung logo is stamped underneath the camera lens and grille.

Samsung S6120 Galaxy Y Duos Samsung S6120 Galaxy Y Duos 
The rubbery back has good grip

Removing the back panel is easy enough and reveals the 1300mAh Li-Ion battery, which is quoted at 360h of stand-by and up to 9h of calls in 3G. The Galaxy Y seems to easily go through a day and a half of heavy testing with the two SIM cards always on stand-by. We'll be back with a detailed battery test over the next few days so keep watching this space.

Samsung S6120 Galaxy Y Duos Samsung S6120 Galaxy Y Duos Samsung S6120 Galaxy Y Duos 
Under the hood

Update, May 3: We're done with the battery tests and the results are quite good. Our final endurance rating is a little over two days. Note that we used two hours of 3G talk time per day along with an hour of browsing to arrive at that number (usually we assume an hour each of 3G talking, web browsing and video watching a day). If we plug in the 2G talk time result into the equation, the endurance gets close to three days.

The Samsung Galaxy Y Duos S6102 proved to be a capable runner in our battery race. Considering people looking at a dual-SIM phone will likely use it mainly for talking, the Y Duos will easily last for a couple of days on a charge. We didn't test the video playback battery life as our test videos wouldn't run (the Y Duos supports only low-res videos and it wouldn't be fair) and it's not a phone likely to be used for movie watching.

You can read more about the battery life on the Galaxy Y Duos over at our blog.

Placing both SIM slots inside the battery compartment, Samsung must've thought the Galaxy Y Duos users won't need to often change SIM cards. By comparison, Nokia's recent dual-SIM devices have a hot-swappable side-mounted SIM slot, but these are basic feature phones for markets where handset sharing isn't unusual.

Samsung S6120 Galaxy Y Duos Samsung S6120 Galaxy Y Duos 
The Samsung Galaxy Y Duos held in hand

While not extravagant or necessarily pretty, the Samsung Galaxy Y Duos is a compact and straight-forward device. It costs little and looks durable enough to survive the occasional knock and drop.

It's easily pocketable and makes single-handed operation trouble free. Considering you get two phones in such a friendly shape and size, there's little to complain of.

This post sponsored by:
Dr Mobiles Limited
1 Huron Street, Takapuna, North Shore 0622
Tel: (09) 551-5344 and Mob: (021) 264-0000
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