The Samsung Galaxy Y Pro Duos isnï¿½t the best QWERTY smartphone out there especially considering the OS and the price point. If you want a complete Android experience, you can take a look at the Motorola Fire XT and you can get a great QWERTY experience, but with Symbian, from the Nokia E5 under the 10K price point. If you want to experiment with the Android OS on a QWERTY device you can take a look at the Samsung Galaxy Y Pro Duos.
If there is one OS that is found on a diverse range of smartphones, it is Android. You have smartphones ranging from Rs. 7,000 to Rs. 40,000 running Google’s mobile OS. All these phones come packed with a variety of features but one thing remains constant - the OS is designed for a touchscreen experience and you need a 3-inch screen at the very least to take advantage of the features the OS has to offer.
Today we have with us a smartphone that breaks the tradition of Android smartphones a little by throwing in a smaller screen, QWERTY keypad and Dual-SIM capabilities. Is this shift for the better?
Look and feel
A quick glance at the Samsung Galaxy Y Pro Duos and you could mistake it for an entry-level BlackBerry or a QWERTY smartphone from Micromax. It has a candy bar form factor with a 2.6-inch TFT touchscreen display and a QWERTY keypad. The device feels well built to withstand a few drops. The rear panel of the device is solid plastic and houses the 3.15MP camera without a flash.
On the front, above the screen rests the VGA front facing camera for video calls. Below the touchscreen you have a menu, home, back and search buttons between which rests the optical trackpad. This trackpad feels a lot like the one found on the BlackBerry Curve 8520 and is a welcome addition as the small touchscreen itself isn’t always very comfortable.
In terms of connectivity, the device has the micro USB port at the bottom, a volume rocker on the left panel and the sleep/wake button on the right. On the top we have the 3.5mm headphones jack.
Overall, the device fells quite well built, and sturdy. The matte finish of the rear panel and the QWERTY keypad is nice as it prevents the device from becoming a fingerprint and dust magnet but the same cannot be said about the screen.
Features and performance
Straight out of the box, the device runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread. This feels like a step back considering the fact that majority of the Android smartphones and budget tablets launched are coming with ICS. Running Android on a smartphone with a QWERTY keypad could have been a good experience especially for those that aren’t comfortable with a touchscreen. The experience however fells like a bit of a letdown because of the size of the display.
Unlocking the screen is as simple as swiping on it and you are greeted with the same TouchWiz interface we have come to expect from all Android powered Samsung smartphones. Unlock the device and you are greeted to three customizable home screens and quick access to the menu, call, contacts and messages via a bar that is constantly present on the right side of the screen.
The overall feel of the OS on the device is the same as any other Gingerbread smartphone but the experience feels a little cramped due to the small size of the display. One big downer to the display is that it doesn’t support multi-touch.
So how does multimedia function? Well in a word, smoothly. We played some music, ran a few YouTube videos and they all ran smoothly. The screen resolution or the display size isn’t the best for videos but it gets the job done nonetheless. Angry Birds Space did take its own sweet time to load on the device but once the game started, it ran quite well. The device will however lag if you multitask on it.
The QWERTY keypad is the best feature of the phone especially if you are one who isn’t a really big fan of the touchscreen interface. Typing messages, emails etc. felt natural and the keypad is well spaced and comfortable to type on.
The 3.15MP rear snapper clicks some good pictures if the lighting condition is right. It shoots images in a maximum resolution of 2048x1536. If the lighting conditions aren’t the best, the images get dark and noisy. There is no dedicated camera button on the device and this is ok as you can use the trackpad to click pictures. There are three shooting modes to choose from – single shot, smile and panorama. You can also select from a variety of scenes such as landscape, night, sports, beach, sunset, etc.
The screen does feel like a letdown when you use apps such as Google Maps. The screen doesn’t support multi-touch so you will have to rely on the onscreen zoom to navigate, which can get quite cumbersome.
Under the rear panel rests the place for the MicroSD card and the two SIM cards. You can hot swap the MicroSD card as you don’t need to remove the battery to access its resting place. The same however cannot be said about the SIM cards. You will need to remove the battery to place the 2 cards.
The call quality of the device is fantastic. The voice from the earpiece is very clear but the microphone isn’t the best. The receiver of our call said that our voice sounded slightly echoed. There is no physical call receive/end button and you will have to rely on the touchscreen. A minor problem but still one for those inclined towards the QWERTY keypad.
The battery life of the device can last you for almost two days with above average use, which is probably the biggest advantage of the device. Most Android smartphones find it difficult to make it through one day.
The Samsung Galaxy Y Pro Duos isn’t the best QWERTY smartphone out there especially considering the OS and the price point. If you want a complete Android experience, you can take a look at the Motorola Fire XT and you can get a great QWERTY experience, but with Symbian, from the Nokia E5 under the 10K price point. If you want to experiment with the Android OS on a QWERTY device you can take a look at the Samsung Galaxy Y Pro Duos.