Samsung Galaxy Grand Duos vs Galaxy Note II

Samsung galaxy note II and Grand Duos phonesIn this article I will be comparing the Samsung Galaxy Grand Duos vs Galaxy Note 2.  The Note 2 N7100 was announced on August 2012 and the Samsung Galaxy Grand Duos I9082 on December 2012. The Note II has a 5.5-inch display and the Grand Duos has a 5-inch screen. Those two phablets are well worthy competitors . The Grand comes with only 8GB model, the Note 2 with either 16/32/64GB with the Note 2 16GB being around $150 more expensive.  In this article I will bring up and compare the key features of both devices, view each phone cons and pros and hopefully help decide between the two. One of the more popular question that people asks about the Grand Duos is whether it’s a good alternative to the Note 2 and if so, what’s its advantages over the Note 2. I will answer those questions as well. This comparison is well valid for both the Galaxy Grand I9080 and the I9082 as well, with the I9082 utilizing two SIM card slots instead of one.

Size,Design & Display

We first start with the external design, the things that are more visible to us when we first hold the phone in our hands or view it on the web.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and Grand Duos size comparison

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and Grand Duos size comparison (via mobiledevicesize.com

Galaxy Grand Duos: 76.8×143.5×9.6 mm (3.02×5.65×0.38 in.) | 161 grams (5.68 Ounces)
Galaxy Note II: 80.5×151.1×9.4 mm (3.17×5.95×0.37 in.) | 182.5 grams (6.44 Ounces)

The Note 2 is the bigger of the two as you can see but both carry the same message in terms of their external design. When I went to the store and held the Note 2 in my hand I felt that it’s maybe too big for my taste, but I really liked the 5.5-inch large screen. I wanted a phone that has a large screen but at the same time be compact enough to carry in my jeans’ pocket. Of course I have two contrary wishes.  The Galaxy Grand Duos seems like a good balance between screen size and portability, a bit better than the Note 2 in my opinion.  Other people might think that 7.5mm height differences doesn’t mean anything, and they are probably right, it’s not a big differences. The thing is that when you buy a phablet you need to understand that those are relatively big phones. I know some people who bought the Note 2 buy sold it after a short time because they haven’y found it comfortable to carry on a daily basis. I think that most people will prefer a small smartphone, but if the functionality advantages of the phone outweigh the size disadvantage, you can understand why so many people love those type of devices — games, web browsing, viewing and editing photos, watching videos, lots of things just look better on a larger screen.

Super AMOLED vs TFT - Galaxy Grand Duos comes with a 5.0-inch 480×800 pixels (187 ppi pixel density) TFT touch screen. In comparison ,the Galaxy Note 2 has a 5.5-inch screen 720×1280 pixels (267 ppi pixel density) Super AMOLED touch screen display. The Note 2 has the much better display of the two. 187 ppi is very low pixel density in today’s standards. higher pixel density on  the Note 2 also means that icons and text will appear smaller. It doesn’t make the Galaxy Grand screen a bad display, not at all, it look crisp and vivid. Furthermore, most of us don’t put the phone so close to our eyes so even on the Galaxy Grand you won’t notice the pixel themselves.

The TFT screen also looks a bit faded compare to the Super AMOLED’s very vivid colors and higher contrast.  The colors on the Note 2 just look better and are more pleasing the eyes of the viewer. Some people find the Super AMOLED colors too saturated for their taste and prefer a more solid color rendition like the one on the Galaxy Grand.  Furthermore, the viewing angles are better on the Note 2, and that’s quite noticeable.

This excellent video by gadgetsportal shows us exactly those points that I’ve talked about..

Ask yourself if you really going to take advantage of this higher resolution display, how much is the screen image quality important to you?

I personally like the saturated color rendition of the Super AMOLED display, makes everything comes alive, even a dull image can look better on this display. It’s true for games, videos, photos and even your Live wallpaper that you’ve chosen to use on the home screen. As you can see from the YouTube video above, the Note 2 screen is very impressive, big and vibrant — everything seems to just pop out of the screen.

Performance Benchmarks

Depends what you are going to do with your phone, but many people buy a phablet to get a better browsing experience, watch high definition videos in high quality and play games on a relatively large display.   The Note 2 has a higher resolution display so it needs a more powerful CPU and GPU to juice higher frame rates.

Galaxy Note II:  Samsung Exynos 4 (4412) Quad-core 1.6GHz ARM Cortex-A9 processor and ARM Mali-400 MP4 (quad-core) GPU
Galaxy Grand Duos:Dual-core 1.2GHz ARM Cortex-A9 processor and Broadcomm VideoCore IV GPU

So this might not say too much to you. The best thing to do is to take a look at some Note II vs Galaxy Grand / Grand Duos benchmarks to get a goo evaluation of the difference in performance between those two phablets.

 
Galaxy Note 2 N7100
Galaxy Grand Duos GT-I9082
 
Quadrant Benchmark (higher is better)65473817
AnTuTu Benchmark v2.9 (higher is better)135625632
AnTuTu Benchmark v3.2.1136326963
Vellamo 1.0 Benchmark18321630
Linpack (Single Thread, higher is better)6447
Linkpack (Multi-Thread, higher is better)18580
NenaMark 2 (fps, higher is better)5859
GLBenchmark 2.5 Egypt (1080p, offscreen, higher is better)17.512
GLBenchmark 2.7 T-Rex HD C24Z16 (Offscreen, 1080p, fps, higher is better)6.52.7
GLBenchmark 2.7 T-Rex HD C24Z16 (Oncreen, 1080p, fps, higher is better)4.87.7
SuperSpider Javascript Benchmark (Time in ms, lower is better)17891459
Smartbench 2012 (Productivity, higher is better)49192405
Smartbench 2012 (Gaming, higher is better)16412778
source: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

** Some of the benchmark scores are based on average and others based on some benchmark sources that I’ve linked in the footer of the benchmark comparison table.

The Galaxy Note II has much more powerful computing power which is more significantly visible in AnTuTu benchmark that  measures the overall performance of the device, including: memory, CPU, Database IO, 2D/3D and SD card read speed performance.  The Galaxy Grand utilizes a VideoCore IV GPU, which much improved over the VideoCore III and shouldn’t e taken lightly. This is a powerful GPU that will certainly give you high value in return for your money.

Now here comes the surprise, the Galaxy Grand / Grand Duos was able to beat the Note 2 in many 3D / Game benchmarks. So for those who are worry about the Galaxy Grand gaming performance – Don’t, it will run latest games without a problem. Some reviewers report a bit of slowness, but nothing that should worry those game fans out there. The Galaxy Grand was able to run NOVA 3 Android game very smoothly.

Let’s not forget that the Note 2 has a quad-core CPU compare to the dual-core of the Grand and Multi-threaded applications will run much faster on the Note II because of that.

Galaxy Grand game performance illustration

If you enjoy playing games on your mobile device, both phones will be able to run the latest games in very decent frame rates. Samsung has done an amazing job with the Galaxy Grand. It’s like a cheaper version of the Note 2, but one that doesn’t sacrifice gaming performance! — Even considering the overall better performance of the Note 2, most of you won’t notice that, unless you are working with many applications at the same time or running high-demanding apps that take advantage of multi-core CPU architectures, not all apps do.

Here’s another excellent video by gadgetportal demonstrating how smooth 3D games run on the Galaxy Grand Duos, including: Six Guns, Temple Run 2, Dead Trigger, Real Football 2012 and Call of Mini Zombies.

 

 S-Pen Stylus (Galaxy Note II)

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 comes with a S-Pen stylus and with several apps that take advantage of it. The device was even built to recognize when you take the S Pen out of the device and immediately the S Note launches app so you can quickly write a phone number or short memo. This makes the Note 2 a better business tool in my opinion and there are many apps that take advantage of it, including Animating Touch (create frame by frame animation), Makeup (virtual makeover application),  Papyrus (write paper-looking note, takes advantage of S Pen pressure sensitive sensor), My Real Font (create your own customized font), Retouch (photo manipulation using the S Pen), GMD Spen Control (create custom gestures) and the list goes on and on.

Sketching and writing are much easier and more accurate with the S Pen and that’s why so many people find it so useful.  It’s not useful for everyone, but t part of the built-in apps are optimized for the S-Pen.  Most people will probably use it to write short notes, messages or do little drawings from time to time, others will take full advantage of its capabilities.

Here’s an informative video by GSM Arena that demonstrated some of the usese the Galaxy Note 2 S Pen

Dual-SIM – Do I Need It? (Galaxy Grand Duos)

The Samsung Galaxy Grand comes in two variations, the I9080 which accepts only a single SIM card and the I9082 Grand Dual that accepts two SIM cards. The question that is raised is why you want a dual-SIM phone in the first place, isn’t one SIM is enough?

dual SMI cards

Many of us won’t need it because we are connected to only one carrier, Some people have two separate phone, each one with its own SIM card that carries a different number. With a Dual-SIM phone you can make and receive calls without having two separate devices nor changing a SIM. This is more useful for business people abroad, those who have two numbers, a personal and a business phone number. When you fly abroad you can still be reachable using those two numbers and by carrying only a single device. There are many people who get a phone from work and carry two phones at the same time. So with a dual-SIM phone you don’t have to do that. Just ask your employer to get you a SIM card instead.

The first SIM card slot is above the battery compartment at the top back side of the phone and the second one is at the lower-right side below the battery compartment. The Grand Duos comes with a SIM card manager app which has the following features:

  • Activate or deactivate the SIM card
  • Check whether or not you want to recieve incoming calls for a particular SIM card or just use your carrier’s data service network
  • dual SIM always on – if one phone is not reachable, can forward the call to the other SIM

When you make a call you’ll see two press-to-call blue and green icons at the bottom,  The first one uses the first SIM to make the call and the second one uses the second SIM to make the call.

Other dual SIM phones: Samsung Galaxy S duos, Sony Xperia tipo dual, HTC Desire V, Samsung Galaxy Y Pro duos, Samsung Galaxy Y duos, Samsung Galaxy Ace duos, Nokia Asha 200/305/202, ViewSonic ViewPhone 3 and Acer Liquid Gallant Duo.

*dual SIM card not to be confused with microSD card, with the later only for the expansion of the phone’s internal storage memory.

Camera Comparison

mobile cameraThe Galaxy Grand Duo comes with a 8MP BSI rear-facing camera + LED flash and ZSL (zero shutter lag), a 2MP front-facing camera. The Galaxy Note II is equipped with a BSI 8MP rear-facing camera + LED flash and a 1.9MP front-facing camera. Both phones can record 1080p Full HD videos. There are two things that should concern you the most, the first is the image quality and the second one is the camera’s built-in features.

I use gsmarena.com photo quality comparison tool to compare and analyze the camera’s performance. I usually care about how sharp the image is, how much details it camera can resolve from the scene, dynamic range, color reproduction, contrast and high ISO performance.

The image quality seems almost identical. The pictures looks very good with well-saturated and accurate colors. Viewing the Gray chart it seems like the Samsung Galaxy Grand I9082 resolved more details (look at the grass image cube) but turning to the ISO 12233 chart seems the opposite, with the Note 2 having the sharper image. After viewing other images and taking GSMArena photo quality comparison into account, the Note 2 result in a sharper image and higher contrast. I assume that the Note 2 apply stronger sharpening algorithms. Both cameras have adequate low-light performance, with the Note 2 a bit better overall.

 
Galaxy Grand Duos
Galaxy Note 2
Sensor1/3.2" (4.8 x 3.6 mm) BSI sensor (according to imaging-resource.com)1/3" (5.37 x 4.04 mm) BSI sensor
FlashLED (rear)LED (rear)
Lens4mm (Actually 3.97 mm, 30mm equivalent) f/2.65 Autofocus3.6mm (28mm equivalent) f/2.6 Autofocus
I didn't find any official information about the Galaxy Grand Duos lens, but I analyzed the EXIF metadata embedded in many sample images and the result are shown above. Some say that it's the same camera as the Samsung Galaxy S2. The analysis by Lewis Collardseems to be the same results as the sample image's EXIF data. The Note 2 focal length and aperture are the official ones.
Features- Zero shutter lag
- Geo-tagging
- Touch Focus
- Face detection
- Manual ISO
- Smile shot
- Panorama
- Photos during video recording (limited to 720p resolution)
- Smart Flash
- Retouch with Object Removal
- Sequence shot
- Smile shot
- Manual ISO
- Geo-tagging
- Touch Focus
- Best Photo
- Best Face
- Panorama
- Low light shot
- Face detection
BurstN/A6 fps, up to 20 images at full 8-megapixel resolution
Dedicated camera buttonN/AN/A

After spending some time trying to reconstruct missing data, it seems that both phablets have different sensors and lenses.  (**)If the information that I’ve gathered is correct, the Note 2 has a larger sensor and a wider lens (which is even a bit faster).  That might lead to the overall tight better IQ with the Note 2 — with the Galaxy Grand a bit on the soft side, but not a huge difference here.

Both cameras result in very good image quality and won’t disappoint you. Macro shots also look great but the Bokeh is of a low quality.

Samsung Galaxy Grand Dous sample videos

Outdoors

Indoors

Samsung Galaxy Note II sample videos

Outdoors

Indoors

Which one you like better?

Battery Life

batteryPhablet devices are designed to be best in multimedia experience, giving you much better user experience for videos, web browsing, photos and games — but all of those take quite a lot of power, especially when watching videos or playing 3D games. You want the battery to last longer and help you DO MORE with your device. I personally watch videos and play games when I am on a 3 hours drive on a bus (I do that quite a lot). This helps me pass the time while waiting for the bus to arrive to its destination.  Due to the size of phablet devices, phone manufacturers have the option to use much larger and stronger batteries, prolonging the time you can use the device on a single battery charge.

Here are the specs:

 
Galaxy Note II
Galaxy Grand Duos
Power3100 mAh (removable)2100 mAh (removable)
Talk time35 hours (16:57 hours via gsmarena.com test)10.16 hours (12:35 hours via gsmarena.com test)
Stand-by time980 hours440 hours
Web Browsing8.48 hours7:09 hours
Video Playback11:27 hours8:11 hours
sourcesource

There is not doubt, the Samsung Galaxy Note II battery life is more powerful than the Grand Duos overall and gives you more time for talking and for doing multimedia tasks.

 Conclusion

The Samsung Galaxy Grand and Grand Duos are like a prepackaged low-price Note II device. They look very similar on the outside but the Grand Duos is smaller and more convenient to hold in my opinion. The Note 2 has a larger, higher resolution Super AMOLED display that just looks better overall.  The Note 2 is a more powerful device overall, but we’ve seen that the Grand Duos shown excellent performance in 3D games, even beating the Note II in some benchmarks.

The Galaxy Note II phablet has the S Pen which many of you find very useful for both business or for personal use.  The S Pen won’t work on the Galaxy Grand but there are some stylus pens with a rubber edge that do work with the Galaxy Grand and other devices that don’t come with a built-in stylus. Of course the S Pen is a hardware device that talks with the Note 2 and is much more advanced pointing device and support up to 1,0124 levels of pressure point and the phone recognizes when the S Pen is over an element and can react to it.

We’e also seen that the Note 2 has a better camera, but the different in image quality is quite small.  Let’s not forget the Samsung Galaxy Grand Duos Dual-SIM card slot which some of you might find very useful for daily use (it actually can replace your second phone!).  The Grand Duos is certainly a good alternative to the Galaxy Note II. If you are searching for a phablet that shows very good multimedia performance, good battery life and camera performance, the Grand Duos won’t disappoint you. The thing that you need to ask yourself is whether the Grand Duos satisfy your need. The Galaxy Note II is certainly a step up and if you aren’t satisfied with what the Galaxy Grand has to offer, I can assure you that, in no way, you are going to be disappointed with the Note II. The only thing that I do recommend is holding the Note II in your hands, getting to know how it feels holding a large device in your hands and carry it around.  You might find that the Note II, even with all its greatness, it’s too large and uncomfortable to carry around.

 

I hope that you find this article interesting, if you do, please share it with your friends. Thanks for reading.

{ 7 comments… add one }

  • charls May 31, 2013 at 9:03 am

    wow … good one… it was really helpful for me, because I was really in an ambiguity ,whether i have to buy Note II or Grand. Now it is clear that SG Grand is my cup of tea, as it fits my pocket (in both apects)

    Reply edit
  • akshat June 17, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    I’m thinking whether I should buy grand or note 2, now I finally got to know that I have to buy grand.

    Reply edit
    • akshat June 19, 2013 at 8:57 am

      My review is wrong that grand is better than note 2 because note 2 have good features and big screen and biggest screen than the all of the samsung mobiles

      Reply edit
  • Babalola Akinlolu July 10, 2013 at 7:14 am

    I bought galaxy grand duos just few weeks ago and it surprises me that it hangs when using it. Then I sleep with my battery fully charged only to wake up and see that it has reduced to like 30%

    Reply edit
  • Anjum Eqbal August 21, 2013 at 6:36 am

    Is Glaxy Grand Duos support 4G in India

    Reply edit
  • akshat September 1, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    sorry,iwant to say that grand and note 2 are same because i buy the note 2 and grand at the same and i saw all the features are same only screen is small and big and note have s pen

    Reply edit
  • essam farag February 1, 2014 at 7:21 am

    i purchase my Samsung grand duos from shop in Saudi Arabia when i arrived to Egypt the Samsung gives me massage error not no connection for any network (not registered on network ) i swap saudi, emirate ,Vodafone Egypt ,etisalate egypt none is communicate dilling or recieving phones

    Reply edit

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