Introduction

The Galaxy Core lineup represents Samsung's take on the essential smartphone. The Galaxy Core Prime updates the base formula in two areas - a slightly better camera and slightly better chipset - and it serves as a smaller alternative to Galaxy Grand Prime.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime official photos

The Core Prime was announced mere months after Galaxy Core II (not to mention Core LTE, Core Lite LTE and several others), but brings definite improvements over all members of the family, even if most specs are shared among the Cores.

For one, the 64-bit capable Snapdragon 410 is definitely a first. The 5MP/720p camera has been done on other Cores, but it is still the best in the lineup. The front-facing camera is the best one yet - a 2MP/480p shooter - that goes over the low bar of having no selfie camera at all or a 1MP one. It defiantly lacks the ambition of the Galaxy Grand Prime's selfie camera but it's also not very ambition when it comes to pricing so it all sounds fair.

Key features

  • Optional Dual SIM version available
  • 4.5" 480 x 800 TFT display with 207ppi
  • Android OS v4.4 KitKat with TouchWiz UI
  • Quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A53 processor, Adreno 306 GPU, 1GB of RAM, Snapdragon 410 chipset
  • 8GB built-in storage, microSD card slot
  • 5MP camera with LED flash, 720p video recording; 2MP front-facing camera
  • Cat. 4 LTE (150/50Mbps); Wi-Fi b/g/n; Bluetooth 4.0; NFC; GPS; microUSB, FM radio
  • 2,000mAh battery

Main disadvantages

  • Screen ppi is entry-level
  • No screen protection glass
  • No automatic brightness sensor

Coming off our Galaxy Grand Prime review, we know that a lot of the 64-bit benefits hang on an Android 5.0 Lollipop update. Considering the Core Prime was announced only recently, the prognosis on an update is good, but nothing is guaranteed.

The camera department is a definite update over the Galaxy Core II, where the 5MP snapper only recorded 480p video and there was a 480p front-facing camera. Three other Core models (Plus, LTE and Lite LTE) also shoot 720p video, but they all lack the Core Prime high quality selfie snapper.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime at the office

Speaking of the Grand, in its review we discussed the recent popularity of large screens with low resolution. While in terms of pixel density the Galaxy Core Prime is in the same range, its entry-level position makes us more willing to forgive the sub-HD resolution and the lack of an IPS screen matrix.

True to its position in the market, the _phone_ has a dual-SIM flavor. One version, the G360F, even reaches above its station with 4G LTE connectivity, but that's exclusive to China and Taiwan.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime 360° spin

The Samsung Galaxy Core Prime stands 130.8mm tall, 67.9mm wide and 8.8mm thick. Those are roughly the same dimensions as the original Moto G, though it's nearly 3mm thinner. Not bad, considering both phones have the same screen size and battery capacity, though the Moto G is hardly a shining example of modest bezels.

Hardware overview

We're starting to suspect there is a Galaxy mold over in Samsung's R&D department and they just adjust that depending on the required screen size and intended price range. There's nothing wrong with picking a design and optimizing it - Apple is great at that - but the base Galaxy blueprint is already crying out for an update.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

With no reference for scale, the Galaxy Core Prime is hard to tell apart from similarly-designed Galaxys

The Galaxy Core display is a regular 4.5" LCD with no added protection. It is also placed between moderately-sized bezels. What is above and below comes out of the standard Galaxy parts bin.

A notable exception is the ambient light sensor, which is necessary for automatic brightness. The proximity sensor is still here so the display will turn off while you are in calls.

Below is a hardware Home key with a metallic accent on its rim (to match the metallic earpiece on the other side) plus two capacitive keys - an App switcher key and a Back key.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

No ambient light sensor above the display • standard keys below

The Galaxy Core Prime back panel also follows the Galaxy S III setup - a camera, flanked by its LED flash and a loudspeaker. The panel is made out of the same material used in the Grand Prime - it's shiny, but not glossy and glistens under the light. It hides fingerprints quite well, but our personal opinion is that its pearl-like finish looks rather feminine to boot, not to mention it's not that pleasant to the touch.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

Galaxy S III design lives on

Under the hood there is a 2,000mAh battery (7.7Wh) and the microSIM/microSD combo slot. This puts the microSD card above the microSIM one, but since both are blocked by the battery, so there won't be any hot-swapping on this one. On the dual-SIM model (Galaxy Core Prime Duos) there will be a secondary slot to the left.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

A 2,000mAh battery and a combo slot under the back cover

There are to wired connections of interest on board the Core Prime - the 3.5mm audio jack on top and the microUSB 2.0 port on the bottom. Near the USB port is the sole microphone on the Core Prime, which means there's no stereo recording or noise cancellation.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

3.5mm audio jack on top • microUSB 2.0 port and sole microphone on the bottom

The volume rocker on the left and the Power key on the right are decently-sized and fairly comfortable to use.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

The volume rocker and the Power button are adequately-sized

While we're not huge fans of the look and feel of the material, the overall build of the Samsung Galaxy Core Prime is good. The metallic rim around the side of the device is plastic, but very sturdy. The solid feel in the hand is helped by the weight of 130g, which strikes a good balance between being light and yet physically substantial.

The weight is evenly distributed too and the exterior plastic offers good grip, so we never particularly worried about dropping the phone.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

Galaxy Core Prime is solidly built and sits well in the hand

That said there's no toughened glass over the screen so you'll need to be careful with it. There are third-party flip covers (not official ones though) that can help protect your Galaxy Core Prime.

A poor display

The Samsung Galaxy Core Prime features a 4.5" screen with WVGA resolution, or 480 x 800px in concrete numbers. The Core line rarely deviates from those numbers and even then, it doesn't go further than a 4.7" 540 x 960 screen.

It's a regular TFT LCD unit, which initially looked quite good. Our test showed that while viewing angles are decent for a non-IPS display, its downfall is the poor contrast ratio.

The image looks way too washed out, which also negatively affects colors, they look dull and lack saturation. This display is not on the same level as the one on the Grand Prime, despite both phones sharing the Grand epithet.

Our measurements show a rather good 1:1000 contrast ratio, but that was achieved only in pitch darkness. The display is rather reflective so even a little ambient light can spoil the contrast. Also, we get the sense that the contrast curve of the display is not set right, which makes matters worse.

Display test 50% brightness 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Samsung Galaxy Core LTE 0.27 221 828 0.68 561 827
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime 0.17 181 1115 0.41 462 1063
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime 0.25 194 785 0.56 426 756
HTC Desire 600 dual sim 0.18 200 1106 0.46 532 1161
Sony Xperia E3 - - - 0.69 608 887
Nokia Lumia 630 0.24 184 764 0.71 508 771
Motorola Moto E 0.27 278 1024 0.49 522 1062


The pixel density and sharpness are unimpressive too. You see, 207ppi isn't much to talk about. It's not bad, text is readable and photos look sharp enough, but they are not as nice looking as on better LCDs.

Here's what the LCD matrix looks like under magnification.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

We would like to say that contrast was sacrificed in the name of brightness, but that's not the case. The display isn't very bright either and we never went below 50% on the slider.

Again, there's no ambient light sensor so you can't rely on automatic brightness to adjust the screen as you move between locations with different lighting.

Not that even going full blast helps the display outside, where bright sunlight washes it out pretty easily. This is once again an issue of contrast and reflectivity- the difference between white and black is small under good lighting conditions, but when glare comes into play things get very difficult to see.

Sunlight contrast ratio

  • Nokia 808 PureView
    4.698
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4
    4.033
  • Apple iPhone 5
    3.997
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3
    3.997
  • Apple iPhone 6
    3.838
  • Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
    3.799
  • Oppo R5
    3.678
  • Samsung Galaxy K zoom
    3.675
  • Nokia Lumia 930
    3.567
  • Apple iPhone 5s
    3.565
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    3.549
  • Nokia Lumia 735
    3.547
  • Alcatel Idol X+
    3.527
  • Apple iPhone 5c
    3.512
  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    3.509
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo
    3.487
  • Motorola RAZR MAXX
    3.42
  • Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III
    3.419
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 Active
    3.406
  • Nokia Lumia 925
    3.402
  • Gionee Elife S5.5
    3.386
  • Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4
    3.352
  • Samsung Omnia W
    3.301
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
    3.174
  • Samsung I9000 Galaxy S
    3.155
  • Samsung Ativ S
    3.129
  • Samsung I9190 Galaxy S4 mini
    3.127
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom
    3.118
  • Nokia N9
    3.069
  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
    3.023
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    2.97
  • Samsung Galaxy Premier
    2.958
  • Sony Xperia Z1
    2.95
  • HTC One S
    2.901
  • Samsung I8730 Galaxy Express
    2.861
  • BlackBerry Q10
    2.856
  • Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II
    2.832
  • HTC Desire Eye
    2.815
  • Gionee Elife S5.1
    2.812
  • Samsung Galaxy S II Plus
    2.801
  • BlackBerry Z30
    2.79
  • Sony Xperia ZR
    2.672
  • Huawei Ascend P1
    2.655
  • Sony Xperia Z3
    2.618
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    2.616
  • Sony Xperia T3
    2.609
  • BlackBerry Passport
    2.595
  • Nokia Lumia 900
    2.562
  • Motorola Moto G 4G
    2.546
  • HTC One Max
    2.537
  • Nokia Lumia 720
    2.512
  • HTC One
    2.504
  • Motorola Moto G
    2.477
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2.462
  • Xiaomi Mi 4
    2.424
  • Samsung Galaxy S III mini
    2.422
  • Lenovo Vibe Z2 Pro
    2.416
  • LG G Flex
    2.407
  • HTC One (M8)
    2.371
  • Motorola RAZR i
    2.366
  • Meizu MX4
    2.366
  • Sony Xperia ZL
    2.352
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    2.307
  • HTC One (M8) for Windows
    2.291
  • Oppo Find 7a
    2.279
  • Alcatel One Touch Hero
    2.272
  • Apple iPhone 4S
    2.269
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    2.262
  • Nokia Asha 311
    2.25
  • LG Nexus 5
    2.228
  • Nokia Lumia 820
    2.193
  • HTC One (E8)
    2.185
  • Oppo N3
    2.181
  • Nokia Lumia 920
    2.17
  • HTC One X
    2.158
  • Nokia N8
    2.144
  • Nokia Lumia 620
    2.142
  • Nokia 515
    2.134
  • HTC Desire 500
    2.129
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note
    2.119
  • Sony Xperia acro S
    2.119
  • Nokia Lumia 1020
    2.103
  • Oppo Find 5
    2.088
  • Sony Xperia SL
    2.078
  • Nokia Lumia 630
    2.056
  • BlackBerry Z10
    2.051
  • Huawei Ascend Mate7
    2.024
  • Samsung I9295 Galaxy S4 Active
    2.022
  • Apple iPhone 4
    2.016
  • HTC One mini
    2.003
  • Xiaomi Mi 3
    2.001
  • Huawei Ascend P7
    1.992
  • LG G2
    1.976
  • OnePlus One
    1.961
  • Oppo R819
    1.957
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia ray
    1.955
  • Lenovo Vibe X2
    1.952
  • Sony Xperia Z2
    1.944
  • Sony Xperia E3
    1.943
  • Nokia Lumia 1320
    1.941
  • HTC One mini 2
    1.94
  • Samsung Galaxy Camera
    1.938
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
    1.935
  • Sony Xperia J
    1.932
  • Acer CloudMobile S500
    1.931
  • LG Nexus 4
    1.926
  • LG G Pro 2
    1.922
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
    1.913
  • Nokia Asha 308
    1.911
  • HTC Butterfly 2
    1.905
  • Sony Xperia T
    1.894
  • Nokia Lumia 830
    1.887
  • HTC Desire X
    1.878
  • HTC Butterfly
    1.873
  • HTC Windows _phone_ 8X
    1.873
  • HTC Butterfly S
    1.867
  • Huawei Ascend P6
    1.865
  • Huawei Ascend Mate
    1.845
  • LG G2 mini
    1.838
  • LG G3
    1.82
  • Nokia Lumia 1520
    1.813
  • HTC Desire 616 dual sim
    1.797
  • Sony Xperia V
    1.792
  • HTC Desire 816
    1.783
  • Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
    1.772
  • HTC Desire 700 dual sim
    1.769
  • Sony Xperia U
    1.758
  • Meizu MX3
    1.754
  • LG Optimus G
    1.753
  • Sony Xperia T2 Ultra
    1.74
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
    1.735
  • Sony Xperia SP
    1.733
  • Oppo Find 7
    1.691
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    1.691
  • HTC One V
    1.685
  • BlackBerry Q5
    1.682
  • LG Optimus Vu
    1.68
  • Xiaomi Mi Pad 7.9
    1.672
  • LG Optimus GJ
    1.666
  • LG Optimus 3D Max
    1.658
  • HTC Desire V
    1.646
  • Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2
    1.632
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 3
    1.622
  • Jolla Jolla
    1.605
  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
    1.578
  • Sony Xperia go
    1.577
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 I8160
    1.566
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    1.563
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    1.552
  • Motorola Moto E
    1.545
  • LG Optimus 3D
    1.542
  • Nokia Asha 302
    1.537
  • Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
    1.507
  • BlackBerry Curve 9320
    1.488
  • Sony Xperia M
    1.473
  • Oppo N1
    1.47
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    1.462
  • Nokia Lumia 610
    1.432
  • Samsung Galaxy S Duos
    1.4
  • Sony Xperia M2
    1.393
  • Microsoft Lumia 535
    1.393
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Neo
    1.393
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand 2
    1.38
  • Sony Xperia E1
    1.372
  • Nokia Lumia 625
    1.371
  • Gigabyte GSmart G1355
    1.361
  • Sony Xperia L
    1.351
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 5.8
    1.35
  • Xiaomi Redmi 1S
    1.35
  • HTC Desire 510
    1.34
  • Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
    1.331
  • Sony Xperia miro
    1.324
  • Samsung I9082 Galaxy Grand
    1.321
  • Samsung I8530 Galaxy Beam
    1.315
  • HTC Desire C
    1.3
  • Nokia X
    1.291
  • Sony Xperia C
    1.283
  • Nokia Asha 503
    1.281
  • Nokia Asha 501
    1.27
  • LG Optimus L7
    1.269
  • Nokia Lumia 510
    1.268
  • Samsung Galaxy Fame
    1.245
  • LG Optimus L9
    1.227
  • Meizu MX
    1.221
  • Samsung Galaxy Young
    1.22
  • Sony Xperia E
    1.215
  • Nokia XL
    1.204
  • Sony Xperia E dual
    1.203
  • Asus Memo Pad 7 ME176C
    1.198
  • Samsung Galaxy Pocket
    1.18
  • Nokia Asha 305
    1.178
  • Nokia Asha 306
    1.175
  • Sony Xperia neo L
    1.169
  • Sony Xperia tipo
    1.166
  • Nokia Lumia 520
    1.161
  • Samsung S6802 Galaxy Ace Duos
    1.148
  • Samsung Galaxy mini 2
    1.114

Optional dual-SIM, optional LTE

The Samsung Galaxy Core Prime is surprisingly well-armed in its connectivity department. The base model is a single-SIM with 2G (quad-band) and 3G (quad or six band) support. There is a dual-SIM version too where the second card gets quad-band 2G connectivity.

For data there's HSPA with 42.2Mbps downlink and 5.76Mbps uplink on the primary SIM. Two versions - G360G and G360F - have LTE connectivity and thanks to the current Snapdragon 410 chipset, it's of the speedy Cat. 4 variety. It should offer up to 150Mbps downlink and 50Mbps uplink (same as the iPhone 6) where the carrier network allows it. Unfortunately, the LTE models are only available in China and Taiwan for the time being.

Local connections are handled by single-channel Wi-Fi b/g/n with Wi-Fi Direct for file sharing but no DLNA for media sharing.

There's also Bluetooth 4.0 and even NFC, which is rare to see on phones in this market segment. The Galaxy Core Prime will do some good in bringing NFC to the masses as the short-range wireless tech has had a slow burn for years.

For positioning, the phone relies on the standard A-GPS, plus GLONASS and Beidou, the Russian and Chinese answers to GPS. Beidou does not have worldwide coverage, but China is an important market for Samsung and this phone in particular.

A microUSB 2.0 port handles charging and wired data transfer duties. It doesn't have extras like MHL or USB On-The-Go.

Battery life

Running on an average 2,000mAh battery the Samsung Galaxy Core Prime relies on the new Snapdragon 410 chipset for great battery life and it worked. It helps that the display isn't terribly bright, but the handset showed impressive results in all categories.

It starts off with a great talk time - a little short of 17 hours. We should note that the test was done on a single-SIM LTE version of the Galaxy Core Prime. Web browsing and video playback both drain the battery in about 10 hours.

These scores, combined with an efficient standby mean the phone will last you three days of use, two if you push it harder.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

A slimmer TouchWiz

The Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime runs on the latest available Android 4.4.4 KitKat customized with a stripped down version of TouchWiz. The same one used in the Galaxy Grand Prime and we imagine it will be the base for many more entry-level and mid-range Galaxys to come.

Here's a video walkthrough of the most notable features.

The lockscreen is the default in TouchWiz - a simple screen with just the time and a camera shortcut (which can be disabled). The usual Swipe, Pattern, PIN and Password security modes are available.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

A regular lockscreen

The homescreen is also basic TouchWiz, with a 4 icon dock on the bottom and no Briefing/My Magazine pane. You can have up to 5 homescreens, panes can reordered and one is set as default.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

A basic homescreen with no special panes

The notification area is again, like what you may have seen on any other Galaxy smartphone in the past, but it too has seen some of its functionality missing. The Quick Connect and S Finder shortcuts won't be missed but there's no shortcut to open all toggles, even a two-finger swipe doesn't work. This means you have to swipe the row of toggles until you find the one you need. At least there's still a way to reorder the toggles.

Anyway, below the quick toggles is a brightness slider and below that the notifications. The brightness slider can be disabled.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

Trimmed down notification area

The settings menu is a vertical list of apps divided into categories. The handy search function is gone, which can slow down inexperienced users until they learn where each setting goes.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

Settings menu

Unlike Samsung's premium devices, the Galaxy Grand Prime uses the standard KitKat app switcher (with minor tweaks). This means it shows a vertical list of apps with their icon, name and screenshot. Three to almost four apps fit on the qHD screen. There's a shortcut to kill all apps, but the task manager is gone.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

Task switcher

TouchWiz had become a leviathan through years of feature bloat, full of clever-sounding features of questionable usefulness. Recently Samsung took a hatchet to its Android skin and really trimmed down the cruft. The Galaxy Note 4 and Edge are running some of the best mobile software, even if we still have some complaints about cosmetics.

The Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime software is even more simplified and we actually miss some of the functionality - things like the customizable quick toggles or the motion gestures were handy tools. After going through the pre-installed apps, we found that plenty have been cut in favor of AOSP/Google alternatives.

Performance

The Samsung Galaxy Core Prime continues Samsung's foray into the 64-bit field. With it the company has a lineup that spans from the entry-level to the flagship. The phone is based on a Snapdragon 410 chipset, which has four Cortex-A53 cores and Adreno 306.

A53 is the 64-bit replacement of the Cortex-A7 and ARM claims it offers a tangible performance improvement. As we found with the Galaxy Grand Prime though, clock speed is more important (for now) and 1.2GHz won't get you that far.

The Adreno 306 GPU on the other side is a more power-efficient version of the Adreno 305, but it still caters to casual gaming needs at most. The Galaxy Core Prime packs 1GB of RAM, which is better than some phones in its price range but still, nothing to write home about.

Note that in some regions the phone has a Spreadtrum SC8830A chipset instead. It uses a 32-bit quad Cortex-A7 processor and Mali-400MP2 GPU, both of which are slower than their counterparts in the Snapdragon 410 chipset.

Our performance tests start off with Geekbench 3 where the Core Prime matches the bigger Grand Prime (both use the same chipsets).

This is a good demo of the fact that a Cortex-A7 at a higher clockspeed (like in the original Moto X) works better than A53. Android 5.0 Lollipop should offer performance enhancements specific to 64-bit processors, so tables might turn if the Galaxy Core Prime gets updated to this latest Android version further down the road.

GeekBench 3

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
    1492
  • Xiaomi Redmi 1S
    1492
  • HTC Desire 510
    1471
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
    1469
  • LG G2 mini
    1123
  • Motorola Moto G
    1120
  • Sony Xperia E3
    1118

Note that the Sony Xperia E3 has a quad Cortex-A7 processor at 1.2GHz, so we can compare performance per clock. The HTC Desire 510 uses the same chipset as the Core Prime and Grand Prime.

With that in mind, AnTuTu 5 gives the newer chipset a small lead, but it's hardly a groundbreaking difference.

AnTuTu 5

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
    21533
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
    21002
  • HTC Desire 510
    20756
  • Xiaomi Redmi 1S
    19912
  • Sony Xperia E3
    18336

Basemark OS II has a high opinion of the Galaxy Core Prime. In general it makes it easier to see the single-core advantage of Cortex-A53 and how that translates to four cores.

Basemark OS II

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
    564
  • Motorola Moto G
    559
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
    504
  • HTC Desire 510
    491
  • Nokia Lumia 635
    451
  • Sony Xperia E3
    417
  • Xiaomi Redmi 1S
    394

Basemark OS II (single-core)

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Redmi 1S
    1435
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
    1420
  • HTC Desire 510
    1332
  • Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
    1313
  • Sony Xperia E3
    1171

Basemark OS II (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • Sony Xperia E3
    5697
  • HTC Desire 510
    5484
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
    5481
  • Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
    5283
  • Xiaomi Redmi 1S
    4875

The low screen resolution - 800 x 480px - helps the relatively weak GPU, but even then there just isn't enough processing power to run complicated 3D games at a playable framerate. The Galaxy Core Prime is confined to casual games, which was to be expected in the entry-level segment.

Basemark X

Higher is better

  • HTC Desire 510
    1906
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
    1904
  • Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
    1895
  • Sony Xperia E3
    1577

The Kraken 1.1 measures JavaScript performance and we found it to be the same as on the Grand Prime - slow. Samsung have skipped performance tuning the Internet app on this cut down TouchWiz version.

Kraken 1.1

Lower is better

  • Xiaomi Redmi 1S
    12470
  • HTC Desire 510
    14171
  • Sony Xperia E3
    16059
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
    18343
  • Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
    18353

We tried running BrowserMark 2.1 as usual, but the benchmark kept hanging so we don't have a score.

The Grand Prime was held to a higher standard, but the Samsung Galaxy Core Prime is a good performer for its class. The Moto G (both old and new one) is powered by the older version of Qualcomm's chipset and is considered a mid-ranger. The Snapdragon 410 advantage won't be fully realized until (and unless), these phones get their Android 5.0 Lollipop fix.

Phonebook is great

The dialer is the familiar TouchWiz app and features all the basics - smart dial, quick dial and even a video call button. For extra accessibility, the Home button can be set to answer calls while the Power button can be used to reject them.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

Dialer, call log, Favorites and Contacts share an app

The call log can be filtered by call type (missed or rejected) and includes messages. The two other tabs in the app show the Favorites and the full contact list. The shortcut to call/message a contact by swiping right/left is gone.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

Contact window

Basic telephony

Reception on the Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime was good, though not the best we've seen. In-call audio is fairly loud and clear, but there's no noise cancellation so performance will degrade in noisy environments.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

Dialer

The loudspeaker proved rather quiet - with the right ringtone you can tease out an average performance, but using it for hands-free speaking and especially for music is a lackluster affair.

Speakerphone test Voice, dB Pink noise/ Music, dB Ringing phone, dB Overall score
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime 63.0 60.3 68.3 Below Average
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime 65.5 61.7 65.7 Below Average
HTC Desire 600 dual sim 66.6 74.4 62.3 Average
Nokia Lumia 630 68.0 65.3 75.8 Good
Samsung Galaxy Core LTE 71.2 66.8 75.7 Good
Samsung Galaxy S5 mini 73.5 67.7 78.7 Very Good
Motorola Moto E 75.9 71.5 81.6 Excellent


You can read more about our loudspeaker test, if you have any questions.

Feature-rich messaging

The Messages app retains a good deal of the features, but it's behind the latest TouchWiz. It shows a list of threads (but no row of favorite contacts) and you get to adjust font size (but no background, message bubble styles). The recent split-screen option for landscape mode is gone too.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

Messaging app

Anyway, we're clearly dealing with an older version of the custom app. There's an option to schedule the message for later sending (so you can compose it ahead of time), while the built-in spam filter can help you fend off annoying promo texts.

The Samsung Galaxy Core Prime has two email clients - the Email and Gmail apps. Gmail was recently updated to support third-party servers and has Material Design looks, so we use it exclusively. The Email app is the vanilla Android one and it feels visually outdated.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

The new Material designed Gmail supports third-party servers

Keyboard with swipe input

The custom keyboard has four rows of keys, with the top row doubling as a row of digits with a long press.

The Continuous input option lets you swipe your finger over letters instead of tapping them.You need to enable Predictive text for that to work. The keyboard can learn from your messages and list of contacts to improve its accuracy.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

Standard keyboard • swipe input • speech recognition

An alternative input method is voice dictation. Handwriting recognition is not onboard. Good thing that Android makes it easy to install a third-party keyboard if you're missing functionality.

Simple gallery lacks DLNA

To go with the rest of the software, the gallery is really simplified compared to what top of the line Galaxies are getting. Photos and videos can be filtered by album (that is by folder) or by location. A panel on the left can be used to switch between the different albums.

That panel can be hidden with a swipe to make more room for the images. The pinch gesture that resizes the thumbnails is not available here. Support for online galleries and DLNA is also gone.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

Gallery • filtering options • viewing and editing images

Photo editing is supported though our unit did not have the app installed out of the box. It's a free download and supports the usual crop, rotate, color adjust options plus face enhancement, free hand drawing and some stickers and photo frames.

Only Google Play Music out of the box

The discount TouchWiz theme continues with the music player - the Samsung one is gone and there's only Google Play Music out of the box. It's a lovely player with Material Design that fully supports offline play of your tracks, but also handles unlimited music streaming (if those are supported in your country).

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

Google Play Music

Streaming music can be cached to ensure a seamless playback and can be limited to Wi-Fi only (to reduce data charges). For mixes, you have the option to block "explicit" songs.

A 5-band equalizer is available in the settings with a bass boost slider (available for headphones only) and a surround sound slider. While headphones are plugged in, a special row of shortcuts shows up in the notification area.

Play Music puts playback controls on the lockscreen and replaces your wallpaper with the album art of the track.

FM Radio with recording

An FM radio with RDS support is available, even though Galaxy flagships usually skip it. Audio can be played through the loudspeaker (but the headphones have to remain attached).

A rare function is broadcast recording, you can even hit pause in the middle of recording. Note that this feature might not be available in all regions.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

Listening to the radio • recording

Simple video player

A Samsung video player is pre-installed and it actually has a good set of features. It plays FullHD videos - in MKV, MP4 and MOV - containers with support for h.264. As usual audio works as long as you stick to the basics (MP3 and AAC).

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

A simple video player

Subtitles are supported and you can adjust font size and color, add an optional background and a few other tweaks. There's no DLNA support or wired TV out, leaving Miracast as your only way to put a video on a largeer screen.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

Subtitle settings and video player options

Audio output good for the class

The Samsung Galaxy Core Prime put in a decent performance in our audio quality test. The smartphone performed splendidly when plugged into an active external amplifier and then didn't lose too much of its brilliance when we plugged in a pair of headphones.

The first part of the test saw excellent scores top to bottom from the Galaxy Core Prime, garnished with nicely loud output.

Adding some resistance to the line-out brought extra stereo crosstalk and some intermodulation distortion but neither of the readings was bad enough to damage the overall experience on its own. The rest of the results remained great and the volume level stayed above average.

So while we can find a thing or two wrong with the output of the Samsung Galaxy Core Prime, overall it's better than we've come to expect in this price range.

Test Frequency response Noise level Dynamic range THD IMD + Noise Stereo crosstalk
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime +0.03, -0.29 -95.0 93.7 0.0072 0.009 -93.8
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime (headphones attached) +0.38, -0.11 -94.8 91.7 0.018 0.279 -52.6
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime +0.02, -0.07 -95.0 92.1 0.0053 0.013 -93.9
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime (headphones attached) +0.41, -0.04 -93.1 91.8 0.014 0.254 -51.1
Motorola Moto G (2014) +0.01, -0.06 -91.6 92.4 0.0089 0.014 -91.7
Motorola Moto G (2014)(headphones attached) +0.02, -0.09 -91.6 92.4 0.011 0.017 -45.7
Motorola Moto G +0.08, -0.85 -92.1 91.9 0.0059 0.082 -91.4
Motorola Moto G (headphones attached) +0.10, -1.03 -92.0 91.8 0.010 0.117 -50.4
Nokia Lumia 625 +0.13, -0.10 -90.3 90.3 0.013 0.355 -82.5
Nokia Lumia 625 (headphones attached) +0.24, -0.00 -90.2 90.2 0.014 0.460 -83.8
Samsung Galaxy S5 mini +0.03, -0.04 -92.6 90.7 0.016 0.018 -94.0
Samsung Galaxy S5 mini (headphones attached) +0.23, -0.05 -86.7 86.2 0.052 0.167 -55.7

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime frequency response

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime frequency response

You can learn more about the whole testing process here.

Camera is okay, not great

The Samsung Galaxy Core Prime has a 5MP main camera that records 720p video - that's the best the Core line has seen yet, but the Prime isn't the first one to do it. Where it beats its namesakes is the selfie camera - at 2MP/480p it's not great, but better than what came before it.

The camera UI is standard issue TouchWiz though it lacks some of the features of the flagship models. What it does have is ISO, exposure and white balance controls, image effects and geo-tagging. Special shooting modes include panorama, Best photo and continuous shot, plus situational modes Night and Sport. Strangely, there's no HDR mode.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

Standard TouchWiz camera interface with fewer modes

Switching to the selfie camera automatically puts it in Beauty face. The mode auto-enhances faces, but there's no slider to adjust the strength of the effect.

The image quality ranges from good to very good (for a 5MP shooter). Color rendering is pretty accurate, and the overall processing is quite mature. What lets the camera down is the noticeable amount of noise. We can also notice purple fringing and oversharpening halos although it's nothing too major.

Yet another problem is that the camera missed the focus on more than a few occasions. The autofocus is slow and would at times spontaneously refocus, settling for something way off the mark. We didn't have a second unit to see if it's this is a one-off problem or a bigger issue.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime camera samples

Panoramas shot in portrait mode are around 1,200px tall, while those shot in landscape are about half that. The shooting process is simple (sweep the phone left or right) and goes smoothly, the mid-range chipset didn't slow things down a bit.

Image quality is quite good - the weather was terrible, but the stitching shows only small issues (mostly around moving cars, which are unavoidable). The low winder sun cast a lot of shadows and the lack of HDR in the panorama software meant that the sunlit buildings were overexposed (they are yellow-green, not white). This is a problem with Samsung's Panorama rendering though, and even the Galaxy S5 suffers from it.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime panorama (shot in portrait)

The photo quality comparison tool allows you to compare the Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime against similarly positioned handsets.

Photo Compare Tool
Photo Compare Tool
Photo Compare Tool

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime in our photo compare tool

Good video, decent sound

The Samsung Galaxy Core Prime offers surprisingly high end specs for video recording - it shoots 720p@30fps at best, with 12Mbps total bitrate and 256Kbps audio bitrate (in stereo at 48kHz though we only found one mic). High-FPS modes are missing though, even at lower resolutions. The front-facing camera is limited to VGA video (640 x 480px).

While nowhere near FullHD, the quality is good for this class of device - videos are sharp, smooth and with no noise. Some of the issues like purple fringing are still present (it's a lens issue), but the overall result is more pleasing than the still camera.

The continuous autofocus was out of control though - it didn't stop hunting for focus the entire time. If there's a lot of action in your scene, we recommend putting the focus at a fixed point to avoid this issue.

Unless you skipped the hardware section you'll know the Galaxy Core Prime has only a single microphone and can't record actual stereo sound. The audio quality doesn't fully justify the 256Kbps bitrate, but it's not bad and the extra bitrate doesn't hurt.

You can also directly download a 720p@30fps sample (0:10s, 15.2MB) from the main camera.

If you want to pixel peep deeper in the Samsung Galaxy Core Prime's footage you're welcome to give our video comparison tool a try.

Video Compare Tool
Video Compare Tool
Video Compare Tool

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime in our video compare tool

Internet and Chrome

The Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime comes with both the stock Android browser (customized by Samsung) and Google's Chrome. Both support multiple tabs (including incognito ones) and an option to go straight to the desktop version of a page.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

The Samsung-customized Internet browser

With a Samsung account the Internet browser can sync your browsing history and bookmarks between devices, similar to Google Chrome.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

Chrome with data-saving options

Chrome has another trick up its sleeve - it can reduce traffic by compressing web pages on Google's servers before they are sent to the device, similar to how Opera's Turbo mode (and Opera Mini) work.

Other apps

Just like the Grand Prime, the software package on the Samsung Galaxy Core Prime is heavily stripped down from the TouchWiz of yesterday. This removes a lot of bloat - but also a lot of functionality - and what's left is a good software package that retains some proprietary TouchWiz perks.

S Planner is the default calendar. It features five different views: daily, weekly, monthly, yearly and agenda. Multiple online calendars are supported (complete with color coding). Despite bearing the same name, coming from the Galaxy Note 4 version of S Planner there's definitely the sense that this is a stripped down version.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

S Planner

The Memo app is fairly powerful, you can add images and voice notes in each memo and sort those in multiple categories. Notes are synced with a server, which is handy if you have several Samsung devices.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

Memo app

The clock app has an alarm clock, World clock, stopwatch and timer modes. Smart alarm can wake you gently by starting a quiet sound that builds over a few minutes before the raw ringer kicks in.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

Alarms • world clock • stopwatch • timer

My Files is the built-in file browser. Its initial screen is quite simple, sorting files by their type (video, document, etc.), but you can browse the built-in and microSD storage folder by folder, too. Files and folders can be moved, copied, deleted, renamed and ZIP-ed together.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

My Files with ZIP support

Finally, aside from the Google Play store you get Samsung Galaxy apps - the store for exclusive content for Galaxy smartphones. Much like Amazon, Samsung is pushing its own app store with free promos.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

Google Play Store • Samsung Galaxy Apps

Final words

Samsung has so many devices that it's creating sub-brands for its brands. The "Core" line houses entry-level devices aimed at the mass markets in developing countries, slotting under the larger "Grand" devices. Now there's "Prime," which, based on deduction, should mean for now a 64-bit Snapdragon 410 chipset and a better camera.

The latter was very true for the Galaxy Grand Prime, the 5MP/1080p selfie camera impressed. The same can't be said about the Galaxy Core Prime as it misses the mark on the pricing - specs are suited for an entry-level device, but the price tag puts it in competition with more capable devices.

The screen was easily the biggest disappointment. Its low contrast ratio will stare back at you every single time you use the device. Not having an HD resolution is forgivable (especially with good viewing angles), but the image quality is below what cheaper devices offer.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

The Snapdragon 410 chipset does a good job of running the software and while we're glad Samsung trimmed the fat off TouchWiz (to leave more room in the 8GB of built-in storage), we do wish it had kept some of the positive changes - like the excellent proprietary music player or the performance tuned web browser.

The camera does a solid job of video recording (as long as you remember to disable the continuous autofocus), but it could have done a better job for stills. It lacks HDR and there isn't even a fun mode like animated GIFs as a consolation prize.

The optional LTE might pull the Samsung Galaxy Core Prime ahead of some of its competition, but if you're looking at a budget device you're probably not paying for a solid enough data plan to make tethering worthwhile. And we're not 100% sure why we'd want LTE on an 800 x 480px screen with a slow(ish) web browser. The optional dual-SIM sounds much more useful.

Key test findings:

  • Solid build quality, even if materials are not top grade
  • The screen has low contrast and disappointing image quality
  • Samsung has really slimmed down TouchWiz, perhaps a bit too much for its own good; it's offers a mix of TouchWiz/Google/AOSP experience, not very rich out of the box but if you use 3rd party apps that won't matter
  • No Samsung music player means you miss out on the good proprietary features; Video player is good but lacks both wired TV Out and DLNA
  • The new CPU cores do okay for the entry-level field
  • The loudspeaker is rather quiet
  • Audio quality proved good for the class
  • Still camera not the best 5MP shooter around, video camera suffers from an over-eager autofocus

A Motorola Moto G (1st gen) is above a Core Prime budget and lacks a memory card slot. A Nokia Lumia 630 is cheaper than the Samsung, it has an equally specced, but better quality screen, and an equally specced, but better quality camera. It comes in dual-SIM flavor, too. You can even splurge for the LTE-enabled Lumia 635.

Nokia Lumia 630
Nokia Lumia 630 Dual SIM
Nokia Lumia 635

Nokia Lumia 630 • Nokia Lumia 630 Dual SIM • Nokia Lumia 635

The LG L90 has a slightly bigger, sharper IPS screen - 4.7" 540 x 960px (234ppi) - and its camera shoots 1080p video. Depending on the region it will do 8MP or 5MP stills. The L90 comes in single and dual-SIM versions and has a beefy 2,540mAh battery.

An HTC Desire 310 can be had in a dual-SIM configuration if needed and it shoots 1080p video with its 5MP camera. It's running an older version of Android (4.2 Jelly Bean) and its update fate is uncertain.

If that's a bit too big for you, the Samsung Galaxy Ace Style LTE is fairly compact with its 4.3" screen. It's a Super AMOLED screen to boot. The phone uses the same chipset as the Core Prime and has a 5MP/720p camera. The only real downside is the measly internal storage of 4 gigs.

LG L90 D405
HTC Desire 310
Samsung Galaxy Ace Style LTE

LG L90 D405 • HTC Desire 310 • Samsung Galaxy Ace Style LTE

Xiaomi has quickly become China's largest smartphone maker and its highly popular Redmi 1S (aka Hongmi 1S) is a steal for what it offers. It has a 4.7" 720p IPS display and an 8MP/1080p main camera. Even the selfie camera is good at 1.6MP/720p.

It's powered Cortex-A7 chipset at a higher clock speed so performance is better in certain tasks (like browsing), but you're getting a highly customized Android 4.3 with MIUI 5.0 on top, which may not be your thing.

Xiaomi Hongmi 1S

Xiaomi Hongmi 1S

The Samsung Galaxy Core Prime gets some things right, but pricing is not one of them. We're sure that the price is bound to drop under the pressure from similarly-priced or even cheaper devices that offer a solid experience. Once the price has evened out with the competition though, the Core Prime will make a fine daily driver (even if it doesn't have the best screen of the bunch).

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime 360° spin

The Samsung Galaxy Core Prime stands 130.8mm tall, 67.9mm wide and 8.8mm thick. Those are roughly the same dimensions as the original Moto G, though it's nearly 3mm thinner. Not bad, considering both phones have the same screen size and battery capacity, though the Moto G is hardly a shining example of modest bezels.

Hardware overview

We're starting to suspect there is a Galaxy mold over in Samsung's R&D department and they just adjust that depending on the required screen size and intended price range. There's nothing wrong with picking a design and optimizing it - Apple is great at that - but the base Galaxy blueprint is already crying out for an update.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

With no reference for scale, the Galaxy Core Prime is hard to tell apart from similarly-designed Galaxys

The Galaxy Core display is a regular 4.5" LCD with no added protection. It is also placed between moderately-sized bezels. What is above and below comes out of the standard Galaxy parts bin.

A notable exception is the ambient light sensor, which is necessary for automatic brightness. The proximity sensor is still here so the display will turn off while you are in calls.

Below is a hardware Home key with a metallic accent on its rim (to match the metallic earpiece on the other side) plus two capacitive keys - an App switcher key and a Back key.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

No ambient light sensor above the display • standard keys below

The Galaxy Core Prime back panel also follows the Galaxy S III setup - a camera, flanked by its LED flash and a loudspeaker. The panel is made out of the same material used in the Grand Prime - it's shiny, but not glossy and glistens under the light. It hides fingerprints quite well, but our personal opinion is that its pearl-like finish looks rather feminine to boot, not to mention it's not that pleasant to the touch.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

Galaxy S III design lives on

Under the hood there is a 2,000mAh battery (7.7Wh) and the microSIM/microSD combo slot. This puts the microSD card above the microSIM one, but since both are blocked by the battery, so there won't be any hot-swapping on this one. On the dual-SIM model (Galaxy Core Prime Duos) there will be a secondary slot to the left.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

A 2,000mAh battery and a combo slot under the back cover

There are to wired connections of interest on board the Core Prime - the 3.5mm audio jack on top and the microUSB 2.0 port on the bottom. Near the USB port is the sole microphone on the Core Prime, which means there's no stereo recording or noise cancellation.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

3.5mm audio jack on top • microUSB 2.0 port and sole microphone on the bottom

The volume rocker on the left and the Power key on the right are decently-sized and fairly comfortable to use.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

The volume rocker and the Power button are adequately-sized

While we're not huge fans of the look and feel of the material, the overall build of the Samsung Galaxy Core Prime is good. The metallic rim around the side of the device is plastic, but very sturdy. The solid feel in the hand is helped by the weight of 130g, which strikes a good balance between being light and yet physically substantial.

The weight is evenly distributed too and the exterior plastic offers good grip, so we never particularly worried about dropping the phone.

Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
Samsung Galaxy Core Prime

Galaxy Core Prime is solidly built and sits well in the hand

That said there's no toughened glass over the screen so you'll need to be careful with it. There are third-party flip covers (not official ones though) that can help protect your Galaxy Core Prime.

post from sitemap