Introduction

The Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime has an ambitious name, but behind it is an ordinary midrange phone. It puts functionality ahead of screen fidelity, throwing all the pixels they could afford at the front facing camera instead. As with other Galaxy Grands, dual-SIM is an option, this one though is the first 64-bit _phone_ in the line.

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime official images

The Galaxy Grand Prime is headed for developing markets where affordable phones with large screens with underwhelming pixel density are in high demand. In this case we're talking a 5" TFT of qHD resolution (540 x 960px) boiling down to 220ppi. 720p has become common in the midrange these days, but don't let tech geeks and sales people overstate how important it is - most laptops and desktop monitors have half that.

The _phone_ does subscribe to a couple of buzzwords, though neither of them contains "ppi". The front-facing camera has an 85° wide-angle lens and shoots 5MP stills and 1080p videos, while the Snapdragon 410 chipset contains four of ARM's 64-bit enabled Cortex-A53 cores.

Although in most regions the Grand Prime is a dual-SIM package, a single-SIM version is available too. Neither option has LTE connectivity, as only the dedicated version for the Chinese market has LTE support.

Key features

  • Optional Dual SIM version available
  • 5" 540 x 960 TFT display with 220ppi
  • Android OS v4.4 KitKat with TouchWiz UI
  • Quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 processor, Adreno 306 GPU, 1GB of RAM, Snapdragon 410 chipset
  • 8GB built-in storage, microSD card slot
  • 8MP camera with LED flash, 1080p video recording
  • 5MP front-facing camera, 85° lens, 1080p video recording
  • 2,600mAh battery

Main disadvantages

  • Screen ppi is entry-level
  • LTE only available on the Chinese version
  • On the large side for a 5" device
  • No screen protection glass
  • No automatic brightness

The screen is the major worry here - qHD is stretched pretty thin on a 5" diagonal. 220ppi is nothing to write home about, but Samsung has plans on how the Galaxy Grand Prime can compete with the likes of a Moto G (2014).

First up is a solid camera department, starting with the 5MP/1080p selfie camera. If you open your gallery and most photos have your face in them, this one is for you. The 8MP/1080p back camera is also on the better side of the midrange market.

Next is the new chipset, Snapdragon 410. ARM claims that Cortex-A53 offers a "significantly higher performance" over the A7 used in Snapdragon 400. Meanwhile the Adreno 306 GPU offers power savings compared to the 305 in the older chipset. We'll cover both performance and power usage in detail in a few chapters, but the Grand Prime won't see a return on the 64-bit chipset unless it's updated to Lollipop (which has dedicated 64-bit optimizations).

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime taking selfies in our office

The main competition for the Galaxy Grand Prime does not come from established players, it's the aggressive pricing of newcomers that is giving Samsung the headaches. Is the Grand Prime the much needed painkiller or an also-ran? Hopefully, you'll find your answer in the next dozen pages or so.

Hardware overview

The Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime measures 144.8 x 72.1 x 8.6mm - relatively slender but also tall and wide for a 5" device. That said, it's about the same size as a Galaxy S5 and smaller than the popular HTC Desire 620 dual sim and the Asus Zenfone 5 (both of which are direct competitors).

At 156g, the Galaxy Grand Prime is not very light for its screen size, though this seems to be the norm for phones of this footprint and price bracket.

We have several Galaxy models currently at ours, including the Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime. Let's just say that if they weren't a different size, we'd have a hell of a hard time trying to tell which phone was which. It's no news that Samsung's design team has been pushing for consistency throughout the ranks, but honestly, things have gotten out of control.

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime looks like almost any other Galaxy

To Samsung's credit, the phone feels very sturdy in the hand. The familiar silvery rim around the phone could pass for metal at a distance, though the front and back material could have been better. And there's plenty of it, the bezels around the screen are thicker than they could have been.

There's an inner black bezel around the display, which makes it look bigger while it's off, but it's plainly visible when the screen is on. The glass covering the screen comes with no official claims of extra durability, so you need to be more careful with it.

Above the screen is one of the key selling points of the Galaxy Grand Prime, the 5MP selfie camera. It matches the main camera with 1080p recording and has a wide-angle lens (85°) so you can fit more people in the frame (technically a groupie).

Also above the screen is a proximity sensor to turn off the display automatically during calls, but there's no ambient light sensor, which means no auto brightness mode.

Below is the usual setup, a hardware Home key with an App switcher and Back buttons (both capacitive) on either side.

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime

5MP selfie camera above the screen • Samsung's usual key arrangement

Around back, it's more of the usual too. The camera protrudes slightly (exposing it to scratches) and it's flanked by the single-LED flash and the loudspeaker grille. The camera itself is an 8MP unit capable of 1080p video capture (at 30fps).

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime

Classic Galaxy back with 8MP camera, LED flash and loudspeaker

The back is removable, which gives you access to the 2,600mAh battery and the card slots. The Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime that we're using for this review is a single-SIM model, which fits both the microSIM and the microSD cards in a stacked slot. For dual-SIM versions, there's an additional slot for the second microSIM to the left.

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime

Taking out the 2,600mAh battery • a stacked card slot

The sides follow the traditional pattern as well. The singular mic is on the bottom, near the microUSB 2.0 port, and there's a 3.5mm audio jack on top. On the left is the Power key, on the right the volume rocker.

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime

No changes in the ports and buttons arrangement

In developing markets phablets have gained a lot of popularity since they effectively replace small (and cheap) tablets. The Galaxy Grand Prime sits between those and smaller devices (~4.5" or so, like the Galaxy Core Prime).

The Grand Prime sits well in the hand - we would have wished for smaller bezels, but those usually come with a steeper price tag. The weight didn't bother us, it strikes a good balance between a solid feel without being too heavy.

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime

Galaxy Grand Prime should be okay for one-handed use for most people

The material on the back is not matte and not glossy either. It hides fingerprints well enough, even if it doesn't feel premium (we've seen some good plastic in the midrange).

Display

As we already discussed, the Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime is part of the size-over-resolution line of phones that have become quite popular recently. That means a 220ppi - not a major deal breaker last year and evidently not this year either (even if 720p has become more common in the midrange).

The display itself is a 5" TFT of qHD resolution - that's 540 x 960px or exactly the quarter of the pixels of a FullHD 1080p display. In terms of functionality this is not an issue, we haven't run across apps that experience issues with this resolution. It's just that you can't fully enjoy the 1080p videos from the Grand Prime's cameras on the device itself.

Text is softer than on higher-ppi displays and readability drops at lower zoom levels. This is more of a comfort issue though, text becomes too small to read before you zoom out enough for it to degrade due to resolution. If you paid top dollar for a phone you don't want any fuzziness, but here we can be more lenient.

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime

A 21.5" a 1,920 x 1,200px desktop monitor and a 15.6" 1,366 x 768px laptop monitor (both very common) have just over 100ppi pixel density, so even accounting for the different viewing distance, we reckon the Galaxy Grand Prime screen is still good enough.

The TFT specification raised a red flag - it usually means poor viewing angles, but it turned out this is not the case. Color and contrast do shift slightly at extreme angles though it's hard to notice. If you've had bad experiences with low-quality TFTs in the past, you'll be glad to hear this one is not affected.

It's a bit dim for our taste, we kept the brightness slider above the halfway point most of the time. Since there's no ambient light sensor you can't rely on the phone to adjust the screen automatically in brighter environments. This will have an impact on battery life in daily use.

Also, when you push the slider close to 100%, the contrast suffers - the blacks noticeably fade.

Colors are a tad dull (the lower contrast doesn't help), though perhaps we're a bit spoiled by Samsung's Super AMOLED displays.

Display test 50% brightness 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime 0.25 194 785 0.56 426 756
Sony Xperia M2 Aqua 0.26 247 960 0.44 531 1094
HTC Desire 616 dual sim 0.35 306 880 0.5 487 976
Microsoft Lumia 535 0.26 312 1188 0.45 458 1118
LG G2 mini 0.12 91 752 0.52 398 748
Motorola Moto G 4G 0.42 387 916 0.7 651 929


The glass over the screen is not Gorilla Glass or even an off-brand durable glass, so again go easy on it. It also reflects a lot of light, which combined with the lower maximum brightness hampers the sunlight legibility.

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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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 Windows phone 8X
    1.873
  • HTC Butterfly
    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
  • 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
  • Microsoft Lumia 535
    1.393
  • Sony Xperia M2
    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
  • Xiaomi Redmi 1S
    1.35
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 5.8
    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

Connectivity

The Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime is available in both single and dual-SIM versions. Both are 3G-only (quad-band) with the second SIM slot getting 2G connectivity only (again, quad-band). Note that in China the phone does come with LTE - this version has both international and Chinese LTE band support, but it's not available on other markets.

Locally, there's single-band Wi-Fi b/g/n with Wi-Fi Direct support, but no DLNA. There is built-in screen mirroring though, for compatible HDTVs. Bluetooth v4.0 is also on board.

Wired connectivity is handled by a microUSB 2.0 port, which lacks MHL, leaving wireless mirroring as the only TV-out option.

The Galaxy Grand Prime has an advanced support for global positioning thanks to its Qualcomm chipset - A-GPS, GLONASS and Beidou are all supported (the latter is used in China, one of the target markets for the Grand 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. Here's a quick video to get things started.

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 Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime

A regular lockscreen

The homescreen is also base 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 Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime

A basic homescreen with no special panes

The notification area is similar to what we've seen on recent Galaxy devices but it too has some 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 Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand 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 Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand 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 Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime

Task switcher

TouchWiz had become a leviathan through years of feature bloat, full of useful features though often hard to find or useful only to a select few. 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, 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 Grand Prime is based on a Snapdragon 410 chipset - that's the entry-level 64-bit chipset from Qualcomm, though in 32-bit land it will be positioned in the upped mid-range. The phone runs Android 4.4.4 KitKat at the moment, a 32-bit OS, so the Grand Prime won't see the benefits of 64-bits until (if?) 5.0 Lollipop arrives.

Still, Qualcomm says that the Cortex-A53 processor outperforms Cortex-A7 and this phone has four of them clocked at 1.2GHz. There's also Adreno 306, which offers power savings instead of performance improvements over the GPU it replaces, the 305.

Starting off with Geekbench 3 we do see some improvement over the old generation processor - both the Galaxy Grand Prime and HTC Desire 510 use the A53, while the Moto G (2014) has four A7 cores at 1.2GHz and also ran Android 4.4.4 when we did the test.

GeekBench 3

Higher is better

  • Gionee Elife S5.1
    2410
  • HTC Desire 510
    1471
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
    1469
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    1171
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand 2
    1159
  • Sony Xperia M2
    1074
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Neo
    1041

Basemark OS II shows a decent improvement in single-core performance for Cortex-A53 over A7, but as the Gionee Elife S5.1 shows clockspeed is more important (it's powered by Cortex-A7 at 1.7GHz). It's worth noting that neither Basemark OS II nor Basemark X detected any benchmark cheating.

Basemark OS II

Higher is better

  • Gionee Elife S5.1
    613
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    526
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
    504
  • HTC Desire 510
    491
  • Microsoft Lumia 535 Dual SIM
    414
  • Sony Xperia M2
    298
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand 2
    275

Basemark OS II (single-core)

Higher is better

  • Gionee Elife S5.1
    1819
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
    1420
  • HTC Desire 510
    1332
  • Sony Xperia M2
    1164
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    1123

Basemark OS II (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • Gionee Elife S5.1
    13634
  • HTC Desire 510
    5484
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
    5481
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    5001
  • Sony Xperia M2
    4927

AnTuTu 5 gives the Galaxy Grand Prime an edge in overall performance over the Moto G and puts it on equal ground as the Desire 510 (which uses the same chipset, so no surprise here).

AnTuTu 5

Higher is better

  • Gionee Elife S5.1
    31452
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
    21002
  • HTC Desire 510
    20756
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    18245

For graphics the GPU only has to render graphics at qHD resolution - 540 x 960px, a quarter of 1080p - but it's a low-power GPU and struggles at even this resolution. The GFX benchmark is much heavier than regular games, but even 2.7 T-Rex at screen resolution is well-below the 30fps mark. Casual games should work okay, but high-end 3D games are out of the question.

GFX 2.7 T-Rex (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Gionee Elife S5.1
    16.4
  • HTC Desire 510
    15.5
  • Sony Xperia M2
    15.4
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
    12.8
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    10.8
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand 2
    10.6

GFX 3.0 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • HTC Desire 510
    8.3
  • Sony Xperia M2
    6.9
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
    6.4
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    4.1
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand 2
    4

Basemark X found a much bigger difference between the Galaxy Grand Prime/Adreno 306 and the Moto G (2014)/Adreno 305 and gave the win to the older GPU. That's quite unexpected as the Moto G has a 720p screen, nearly 80% more pixels than a qHD screen. Even the GFX scores show both phones on nearly equal ground, so the Motorola handset probably runs its GPU at a higher clock rate.

Basemark X

Higher is better

  • Gionee Elife S5.1
    4150
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    3142
  • HTC Desire 510
    1906
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
    1904

It seems that Samsung has forgone its usual browser optimizations as the Grand Prime is among the slower devices in its price range. Kraken 1.1 measured JavaScript performance to be pretty similar to Cortex-A7 based devices, even giving a small lead to the Moto G (2014). Note that we used the Internet app on the Samsung and Chrome on the Moto G (as that's the only browser available out of the box on the mostly pure Android setup).

Kraken 1.1

Lower is better

  • Gionee Elife S5.1
    12961
  • HTC Desire 510
    14171
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    15988
  • Sony Xperia M2
    18047
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
    18343
  • Microsoft Lumia 535 Dual SIM
    26981

Basemark 2.1 was even harsher when judging the Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime, putting it behind the low-cost Lumia 535, which has a slower chipset (quad-core Cortex-A5 and Adreno 302), but renders web pages at the same qHD resolution.

BrowserMark 2.1

Higher is better

  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    1085
  • Sony Xperia M2
    903
  • Gionee Elife S5.1
    868
  • HTC Desire 510
    832
  • Microsoft Lumia 535 Dual SIM
    480
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
    413

With Android 5.0 Lollipop Google switched to a new runtime - ART - retiring the old Dalvik. Also, Lollipop has optimizations specifically for 64-bit platforms, but we're not even sure if the Grand Prime will be updated so it's no use to speculate how that will improve performance.

As it is right now, the chipset is fast enough for daily use but the advantage of the newer Cortex-A53 cores quickly fades away when compared to a higher clock Cortex-A7. The GPU is okay for casual gaming, which is the biggest kind of mobile and we couldn't really expect much better at this price range. Web browsing was a bit of a disappointment as it's clear that even lower-power hardware can do better with the right software.

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 ca n be used to reject them.

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand 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 Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand 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 Grand 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
HTC Desire 616 dual sim 61.5 58.5 72.6 Below Average
LG G2 mini 65.2 67.7 64.6 Below Average
Sony Xperia M2 Aqua 66.3 66.2 72.7 Average
HTC Desire 700 65.7 66.7 75.7 Good
Samsung Galaxy Grand 2 66.5 66.6 75.7 Good
Samsung Galaxy S5 mini 73.5 67.7 78.7 Very Good
Motorola Moto G 4G 77.1 76 83.3 Excellent

You can read 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 Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime

Messaging app

Anyway, we're clearly dealing with an older versions 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 Grand 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 outdated.

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime

The new Material designed Gmail supports third-party servers

Line comes pre-installed, the messenger is highly popular in East Asia (Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan and India). Aside from Japan, these are the countries that are the primary destinations for the Galaxy Grand Prime.

Keyboard with swipe input

The custom keyboard has four rows of keys, with the top row doubles 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 Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime

Standard keyboard • swipe input • speech recognition

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

The gallery likes GIFs

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 Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand 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.

You can also create animated GIFs out of multiple images or just shoot a GIF with the camera.

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime

Creating an animated GIF from photos

And here's the result:

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime

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 Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand 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 drop 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 might not be available in all regions.

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand 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 Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand 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 you Miracast as your only way to put a video on a large screen.

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime

Subtitle settings and video player options

Audio output good for the class

The Samsung Galaxy Grand 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 Grand 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 Grand 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 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 Grand Prime frequency response

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime frequency response

You can learn more about the whole testing process here.

Camera is okay, not great

The Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime has a solid (on paper) back camera, but is also quite proud of its selfie camera. The front-facing camera features a wide-angle (85°) lens and a 5MP sensor. It can record 1080p video, so you're not limited to selfie stills either.

The camera on the back shoots higher resolution photos, 8MP, and also records 1080p video. This one also gets a single LED flash.

The camera UI is standard 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 Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand 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. Another mode is AGIF, which creates an animated image that is easier to share on internet forums than a video.

You can shoot up to 20 frames and adjust the playback speed and resolution. Both these modes are available for the main camera as well.

As for image quality, the Galaxy Grand Prime's main shooter is below Samsung's best 8MP efforts. The dynamic range isn't very wide, but that's made worse by the heavy processing and sunlit light colors often end up overexposed, while shadows remain dark. With no HDR mode, there's nothing the help the camera in difficult lighting conditions.

Colors are not oversaturated, but the red channel looks off (leaning towards magenta). Noise is kept low, but the work of the smudgy noise-reduction process is visibly up close. Over-sharpening artifacts are visible too. The final result has less fine detail than the best 8MP shooters, but okay for the price range.

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime camera samples

The front-facing camera is wider than the main camera and it's lower-resolution to begin with, so we weren't expecting its photos to be as good as the one on the back. Also, this is a fixed-focus camera it has been optimized to shoot nearby objects, so the background is noticeably softer. Colors appear duller and the dynamic range is smaller, there's much more visible noise too. Still, the resolved detail up close is quite good for a front-facing camera.

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime

Selfie camera samples (5MP)

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 is unavoidable).

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime

Samsung Galaxy Grand 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 Grand Prime offers surprisingly high end specs for video recording - it shoots 1080p@30fps at best, with 17Mbps total bitrate and 256Kbps audio bitrate (in stereo at 48kHz though we only found one mic). Those are comparable to the base 1080p mode of the Galaxy S5.

The front-facing camera uses the exact same settings for video. High-FPS modes are missing though, even at lower resolutions.

The video quality from the main camera is quite good, it performs better than it did on stills. The videos are smooth and pack a good deal of detail though some compression artifacts are visible (17Mbps should have been enough). Colors and dynamic range are similar to the still camera.

One thing that bugged us is that the continuous autofocus is much too eager.

Moving to the front camera, there's more noise though in moving pictures it's not quite as annoying as noise in stills.

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime

You can also directly download the - 1080p@30fps (0:10s, 21.7MB) from the main camera.

If you want to pixel peep deeper in the Samsung Galaxy Grand 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 Grand 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 Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand 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 Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand 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

As we've seen so far, the Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime software package 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 Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand 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 Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand 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 Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand 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 Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime

My Files with ZIP supoprt

Finally, aside from the Google Play store you get Samsung Galaxy apps - the store for exclusive content for Galaxy smartphones. It has many titles and free content. Additionally, the Galaxy App Center helps you download some Galaxy-branded apps (those are region-limited to Thailand and Laos though). Galaxy Gift, for example, gets you exclusive perks in certain stores and restaurants.

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime

Google Play Store • Samsung Galaxy Apps

Final words

We won't pretend that we completely understand the enormous popularity of low-res, large-screened phones like the Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime. We can see why people would want more screen real estate, but it's the trade-off of a cheaper matrix for better components elsewhere (like the camera) that doesn't sit well with us.

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime

Take the Moto G, it has a wonderful (for the price range) 720p screen, but the balance of the bill of materials means a run-of-the-mill chipset and an unspectacular camera. Samsung balanced the numbers the other way on the Galaxy Grand Prime - it has a better camera, the selfie camera especially is miles ahead, and a fancy 64-bit chipset.

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime key test findings

  • Solid build quality, even if materials are not top grade
  • The non-IPS screen looks quite good, though it's a bit dim and lacks toughened glass
  • Samsung has really slimmed down TouchWiz, perhaps a bit too much
  • The new CPU cores do okay, but the GPU is not up to bar; web browsing could have been better too
  • The loudspeaker is rather quiet
  • Audio quality proved good
  • 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
  • Not the best 8MP camera, better 1080p video capture
  • Selfie camera does a great job and is deservedly a highlight
  • The software package is a mix of TouchWiz/Google/AOSP, not very rich out of the box but if you use 3rd party apps that won't matter

Okay, so the 64-bit processor isn't all that it's cracked up to be. Things might change if Samsung updates the phone to Android 5.0 Lollipop, but that's a pretty big if. While at it, we think that Samsung is listening to consumers, but is yet to find the right balance.

TouchWiz is no longer the behemoth it once was (good thing since there's only 8GB of built-in storage), but Samsung cut out some of the good parts of its proprietary enhancements along with the bad. The TouchWiz music player is among the best (but is missing entirely from the Grand Prime), while the camera app lost some of its useful features (HDR), most of the fun ones too.

However, as the Nexus line and Motorola's handsets have emphatically shown, the bundle of pre-installed apps doesn't matter much when there's a vibrant app store, full of top notch choices.

As for the hardware, the display is actually better than the specs suggest. The resolution is far from premium, but functionality isn't much harmed. Even viewing angles are better than we expected out of a non-IPS screen, though a touch higher brightness and some Gorilla Glass would have been great.

The exterior is not the most pleasant to look at or to touch, but the phone feels like it can take a good deal of abuse before it gives up the ghost.

The Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime comes in both single and dual-SIM flavors, aimed at mid-range markets in East Asia. In China it even has LTE.

In terms of competition, the HTC Desire 620 dual sim is very similar to the Galaxy Grand Prime, though it ups the ante with a 5" 720p screen, stereo speakers on the front and LTE on all models. Other than that it has the same camera department - 8MP/5MP, both shooting 1080p - and same Snapdragon 410 chipset. There's also the Desire 620G dual sim, a 3G-only version with an octa-core MediaTek chipset due to arrive this month.

HTC Desire 620 dual sim
HTC Desire 620G dual sim

HTC Desire 620 dual sim • HTC Desire 620G dual sim

The Asus Zenfone 5 also has a 5" 720p IPS screen, but the front-facing camera is limited to 2MP/720p (the one on the back is a match, 8MP/1080p). The Zenfone 5 is a dual-SIM phone based on an Intel chipset.

The ZTE Blade Vec 3G is similar, but it does have a 5MP selfie camera and a more traditional quad-core Cortex-A7 processor. The 5" 720p screen is a TFT though (and we've not had a chance to test it yet), but the Blade Vec 3G is more compact than the Samsung.

The Sony Ericsson Xperia M2 does not have much of a selfie camera, but otherwise gets within striking distance of the Galaxy Grand Prime (4.8" qHD screen, quad-core Cortex-A7, 8MP/1080p main camera). The Xperia M2 Aqua version deserves special attention as it has an IP68 rating, meaning it can survive under a meter and a half of water for 30 minutes.

The LG L Bello goes even lower with its 5" display - 480 x 854 - though the difference in pixel density isn't huge. Unlike the Xperia and the Galaxy, it has LG's compact genes and unique (or annoying, you decide) button setup on the back.

Asus Zenfone 5
ZTE Blade Vec 3G
Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
LG L Bello

Asus Zenfone 5 • ZTE Blade Vec 3G • Sony Xperia M2 Aqua • LG L Bello

If you are really willing to sacrifice the camera department, the 8MP camera of the Motorola Moto G (2014) is limited to 720p and the front-facing camera is just a 2MP unit. On the upside, it's already running Lollipop and has basic water resistance and stereo speakers.

For tighter budgets, the Microsoft Lumia 535 builds on the 5" qHD screen formula with an IPS matrix and Gorilla Glass 3, plus it has a 5MP selfie camera on its face. There's a 5MP shooter on the back, but both are only good for stills - 480p video is the best the Lumia 535 can do. Still, Windows phone 8.1 is snappy even on this hardware and the price difference between the Lumia 535 and the Galaxy Grand Prime is substantial.

Motorola Moto G (2014)
Microsoft Lumia 535

Motorola Moto G (2014) • Microsoft Lumia 535

As you can see, most phones in this class are geared toward a better screen and perks like stereo speakers, most of the time at the expense of the camera department. Still, there's some room to go up or down the price ladder if the feature mix of the Grand Prime (or its exterior) are not to your liking.

While the Galaxy Grand Prime is no Galaxy S4, for a casual user (with less than perfect eyesight) the difference in price isn't proportionate to the difference in experience. Samsung could have put a little more heart in making the phone, but it's a fine device for this day, target market and price.

Hardware overview

The Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime measures 144.8 x 72.1 x 8.6mm - relatively slender but also tall and wide for a 5" device. That said, it's about the same size as a Galaxy S5 and smaller than the popular HTC Desire 620 dual sim and the Asus Zenfone 5 (both of which are direct competitors).

At 156g, the Galaxy Grand Prime is not very light for its screen size, though this seems to be the norm for phones of this footprint and price bracket.

We have several Galaxy models currently at ours, including the Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime. Let's just say that if they weren't a different size, we'd have a hell of a hard time trying to tell which phone was which. It's no news that Samsung's design team has been pushing for consistency throughout the ranks, but honestly, things have gotten out of control.

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime looks like almost any other Galaxy

To Samsung's credit, the phone feels very sturdy in the hand. The familiar silvery rim around the phone could pass for metal at a distance, though the front and back material could have been better. And there's plenty of it, the bezels around the screen are thicker than they could have been.

There's an inner black bezel around the display, which makes it look bigger while it's off, but it's plainly visible when the screen is on. The glass covering the screen comes with no official claims of extra durability, so you need to be more careful with it.

Above the screen is one of the key selling points of the Galaxy Grand Prime, the 5MP selfie camera. It matches the main camera with 1080p recording and has a wide-angle lens (85°) so you can fit more people in the frame (technically a groupie).

Also above the screen is a proximity sensor to turn off the display automatically during calls, but there's no ambient light sensor, which means no auto brightness mode.

Below is the usual setup, a hardware Home key with an App switcher and Back buttons (both capacitive) on either side.

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime

5MP selfie camera above the screen • Samsung's usual key arrangement

Around back, it's more of the usual too. The camera protrudes slightly (exposing it to scratches) and it's flanked by the single-LED flash and the loudspeaker grille. The camera itself is an 8MP unit capable of 1080p video capture (at 30fps).

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime

Classic Galaxy back with 8MP camera, LED flash and loudspeaker

The back is removable, which gives you access to the 2,600mAh battery and the card slots. The Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime that we're using for this review is a single-SIM model, which fits both the microSIM and the microSD cards in a stacked slot. For dual-SIM versions, there's an additional slot for the second microSIM to the left.

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime

Taking out the 2,600mAh battery • a stacked card slot

The sides follow the traditional pattern as well. The singular mic is on the bottom, near the microUSB 2.0 port, and there's a 3.5mm audio jack on top. On the left is the Power key, on the right the volume rocker.

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime

No changes in the ports and buttons arrangement

In developing markets phablets have gained a lot of popularity since they effectively replace small (and cheap) tablets. The Galaxy Grand Prime sits between those and smaller devices (~4.5" or so, like the Galaxy Core Prime).

The Grand Prime sits well in the hand - we would have wished for smaller bezels, but those usually come with a steeper price tag. The weight didn't bother us, it strikes a good balance between a solid feel without being too heavy.

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime

Galaxy Grand Prime should be okay for one-handed use for most people

The material on the back is not matte and not glossy either. It hides fingerprints well enough, even if it doesn't feel premium (we've seen some good plastic in the midrange).

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