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Gigabyte GSmart Roma R2 Review

Posted: , by Victor H.

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Interface and Functionality


The GSmart Roma R2 runs on a very slightly modified version of Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. Gigabyte has tweaked the experience to add its G-sign logo on the lock screen, and there are some custom Gigabyte widgets that you can add, but apart from these small differences we’re basically looking at nearly stock Android.

Having mostly pure Android is a good thing for the most part. Without the heft of heavier skins, the platform is better optimized to run on devices lacking great silicon, like the Roma R2.

Basic functionality is well covered with the dialer, messaging and Hangouts applications. We like how quickly the dialer opens and it does features a neat swipe-enabled interface that is convenient to use. The messaging app is the standard Android affair with smilies and group texting support.

Despite its comparatively small screen size, the 4-inch Roma R2 does not feel cramped when you text. It comes with a custom “TouchPal” keyboard with gesture-typing support and it’s comfortable for texting, even more so - it’s also usable single-handedly when you’re on the run.

Dual SIM functionality


The Roma R2 ships with support for two regular sized SIM cards that work in dual SIM dual standby regime. What this means is that while you’re on a call, the other card would show as if it was out of coverage - you cannot have both active at the same time. Dual SIM functionality is embedded in the platform in the dialer and messaging apps with different colors showing which card has received or sent calls or messages. You can also select which SIM card to use for your data connection.

Processor and Memory


The GSmart Roma R2 runs on the dual-core MT6572 MediaTek chip. That’s the new Cortex A7-based chip by Chinese chip maker MediaTek that has grown hugely in popularity, but despite being a dual-core device, the Roma R2 runs slower than we’d like with noticeable lag and slowdown when you scroll around. It’s clearly not a smooth experience.

On paper, the device looks better than you would tell from the stuttery interface. The MT6572 chip hums along with 1GB of RAM (more than the average for the class 512MB RAM) and the phone features the Mali 400 graphics chip.

We don’t know whether the slowdown in interface is because of lack of software optimization or whether it’s that the chip can’t handle the load of Android 4.2, but we did notice that the very same Roma R2 was actually able to play a lot of our favorite Google Play games like Temple Run 2 and Punch Quest fairly well. Here’s how it fared on our benchmark testing suite.

Performance benchmarks

Quadrant
Higher is better
Sony Xperia M 4254
GIGABYTE GSmart Roma R2 2926
Samsung Galaxy Fame 2045
AnTuTu
Higher is better
Sony Xperia M 11629
GIGABYTE GSmart Roma R2 10702
Samsung Galaxy Fame 4810
GFXBench Egypt HD 2.5 onscreen (fps)
Higher is better
Sony Xperia M 26
GIGABYTE GSmart Roma R2 14
Vellamo Metal
Higher is better
Sony Xperia M 427
GIGABYTE GSmart Roma R2 494
Samsung Galaxy Fame 319
Vellamo HTML 5
Higher is better
Sony Xperia M 1772
GIGABYTE GSmart Roma R2 1660
Samsung Galaxy Fame 1160
View all


Just as a lot of other affordable Android devices, the Roma R2 has the disadvantage of low internal storage allowance. The on board memory stands at merely 4GB and just around 2 gigs of those are actually available to the end user. Luckily, you can expand storage via microSD cards of up to 32GB.

Internet and Connectivity


To access the web, the Roma R2 ships with the stock Android browser and mobile Chrome. We like Chrome much better for its better optimized for touch interface and cross-syncing capabilities. The browser loads and renders web pages reasonably fast and while there is a bit of a stutter with heavier addresses, especially when you have to scroll around, but lighter browsing is generally not a problem.

The handset supports 4G HSPA connectivity, but no LTE. That’s hardly a surprise for such an affordable phone, though, and it's still plenty fast with downlink speeds reasonably fast at up to 21.1Mbps.

Other connectivity includes a GPS, Wi-Fi b/g/n and Bluetooth 3.0. There’s no NFC in this handset nor does it support MHL.

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Display4.0 inches, 480 x 800 pixels (233 ppi) IPS LCD
Camera5 megapixels
Hardware
MediaTek MT6572, Dual core, 1300 MHz, ARM Cortex-A7 processor
1024 MB RAM
Size4.92 x 2.49 x 0.37 inches
(125 x 63.2 x 9.3 mm)
4.41 oz  (125 g)
Battery1400 mAh, 3.5 hours talk time

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