Samsung Galaxy Core Advance Preview



Samsung announced the Galaxy Core smartphone back in May of 2013, and now, about 8 months later, we have our hands on the Samsung Galaxy Core Advance. Given the obvious naming similarities between the two, one might instantly assume that the latter is an upgraded model based on the former, but that's not exactly the case, as it turns out. In fact, from a hardware perspective, the Core Advance is hardly any better than the Galaxy Core. Confused yet? Well, allow us to clarify things a bit. Actually, Samsung is marketing the Galaxy Core Advance as a phone for those who are less comfortable with touchscreens, not as a direct successor to the Galaxy Core. Nevertheless, it is still a fully functional Android device that will let you browse the web, take photos, and play Angry Birds. Let's check it out!


Solid and robust, but not something you'll be showing off with.

Yup, it's a Samsung smartphone alright – a device exhibiting many of the typical design characteristics associated with the company's recent mid-range phones. These include its curvy corners, plasticky construction, and faux-metal trim around the sides. But there is also a number of things that set this phone apart. Its plastic back cover has been treated to a soft touch finish, which provides slightly more grip than those glossy finishes we often see on Samsung's phones. Besides, this type of surface doesn't attract much of that annoying finger smudge. Overall, the handset is heavy, chunky, and clearly built with a utilitarian approach. It is not meant to be a fashion accessory for one to show off with, but it feels solid and durable when held.

As we mentioned above, the Samsung Galaxy Core Advance has been designed for people who aren't comfortable with touch-based controls, which is most likely why we find no capacitive buttons anywhere on the phone. Instead, there are three physical Android navigation keys with good tactile feedback below the screen. Being slightly raised makes them easy to operate even with gloves on. On the left side of the phone is placed the volume rocker, which works fine, although it probably could have been exposed better. Things get a bit more interesting on the right side of the device. There we find the power key along with a camera button (not of the 2-stage type) and, surprisingly, an extra key dedicated to launching the phone's voice recorder.


Spacious with its size of 4.7 inches, but pixel count is disappointing.

4.7 inches of display real estate is what the Samsung Galaxy Core Advance has to offer, which makes it neither too difficult to wield, nor too small to be enjoyed. Its resolution of 480 by 800 pixels, however, is pretty underwhelming. Of course, a PPI figure of 199 pixels per inch is still regarded as passable given the phone's class. Just don't expect this screen to be able to reproduce those fine details in images and text.

The display panel is of the TFT variety and it looks good enough to be fit for a rather entry-level phone like the Galaxy Core Advance. Its touch-sensitive surface should detect user input even through a pair of gloves, which is a nice perk to have. When placed under broad daylight, the phone is still more than usable thanks to the display's high brightness output. Just get used to setting the brightness level manually since the phone can't do that for you.


Standard TouchWiz affair with several accessibility extras added.

Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean comes loaded onto the Samsung Galaxy Core Advance along with the usual UI modifications found on Samsung's recent Androids. There is no need for us to go over TouchWiz and its boat-load of features for a gazillionth time, but we will highlight the accessibility features that have been implemented. One of them is an app called Light Sensing. Basically, it detects light using the phone's camera and provides feedback via beeps or vibrations depending on how bright the source is. This is a tool made for visually impaired users. They might also find Optical Reader useful – this app scans text and reads it out loud. In addition to all this, we see that Samsung has implemented its S Voice, S Translator, and Group Play apps.

It is worth mentioning that a shortcut to the UI's accessibility settings has been added to the menu that pops up when you hold down the power key. Most of the options available there are also found on other Samsung phones, but others are exclusive to the Galaxy Core Advance. Among them is the Ultrasonic Assistant, which detects nearby objects in front of the user.

The on-screen keyboard on the Samsung Galaxy Core Advance is pretty good overall. Its keys are large enough and its buttons are well spaced out. Of course, there's a bunch of extras like predictive text input and auto-correct.

Processor and memory

Okay for a phone of this class, but don't be expecting flawless performance.

The Samsung Galaxy Core Advance relies on a Qualcomm Snapdragon SoC with a 1.2GHz dual-core Krait processor and Adreno 305 graphics. One gig of RAM has been thrown in for good measure. In plain words, that's not a bad hardware setup considering the fact that we're handling an entry-level phone. We assume that it should be able to run most apps and some not so demanding games pretty well. Still, we aren't expecting it to deliver a smooth experience if pushed too much. Of course, we can't draw any final conclusions based on our experience with a prototype device, so we'll save our verdict about the phone's performance for a later time.

With the Galaxy Core Advance you get 8GB of on-bard storage, but expect only half of that to be available. That's why equipping the phone with a microSD card would be a good idea. It is nice of Samsung that it is treating Core Advance owners to 50GB of free Dropbox storage for 2 years.

Web browser and connectivity

Gets the job done, with no bells and whistles.

On the Galaxy Core Advance we find Samsung's Internet browser app. There's nothing radical about it in terms of features, but it does get the job done. That the status bar is hidden while browsing the app is a tweak that we appreciate. What we don't quite like, on the other hand, is that the text is pretty small and sometimes difficult to read without zooming because of the display's low pixel density.

Connectivity-wise, the Samsung Galaxy Core Advance gets online via Wi-Fi or its 3G radio. You also get Bluetooth 4.0, GPS with GLONASS support for enhanced location pin-pointing, NFC, and even an FM radio.


Just a humble shooter, nothing more.

Flip the Samsung Galaxy Core Advance around and you'll see its 5MP main camera. It has auto-focus and an LED flash providing extra light in tricky scenes. A 0.3MP camera is located in front for selfies and video chats.

Launching the Camera app brings us to an interface with large, easy to hit buttons and intuitive layout. To aid visually impaired users in taking photos, Samsung has added the option to have the app speak out loud the number of faces detected within the frame. The list of available shooting modes includes mostly essential stuff, such as Night, Sports, Panorama, and Best Shot. Videos can be recorded at a maximum resolution of 1280 by 720 pixels (720p).

We took the chance to go out and give the phone's camera a try and the results can be seen in the slideshow below. Just keep in mind that the image quality delivered from a retail Samsung Galaxy Core Advance unit may differ since the photos below have been shot with a prototype.


A satisfactory experience despite the lack of an HD screen.

The Gallery application on the Samsung Galaxy Core Advance presents a list of all folders where images are stored. When you open a photo, a filmstrip in the bottom opens up and shows the rest of the images stored in that same location – that comes in handy when searching for a particular shot. Too bad that we don't see any advanced editing features built into the app. You'll have to rely on another app for functions more advanced than image cropping.

Music is the name of the phone's built-in audio player. It lists your tunes by song, artist, or album name, and if its more convenient for you, you can always play music folder by folder. The app comes with a built-in equalizer, voice controls, and Samsung's very own Adapt Sound feature that tweaks audio reproduction so that it better matches the user's earphones and hearing.

With a screen size of 4.7 inches, the Samsung Galaxy Core Advance is suitable for watching videos, as long as you don't mind the non-HD experience. The video app plays back video files in resolution of up to 1080p, and thanks to its Popup Play feature, it can play videos in a separate floating window.


Samsung is a company that aims to fill each and every consumer niche with its products, and the existence of the Galaxy Core Advance is your living proof. It is a phone targeted at a very specific audience with its simplified design and enhanced set of accessibility features, and even though the majority of smartphone buyers won't be looking specifically for a phone like that, there aren't many alternatives matching these criteria. Of course, pricing could also be among the phone's main selling points. Judging by its hardware configuration, the Samsung Galaxy Core Advance is probably going to be relatively cheap, which would make it a decent entry-level Android offering. Those who would prefer a phone with a bit more aesthetic appeal, however, better look elsewhere.

Video Thumbnail

Recommended Stories

Loading Comments...
FCC OKs Cingular\'s purchase of AT&T Wireless