Samsung Galaxy Express 2 Review
Interface and Functionality
A not-so-fresh Android 4.2 Jelly Bean with a feature-packed Samsung TouchWiz, and a bunch of signature Samsung apps are on board.
The Galaxy Express 2 features Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean with Samsung’s TouchWiz ‘Nature UX 2.0’ skin on top. Having a year-old version of Android on board is a bit disappointing, but Samsung’s skin tries to make up for that, as it is packed with all sorts of ‘smart’ features like air gestures and eye tracking that some may like, and others may never use. Fact remains that the UI is the absolute champion in terms of richness of built-in features, so you’ll definitely have choice in that regard with feats like S Beam, Smart stay and Screen Mirroring. TouchWiz itself is also very colorful, almost too cheerful, with its cartoony visuals and icons.
Basic functionality is well covered with the core phone app easily integrating with Google’s cloud contacts. Samsung adds swipe gestures to your contact list allowing you to call or text someone by just swiping left or right on the contact’s name. The keyboard is well spaced and easy to type on, but it lacks some language layouts.
Samsung is also shipping this with its home-brewed ChatON instant messenger, S Planner calendar app, S Memo note-taking application, S Translator translation and phrasebook app, and S Voice Siri-like voice assistant bundled right in.
Processor and Memory
The dual-core processor delivers smooth performance, and we managed to play even more demanding games with ease.
Despite not featuring the latest of processors, we’re pleased with the fluid, lag-free performance of the Galaxy Express 2. Scrolling around the main menu and home panels happens without a stutter, and running the core apps is also buttery smooth.
In terms of hardware, the Express 2 runs on a Snapdragon S4 Plus MSM8930 system chip. It’s a 28nm LP dual-core chip running at up to 1.7GHz (those are turbo frequencies, nominally it runs at up to around 1.1GHz-1.2GHz) with 1.5GB of single-channel LPDDR2 RAM.
It features the Adreno 305 graphics chip that proves perfectly capable of handling most games at that resolution. We tried casual games like Temple Run 2 and more demanding games like Asphalt 8 - all of them ran fairly smoothly, so we enjoyed the gaming experience a lot. You should not expect to see the maximum amount of graphical detail in games like Asphalt, but that compromise is worth it since the game plays nicely, at a steady framerate.
The handset comes with 8GB of internal storage that you can expand via microSD cards of up to 64 gigs. Android and TouchWiz together, however, are eating up nearly half the built-in memory, so you end up having around 4.5GB actually available for your free use.
Internet and Connectivity
4G LTE on the Express 2 is blazing fast, and it works in most of the world except for North America.
The phone ships with Samsung’s custom Android browser and Google’s mobile Chrome on board. Both get the job done well, but we prefer Chrome for its better interface and cross-device syncing capabilities. Scrolling and zooming around is fairly smooth, and surfing in general is a pleasure. If we had to pick the nits, we’d say that It takes a second for the actual text on websites to render properly. Again, not a huge issue, but still a noticeable slight delay.
The Galaxy Express 2 hallmark feature is 4G LTE connectivity. It supports FDD-LTE at bands 3, 7, 8, and 20, used widely in the Old continent and Asia, but also the Middle East, Latin America and Africa, so basically you can roam the world with this phone on 4G LTE (except for North America and China). If your current market does not yet support LTE, the phone can also fall back to HSPA+ supporting a very fast up to 42.2 Mbps down.
Other connectivity options include A-GPS, single-channel Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC.