Samsung Galaxy Grand Neo Review
Interface and functionality
Samsung Nature UX features layered on top of an older Android Jelly Bean version
The Galaxy Grand Neo is loaded with Samsung's TouchWiz Nature UX on top of Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. Samsung's mum on if and when will KitKat hit the phone. With NatureUX, however, the most apparent visual differences that KitKat brings, like a transparent status bar and full-screen wallpaper, are already present in the overlay, and the Grand Neo is no exception.
We are also getting most staple features of Samsung's homemade interface overlay, like Smart Stay, which keeps the screen on while you are looking at it, and the multi-window mode that can run two different apps on a split screen. The Air View and Air Gesture modes that are present on Samsung's more upscale handsets, however, are missing from the Grand Neo.
Typing on the largish display with one hand gets dicey when you have to reach for the upper left or right corner of the keyboard, depending on the side. It's advisable that you enable the Swype-like functionality that traces your finger from a letter to a letter. It inputs the word for you, instead of pecking at each individual key with your stretched out thumb. As with most of its big-screen phones, Samsung also includes a way to scooch the keyboard, dialer or calculator to the left or to the right, so that you can type with one hand without the risk of dropping your handset.
Processor and memory
Relatively weak quad-core Broadcom chipset results in some interface and app stutter
The Grand Neo comes with a 1.2 GHz Broadcom BCM23550 processor with four Cortex-A7 cores, while last year's Grand came with a dual-core Cortex-A9 of the same frequency. That's one of the few differences between the two phones, and it is not translating into any benchmark or performance superiority for the Neo. Samsung outs the phone with 1 GB of RAM, and 8 GB of storage (5 GB user-available), expandable via a microSD slot.
Internet and connectivity
Retro-looking but very functional browser, marred by the screen's low pixel density
Samsung's TouchWiz browser looks a bit dated with its squarish interface elements, especially on a 186ppi screen. It is, however, proven to be one of the fastest renderers, plus at Android Jelly Bean it still sports Adobe Flash support out of the box.
The Galaxy Grand Neo supports European/Asian GSM frequencies, with up to 21 Mbps data download speeds, and is also available in a dual SIM version, just like its predecessor. It has plenty of connectivity radios, too, such as Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 4.0, A-GPS, DLNA and FM.