Priced at only Php 14,990, Samsung Galaxy Win I8550 (or I8552) - also known as Samsung Galaxy Grand Quattro in other territories - is currently the most affordable quad core Android smartphone from the Korean giant.

That amount is a far cry from the Php 30,000 to Php 36,000 SRP of other quad core smartphones from the company - like Samsung Galaxy S4, Samsung Galaxy Note2, and Samsung Galaxy S3 - upon release. Obviously, Samsung had to cut corners to keep the price tag of Samsung Galaxy Win that low, which leads us to ask this important question, "Given all the compromises, is this phone still worth checking out and purchasing?"

Design

Although released in the era of Samsung Galaxy S4 (in the Philippines, at least), Samsung Galaxy Win flaunts a design language similar to that of Samsung Galaxy S3 and Samsung Galaxy Note2 from last year.

I got my unit from Kimstore for only Php 14,500.

It comes replete with a non-brushed, glossy faux-metal lining running down its sides, rounded corners, and a subtly curved, pillow-shaped plastic back cover.


Frankly, I think Win looks like the love-child of Samsung Galaxy S3 and Note2. Its size is right smack in between those two and, as I've said, it dons the same design elements.


Although its design identity may look a tad outdated (vs. that of Samsung Galaxy S4), Samsung Galaxy Win still looks hip and elegant. It's eye-catching and I'm sure you'll often get "That's cute! Can I play with it?" from your friends every time you take it out of your bag or pocket.

Display

SGWin features a 4.7-inch TFT display with WVGA or 480 x 800 pixels resolution.


Size-wise, this screen is a bit bigger than that of Samsung Galaxy S3. However, in terms of clarity, brightness, and color vibrance, it is vastly inferior.

Honestly, as soon as your turn on the phone, this low resolution display will immediately make it clear to you that this is not a flagship level or high-end device. Nonetheless, if you haven't really had a daily phone or tablet with high-res Retina Display or SuperAMOLED screen, it shouldn't be that big an issue. If you have an iPad Mini, the screen quality is more or less the same.

Overall Performance of Innards

As shown in our complete technical specifications table below, Samsung Galaxy Win runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system with a Quad Core 1.2 GHz ARM Cortex A5 based Qualcomm MSM8625Q Snapdragon 200 chipset and handles multitasking with 1 GB of RAM. Its processor is by no means the most powerful out there but it is still quite noteworthy -- thanks to its four cores.

To give you an idea of the overall performance of this smartphone's innards, let me present Samsung Galaxy Win's Antutu Benchmark Test and Quadrant Standard scores.


It got a score of 10,732 on Antutu, which is slightly higher than that of Samsung Galaxy Note first generation but around 3,000 less than the score of Samsung Galaxy S3 and even the TechPinas Favorite O+ 8.15.


As for Quadrant Standard, the device scored 4,314, which is almost the same as that of HTC One X, the Taiwanese company's very expensive flagship device last year.


If you ask me, Samsung Galaxy Win's internal specifications are its true highlight. The smooth transitions and touch response, the imperceptible lags, and the decent 3D gaming performance reflect just how well the SoC performs.

Imaging Capabilities

At the back of the handset, you'll find its slightly protruding module for the 5 MegaPixel autofocus camera with LED flash and backside illuminated sensor (BSI) and non-HD 480p video recorder.


For me, the true test of a smartphone's imaging performance is in how well it can take photos and videos indoors or in low light. Practically all handsets can take decent shots outdoors under bright sunlight -- so I've decided to just test Samsung Galaxy Win's camera capabilities at home with indoor lighting. Check out the images.

Taken with automatic settings and with no flash. Kindly click photo for full resolution view.

No flash, automatic settings.

With flash, automatic settings.

Macro, more or less. No flash.

You know what, it's easy to underestimate this phone's imaging capabilities but it actually delivers quite well in this department. I'd say the quality (not the size) of these shots is largely the same as what you'll get from Samsung Galaxy S2 or the first Samsung Galaxy Note. Really, I won't find it terribly hard to give Samsung Galaxy Win's 5MP main camera a thumbs up!

I can't say the same thing for its VGA front-facing camera though. It's plain bad. And I think you'll look just as bad on selfies taken using it.


But whatever limitations its front snapper may have, SG Win makes up for it with the decent performance of its video recorder. It doesn't really take high-definition clips but you'll definitely get clear and bright videos even when you take them in low light conditions.


Battery and Uptime

Samsung Galaxy Win is powered by a 2,000 mAh Li-Ion battery pack, which - in my opinion - is oddly small for a quad core smartphone with a rather large 4.7-inch screen. I think 2,500 mAh would have been more decent.


Upon testing, I got around 8 hours of regular use from the handset -- running two SIM cards as SGWin is a Duos (Dual SIM Dual Standby) model. I guess if you're not really a power user or if you only use your phone for calls, texts, and to check email from time to time, the battery can probably last you a whole day. However, if you love to use your phone to check your social networking accounts every minute or so and to play games, I think you'd do well to also keep a charger or power bank in your bag.

Notice how the SIM 2 slot located near the bottom of the device is hot-swappable. This means that you won't have to turn off the smartphone to put or change the second SIM.

Verdict

Sure, Samsung Galaxy Win has a lackluster display, front-facing camera, and battery life but considering its attractive design and the great performance of its innards (for its price point), I think it's a strong release that's definitely worth checking out. If you're very conscious about your budget but you want no less than a Quad Core Android phone that delivers a smooth mobile experience, you should definitely consider getting Samsung Galaxy Win. All things considered, I give it 8 out of 10 TP Stars.

TechPinas Smartphone Technical Specs Table (TSTST)
Name Samsung Galaxy Win
Type Slate Form Factor (Full Touchscreen), Dual SIM Dual Standby
Price Category Midrange
Dimensions133.3 x 70.7 x 9.7 mm
Weight 143.9 grams
Available Colors Ceramic White, Titan Gray
Operating System Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean
Display 4.7 inches (~199 ppi pixel density), 480 x 800 pixels, TFT, capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Processor Quad-core 1.2 GHz ARM Cortex A5 CPU, Adreno 203 GPU Qualcomm MSM8625Q Snapdragon 200 chipset
RAM 1 GB RAM
Internal Storage 8 GB, expandable via microSD card slot, supports up to 32 GB
Camera 5 MegaPixels, 2592 х 1944 pixels, autofocus, VGA front camera
Video Capture 480p for main camera, VGA for front camera
Audio and Video Playback MP4/DivX/Xvid/FLV/MKV/H.264/H.263/MP3/WAV/eAAC+/Flac
Ports microUSB v2.0, 3.5 mm audio jack
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth v3.0, 3G HSDPA, 7.2 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps
GPS Yes, A-GPS
Sensors Accelerometer, Digital Compass, Proximity, Gyroscope
Network 2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900, 3G Network HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100
SIM Card Type Mini SIM (Regular) and Micro SIM
Battery Removable Li-Ion 2000 mAh battery
Uptime 210 hours of Standby, 11 hours of Talk time
Value-Added Features Most affordable Quad Core smartphone from Samsung as of writing
Announcement Philippines: June 2013
Availability June 2013
Price SRP: Php 14,990
Kimstore: Php 14,500