Mid-range mobiles are getting bigger and better than ever.
With a 4.5-inch screen, the Samsung Galaxy Express 2 would’ve been considered large as recently as a year ago, but in an age where 5-inch phones aren’t out of the ordinary, is it just another middle-of-the-road smartie? Read on to find out.
First impressions and design
Size isn’t everything though. While it makes the iPhone 5S look puny in comparison, the Galaxy Express 2’s screen is nowhere near as pretty.
Its 540x960-pixel resolution leaves it with a pixel per inch rating of 245ppi, which is considerably lower than the iPhone 5S’s 326ppi.
It’s nowhere near as bright as some displays either, which makes it tough to read in direct sun.
The Galaxy Express 2 runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, skinned with Samsung’s own UI. It’s not as fluid or impressive graphically as pure Android, and you’ll find yourself not bothering with most of the extra features.
The likes of the SmartStay intelligent sleep mode and Group Play that lets you share music, documents and photos with other Samsung kits aren’t much more than novelties. Albeit ones that are fun initially.
The Galaxy Express 2 is pretty impressive inside, considering the price.
There’s a 1.7GHz processor – though it’s dual-core rather than quad-core – alongside 1.5GB of RAM. Movies run fine, though we did notice occasional slowdown during the game Gravity: Don’t Let Go.
So if you want a handset to run lots of graphics-intensive games on, it might be worth spending a little more.
On the back, a 5-megapixel camera is surprisingly impressive. In low light, shots came out detailed, though a little grainy in parts. It’s not going to trouble the iPhone 5S or Nokia Lumia 1020, but it’s fine for everyday shots.
The Galaxy Express 2 comes equipped with NFC for transferring data just by tapping your phone against another. Which is pretty impressive for a mid-range effort like this.
The Galaxy Express 2 is 4G capable. At the moment the handset is exclusive to Vodafone, so you can browse and download much quicker using its LTE network.
Provided you’re somewhere with coverage, that is. (At the moment, Vodafone’s 4G network covers London, Birmingham, Coventry, Leicester, Nottingham, Sheffield, Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester.)
Using the Speedtest.net app, we scored a download speed of 15.72Mbps. Compare that to 11.43Mbps using a different handset on T-Mobile’s 3G network, and you’ll see it’s not a massive difference. But you’ll notice it if you’re downloading a lot on the go.
In terms of battery life, the Galaxy Express 2 is solid but not remarkable. It was ready for recharging after a day’s fairly intensive use, which is about par for the course nowadays.
So, should you buy the Galaxy Express 2? It performs well, and seeing as it’s free on contracts starting at £21 a month, it’s not going to break the bank.
For that price you could get a Nexus 5 though, or for a tenner less a month, you could opt for the Motorola Moto G.
Neither the Nexus 5 nor Moto G is locked to Vodafone either. Though the Galaxy Express 2 should come to other networks at some point in the future.
So overall, it’s not a bad phone at all. It’s just there are better handsets to be had at this price.
The review unit of the Samsung Galaxy Expess 2 was provided by Vodafone