Samsung Galaxy Core review: Two for one

GSMArena team, 27 August 2013.
Pages: 1234567891011

Tags: Samsung, Android

S Voice and Google Now

Samsung released S Voice as an answer to Siri before Google came out with its own solution in Google Now. S Voice is the culmination of Samsung's ongoing effort at integrating voice commands into the Android experience, an effort which goes back to the days of Vlingo. You may remember the voice activation (saying "Hi Galaxy" to trigger S Voice).

S Voice can do the usual - search the web, make calls, send texts (which Android natively supports and so does Vlingo), but you can also use it instead of the notification area toggles, answer or reject incoming calls, start the camera and take a photo, control the music player and FM radio and stop or snooze alarms all with voice commands.

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S Voice has plenty of options

It's also a tool for quickly looking up facts - it's powered by Wolfram Alpha (which handles some of Siri's answers too). It has an enormous database covering topics ranging from Culture and Media to Physics. S Voice can also be used as a calculator.

Samsung has decided to keep S Voice alongside Google's solution as the two do differ in functionality. Jelly Bean has the unspoken Google Now info cards, but it also brought Google's Knowledge Graph, which can answer factual questions.

Google Voice Actions can handle stuff like sending messages (SMS or email), initiating a voice call, asking for directions, taking a note or opening a site. Since the latest update came, Google Now can also launch apps, check and manage your calendar and look for nearby places of interest and stuff like movie openings in theaters.

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Asking Google's Knowledge Graph a question

One big advantage of Google's Jelly Bean is that the voice typing functionality doesn't require an internet connection to work. You can enter text by speaking anywhere you can use the on-screen keyboard - be it the Messaging app or a note taking app - without the need for a data connection as long as you have pre-downloaded the needed language packs (and those only take about 20-25MB of your storage per pack).

Making voice typing available offline also made it faster as it's not dependent on your connection. What's even more impressive is that the transition hasn't cost it anything in terms of accuracy.

Synthetic benchmarks

The Samsung Galaxy Core is built with the purpose of being light on the wallet and that includes skimping on a powerful chipset. The SoC in charge is the Snapdragon S4 Play and it features two 1.2 GHz Cortex-A5 cores alongside 1 GB of RAM and the Adreno 203 graphics processing unit.

BenchmarkPi and Linpack focus on the chipset's processing abilities, testing single-core and multi-core performance respectively. Here the Cortex-A5s unexpectedly failed to impress.

Benchmark Pi

Lower is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
    166
  • Sony Xperia Z
    264
  • HTC Butterfly
    266
  • Oppo Find 5
    267
  • HTC One X+
    280
  • LG Optimus G
    285
  • HTC One mini
    293
  • Samsung Galaxy Express
    346
  • Sony Xperia M
    400
  • Samsung Galaxy S II Plus
    409
  • Sony Xperia L
    435
  • Samsung Galaxy S III mini
    499
  • Sony Xperia go
    543
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    554
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    578
  • HTC Desire X
    639
  • Sony Xperia E dual
    800
  • Samsung Galaxy Young
    831

Linpack

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4
    788
  • HTC One
    646
  • Sony Xperia Z
    630
  • HTC Butterfly
    624
  • LG Optimus G
    608
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
    413
  • Sony Xperia SP
    348
  • HTC One mini
    320
  • Nexus 4
    213.5
  • Sony Xperia L
    191
  • HTC One X+
    177
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    175
  • Sony Xperia M
    168.3
  • HTC One X
    160
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    141
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    107.7
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    85

Geekbench 2 test out the CPU performance as well as memory performance. Here the Galaxy Core managed to come in last - far behind the quad-core Desire 600.

Geekbench 2

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4
    3227
  • HTC One
    2708
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2173
  • HTC Butterfly
    2143
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
    1937
  • Sony Xperia SP
    2105
  • LG Optimus G
    1723
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    1661
  • iPhone 5
    1601
  • HTC One mini
    1417
  • Sony Xperia L
    1073
  • Sony Xperia M
    973
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    970
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    678

AnTuTu and Quadrant are compound benchmark, giving the CPU, GPU and memory a run. The Galaxy Core outpaced the Galaxy Xcover 2 in this test but couldn't muster enough to match better spec'd competitors.

AnTuTu

Higher is better

  • HTC One
    22678
  • Sony Xperia Z
    20794
  • Oppo Find 5
    15167
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
    14518
  • HTC Butterfly
    12631
  • HTC One mini
    11434
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    11203
  • Sony Xperia M
    9902
  • Sony Xperia L
    9746
  • Nokia Lumia 620
    9140
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    7408
  • Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2
    6650

Quadrant

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
    7153
  • HTC One mini
    6048
  • Sony Xperia V
    5816
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    5053
  • Samsung Galaxy Express
    4998
  • Sony Xperia L
    4279
  • Sony Xperia M
    4147
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    3152

The Adreno 203 is among the lowest-powered GPUs around but it's still worth checking out what it can do in the big boys' benchmarks so here go the GLBenchmark Egypt 2.5 and T-Rex 2.7 in 1080p offscreen - meaning we test raw processing power, rather than real-life performance. As expected the Galaxy Core failed pretty miserably here.

GLBenchmark 2.5 Egypt (1080p off-screen)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    43
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    41
  • Google Nexus 4
    32
  • Sony Xperia Z
    31
  • Sony Xperia SP
    31
  • Apple iPhone 5
    30
  • LG Optimus G
    21
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
    17
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
    17
  • HTC One mini
    15
  • Sony Xperia M
    12
  • HTC One X
    11
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    4.5

GLBenchmark 2.7 T-Rex (1080p off-screen)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    17.1
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    17.1
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 Active
    16
  • LG Optimus G
    13.9
  • Sony Xperia Z
    13.5
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
    6.4
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
    6.3
  • HTC One mini
    5.6
  • Sony Xperia M
    4.7
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    1.5

Epic Citadel is rendered on-screen meaning it also factors in screen resolution. The Samsung Galaxy Core offered a framerate that's borderline playable, suggesting it can't really handle heavier games.

Epic Citadel

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (Octa)
    59.8
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (S600)
    57.1
  • HTC One
    56.4
  • HTC One mini
    56
  • Sony Xperia Z
    55.6
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
    55.5
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
    54.7
  • Nexus 4
    53.9
  • Asus Padfone 2
    53.4
  • Sony Xperia M
    53.2
  • LG Optimus G
    52.6
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
    41.3
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    24.9

Moving on to JavaScript and HTML 5 performance. SunSpider gives JavaScript the rundown, BrowserMark 2 is HTML 5-focused while Vellamo centers on both.

JavaScript performance was middling although it managed to surpass some more expensive droids, while HTML 5 performance was along the same lines.

SunSpider

Lower is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
    1185
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 Active
    1196
  • HTC One mini
    1237
  • HTC 8S
    1413
  • Nokia Lumia 620
    1435
  • Samsung Galaxy Express
    1654
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    1660
  • Sony Xperia M
    1867
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    2197
  • HTC Desire X
    2259
  • Sony Xperia L
    2539
  • Sony Xperia E dual
    2824
  • Sony Xperia J
    2853
  • Samsung Galaxy Young
    3578

The Vellamo scores was in line with the rest of the web browsing benches.

BrowserMark 2

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
    2314
  • HTC One
    2262
  • Sony Xperia Tablet Z
    2170
  • HTC One mini
    2164
  • Sony Xperia V
    1957
  • Sony Xperia L
    1809
  • Sony Xperia M
    1642
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    1592
  • HTC 8S
    1556
  • Nokia Lumia 620
    1469
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    1469
  • Samsung Galaxy Express
    1154
  • Sony Xperia E
    992
  • Sony Xperia E dual
    975
  • Samsung Galaxy Young
    908
  • Samsung Galaxy S III mini
    714

Vellamo

Higher is better

  • Sony Xperia SP
    2497
  • HTC One
    2382
  • HTC One mini
    2252
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2189
  • Samsung Galaxy S4
    2060
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 mini
    2019
  • HTC Butterfly
    1866
  • Sony Xperia M
    1800
  • Sony Xperia L
    1640
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    1572
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    1568
  • LG Optimus G
    1522
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    1366
  • Nexus 4
    1310
  • Samsung Galaxy Fame
    1234
  • Samsung Galaxy Young
    1072
  • Sony Xperia E dual
    1065

As you can see, the Galaxy Core is far from a powerhouse. It will get the job done as long as you are not in a hurry, but don't expect to be impressed by its gaming performance or loading times. The smartphone does quite decently at browsing the web, though.

Of course, you should keep in mind that the devices atop the lists were, in each and every case, far more expensive so it's only natural that they would be superior in terms of hardware.

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