Samsung Galaxy S Duos review: S goes Dual
Gallery and file browser
The Samsung Galaxy S Duos comes with the default ICS Gallery. It opens up in Albums view, which is what we're used to seeing - it lists all folders with photos in the phone. Rather than the familiar stacks, the app uses a grid of photos, two on a line.
Besides, Album view, photos are sorted by Location, Time, Person (photos with tagged faces) and Group.
Getting inside an album displays all the photos in a rectangular grid, which is horizontally scrollable. When you try to scroll past the end, the photo thumbnails will tilt to remind you you're at the end.
When viewing a single photo, you'll find several sharing shortcuts and a delete button above the photo, while below is a line of small thumbnails of all other photos in the album. You can tap those small thumbnails to move to other images or you can just swipe to the side.
The Gallery also supports highly customizable slideshows with several effects to choose from, customizable music and speed. You can also highlight specific images to be included in the slideshow.
The My Files app hasn't changed really - it is an efficient and simple to use file manager. It can move, copy, lock and rename files in bulk, even send multiple files to another phone. My files will only browse the memory card and the large internal storage (it can't access the system drive).
TouchWiz music player goes after Walkman
The Samsung Galaxy S Duos uses an updated version of the TouchWiz music player. Samsung has enabled equalizer presets (including a custom one) along with the sound-enhancing SoundAlive technology, which features 7.1 channel virtualization. Samsung uses SoundAlive in some of their MP3 and Android-powered media players.
Music is sorted into various categories, but the most interesting one is called Music square - it's quite similar to the SensMe feature of Sony Ericsson phones. It automatically rates a song as exciting or calm, passionate or joyful and plots those songs on a square (hence the name).
From here, you can highlight an area of the square and the phone will automatically build a playlist of songs that matches your selection. For example, if you highlight the upper part of the square the selected songs will be exciting and if your selection is centered around the lower right corner, the selected songs will be calm and joyful.
You can swipe the album art left and right to move between songs. You can also put the phone face down to mute the sound or place your palm over the screen to pause playback.
Samsung have put a lite version of the video player from its flagship Galaxy S III onto the Galaxy S Duos. As a result, the device has easily one of the best video players around and is packed with various options.
The grid view, unlike the Galaxy S III, doesn't have the live thumbnails, as the S Duos lacks the brute quad-core power needed to support them. Instead, Samsung has replaced them with statics thumbnails, which do the job just fine.
The video player lets you choose between three crop modes for how the video fits the screen. The same SoundAlive audio-enhancing technology is available here too.
The video player lets you squeeze out the best viewing experience from the large, high-res screen. You can adjust video brightness, color tone and enable outdoor visibility too.
The video player had absolutely no trouble with any of the files we threw at it - starting with .WMV, through .AVI (DivX and XviD) and .MP4 to .MKV (H.264). The latter had some problems playing files with HD and full HD resolutions, though.
The Samsung Galaxy S Duos also made a good impression when it offered a list of subtitles and let us pick. Most players look for a file with the exact same name as the video file (save for the extension), which means quite often you have to rename the subtitle file to match the video file just so that the player will show you subtitles.
The Samsung Galaxy S Duos is equipped with an FM radio with RDS too. The interface is simple - there's a tuning dial and you can save as many as 8 stations as favorites. You can also listen on the loudspeaker, but the headset is still needed as it acts as the antenna. You can record radio broadcasts as well.
Decent audio output
The Samsung Galaxy S Duos did decently well in our audio quality test. It's by far not the most talented musician around but, it should still please everyone, but the most demanding audiophiles.
The Galaxy S Duos got some pretty good scores in the active external amplifier part of our test. The only two weak points of its performance were the cut-off extreme bass frequencies and the slightly higher than average intermodulation distortion. The rest of the readings were quite good, while the volume levels were about average.
There is relatively little degradation when headphones come into play. The stereo crosstalk spikes and the intermodulation distortion rises a bit, but that's about it.
And here come the full results so you can see for yourselves:
|Test||Frequency response||Noise level||Dynamic range||THD||IMD + Noise||Stereo crosstalk|
|HTC Desire V||+0.13, -1.26||-85.9||88.3||0.031||0.174||-83.0|
|HTC Desire V (headphones attached)||+0.16, -1.53||-85.7||88.2||0.025||0.211||-64.8|
|HTC Desire C||+0.14, -1.14||-87.3||88.8||0.019||0.127||-84.5|
|HTC Desire C (headphones attached)||+0.48, -0.79||-87.4||88.7||0.025||0.205||-79.9|
Samsung Galaxy S Duos frequency response
You can learn more about the whole testing process here.