Throughout our examination of the I8730 Galaxy Express, we've touched again and again on the dual-core processor under the hood. We've seen quite a lot of Samsung devices with the latest of Android on comparable screen sizes, but it's really the Krait CPU and the LTE connectivity that make the most significant difference here.
Granted, the camera department seems to be the major compromise in the Galaxy Express feature mix, but if camera performance is not critical to you, the Jelly Bean experience on the Krait processor is not something you should easily pass on. Battery performance was also top-notch - especially the standby times.
Yes, the Express's Krait processor is class-leading and hard to beat. The addition of LTE connectivity will help expand the smartphone portfolios of many European carriers, which are staking a lot on the LTE connectivity and need all the help they can get to make the service more desirable and accessible on more devices.
This combination makes recommending an alternative to the Galaxy Express quite hard. The Galaxy SII Plus will probably come really close once prices settle (the Galaxy Express is only now starting to make it to stores and is quite overpriced off-contract).
However the Galaxy Express almost reaches Tegra 3 performance levels in CPU-intensive tasks and is way ahead the SII Plus in this respect. The SII Plus however comes on top in graphics performance, not to mention it has a much better camera. The smaller screen can be an advantage or a disadvantage depending how you look at it. So in the end it all boils down to the LTE connectivity at a relatively affordable price (most LTE droids are high-end devices).
Looking to other manufacturers, why not go with the dual-core Krait pioneer - the HTC One S? With the One S you'll get a slightly smaller but higher-resolution screen covered in Gorilla Glass, double the onboard storage, a very capable 8MP camera with 1080p recording, and a more compact, lighter profile - only 7.8mm thick. You will be giving up on expandable storage, however, settling for a weaker, non-removable battery, and arguably a less complete Jelly Bean experience with Sense 4.0.
If the qHD Pentile AMOLED isn't your thing, you can check the recently released HTC One SV. It comes with the same chipset as the Galaxy Express and matches its internal storage and camera capabilities.
As you see, the I8730 Galaxy Express is a very solid offering from Samsung. It shows that Samsung can perfectly target competition-free market segments with great precision. Rather than throw in everything but the kitchen sink alongside the fast processor, they've given the Galaxy Express a good screen, a robust 2000 mAh battery and the trendy LTE connectivity. Carriers with budding LTE networks would love going after the Galaxy Express and Samsung will happily oblige. Buying one off contract however most probably won't be such a good deal for end users.
So if your carrier has already whipped an LTE network where you can experience the ultra fast data speeds, the Galaxy Express is a nice and rounded package with the latest Android OS. Without an LTE network and a carrier deal in sight, we can hardly recommend it. In the case the Galaxy SII Plus or the HTC One S are much better options, currently going for about €320 commitment free.