In part 1 and 2 of this review I've been taking a look at the dual-SIM capabilities of this device for voice and data and came away quite impressed. Part 3 now concentrates on the Android experience on this smartphone. Can it really be good for 138 Euros (SIM free) including taxes? The quick answer is: YES!
Four years ago, I reviewed the Nokia 500, a 90 Euro S40 phone that at the time had email capabilities and worked quite well for browsing the net with Opera Mini. But there was no multitasking, no 3G, no Wi-Fi. A couple of years down the road and for a bit more you get a full Android 2.3 smartphone which works surprisingly well.
General UI and Web Browsing Experience
Despite 'only' having 384 MB RAM the applications I use on my other phones on a regular basis work surprisingly well. The general user interface is quick to react, perhaps a tick slower than on those high end Android based smartphones, and scrolling through the screens is fast and absolutely smooth. The stock Android browser works well for smaller web pages but becomes a bit slow on desktop geared pages with lots of pictures and scripts. I also had it crash on me a couple of times on such pages. So I put Opera Mobile on the device and the experience was fast, even when zooming into a full page and having text reformatting active and I didn't get a single crash over several days. Obviously the screen resolution of 320 x 240 pixels makes web browsing far less enjoyable than on super high end phones but again, we are talking about an entry level smartphone here.
I didn't use either Google's or Samsung's email client on the device but went straight to K9 my preferred open source and independent email program on Android. Works great, fast and pretty much the same way as on any other Android phone. 100% usable
Now video streaming must be a problem on such a cheap device, right!? Wrong, Youtube videos play smoothly without any issues over 3G, even when HQ mode is switched on. Very impressive!
O.k. so you can't play games with such a cheap device!? Wrong again, Angry Birds plays just fine. It takes a while to load, but once there, animation is absolutely smooth. Even more impressive.
Other Apps and Text Input
I also tried a couple of other apps I'm used to on Android such as the '3G Watchdog" to keep track of my cellular data use and to have a cellular data on/off switch on the idle screen. Also, my favorite German train table lookup and punctuality notifier app (DB Navigator) works as designed. Obviously multi tasking is limited with 384 MB of RAM so changing from one app to another has a fraction a second or so of delay involved which would not be there if the app would have still been running in the background. But quite frankly, not even my Android pad with 1 GB of RAM can keep the web browser and e-book reader in memory simultaneously (something that needs to be investigated…).
There's of course much more to be discovered such as for example how good the GPS receiver is in combination with Google maps, how good pictures are that are taken with the built in 3 megapixel camera are, etc. etc. but I'll keep that for another time. In general, however, the direction is clear. The low-budget end of mobile is evolving as rapidly as the high end. 5 years ago, the same amount of money bought you much less than today, certainly not a full fledged smartphone experience as you can have with this device today.
Take the Nokia N95 for example, one of the most advanced devices 5 years ago. It included most of the functionalities of the Samunsg 6102 Duos, but it didn't have a touchscreen and the CPU and graphics unit were much slower. Also, the N95 cost way more than the 139 Euro the Duos costs today. And the Single SIM variant of the device, the Samsung Galaxy Y costs even less than that. The only thing the N95 could probably do better was taking pictures…