Review: Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime for Cricket Wireless
The Galaxy Grand Prime runs Android 4.4 KitKat with Samsung's TouchWiz UI on top. The only lock screen shortcut takes you to the camera (even if the phone is locked.) The TouchWiz lockscreen also displays a clock, live weather, and select notifications if you choose.
There are three home screen panels activated by default, and Cricket left one of them blank. The panels hold an average assortment of apps and widgets from Cricket, but not an egregious numer. The permanent dock can hold up to four app shortcuts and access to the full app menu.
The app menu is somewhat flexible. The default view is a grid of apps arranged alphabetically. Apps can be arranged in any order you wish or dropped into folders, but the phone doesn't include a list view. You can hide apps that you know you won't use, but you cannot delete the ones it comes with.
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The pull-down notification shade provides access to the screen brightness tool, full settings menu, and, of course, alerts. It also includes toggles for the different radios on the device, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS. Unlike some Samsung phones, you can't arrange the toggles on the Grand Prime; moreover, only a small handful of toggles are available.
The settings menu is colorful and lengthy, as per usual on a Samsung phone. All of the items are arranged in bunches, with networks and connections lumped together at the top, followed by device, personal and system tools.
Oddly, the Grand Prime does not offer Samsung's Easy Mode for beginners.
In terms of performance, the Grand Prime was not the fastest I've tested. The phone uses Qualcomm's Snapdragon 410 processor with four cores at 1.2 GHz each and 1 GB of RAM. I was expecting slightly better performance than what the Grand Prime delivered, though it's not fair to call the Grand Prime a slug. Don't be surprised if you notice some stuttering from time to time, or experience apps that are slow to open up. That's all.
Calls and Contact
The phone app has a large software dialpad with tabs that run across the top for accessing the call history, favorites, and contacts. Like many Samsung handsets, it offers some advanced features. For example, you can turn on/off noise reduction, (which dampens background noise so you can hear more easily,) as well as set your own call-rejection messages, and control how the phone answers/ends calls.
The contacts app is accessible either from the phone app itself or via the stand-alone icon. The Grand Prime syncs with multiple online platforms (Google, Outlook, etc.) and lets you select which set of contacts are visible at any given moment. The contact app works well with the phone and messaging apps and offers plenty of fields to cram full of details.
The Grand Prime's messaging apps are limited to those supplied by Google. It ships with Gmail, email, Messages, Hangouts, and Google+. I really like the current version of Gmail, but the older email app works, too. The messages app for SMS is outdated. I'd skip it and use either the newer Google Messenger app (free from Play Store) or Google Hangouts. Hangouts can handle SMS and IM, but does a mixed job of it and takes some getting used to. It's not perfect, but at least you can mix two messaging styles in a single app.
Facebook and Twitter are not pre-installed.
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