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Samsung Galaxy Grand 2 is a mid-range Note 3-alike

It lacks high-flying hardware, but this 5.25-inch smartphone could appeal to those shopping for a big-screen phone.

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Luke Westaway
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Luke Westaway

Senior editor

Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.

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Samsung's made another big smart phone! Are you surprised? Nah, neither are we. The Galaxy Grand 2 has a 5.25-inch display and looks remarkably similar to the Note 3. It was announced back in November, but we've only just had a chance to go hands-on, at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Read on for our first impressions.

Samsung Galaxy Grand 2 shows off Note 3-esque style (pictures)

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Grand designs

In fact, I suspect Samsung has aimed this mobile squarely at those who like the look of the Galaxy Note 3 but don't have loads of cash to splash on the company's more exotic devices. Around the back of the Grand 2 you'll find the plastic leather-effect and pretend stitching that we first saw on the third Note for example, while the phone's large size should appeal to those who long to possess plenty of screen real-estate.

The display's resolution isn't as high as that of the Note 3 however. The Grand 2 packs a 1,280x720 pixel count, which is a decent resolution, but not quite as pin-sharp as the 1080p screens you'll find on the most high-end of mobiles.

That said, I found the Grand 2's display perfectly easy on the eye. It's very bright and colourful, with movies and photos firing out of the screen with a pleasing punch. Samsung is really good at making phone displays, and the Grand 2's is just as vivid as we've come to expect.

Quad-core power

The Grand 2 has a quad-core processor, clocked at 1.2GHz. Other phones have more powerful chips, but I suspect this processor will prove more than capable of handling high-resolution video, and the odd bit of gaming. Gliding through menus and home screens feels very slick, and I didn't notice any lag or stutter.

On the back of the Grand 2 there's an 8-megapixel camera. Sensor resolution alone is rarely a good indicator of a camera's power to capture great images, so stay tuned for the full review to find out what kind of photos the Grand 2 can produce. One thing we do know however is that Samsung has loaded this phone with its usual assortment of camera modes, including the oddly-named Beauty Face, which ruthlessly smooths away any imperfections the camera perceives on your (already lovely, I'm sure) face. 'Best Face', 'Best Photo', and 'Continuous Shot' are also on board.

Speaking of overwhelming varieties of software, the Grand 2 is also packed with Samsung apps, including Story Album, S Translator, S Travel, Samsung Hub, and Samsung Link. How many of these bespoke apps you'll really use is definitely up for debate -- with the new Galaxy S5 for instance, Samsung has tried to simplify its interface a bit, suggesting that most customers haven't enjoyed being swamped with apps they may never even open.

No 4G, but dual-SIM

One definite downside to the Galaxy Grand 2 is that there's no LTE support, so you'll be relegated to 3G speeds when it comes to mobile data and downloads. On the plus side, there's dual-SIM support for those who regularly need access to two different SIM-cards.

Outlook

The Galaxy Grand 2 doesn't exactly blow us off our feet, with all of its hardware and features already present on plenty of other Samsung phones. Samsung's strategy however is to provide a smartphone for everyone -- no matter where you are, or how much you have to spend. If you can't quite afford the pricey Note 3 but want a big-screen phone, this could be worth considering, but wait for our full review -- where we'll calculate whether the Grand 2 is good value compared to rival mid-range smartphones.

Are you tempted by the Galaxy Grand 2? Let me know in the comments below.

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