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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Prestigio MultiPhone PAP5000 DUO review: dual-SIM phone is bulky but cheap

We're starting to see more dual-SIM smartphones arriving in the UK. One of these is the Prestigio MultiPhone PAP5000 DUO Android phone so took it for a spin to find out more. See also: Group test: what's the best smartphone?

The MultiPhone PAP5000 DUO is priced attractively at just £149 but first you'll need to get past the squirm-inducing name. We'll swiftly move onto design and build.

Unlike the MobiWire Gemini (another dual-SIM phone), the PAP5000 DUO does stand out from the crown – but not for the right reasons. It's a brick of a phone and makes this year's big smartphones like the Galaxy S4 look small by comparison.

A 150mm height and 201g weight means the device is seriously cumbersome in the hand. It reminded us of a PDA from the 2000s.

Despite a plastic build, the PAP5000 DUO seems solid. It did feel like a smartphone you could throw around without worrying about it bending. Prestigio also includes a slip case.

For an inexpensive device, the PAP5000 has a reasonably up-to-date 1.2GHz ARM Cortex A9 dual-core processor. However, there's only 512MB memory and 4GB of storage. And less than 1GB is available to the user. You'll need to make use of the microSDXC card slot, and hold off installing large apps.

We were unable to install GeekBench 2 due to an unexplained storage error, but got similarly unimpressive benchmarks results as we did with the MobiWire Gemini in other tests. We recorded a slow 2010ms in SunSpider and a mere 4fps in GLBenchmark. In general use, running stock Android interface, the PAP 5000 didn't feel too sluggish.

A 5in screen matches some other Androids – but a resolution of 480 x 800 gives a low pixel density of 187ppi, making on-screen graphics and text look rough. Worse, a TN screen gives poor sideview visibility. You only need to come a few degrees, especially in the vertical plane, from looking straight-on to lose most of the screen's image.

Connectivity is basic, including single-band 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 and GPS. Micro-USB is strangely placed on top. The real connectivity strength is the dual-SIM slots acceptin two SIM cards at once.

They can be for two different network operators, or for use in two different countries. Like the MobiWire Gemini, if you're on call on one SIM then calls to the other will go to answerphone. We'd like to see better call handling.

A 5Mp rear and 0.3Mp front camera also match the spec of the MobiWire Gemini. Google's camera app works fine and has plenty of settings to play with but the resulting photos and video were disappointing. Still and video both lacked detail and stills were often out of focus. The camera didn't adapt well to changing light and proved jerky. In good conditions you may get the odd snap and video that look better.

With dual-SIMs you might want to use at least one to make video calls, but the front camera provides a lacklustre image and the placement of the lens means you're not framed properly when holding the phone in a natural position. It's worth noting that only the primary SIM slot supports 3G cellular data. The secondary slot is limited to pre-3G GSM cards.

Despite the budget price price and build, the PAP5000 DUO runs relatively recent Android 4.1 Jelly Bean from July 2012. It's mostly a stock interface with the addition of some handy quick settings in the notification bar.

The buttons below the screen are confusingly coded as Menu, Home, and Back, rather than the traditional Back, Home and Recent Apps. Viewing open apps is by long pressing the Home button.

Another oddity is that you can't open Google Now's search by swiping up from the screen bottom.

As a dual-SIM device, there's a SIM management section in Settings. Each SIM card can be labelled and colour coded so you know which one you're dealing with. You can also set a default SIM for voice calling, video calling, messaging and data if you wish. Alternatively, just choose which to use each time you make a call or send a text.

Prestigio has added a few of its own apps. We don't see the point of Gameloft Live, eReader Prestigio and Installer Prestigio because the Google Play Store does the same job better. However, the FM Radio, Flashlight and OfficeSuite Pro may prove handier.

We don't like the way the phone displays Prestigio adverts on boot up.

Prestigio touts an 'ultra-long battery life' from the 8.1Wh removable battery. However, after just 4 hours' of use we'd burnt 40 percent of juice, so it's possible the PAP5000 DUO won't last a day. We'd rather have the second battery which MobiWire includes with the Gemini. See also: Group test: what's the best Android phone?

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