Samsung’s Galaxy line grows with four new entry-level Android phones

Samsung announced four additions to its line of Galaxy smartphones on Monday and all of them are aimed at both first-time smartphone buyers as well as those on a budget. The company didn’t share pricing details for the Galaxy Core II, Galaxy Star 2, Galaxy Ace 4, and Galaxy Young 2 but looking at the specifications, you can guess that Samsung means to compete harder for the low-cost phone market, which is the fastest growing smartphone segment. All four devices will ship with Android(s goog) 4.4 and Samsung’s TouchWiz software.

The Galaxy Core II has the fastest processor — a 1.2 GHz quad-core chip — and with a 4.5-inch WVGA display, has the largest screen in the bunch as well. Internal storage is only 4 GB but can be expanded up to 64 GB through a memory card. The phone supports HSPA networks up to 21 Mbps and has 768 megabytes of memory.  GPS, Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n round out the connectivity functions while a pair of camera sensors — 5- and 0.3-megapixels — handle imagery.

Galaxy Core 2

Samsung’s Galaxy Ace 4 is slightly smaller with a 4-inch WVGA screen. The phone uses either a dual-core 1.2 GHz or dual-core 1 GHz chip, depending on model. The former is available with the LTE version of the Ace 4 that includes 1 GB of memory while the slower chip is paired with 512 MB of memory in an HSPA (21 Mbps) edition. Both share the same specs after that: 4 GB of storage, expandable up to 64 GB, GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct support and the same camera sensors as the Galaxy Core II.

Galaxy Ace 4

The Galaxy Young brings a 3.5-inch HVGA screen to the mix, along with a single-core 1 GHz processor and 512 MB of memory. The same 4 GB of internal storage as other models applies here but you can only expand that to 32 GB. This phone is for HSPA networks only and swaps out A-GPS for standard location help. Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n are maintained however. Gone is the front-facing camera and the rear sensor can only capture images up to 3 megapixels in resolution.

Galaxy Young

Last is the Galaxy Star 2, which isn’t more more than a glorified feature phone by comparison. It has the same 3.5-inch HVGA screen as the Galaxy Young, as well as a single-core 1 GHz chip, but doesn’t include any true mobile broadband to speak of. Samsung simply lists the GSM frequencies so you’ll likely be on Wi-Fi for most of your browsing or downloading. Again, there’s no front-facing camera and the rear sensor tops out at 2 megapixels. Like the Young the phone has Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n; there’s no GPS of any kind, however. The Star 2 also has 512 megabytes of memory and 4 GB of internal storage with 32 GB expansion capabilities.

Galaxy Star 2

Without pricing it’s difficult to see how the new Galaxy’s face off against other recent entry-level smartphones. Nokia’s Lumia 630 running Windows Phone 8.1(s msft) starts at $159 while the Moto E is $129. I anticipate one or perhaps two of these Samsung phones to be around those prices. I do wonder if they’ll be good value, however. The competing entry level phones I mention provide a pretty good experience and have better hardware than what Samsung is using. These will also go head-to-head with the sub-$100 phones announced last week as part of Google’s Android One initiative. There may not be enough room in the Galaxy for Samsung’s latest.