- ✓Large 6-inch IPS screen
- ✓Dual SIM slots
- ✓Case included
- ✓Affordable price
- ✕Moderate screen resolution
- ✕Short on internal storage
- ✕Suffers from software bloat
- ✕No LTE support
Now that the leading Android smartphone vendors have all launched large-screen 'phablets', lesser-known players are following suit. One of the latest to hit the UK market is from relative newcomer Prestigio, whose MultiPhone 7600 Duo has a 6-inch screen.
The MultiPhone 7600 Duo has a few interesting features that help it stand out, including dual SIM slots, NFC support and a pair of high-resolution cameras. Then there's the £249 (inc. VAT; £207.50 ex. VAT) price, which is competitive for a large-screen phablet.
There's nothing special about the design of the MultiPhone 7600 Duo, which is a conventional-looking device with rounded corners and touch-sensitive Home, Back and Recent buttons beneath the screen.
Rather annoyingly, the MicroUSB charging/PC connection port is on the top edge. We prefer this on the bottom edge, where it doesn't interfere with taking calls or using the screen when the handset is charging. The headset jack is also on top edge, where we prefer it.
Prestigio has put the power button and volume rocker on the left edge, where both sit very nicely under the thumb when you hold the device in your left hand. We prefer a side location for the power button on larger devices, as it can be difficult to access one-handed when placed on the top of the chassis.
The grey backplate, which has a slightly rubbery finish, houses two lozenge-shaped speaker grilles at the bottom and the camera/flash unit at the top. There's also a small NFC marker and Prestigio's distinctive shiny silver branding.
In a welcome throwback to earlier times, Prestigio supplies a flip case with the MultiPhone 7600 Duo. The phone is held in place firmly by grips along its long edges, and there's a fold halfway along the back of the case that allows it to double as a stand. The velvety finish to the screen cover section means you can prop the phablet at whatever angle is appropriate for viewing. It's a nice idea and it works well, but the volume and power buttons are on the wrong edge of the handset and are inaccessible — they sit against the case rather than facing upwards where you can press them.
The case distracts the eye from the fact that, at just 8.4mm, this is quite a thin 6-inch handset. The screen surround is nowhere near a 'zero bezel' design, but the MultiPhone 7600 Duo's footprint of 84.4mm by 166.5mm is not overbearing. Nor is it overly heavy at 191g.
That 6-inch screen is an IPS panel with good viewing angles, but its 720-by-1,280-pixel resolution is not wonderful (Prestigio has had to make some component cost savings to achieve the MultiPhone 7600 Duo's affordable price). The display quality is acceptable, although text can become quite fuzzy at smaller sizes.
This handset's large screen size means the on-screen keyboard can accommodate a separate number row, which makes typing a lot more efficient than long-pressing keys to access numbers. If you need to edit or create documents on your mobile, a bigger-screened device — even with moderate resolution — is useful.
The Prestigio MultiPhone 7600 Duo is powered by a 1.5GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6589T ARM Cortex-A7 processor with 1GB of RAM in support.
The headline specifications include dual SIM slots and NFC support. The SIM1 slot is full size, while SIM2 takes a Micro-SIM. This is a useful arrangement that we've not seen before, as it allows people with only one SIM of either size to swap to the handset easily, leaving the other slot free for a temporary SIM bought while on your travels. This is a 3G handset, incidentally — there's no LTE support.
The MultiPhone 7600 Duo has a 13-megapixel rear camera and an unusually high-resolution 8-megapixel front-facing camera. Both support a range of shooting modes and features, including the popular must-have HDR, which tries to compensate for extremes of light and shade in a scene to produce a balanced image.
What lets this handset down is its internal storage complement — just 4GB — and application overload. Presgitio's rather heavy-handed approach to the latter does no favours to the former.
As usual with Prestigio, you're offered the chance to augment Android 4.2 by installing (or not installing) a number of applications as part of the startup process. Business users might not be too enamoured of the games — Asphalt 6, Modern Combat 4, Wonder Zoo or the NARR8 interactive and content-rich stories app. They may, however, be more impressed with the option to install Navitel Navigator, a point-to-point satnav app that's free for 30 days, along with McAFee Antivirus & Security.
We ignored these downloads and the handset went on to automatically install a range of other apps including several games, a useful wi-fi and Bluetooth printing app called PrintHand, Chrome, a currency converter, Google Translate, QR Droid, Skype and several others.
When we got into the apps drawer we found a significant number of other preinstalled apps, including OfficeSuite Pro (which allows you to create MS-Office-compatible documents), Prestigio's own eReader app (which links into an online book store with plenty of free ebooks), a torch app and the Opera browser (which, along with Chrome and the Android browser gives you three web browsing options). Some of these can be uninstalled if you wish to free up a maximum of 0.98GB of storage.
You may wish to consider doing this, because fresh out of the box our review device had just 1.3GB of internal storage free (out of 4GB in all). Fortunately there's a MicroSD card slot under the backplate, although you'll need to remove the battery to access the slot so hot-swapping is out of the question.
The dual SIM configuration works well. When you switch on for first use the first thing you're told — even before setting the handset's language — is the default SIM settings. One SIM is the default for video calls, and you're asked which one to use for voice calls and messaging. Data connections are set to off. There's a link to allow you to change these settings immediately, or you can do so later in the handset's settings area.
The handset's 2,600mAh battery is not as powerful as some, and depending on your usage pattern it may not see you through a working day — Prestigio claims 14 hours of talk, 414h on standby, 33h of audio playback and 5h of internet surfing and video playback. Handsets with large screens lend themselves to more media consumption and data streaming than smaller phones, and if you use the MultiPhone 7600 Duo to its full potential you may well need to recharge towards the end of the day.
The Prestigio MultiPhone 7600 Duo has some compelling features, notably its flexible dual SIM support and 6-inch screen. The 8-megapixel front camera, NFC support and included screen/stand are also plus points. On the minus side, there's an imbalance between the paltry 4GB of internal storage and the generous software bundle, and the screen resolution is moderate considering its size. We'd have preferred a near-vanilla Android configuration with optional installation of all or most of the third-party apps. So although we like what Prestigio is trying to achieve here, it disappoints in several important places.