Prestigio Multiphone 5550 Duo dual-SIM phone review

The Multiphone 5550 Duo from Prestigio is a 5.5in dual-SIM Android KitKat smartphone with a quad-core chip and 13Mp camera. It retails for a low, low price of just £135, and has great battery life. So what's the catch? Let's take a look to find out. See also: Best smartphones 2015.

(Prestigio now has a UK base, so despite its cheap price it isn't a grey-market import. But if you are considering purchasing a cheap phone from outside the EU, you should see our article: Grey market tech: the pros, cons & risks of buying from overseas.)

Prestigio Multiphone 5550 Duo review: build and design

A slab of black plastic fronted with Gorilla Glass 3, place the Multiphone 5550 Duo next to the also 5.5in LG G3 and you will immediately notice that the Prestigio phone is bulky. Big, even. It's a lot longer than is the LG G3, and also a lot thicker. Prestigio measures the Multiphone 5550 Duo at 9.2mm of thickness, and that certainly fits in with our own measurements.

It's not hugely heavy, though, weighing in at 166g. And it feels lighter because that weight is spread out over a comparitively large shell. But this is not a phone for small hands. A female colleague felt that she couldn't have the Prestigio Multiphone 5550 Duo as her primary handset for exactly that reason. But if you have bucket hands it won't be an issue.

Nor will it be a problem if you are clumsy. The Prestigio Multiphone 5550 Duo feels built to last. The entire front fascia is made of Corning Gorilla Glass 3, and the back and sides is of a metallic plastic composite. Despite regular drop tests, we couldn't mark either. It's a robust device. Which is interesting because the back peels off to reveal the two SIM slots, a memory card slot and the removeable battery. And on its own that backside feels thin and a little cheap. It does flex, however, which may be the secret of its success.

The front of the phone is overwhelmingly black, but the back panels come in a choice of Navy blue, Gunmetal and Graphite black. Which is nice.

Overall then the cheapness of the Prestigio Multiphone 5550 Duo is evidenced by its bulky nature. But it belies its budget status by being well put together.

Prestigio Multiphone 5550 Duo review: display

The Prestigio Multiphone 5550 Duo has a 5.5in IPS display, with a resolution of 1280x720. That makes for a pixel density of 267ppi. This is decidedly lower middle of the road these days, nothing like the mega sharpness of top of the shop models, but priced to match. And there is not a lot wrong with the Multiphone 5550 Duo's display. It's certainly not the brightest or sharpest, but it is colourful and plenty bright enough.

Prestigio Multiphone 5550 Duo

Photos can look a little hazy around the edges, and colours lack a little punch. Video is similar: okay without being earth shattering. In general navigation you notice a little pixelation around the edges of icons, and an occasional general feeling of, well, being-a-bit-wetness. There's occasional ghosting during transitions and interactions. It's not super impressive, but I prefer to it the overblown nature of colours in some more expensive OLEDs, for example.

In general it is a B- display. Definitely not great, but certainly not terrible. And exactly what you would expect at this price. (See also: Best budget smartphones of 2015: 14 best cheap phones you can buy in UK.)

Prestigio Multiphone 5550 Duo review: specs and performance

With a MediaTek MT6582 motherboard, the Multiphone 5550 Duo pairs a quad-core chip clocked at 1.3GHz with 1GB RAM. Performance is okay, if not brilliant. And something of a mixed bag. In general it feels like a responsive device, but more intense visual processes such as gaming are a little flat.

We would never rely entirely on synthetic benchmarks to judge the performance of any hardware device, but the Multiphone 5550 Duo's Geekbench 3 performance of 342 single core and 1087 multicore accurately reflects its standing in the modern smartphone world. It puts it in a similar bracket as the Motorola Moto G, or the original Nexus 7 tablet. Both excellent performers when you consider their budget prices, but nothing like as powerful as the big beast Android flagships. So it is with this handset.

Turning to graphics performance and we see something less impressive. The onboard GPU is no great shakes, and you shouldn't expect the Prestigio Multiphone 5550 Duo to be a gaming rig. In our GFX Benchmark we could run the T-Rex onscreen test, but a score of 392 frames at 7fps puts the Multiphone down among the dead men with handsets such as the Nokia Lumia 925 - a decent phone two years ago, but no-one's idea of a power graphics device.

We ran the Sunspider Javascript to test general responsiveness in the web browser, and returned a reasonable if not outstanding score of 1349ms. Again, this reflects our experience of a phone that is not noticeably snappy, but no-one's idea of a brick.

This handset is no-one's idea of a top performer. But it's as good as it needs to be at this price. (See also: What's the fastest smartphone 2015 UK?)

Prestigio Multiphone 5550 Duo review: battery life

One thing we love about the Prestigio Multiphone 5550 Duo is its excellent battery life. It's fitted with a 3000 mAH cell, and we found that it could easily last more than a day in use - sometimes getting closer to two days. And when we left it on but unused over the weekend, in 72 hours the battery only lost 10 percent of its charge. Impressive.

Prestigio Multiphone 5550 Duo review: connectivity and storage

Here is where the Prestigio Multiphone 5550 Duo starts to shine. It's headline feature is dual-SIM capability. You can load up the Prestigio Multiphone 5550 Duo with both a standard SIM and a Micro SIM. It doesn't take a Nano SIM (although you could always use an adaptor to put in either two Micro SIMs or a Nano SIM). Dual-SIM capability is great for people who regularly travel into different countries, or for those who wish to separate work- and personal use. It's not an entirely fair test, but we tried the Prestigio Multiphone 5550 Duo with two SIMs (both UK Three SIMS), and found it worked seamlessly.

Prestigio Multiphone 5550 Duo

Other connectivity options include a 32GB Micro SDHC card slot, and 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi. It is a Bluetooth 4.0 handset, but offers only 3G, and not 4G.

Onboard storage is a nominal 8GB, but in our experience this is very far from the truth. With only GeekBench and GFX Bench installed on top of the virgin phone, our Prestigio Multiphone 5550 Duo had only 4.86GB of available storage, and 3.58GB of this was free. You will need an SD card if this is your main phone.

The Prestigio Multiphone 5550 Duo connects and charges via Micro USB, and has a 3.5mm jack for your headphones. Other connectivity options include an FM radio, and GPS. There's no NFC. (See also: Best dual-SIM smartphones: 11 best phones into which you can put two SIM cards.)

Prestigio Multiphone 5550 Duo review: software

The Prestigio Multiphone 5550 Duo comes with Android 4.4 KitKat, and has full access to Google Play and all other features of recent Android. It is Prestigio's own version of Android, however, which may explain some of that storage hogging. The principle noticeable difference to vanilla Android is that the fonts and icons are all slightly different. And Prestigio includes a special, er, clock: designed I think to make the phone feel prestigious (geddit?). So that's nice.

More important are the myriad apps that were installed on my Prestigio Multiphone 5550 Duo as soon as it arrived. These include (takes deep breath): Battery Doctor, Booking.com, Deezer, eBay, Flashlight, and Prestigio's own eReader and News & Weather apps. There's also Prestigio Plaza - yes, Prestigio's own app- and hardware store. QuickSupport. Office Pro. Tap The Frog HD. All are present, all are taking up space.

More helpfully all the apps I have installed on my personal LG G3 installed when I synched my account - which is another reason for relative lack of available storage. But whichever way you look at it, Prestigio's installed Android is taking up at least 11GB of the nominal 16GB available. And probably around 1GB more. That's too much: if I want additional apps I will install them. I hate the way Android hardware makers do this, taking a cut to add in third-party apps and services - in a similar way to PC builders offsetting their costs with antivirus trials (and yes, McAfee can be found on the Prestigio Multiphone 5550 Duo). It is the hidden price of a cheap smartphone, and for many it will be a price too far.   (See also: Best Android smartphones of 2015: The 49 best Android phones you can buy.)

Prestigio Multiphone 5550 Duo review: cameras

The Prestigio Multiphone 5550 Duo has two cameras, a front-facing 2Mp device for selfies and a 13Mp rear-facing camera. More specifically, this main camera is an 8.0Mp sensor interpolated to 13Mp, AF with Sony IMX179 sensor. (See also: Best selfie smartphones of 2015: The 10 best phones for taking selfies.)

It's actually pretty decent. Not likely to replace your DSLR any time soon, but certainly a worthy smartphone camera. We've included test shots and video below so you can make up your own mind. Click the images to view them at full size.

Prestigio Multiphone 5550 Duo review: test shots

Prestigio Multiphone 5550 Duo review: cameras

Prestigio Multiphone 5550 Duo review: cameras

Prestigio Multiphone 5550 Duo review: cameras

this shot is taken at 4x zoom

Prestigio Multiphone 5550 Duo review: cameras

Prestigio Multiphone 5550 Duo review: extras

Nice extras include a two year warranty, and support via instant message and calls. See also: Best smartphones 2015.

Prestigio Multiphone 5550 Duo: Specs

  • 156x78x9.2mm
  • 155g
  • 5.5in 720x1280 IPS, Gorilla Glass 3 display
  • 1.3GHz MediaTek MTK6582
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 8GB onboard storage (< 5GB available), SD card slot takes 32GB card
  • Android 4.4 KitKat
  • 13Mp, 2Mp cameras
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • 802.11b/g/n
  • Micro USB
  • 3000 mAh li-ion battery
  • 156x78x9.2mm
  • 155g
  • 5.5in 720x1280 IPS, Gorilla Glass 3 display
  • 1.3GHz MediaTek MTK6582
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 8GB onboard storage (< 5GB available), SD card slot takes 32GB card
  • Android 4.4 KitKat
  • 13Mp, 2Mp cameras
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • 802.11b/g/n
  • Micro USB
  • 3000 mAh li-ion battery

OUR VERDICT

At this price it is hard to fail. The Prestigio Multiphone 5550 Duo is no-one's idea of a flagship phone, but it offers a great feature set, in a well-built shell. Performance is mediocre in places, but battery life is great. And if you need a dual-SIM phone, this is a great and inexpensive option. For a budget dual-SIM phone the Prestigio Multiphone 5550 Duo is a winner. Just make sure you buy an SD card.

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