The Samsung Galaxy Ace joins an increasingly busy mid-range Android crowd. It may not have the latest technology, but it also won’t break the bank. How do price and features balance out, and how does it compare to older phones with bigger specs?
What we like
It’s easy to get the Galaxy Ace confused with last year’s Galaxy S; they’re the spitting image of each other. Get closer and you’ll realise that the Galaxy Ace is actually a bit smaller, and in the hand feels lighter. Many looking for a lightweight, pocketable smartphone will find the Galaxy Ace fits the bill.
The styling, with a textured backing that borrows design cues from Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S2, belies the mid-range pricing of the Galaxy. It looks like a high-end handset.
Running Android 2.2, with a good processor behind it, the Ace can run most Android apps, and the 3.5-inch screen is plenty for using apps, web-browsing and touch-typing.
Being a Samsung phone, there’s also Swype - a clever keyboard where you slide your finger from letter to letter. Once you get the hang of it, typing texts and emails is a breeze.
You can pack out the Galaxy Ace with plenty of apps and games from the Android Market too. Create and login with a Google account, and you’ll soon have a multi-functional smartphone, with official social network apps, photo editing, video-players and more. Your Google Account includes Gmail, and you can sync up your contacts through Google for back-up.
The Galaxy Ace arrived with a 2GB microSD card, which is a nice bonus, and gives you plenty of space to download and try a handful of apps. In the box, there’s also a glossy white back cover replacement.
The loudspeaker is suitably... loud, and call quality was good, although there is no noise-cancelling software like that found on pricier models. The Galaxy Ace also follows the Samsung design trend of putting the screen-lock/power-off on the right side of the phone, somewhere that makes a lot more sense than the very top of the phone.
What we don’t like
Although the Galaxy Ace runs Android 2.2 Froyo, which can run the majority of apps available from the Android, it isn’t the very latest version. This is disappointing, given that similarly priced rivals, like the HTC Wildfire S, arrive with Android 2.3 Gingerbread straight out of the box.
We hope that the Galaxy Ace will benefit from a belated update, but Samsung are typically often slow to update their existing phones.
Being cheaper than the Galaxy S, this has meant you won’t find Samsung’s highly-rated AMOLED screen, and the Galaxy Ace’s display pales in comparison. Although quite sharp, colours are a bit weedy on both video and photos. Again, other mid-range phones and older phones show up the Ace's screen.
Another thing that detracts from a generally classy-looking phone is the microsSD slot, which is covered by a flimsy swing-out flap. We doubt many people need instant access to their microSD card; that’s why most phones have them hidden (and protected) behind the back casing. You'll also probably need to keep the microSD constantly inside the Ace, as it only has a tiny 158MB storage built-in.
The Galaxy Ace is a great mid-range smartphone, and is one of the best-looking mid-priced smartphones we’ve seen. It has all the features you’d expect from an Android phone, although it lacks the very latest version, Android Gingerbread, and the faster internet browser and other enhancements it brings.
The Galaxy Ace is also competing against older models, with bigger screens, and more powerful insides, whose prices are tumbling, but it stands up well against its rivals. If you’re looking for a more petite Android phone, the Galaxy Ace is a good choice, and perhaps one of the best mid-range phones for this price.
Check out our Samsung Galaxy Ace Tips and Tricks guide to get the most out of your Galaxy Ace.