- Build quality
- Bright, vibrant screen
- Expandable & well connected
- Outdated Android version
- Experience feels tired
- Pentile display pattern visible
The Samsung Galaxy S Advance is a reprise of the Seminal Samsung Galaxy, the legendary precursor to both the Galaxy S2 and Galaxy S3. It's been repackaged with a new stylised chassis, re-purposed with a dual-core processor and re-targeted at the fashion conscious user who doesn't want anything bigger than 4-inches in their pocket or purse. So with style, performance & price of around £300, is the Samsung Galaxy S Advance a worthy up-spec?
Samsung Galaxy S Advance: Design
When it comes to the Samsung Galaxy S Advance's look and feel, the refresh has resulted in a more characteristic overall design. It's got a more angular reverse and is, dare we say it, less iPhoney.
The front is similar to original with its clean black fascia, centrally located physical button and Samsung insignia up top. It also bears the Galaxy series' trademark rounded corners and chrome trimmings. There's no camera button around the sides, with ports being limited to a micro USB and a 3.5mm headphone jack at the bottom.
Flip the phone round and you're treated to a stylised battery cover & camera mount which juts out to create something of a wedge shaped profile.
For many, 4-inch screened devices are the sweet spot of mobile touch-screen telephony and the Samsung Galaxy S Advance affirms this with a good feel in the hand, strong look and pocketable size.
Samsung Galaxy S Advance: Screen
The Samsung Galaxy S Advance's screen measures the same 4-inches of its predecessor and offers the same WVGA resolution and Super AMOLED technology. This results in a good size for thumb typing in both portrait and landscape, bright and saturated colours and deep non-light emitting blacks. Viewing angles are fantastic in terms of sheer detail, though some colour distortion is present. The S Advance isn't the sharpest phone out there with pixel density not quite masking the pentile screen tech, but this isn't too noticeable unless looking at the phone up close.
Samsung Galaxy S Advance: User Interface
The Samsung Galaxy S Advance is powered by Google's Android, on top of which is Samsung's user interface, TouchWiz 4.0. It's practically Identical to the Samsung Galaxy S2 Gingerbread version with a variable number of home screens you can zip through, widgets aplenty and full access to Google's Play store for a great app selection out of the box. Unfortunately, the lack of both Ice Cream Sandwich and a new TouchWiz is a huge blow for the S Advance making the experience off the bat feel tired and overly familiar.
You'll find some preinstalled software from Samsung on board including their hubs - Samsung Hub, Social Hub, Music Hub and Game Hub. Aside from Social Hub which aggregates your messages, these help you get content onto your Galaxy S Advance easily.
Polaris Office is included so you can edit basic Word and Excel documents on the go, and if you're feeling really adventurous there's even a photo editor so you can correct your pictures on the fly.
Samsung Galaxy S Advance: Camera
Speaking of pictures, there's a 5-megapixel camera loaded on the Samsung Galaxy S Advance with Samsung's trademark camera user interface. It's simple to operate & customisable with the left hand bar allowing you to swap out shortcuts of your choosing.
Quality is strong for a 5-megapixel camera phone with accurate colours and good detail. Noise builds up as the lights go down naturally though the flash is particularly bright - perfect for a spot of party picture taking - though stand back unless you want to wash out your subject. The Samsung Galaxy S Advance naturally won't provide the richness of detail found in the Samsung Galaxy S3 or the HTC One X but definitely holds its own in its class.
Video on the S-Advance is recorded at 720p offering a solid frame-rate, good colours and decent detail levels. It only offers fixed focus recording so won't record macro which is a let down. Noise handling once again isn't the best out there, though the LED light helps things along.
Samsung Galaxy S Advance: Connectivity and Storage
Well connected, the Samsung Galaxy S Advance offers Wi-Fi, 3G as well as GPS & Bluetooth. It's also available in an NFC variant if you're big on your contactless tech.
Thanks to the microSD card slot under the hood, the Samsung Galaxy S Advance is expandable by up to 32GB with 8GB of on board storage inside out of the box.
Samsung Galaxy S Advance: Performance and Battery Life
The original Samsung Galaxy S was smooth in its day, and thanks to the Dual-core 1GHz dual-core processor, the Galaxy S Advance is even smoother. 3D games look good and play back well, the UI is snappy and save for an occasional judder, we can't see the needs of the average mobile user stretching the S Advance beyond its capabilities. For any hardcore mobile gamers who want a larger screen and more oomph under the hood, the Samsung Galaxy S2 or S3 will be the natural choice depending on budget.
The 1500mAh battery should see you through a day of occasional music listening, picture taking and web browsing. We had full sync on from 9 to 5 and ended up with a low battery warning by 10pm which is very fair. If you're careful you can extend this to a day and a half at the most.
Samsung Galaxy S Advance: Conclusion
It's a good phone. If you're coming from a Samsung Galaxy Ace or Galaxy Mini, the Galaxy S Advance will make for a great upgrade, but we can't shake off two things: we've seen this formula from Samsung countless times before and we're getting an out of date version of Android. If neither of these negatives matter for you, the £300-£330 asking price of the S-Advance is fair, however if they do, you may want to stump up an extra £30-40 for a better specced, ICS upgradable Samsung Galaxy S2.
Check out our Samsung Galaxy S Advance VS Samsung Galaxy S2 comparison.
Thanks to Expansys for the review sample. For Samsung Galaxy S Advance deals check out Expansys.com