Only available for the last couple of months, the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 is a mid-range Android Smartphone.
A bit smaller but dumpier than, say, the Galaxy S2 it also has rounder corners, a lovely chrome surround and a flatter home button similar to the Galaxy Nexus.
But before I get into the review proper, I thought I’d get out the way my issues with this phone…
- The illumination for the bottom menu buttons is too bright
And that’s it. As you can probably guess, I’ve been quite impressed by this budget phone.
But let’s go over the specification first. It has a 480×800 pixel Gorilla Glass (the same as the Galaxy S2), 3.8″ screen although it is LCD rather than Amoled. The smaller size screen but high resolution means the resulting output, even though it is just LCD, is sharp and bright. It lacks an ambient light sensor, though, so automatic brightness adjustment is not available.
It runs Android 2.3.6 (Gingerbread) and there’s currently no talk of an upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich – to me, this isn’t an issue. Running it all is an 800Mhz dual core processor – in use it’s smooth and lag free. There’s only 4GB of storage on-board but there is a Micro SD card slot on the side that will take memory up to 32GB. It has a front VGA camera and a rear 5MP camera with an LED Flash. Auto focus, as you’d expect is present, along with HD video and smile detection.
Looking around the phone, it’s a pretty standard Samsung layout – headphone socket on top, volume rocker on the left, power button on the right and a Micro USB along the bottom. The battery cover is a lot more sturdy than the wafer thin equivalent on the Galaxy S2 and holds a 1500mAh battery – this is a smaller capacity than the higher end equivalents but thanks to the smaller, LCD screen and smaller processor it should last just as long (some reviews have stated that it will last longer). I’ve not had it long enough to test it myself.
As well as supporting the US’ GPS system, this phone also locks onto the Russian GLONASS equivalent. Sat in my living room I got a full lock within seconds which was very impressive. It lacks gyroscopic features which may affect some games, but the limited CPU may be a bigger limiting factor on this – for flicking through applications it’s excellent but may struggle on some intensive games. Having said that, the GPU is the same as the one in the Galaxy S2 so it certainly has graphical “poke”.
Pre-installed crapware is the usual level of Samsung specific applications, but nothing too hideous, and the TouchWiz interface is swift in use.
In the provided box, apart from the Ace 2 and a battery (and good that it’s replaceable!) you get a paper quick start guide, hands-free headset, USB cable and power charger. The headset, basically headphones with a microphone built into the cord, is a budget version and not as good as the one I received with my Galaxy S2. Bizarrely, it’s white when everything else in the box, including the phone, is black. Rather than a rubber-tipped noise reducing headset you get an old fashioned hard plastic version. They’re reasonably comfortable to use and have a good sound. However, they offer next to no noise reduction and leak the sound, to the annoyance of anyone around you.
The Galaxy Ace 2 can currently be found on T-Mobile for £7 a month with a handset cost of £150. Alternatively, if upgrading on Orange, they have is for free on a £15.50 a month contract.
It looks like a premium smartphone and has all the features of one – many match or even exceed the Galaxy S2. Limitations include the memory, which can be upgraded by Micro SD, lack of gyroscope or light sensor, smaller resolution camera and the non-AMOLED screen. If you can live with that, and I certainly could, then this is a fantastic buy.