Available on Three a lot of people have already confused this with the Samsung Galaxy S II. Sure, it’s not as powerful as the S II and the camera isn’t as high resolution but hey, this is a good looking phone with a lot to give.
OK, first impressions, it’s very light. Secondly, it looks like a slightly-shrunken iPhone (come on, let’s be honest here). Thirdly, we found a second battery cover in the back for a soft white rear-end if you want it.
800 MHz ARM 11 processor, Adreno 200 GPU, Qualcomm MSM7227 chipset
320×480 pixel screen (3.5″)
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
5 Megapixel camera with autofocus and LED flash
FM Radio wth RDS
Li-Ion 1350 mAh battery
For those after a quick-fix we have our hands-on videos. These will usually give you a tour around the phone but, using the excellent Three network and the healthy data allowance, we decided to do something a bit different in our second video below..
The front of the phone is a glossy black affair and, down below the screen, two soft-keys hide away – they’ll light up when you touch the panel. In the centre, surrounded by a rectangular bezel, is the action / select button. There’s no optical trackpad here.
Up top, behind the fancy grill, is the earpiece and just to the right there’s the proximity and light sensors.
Around the side of the phone you have a reflective silvery blue surface. Each corner is beautifully smooth. On the left there’s a lanyard loop and the volume up / down key.
Up top you’ll find the 3.5mm audio port and, sitting behind a sliding panel, the microUSB port. Use this for charging or moving content to your phone from your computer.
On the right side is the power on / off button and a removable panel with the microSD card slot beneath. A 2GB microSD from Sandisk was provided with the phone we reviewed.
The bottom edge has the microphone and a small lip for removing the battery cover..
Here’s the two battery covers. Choose the super-grippy rubber rear or the glossy white panel. There’s holes for the camera, flash and external speaker.
A rather cool and small charger is included along with an SD card adaptor, sync cable, headset and quick start guide.
Unlock the phone by swooshing the unlock to the right. You’re then met with the usual Android interface. It starts on the first page and, by sliding to the right, you can explore five whole tabs which you can fill with widgets, shortcuts, folders and wallpapers. Widgets range from clocks, search apps, picture frames and more. Folders can be filled with contacts, documents or received Bluetooth files. You can choose from a range of wallpapers including live wallpapers which will move as you use the phone. Everything you place on main screen can be dragged around as you see fit and placed anywhere else. You can also drag it off the bottom of the screen to get rid of it.
At the bottom there’s four icons which stay static – call with the green phone button, press the next button for contacts. Next to that there’s your messages and finally a button for accessing all your apps and programs.
There’s many apps on the phone, although you can of course dive into the Android Market and get lots and lots of free and paid-for apps. Google provides you with a Calendar which is sync’d online, an email account if you want it, a Contacts system which will connect with your online Google account and of course the rather lovely Google Maps for browsing the world and using satellite views and Street View. The online synchronisation means that you can go to any web-enabled PC, create a calendar appointment and it’ll appear on your phone along with an alarm.
A music app will sort Artists, Albums and Songs plus you can create Playlists too. Bang in your 3.5mm headphones and you’re away. It also includes a feature called “Party Shuffle”.
The camera app is great and we’ve included some example shots below. You can choose from a “Smile Shot”, “Panorama”, “Night”, “Panorama”, “Sports”, “Landscape” and more. You can turn the flash on or off, switch to video mode or set more advanced options easily. A gallery lets you slip through your pictures and share shots via Bluetooth, Gmail, Email, MMS, Twitter, Facebook etc. It’s all very easy and simple to do. You can also crop shots, rotate them or set them as your backdrop. The 800Mhz processor doesn’t seem to sweat, it’s very smooth.
An FM radio will let you tune into stations provided your headphones are plugged in.
The browser works very well and again very smooth – there’s no doubt about that 800MHz CPU. You can multi-touch and it’ll render pages quickly. You can add RSS feeds, bookmarks and shortcuts. You can also share pages via Twitter, email, Bluetooth etc
The settings system will let you enable a WiFi hotspot – effectively sharing the 3G / HSDPA signal your phone receives as a WiFi hotspot. You can also plug the phone into your PC and use the SD card and USB storage, adjust ringtones / message sounds, connect to WiFi access points, adjust display brightness, font size, animations and remove applications.
Both Google Talk – an instant messaging app – and Google Latitude – an app for sharing your location with friends – sit alongside the Google Navigation application, so there’s a healthy selection of apps out the box that should meet your daily needs. Other useful apps include the YouTube player which will show and search for videos in portrait or widescreen, plus you can upload vids from your camera straight to the video sharing site.
ThinkFree Office is included for editing and creating documents on the go and Samsung have chucked in their own “Samsung Apps” updater too Samsung also have their rather nifty “AllShare” app for pushing content to DLNA devices such as the HTC Media Link we reviewed or other connected devices. If you have the right TV or audio equipment it makes it easy to push video, pictures and music out to your device of choice without wires.
I like this handset. Sure, the Samsung Galaxy S II is more powerful but this is a very good handset which I struggled to find fault with. We tried it out on Three and, with the generous data packages, were comfortable browsing and downloading email on the move. It’s a very light phone which has a strong build. The only issue I could possibly have (and it is scraping the barrel) is the fact that it runs Android 2.2.1.
Camera, good. Design, good. Build quality, good. Really, I’m liking this phone. It packs power and a good looks in a very lightweight and changeable handset. I especially like the addition of Swype – a fantastic on-screen keyboard which speeds up data entry by letting you simply drag your finger over the letters to create a word. It’s prediction and speeds makes typing on this phone very easy indeed.
Link – Samsung Galaxy Ace on Three