I'm a miserable old git.
I'm ashamed to say it's been a **** very **** long time since I reviewed my "trusts", have sought to rectify this by going through every review I've written in the past couple of years, if you feel hard-done-by, drop me a note.
Members who trust:32
Smartphone at a smart price
Full Android implementation
No iPlayer, fairly basic specification device
Look & Feel
Durability & Robustness
Battery standby time
Value for money
Range of features
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Hard as it may be to believe, having worked in IT for very nearly 30 years I’ve finally gone and bought my first mobile phone – that isn’t to say I’ve managed to avoid mobile telephony for most of my adult life, but my previous employers supplied me with a (very) basic handset and I was happy enough to do the odd bit of unpaid overtime to cover the cost of my personal calls.
Having decided to ‘move on’ an pick up a ‘package’ I needed to get myself a basic phone, and was looking for something which was cheap, reliable, but reasonably functional without going overboard.
I saw a deal which offered a supposedly reconditioned Galaxy Ace which would only cost me £5 a month (with cashback) and provided up to 100 minutes call time and 100 texts a month – unlimited network use was supposedly free over the 18 month duration of the contract, but that was supposedly restricted to ‘acceptable use’ – and so far I’ve managed to avoid any penalties.
The Ace is the entry level ‘smartphone’ from Samsung, and offers a reasonable implementation d Android, although hardware limitations mean that it won’t support (amongst other things) BBC iPlayer, it DOES i access to what was formerly known as the Android Marketplace, and with the exception of Flash, seems happy to run most things.
The phone comes with the usual stuff that qualifies it as ‘smart’ – a (single) 5Mp camera, GPS, Wi-Fi, capacitive screen, Bluetooth, wireless, accelerometer, compass, tilt-sensor, not to mention a full deployment of Android, headphone jack, and a micro-SD slot.
The screen is a little lower resolution than many similarly sized phones, but isn’t excessively compromised, it’s absolutely fine for web browsing, viewing pictures, texting and so on.
Onboard are applications to access your email, surf the web, listen to music and watch videos, you can download the Kindle app to read electronic books, and it supports stuff like Google Earth. Ou can also use it as a GPS satnav, but depending on your tariff, your data usage might take a hit as it downloads information through 3G in realtime.
Battery life with ‘everything on’ is around 24 hours, but higher capacity units are available on Ebay for about twelve quid. I also opted to buy a clip-on cover, screen protector and micro-SD card all of which I bought online for about twenty quid.
The unit is recharged via micro-SB – the basic package came with a data lead and mains charger, the supplied headphones were pretty basic, but the 3.5mm jack allows you to plug in half-decent aftermarket ones (or patch into an amplifier).
Being android, and not an iPhone it doesn’t support the ubiquitous apple connector, but I don’t consider that to be a serious limitation.
On my ‘wish list’ would be a ‘line in’ connector to allow me to record external audio sources, but as I have a standalone digital reorder with this facility I can’t say it’s a huge drawback. Nor is there an HDMI out, so whilst I might have liked to connect it to the telly, it’s a feature I’m happy to live without.
Whilst the claimed resolution of the single camera is 5 megapixels, I can’t say that I’m that hugely impressed with the quality of image – it’s a bit ‘soft’ for my tastes – it’s fine for taking snaps, and sufficiently detailed to work as a barcode/QR code reader, and the ‘document scanning’ apps work perfectly well, but compared to a ‘real’ 5Mp camera, it doesn’t cut the mustard.
The FM Radio Is OK-Ish, I’d have preferred DAB, but being able to install the ‘Tunein’ application I can get most digital stations over 3g or wi-fi.
The Ace looks the part, you can do the usual ‘multi-function’ tweaks and twiddles with our fingers, and putting iPlayer isues to one side, it offers pretty much everything you could wish for on an entry-level smartphone. Sure, it would be nice to have the extras, but realistically, would you be willing to pay twice as much for the privilege?
Points against; it isn’t an iPhone, points for; it isn’t an iPhone – see what I man? – it’s a matter of personal preference.
I can still do ‘angry birds’ and post a picture onto Facebook, check my mail, and exactly know where I am, and find out how to get to where I need to be.
Given it’s costing me five quid a month, I’m absolutely delighted with the package, it does everything I need and a lot more besides.