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The Galaxy Ace is a smartphone by Samsung, it features an 800MHz processor and the price without contract clocks in around the £220 region.
The Performance of the Phone
The Samsung Galaxy Ace has an 800MHz single core processor, which is a little bit tame considering a lot of the higher end phones actually have dual and quad cores as of recent. The phone also has 256MB of RAM, which again may be considered tame by the hierarchy of extortionately expensive communication devices, but you never really see any disadvantges of this when using the phone.
Using the default 'launcher' (basically something that puts an interface over the phones working, which isn't really needed at all for Android, but Samsung seem to use it regardless), which is Samsung's proprietary Touchwiz interface, the actual phone feels a little bit sluggish to use - the interface wasn't implemented well at all - and was completely unneeded in the first place.
Thankfully, due to the open nature of Android, the interface can be easily modifiable and changeable to adapt to fit your needs - for example, as of quickly after getting my phone, I started using 'Go! Launcher Ex', an application on the Android market that changes your loader to a community developed one which feels much smoother and much more slick. With Go Launcher, and presumably the default Android interface if you can be bothered to root the phone, the phone runs like a dream. It runs well with the default interface, don't get me wrong, but it could be far better.
However, the hardware that may be considered a little tame has put some limitations to the phone that may not have been experienced by the higher end phones. The Samsung Galaxy Ace doesn't actually have any Adobe Flash capability, will never be receiving an update to Android 4 ICS (you can upgrade it yourself, but unofficially) and it will not play certain Apps - most annoyingly those made in the software Unity. The limitation of RAM sometimes means you'll have to close background applications, but that's hardly a problem.
However, as a phone, it does all that I need it to, and relatively quickly too. The phone takes about thirty seconds to get to a working state and about fifty seconds to be totally smooth from pushing the button, and that is a fine amount of time by me.
As I've said already, Android allows for altering your loader, and so this section isn't incredibly important to everyone, but I felt the need to include it anyway.
Samsung's proprietary 'Touchwiz' UI is incredibly bad. It looks bad, it feels unresponsive and it's just completely unnecessary in every way. It would've been much easier if Samsung had just stuck the default version of the Android OS onto the device, instead of faffing about trying to get the interface from their inferior smartphones prior to their use of the Android OS onto Android.
However, once you've got a custom loader, and there are a few to choose from and are all incredibly easy to install, you're good to go. Every Android feature is there and easily accessible, and the rest of Android is practically untouched by Samsung, so I can't say anything bad about that.
However, it's generally thought that 'Touchwiz' is pretty bad, but then again, it's better than the HTC based loader.
The screen isn't the most high resolution arrangement of pixels in the box, but for half of the price of an Galaxy Nexus or iPhone, what did you expect? The important thing about the screens on these phones is that they are going to be used for reading texts and internet browsing, and therefore being able to read text easily on them is a major priority.
Here, they appear to have focused on the priority. The screen is bright, and the resolution is high enough to read the text on screen easily. Extremely large blocks of text on the screen, especially at smaller font sizes may prove challenging to read, but it's nothing that you can't get over. The screen resolution of this phone is 320x480, roughly akin to an older generation iPhone or iPod Touch.
The screen also apparently has Gorilla Glass, but upon removing my screen protector, it took only a day to get a tiny scratch on the screen. Turns out that Gorilla Glass is still susceptible to the same dangers as normal glass, but less so as it's a type of plastic. As such, anything you'd expect to cause scratching on plastic will still cause scratching on Gorilla Glass. It's a helpful preventative, but nothing to go bananas over (see my pun?)
Android does come with a built in tutorial on how to use your phone, and the manual that comes with the phone is extensive enough to get yourself up and running. Android isn't a particularly hard operating system to use, and anyone with even the lowest level of contact with smartphones will be able to use this phone without any problems. The manual doesn't explain everything though, and if you haven't updated your phone since the early Nokia phones you may find yourself having issues working out how everything works.
However, most of the apps have their own instructions, and there is a system tutorial in the Settings of the Android OS, so it should be more than fine for most everybody to use, and without hassle.
Extensiveness of Apps
Apps are an increasingly popular reason to get a smartphone. These can range from being able to play Pictionary with your friends over the internet the being able to access social networking sites like Facebook and chat services like Skype from your phone with no problems whatsoever.
However, not all of the apps are fantastic - for the most part they are, but the Facebook app isn't all that great at all, for example. It kills battery life and there's no way of stopping it from incesently nagging you about your notifications short of rebooting the phone. It's an infuriating development, but one that is easily avoided by not installing the app. The Android Task Manager needs more of a sure fire way of stopping these apps though.
Apart from that, the app selection on Android is arguably more extensive than the Apple App Store even, and for that an Android phone is a great choice - even if you don't pick this one.
On average, my battery lasts between three and five days, using a battery saving app called 'Juice Defender' that turns on and off services that are and are not required for the current time of use. Without, it'd probably be a day or so less, so not a massive improvement - but an improvement nonetheless.
For the most part, the battery life is staggeringly good. However, there is one downfall. Using the phones networking (so 3G, GPRS and so on) drastically reduces battery life by many percent. This is true of all phones, but particularly noticeable here - it's bad to a point that I have to switch it off because on some occasions it wouldn't last overnight with it on. However, it's fine to have it on for short bursts during car journeys or when you really need to look something up and the like.
Also applications that use a lot of CPU, like the Facebook application (at time of writing) may also reduce battery life substantially, along with running many applications at once.
This is a good phone, and it does all that I want of it. Sure, not being able to update the Android on the phone to the latest version is a bit of a bummer, as well as not having Flash support, but when it comes down to it - when will you really be using that on your phone. It does exactly what it says on the tin, and a little bit more. It's well made, documented, and the claims that Gorilla Glass is scratch resistant are a bit on the borderline but it's a great phone despite all tiny niggles.
I give the Samsung Galaxy Ace a four out of five.
(This review has also been on my DooYoo account of the same name)
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