The Samsung Galaxy Ace is the latest in the company's Galaxy range - it's a mid-range Android phone that has a 3.5in capacitive touchscreen and a 5Mp camera. The Galaxy Ace performs well and has reasonable features, but we think it's overpriced compared to its competition.
Samsung Galaxy Ace: Design and display
We get sick of comparing every phone with the iPhone, but there is no mistaking the fact that the Samsung Galaxy Ace looks remarkably similar to the iPhone 3GS. It has the same rounded edges, the same gloss edging, the same size 3.5in touchscreen and the same physical home button below the display. The result is a phone that is light and comfortable to hold, and the Galaxy Ace also feels well put together despite its largely plastic construction.
We like the rear battery cover, which uses a grippy surface that makes the phone easy to hold, and the volume and power/lock buttons are well placed, and easy to press.
The Samsung Galaxy Ace's 3.5in capacitive touchscreen is responsive to touch, but its low resolution of 320x480 means it isn't as crisp or clear as more expensive phones, particularly when displaying text. The screen is also tough to see in direct sunlight and although it's bright at full volume, the lack of an ambient light sensor is an annoyance.
Samsung Galaxy Ace: Software and performance
The Samsung Galaxy Ace runs the 2.2 'Froyo' version of Google's Android operating system, and features Samsung's TouchWIZ UI layer on top of the standard Android interface. TouchWIZ equips the Galaxy Ace with up to seven home screens for live widgets and shortcuts. There's nothing that's truly groundbreaking, but the Galaxy Ace includes a number of pre-loaded apps such as Navigon's full turn-by-turn GPS navigation app, the ThinkFree Office suite, Exchange Active Sync compatibility for corporate email, and the Swype keyboard that allows you to draw your fingers over the letters you want to type in a single motion.
The Galaxy Ace also comes with Samsung's Social Hub app that combines social networking (Facebook, Twitter and MySpace), contacts, calendars and messaging activity into a single inbox. As with all Android-powered smartphones, the software is highly customisable via third-party apps which can be downloaded through the Android Market - Google's answer to Apple's App Store.
The user experience feels snappy and smooth. The inclusion of multitouch aids web browsing, even if the Galaxy Ace is a little sluggish when loading graphically intense websites, but there's no Flash support, which is a key feature of Android 2.2.
The exclusion of Flash is a little surprising, but given the Galaxy Ace's position as a mid-range handset, Samsung has likely excluded it to maintain performance. The now standard connectivity set of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and 3G are all present.
Samsung Galaxy Ace: Battery life and other features
The Samsung Galaxy Ace has a 5Mp camera with autofocus, and a single LED flash on-board. It also doubles as a video recorder, but only in standard and not high definition. The camera produces photos good enough for the odd happy snap, but notable image noise and poor colour reproduction means that the Galaxy Ace isn't capable of anything more.
The Galaxy Ace has limited internal memory (158MB), but the microSD card slot makes up for it, and the phone comes with a 2GB microSD card in the box.
Battery life is reasonably good: the Galaxy Ace will easily last a full day, and even stretched close to two days during testing, though this will depend on your usage patterns.