Since the launch of the original Samsung Galaxy Ace back in March 2011, the Korean tech giant has now managed to release its third version of the Galaxy Ace Android smartphone. Here is our full review of the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2. See also: Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 vs Galaxy SIII vs Galaxy Note II comparison review.
At first glance, the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 doesn't appear to be a million miles away from its predecessors; the Galaxy Ace Plus; and Galaxy Ace. See also: Group test: what's the best smartphone?
The most obvious improvement is the front-facing camera, a bigger display and an extra 1GB of internal storage. However, in terms of its Android OS, processor and screen resolution, the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 still lives down to its 'budget smartphone' price-tag. See also: Group test: what's the best Android phone?
Samsung Galaxy Ace 2: Design
As mentioned above, you'd be forgiven for thinking not a lot has changed in the evolution of the Samsung Galaxy Ace smartphone. The Ace 2 weighs in at 113g, which is 2g less than its predecessor the Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus. Samsung has also shaved a few millimeters of its height, width and depth too.
The overall look of the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 is still a little underwhelming - it's like the Ford Focus of phones: not necessarily a bad thing, but it's unlikely to turn any heads.
In terms of how the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 feels in your hand, serious credit has to be given. It's reasonably light and pretty comfortable to use, with nothing on its 3.8-inch touchscreen requiring much of a thumb-stretch.
As with all Samsung Smartphones, the Galaxy Ace 2 feels pretty plasticky when you first take it out of the box, but once you piece together the battery and back cover to the phone it feels more ready for battle… verging on solid.
Samsung Galaxy Ace 2: Hardware
The Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 comes with a Dual-core ARMv7 800Mhz processor, which in terms of power is a long way off the Exynos 4 Quad processor Samsung uses in other mobile products, but provides ample propulsion for the comparatively lightweight Ace 2.
The Galaxy Ace 2 has 555MB of available RAM on offer, which is pretty good considering that it's designed for the lower end of the market. To use the high-end Samsung Galaxy S3 as a marker once again, that handset boasts 780MB of available memory, so the Ace 2 obviously isn't too far away in terms of raw punching power.
Specs are one thing, but usability is the real key for a smartphone. And from our time with the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 there isn't an awful lot to complain about. It's responsive the touch, loads apps quickly without any hassle and the screen resolution is nice and crisp too, albeit not HD.
The Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 can handle multiple apps being open at the same time with out showing any noticeable signs of strain, which is a major plus point seeing as this as been one of the areas where Android devices have tended to struggle and crash in the past.
The final point of note is that that the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 comes with an adequate, but not impressive, 4GB of internal space. If you're fond of filling up your phone with pictures, videos and music don't fret as the Ace 2 also has a microSD slot which supports up to 32GB or additional storage.
The Samsung Galaxy Ace posted a pretty impressive Geek Bench 2 score of 725, which certainly puts it in the more desirable tier of budget smartphones. To put that into perspective, the HTC One V, also a budget smartphone, achieved only a score of 282 and that handset is more expensive to buy on a PAYG basis.
Samsung Galaxy Ace 2: Camera
Samsung has fitted the Galaxy Ace 2 smartphone with both a rear and a front facing camera. The rear is a bulk standard CMOS 5Mp camera. The image quality of the Ace 2's camera is pretty good for a camera-phone, but not awe-inspiring by any means. If you were going anywhere you wanted to take serious photos, you'd still want your compact camera with you. That said it's more than capable of capturing a sharp enough image to produce an acceptable printout.
If Skype is more your sort of thing than the you'll be pleased to know the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2's front-facing camera isn't too shabby either. It's only a VGA camera, which means its actually less than 1Mp, but it's certainly good enough for video calling - in fact its low-res camera is probably handy for data transfer speeds during video calls.
Samsung Galaxy Ace 2: Software
The Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 comes equipped with Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread. It's not surprising that the budget smartphone doesn't come equipped with the latest operating system, but it is a little disappointing all the same.
The aesthetics of the OS now is a tiny bit dated, especially if you're looking at it with eyes that are used to seeing Android devices running ICS or Jelly Bean. However, its smooth to use and for the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2's price you can really complain too loudly.
The Samsung Galaxy Ace 2's browser is acceptable too. We ran it through a SunSpider test and although it performed slightly worse than the HTC One V, the difference was less than 200ms, so it was pretty close. It terms of ‘real' usage, it handled some pretty big websites in timely fashion - in short its browser performance isn't going to blow your mind, but it will lead to you pulling your hair out either.
The Samsung Galaxy Ace 2's keyboard is surprisingly spacious for a small(ish) device. Typing on the device is pretty effortless, but it does lack vibration when a key is hit - a feature that you pine for it you are used to it.
Samsung Galaxy Ace 2: Battery
The battery is a whacking great thing in the back of the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2, taking up roughly a quarter of the smartphone's space. Bearing that in mind it is pretty unsurprising that the battery's life is good. The statisticians out there will want to know that it features a 1,500mAh lithium-ion battery - our actual usage experience can tell you that it can handle a full day of average use will juice left to spare.