Samsung Galaxy Note. First Look
Today, large companies, especially corporate giants like Samsung, do not surprise users with extraordinary products...
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The First Look at Samsung Galaxy ACE (S5830)
Live photos of Samsung Galaxy ACE
Just listen to the name Ace, it sounds almost like an "S". When I was telling a colleague about this phone, I caught myself thinking we all are starting to ask each other what phone are we talking about. I could've meant Galaxy S or talked about Galaxy Ace. Samsung clearly tried to achieve similar sounding name to get an association of a junior model with the flagship.
Ace is in fact a flagship too, only in the mid price tier, closer to the Wave/Wave II. Without the Wave the company would have definitely need an Android model at this price point, but while Wave exists and is very successful, there is no need for a similarly priced solution.
When Samsung began to develop the Ace, the task was to make a phone able to compete with a similar phone from HTC. Looking at the full HTC model lineup, we can see that the HTC device capable of such competition is the Legend, but Samsung decided to create something less expensive to attract attention to its product. Products from LG, other manufacturers were purposefully ignored, although they look good, have a similar or better functionality with a compatible cost. The reasons are described in the article about Samsung Android strategy for 2011.
Considering the cost, this phone is marketed to those who like its design. It strongly suggests Apple iPhone 4 and it could become one of the reasons to buy a phone, we cannot underestimate this factor. Of course, the body is made of plastic, this is a phone of a different level and class. However if you'll look at the technical aspects, this is an Android smartphone for those who like Samsung, those who will appreciate its functionality, who will not be scared away by a cost higher than that of competing models. In a sense, the phone is designed to be pushed by retailers, it will not sell itself, sales people will have to show their professional abilities. As a result, most of the customers will be people not yet familiar with Android, for many it will be their first device running this OS. As the first experience this phone will keep many users happy, it has no serious downsides, is pleasant in everyday use.
Unusual for Samsung design of the shell, it is rectangular, with sharper corners, reminding of iPhone 4 somehow – this is the association people who saw the phone had. The size is 112.4 x 59.9 x 11.5 mm, it sits in the hand comfortably, pleasant overall. The materials used are typical Samsung – shiny plastic on the front and back, with the back cover either black or white. The front is always black and the sides are silver. The white back cover is just solid shiny plastic, reminding of Galaxy Tab or Start II, when the black one has a pattern according to the official pictures (our sample is also solid black).
The left side features a double volume rocker – it is comfortable, its location is just ideal. Considering that the last few years everybody is moving the rocker to the right side, we see a definite improvement and return to the old ways. Covered USB is on the top and so is the 3.5 mm jack for stereo headphones or a handsfree headset. On the right side we have a microSD card slot as well as the On/Off button also responsible for screen blocking.
Samsung Galaxy Ace vs Samsung Galaxy Fit:
Samsung Galaxy Ace Huawei Ideos X5:
The central control button is mechanical, but the Menu, Return buttons are sensory, the background light comes up when the phone is touched. I expected these buttons to be uncomfortable and was wrong. The back cover features the 5MP camera and flash.
The model boasts a capacitive screen supporting multitouch. The diagonal of the screen is 3.5", which is a record of sorts. The resolution is only 320x480, typical for mid-tier devices of this price segment. The TFT screen supports 16 million colors. Under the sun the LCD goes dark, even the screen size does not help, but this is common for deices of this class (same story with Huawei X5 and some ZTE models). The screen fits 12 lines of text, a couple of service lanes. The fonts are not bad, they have a large size, you can choose a font from the menu.
The handset has a 1350 mAh Li-Ion battery. In standard conditions (30-40 minutes of talk time and 10-15 text messages a day together with customized Gmail account for automatic mail check and delivery) our test sample worked for 24 hours. Less intensive use will give you around 2 or 3 days. The result is quite impressive for an Android phone.
The manufacturer claims up to 8.5 hours of talk time in 2G (7.5 hour in 3G) and up to 541 hours on standby (385 for 3G).
The phone has an ordinary 5MP camera with autofocus and LED flash. The camera is nothing to talk about, so far it is a weakness of Android devices. As you can see from the samples, the pictures come out average at best.
Samples of photos:
Video is recorded in 3gpp (кодек h.263) format and has the speed of 15 frames per second. The sound recording is carried out with the help of amr. codec. Video resolution is 320x240. Photo and video settings are absent.
The handset works in GSM (850/900/1800/1900), HSDPA 900/2100 networks.
PC synchronization and data transfer use microUSB cable. USB is represented by 2.0 HS. There are two operation modes: KIES and Mass Storage. Bluetooth 2.1 supports the following profiles:
The most popular multimedia profiles are also supported, but there is no objects (contacts cards) transfer via Bluetooth or access to the file systems of other devices. The use of the stereo headset was fine, but the sound is average.
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n is supported without problems.
The phone has 158 MB of the built-in memory available to users. microSD memory card slot is on the side. Cards are hot swappable and you can easily use cards of up to 32GB. The 800 MHz processor works fast, considering the screen size.
The phone utilizes Android Froyo (2.2), but this version was reworked to work with TouchWiz 3 UI used here, but there are aren't many differences with a naked Android. Standard functions are working just as they do on other Froyo phones, so we will refer you to the appropriate OS review. And of course the screen shots of each feature, so you can see how it looks on the screen with a small resolution.
Full ThinkFree office software viewing and editing package is preinstalled.
The File Manager is installed as a separate app, you can close particular programs or clear all memory. A convenient utility, replacing the standard one.
In Accounts you can enter the details of your Facebook or Twitter accounts, but do not look for separate apps for these web services, as they are not here. In Contacts you have the tab Activities with the events bar. It is not very convenient, especially taking into account that you can view messages from two bars only or disable one of them in turn. It is not very easy to use. The proprietary widget does not solve the problem and the desktop hosts only two messages and you have to scroll the text down all the time.
The keypad features a pre installed Swype for horizontal and vertical orientations. The text input is fast and convenient. Keyboard is good.
Music characteristics are traditional with 5.1 mode for headphones, which adds some stereopan to the sound. Equalizers are available, but you cannot customize them. Other features are standard: the filter by performers, albums and track titles. The quality of music playback is decent. FM radio initially surprises when the device finds almost all available stations in the street (48 in my case; Nokia could find only 16 in the same location). You can listen to all of them, but the reception quality is not ideal for some radio stations. Another downside is the low quality of reception indoors sometimes with the help of the headset as an antenna. If the signal is weak, you may not hear it indoors. I do not know whether it is good or bad, but many users will complain about the radio quality. At the same time other manufacturers just do not allow receiving weak signals at all. You have two different approaches here, so it is up to you to decide.
When you dial the number the smart search option is available: you enter the first letters of a name and the phone offers available ones with the number of calls on the right. One touch is enough to activate the necessary list. For a particular contact you can choose any number from the phonebook. It is a welcome addition to the standard feature of Android.
AllShare is a standard uPnP and allows sending files to PC and back through WiFi, listen or view them in both locations (if the format is supported).
The latest version of Google Maps 5.X is preinstalled, there are no complaints about the hardware GPS receiver.
The ringtones volume is ideal courtesy of a dedicated loudspeaker at the back and nice choice of melodies. The vibro is good and has above average power. This is a typical Samsung without any speech communication problems.
The Ace is priced at €320, which is not cheap for this model. HTC Legend is its direct rival with better design and Sense shell priced about the same. At the same time, while the phones are compatible in screen resolution, Samsung's screen is much bigger, it is the model's main competitive advantage. Otherwise the phones are stacked against each other pretty evenly.
Overall I liked this phone – it is fast, the screen is OK, design is not bad. At the same time there are plenty alternatives for less money that look just as good. This is where Samsung Galaxy Ace loses out. This makes the device interesting only if you like the brand, trust it. Clearly, there will be enough takers of this phone, but it will not become a bestseller. It is a niche solution designed to close the gap in the model lineup, just as are many other Samsung phones.
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Published 27 January 2011
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