The Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 is the Android-powered follow-up to the budget Galaxy Ace. It feels like a pleasant little mobile, and It'll be interesting to see how it compares to other cheap Android phones such as the Orange San Francisco 2.
The first Galaxy Ace closely resembled Apple's iPhone 4, but that look has been ditched with the Ace 2 this mobile's corners are more rounded than its predecessor's, and it looks more like an oval. Gone is the silver stripe that surrounded the previous model.
The Ace 2 sports a gently rounded rear, with a 5-megapixel camera stuck square in the middle of its backplate. There's a teeny little flash nestled under the camera too.
This hopefully wallet-friendly device measures 10.5mm thick, which isn't quite as slim as the slender Samsung Galaxy S2, which is about 8.5mm thick. While the slight extra thickness might make the Ace 2 feel fractionally less classy, it's unlikely to bulk out your pockets too much. It weighs 122g, which is light indeed by comparison, the iPhone 4S tips the scales at 140g.
It's fatter than the likes of the slender Galaxy S2, but not so much as to cause an unsightly bulge in your pocket. Build quality deserves a mention the Ace 2 felt really sturdy in my hands, which is a very good sign.
The Ace 2's design isn't about to rock the world of tech, but hey, so long as it works, right? The 3.8-inch display doesn't employ the luxurious AMOLED screen you'd find on higher-end Samsung smart phones, but it still looks very colourful.
The better news is that Samsung's seen fit to bump up the screen resolution, from a measly 320x480 pixels to a hale and hearty 480x800. As a result, on-screen text and icons look satisfyingly crisp its 246dpi resolution can't touch the iPhone 4S' 330dpi, but it's perfectly respectable.
Like Samsung's other smart phones, the Ace 2 will arrive running Android, Google's mobile operating system. Android is a great for low-cost phones because it gives you access to Android Market and the thousands of free apps that lurk within.
That will let you expand the Ace 2's usefulness far beyond the software that comes pre-installed. Chuck Spotify, Facebook, iPlayer and a few games on there and watch your mobile blossom into a multimedia machine. It's got Android, but not the version, Ice Cream Sandwich.
The bad news is the Ace 2 won't arrive running the very latest version of Android. It's got version 2.3 Gingerbread on board, which is a perfectly good iteration of Google's software, but doesn't bring the new aesthetic and interface tweaks you'll find on version 4.0, adorably nicknamed Ice Cream Sandwich.
That might not bother you, but gadgeteers hankering for bleeding-edge Android tech should look elsewhere.
Camera & Processor
As mentioned above, the Ace 2 has a 5-megapixel camera with a flash. The original Ace's snapper had the same megapixel count, and I'm a little disappointed that Samsung hasn't opted to ramp up the resolution for the sequel.
Number of megapixels is rarely an indication of image quality, so I'll cross my fingers that, like its predecessor, the Ace 2 is capable of capturing some decent shots. On the upside, once you've taken a photo, sharing it online is dead easy with Android -- Facebook, Twitter and a host of other apps will be at your disposal.
Again, there's a 5-megapixel snapper around the back I would have liked to have seen an improvement. There's a 640x480-pixel camera on the front, while inside the Ace 2 is an 800MHz processor. That's not an especially speedy clock speed, but I didn't notice any stuttering or lagging during my hands-on time. There's 4GB of on-board storage, which you can increase by popping in a microSD card.
It's no hardware monster, but the Ace 2 should like its predecessor deliver an injection of Android goodness for not much cash. I'll be keen to see how it stacks up against excellent budget mobiles like the ZTE Skate and the Orange San Francisco 2.
(Review Page 1 of 1)