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on 11 February 2013
After a long and happy relationship with my dear old Samsung slider, we realised that our text-life had become dull and predictable (or should that be "predictive"?). As our children had grown up and moved away we took the decision to separate. Yes it's sad, but my eye had been turned by a sleek, sexy young model and, as we're both adults, we were able to make the move with the minimum of fuss. Now I can honestly say that my life has turned a corner - I've never been happier and my new model has opened up wonderful new vistas. Our text-life is wild and exciting and I feel several years younger myself...

OK. Being a cheap g!t, I bought this Galaxy Ace on the basis of a cheap network provider package. I was initially worried that I was therefore getting an equally cheap and nasty smart-phone but I couldn't have been more wrong. Well, to be honest, what I actually know about smart-phones could be written on one side of an micro-SDHC card, so for all I know the Galaxy Ace could WELL be extremely cheap and nasty. However, looking at it, holding it in my hand, actually using it, it doesn't feel or look bad at all. It has a nice heft to it (I find it ironic that mobile phones and other electronica have been getting progressively smaller over the years, but then, all of a sudden, with the iPhone, they started getting bigger again!) and it's glossy and sleek. With only one visible button on the front and one on each side it has a clean minimalist look to it and it sits happily in the palm of the hand. Externally, there's nothing to suggest that this isn't a top-of-the-range generic smart-phone.

Pretty much the only other stipulation I had when making my choice was that I wanted a Samsung/Android phone for familiarity's sake. I've been using a Samsung Galaxy Tab for several months now and I have a good understanding of how to interact with that device: the Ace is pretty much a smaller, cut-down version of the same thing (a huge simplification, I know, but not too far from the truth). That makes it so much easier for me to use, but there were still a few surprises. Nevertheless, after only a few days of use, I did get the hang of it...

The screen is clear, sharp and vibrant but it can be tricky to read in full sunlight. The virtual keyboard (for text entry) is dauntingly dainty for someone with fat chunky fingers like mine, but it works surprisingly well and the touch screen function is nicely responsive. The numeric dial pad is much bigger and even easier to use. Do bear in mind that the "user guide" that comes in the box is pants. Utter pants. Downloading the full manual from the Samsung support site is a real must.

The controls, as I've said are minimal. That big button on the front? That's simply a "Home" button: it does little more than take you to the home screen (or a long press calls up the Task Manager). Either side of it is a hidden touch screen button, one of which accesses a dynamic menu and the other is a "back-to" function. There's a volume button on one side of the casing and an on-off on the other. All other controls are via the main touch screen: look out for the swipe-down shortcut menu at the top which allows you to access notifications and some of the main functions (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS etc).

There's also a MicroSD card slot (you don't need to take the cover off to access this - result!) and a microUSB port for charging and data transfer.

The 5MP camera is pretty good and I've taken a lot of piccies with it. It includes a useful "panorama" facility and a fairly decent flash. It's simple to use too.

Operating the Ace as a phone (surely that's why you're going to buy it? Surely?!) is simple. You can access the dial pad or text message functions from the widgets at the bottom of the main screen. Alternatively, go to the contacts list and swipe across the contact you want to call to autodial. You can also text or email your contact from here.

As for connectivity, phoning up the internet is obviously going to be slow (and potentially expensive) so the phone will default to your local wi-fi (if one is available) to save draining your network data plan. If you have the air-time, you can also use it as a Wi-Fi hotspot in its own right to the benefit of your other, non-3G devices (a function that is called "tethering"). However, I've tired this a few times to connect my Wifi only tablet and I'm not impressed - the data speed is carp. Bluetooth works fine too for local file transfers. And GPS. Did I mention GPS? This little thing, about the size of a box of Swan Vestas, speaks to satellites! Kewl!

The world of apps may be a little bewildering to you. This isn't an app review, but I will list a few exciting (and free) opportunities...

- Did you throw away your trusty calculator many years ago? Download RealCalc for a decent scientific electronic abacus.
- Do you jog/cycle/ski to work? Sports Tracker will record your route, time and log your run and calculate the calories you have burned. It'll even share it to Facebook.
- Sudoku freak? Try Andoku. A stylus might help though.
- Bookworm? Kindle for Android is your friend. You will need good eyesight to read the print!
- No friends? Log on to FaceBook with Facebook for Android app (or Twitter, or Google+, or FourSquare).
- Never get lost on the London Underground, or indeed anywhere in the UK again. There are various map and navigation apps available for free download.
- Beware! The preloaded mp3 player won't play all formats of music file (wma seem to be a problem). I downloaded the Poweramp player app which copes with all formats and is a pretty good player to boot. There's a fre version but I splashed out a couple of squid for the full version. Niiiice.

Do bear in mind that all these apps eat up your phone's memory and it may start to creak at the seams if you install all of those.

Battery life is pi$$-poor. This is the only down-side to the device - I'm guessing that it's a standard issue with any smart-phone - and you'll be charging the phone pretty much every night. You can extend it's life by switching off GPS, wi-fi and various other bits and bobs but even that will only improve matters a little bit. Download a power management app to help out yet further (Juice Defender, for instance) but beware! it may switch off certain functions (the 3G signal for instance!) in its bid to save electrons and you will then have to remember to switch them back on again when you need them. Alternatively, buy a car charger - they're dirt cheap - so that you can use GPS in the car without losing power half-way through your journey.

All in all, I am dead chuffed to have made the move to a smart-phone and this is as good a place as any to start. Cheap but not nasty, entry-level but not tragic. Functional but simple.
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on 30 June 2013
I researched thoroughly before my purchase & think I made a good choice. I already had an Android Samsung 10.1 tablet which I was delighted with in all aspects. That influenced my choice of mobile. The 5 mega pixel camera was another draw for me as I'd found my present camera phone so useful. I find it easy to use with many useful features.
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on 21 September 2013
I bought this phone as a gift for my friend who is going on a cruise to exotic places and needs a phone with a better spec than she has at the moment. I suggested this phone which matches the quality of the one I have. She is very pleased.
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on 3 June 2012
This is my first venture into owning a touch screen phone.I was unsure whether to buy the Samsung S2 or the Ace plus? Ultimately it came down to price. Also when feeling the S2 in my hand it felt too big. So on that basis I opted for the Ace plus. I first bought this item a month back from Amazon. Sad to say it could do everything except make or receive a phone call......So within the month I sent it back. To their credit Amazon refunded the price plus p&p quickly and without any problems.I was unsure whether to buy this model again or buy a different model.The deciding factor was the price and that the camera has a flash, so I decided to purchase the Ace plus again.This time everything works as indicated AND I CAN NOW MAKE AND RECEIVE PHONE CALLS. What are my niggles? My one 'major' niggle is that you cannot see the screen in direct sunlight.The screen quality (pixels) is the major bug bear. Other minor niggles are that the product does not come with ear pieces and the manual only reveals the basics. Apart from that I'm pretty pleased for the price.Would I buy again? If I had a little more money to spare i might invest in a phone with a better screen.Otherwise I'm ok with this phone.
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on 22 October 2012
Have to say I absolutely love this phone. It's nice and light, fits comfortably in your hand and looks great. I haven't got an sd card for it yet, but it seems to have lots of storage. Camera is good and delighted it has a flash. It's simple to use and it works well for anything I want to use it for, internet, games, texts ect. Love the fact it came with Swype too. Great delivery from Amazon too by the way, nice and quick! Would recommend this phone to anyone, brilliant phone for the price
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on 15 May 2014
I wanted to buy rthis as a present, i had read various reports and it ticked all the boxes. Phone arrived on time, when i opened the box I found that it had been handled before, as previous person had written bits and pieces on instruction cover. As this had obviously slipped through the net I opted to return it.In fairnes to the seller when they have been contacted they could not have been more helpful. I would use this seller again as in my opinion this was a one off.
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on 14 March 2013
I ordered this product based on trusted recommendation.
All regarding this product was what I like...
I will positively recommend this product to all...
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on 30 May 2013
arrived safely the next day, and was easy to set up .it all works alright;battery last longer than other devices
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on 10 May 2013
After owning a Blackberry Torch for 18 months which was okay but becoming a bit dated I thought I would try this. Apparently it has a faster operating system and a better spec but it was half the price of a new Blackberry or the S3. I went for this model as it has the 'better' processor.

Well where do I start... the battery life is inferior to any other device I have ever owned. I will leave it on charge all night, take it of at 7am, by 8 the battery life is down by 15%... I am lucky to have it last me until the end of the working day! And that is with little use as if it isn't crashing apps the internet browsing is pretty slow so it is quicker walking to a computer terminal and logging on!

Oh and even in silent mode with vibrate manually turned off this phone vibrates continuously when fully charged in the middle of the night... fantastic Samsung thankyou for endless nights of interrupted sleep!

The constant crashing, delayed response and inaccurate touch screen tempted me to send this phone back 3 months in but I didn't want to go without a handset. At 8 months old the phone decided to vibrate on and off continuously all morning whilst telling me I was charging it then disconnecting it... My charger was 20 miles away. It has broken me! Luckily the customer services at Amazon is fantastic and they are taking the phone back for a refund. I would avoid at all costs, if you want a cheap Samsung buy the base model! This is not worth the extra cash!

I am going for an S3 as I am anti-apple and apart from this phone have always admired Samsung so they are getting a second chance. I am 100% sceptical however as it just seems technology is just an expensive, unreliavle load of rubbish. Maybe I am too fussy? I know one thing, if I went out to start the car in the morning and it wouldn't work, and I had to lock the car, go back in the house, come back out and try again I certainly wouldn't put up with it... so why with a 'smart' phone?
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on 24 April 2015
This phone fell in the River Wear twice, once was for half an hour 1 1/2 years ago, then a van ran over it a year ago, I have had no repairs done to this phone and eventually failed two weeks ago I think from water damage, but I am sticking with the Samsung galaxy Ace for my new work phone.
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