on 7 October 2012
This is a very good phone. Easy to use, even for a novice to smart phones. Inserting the SIM card was O.K. the phone takes an old large SIM card I removed from my old NOKIA phone. The menus are quite instinctive to use. On screen keyboard is easy to use with the finger, or the stylus I bought as a seperate accessory with the phone. Connection to the network was O.K. once I got used to scrolling the menu to the right item, because it was not showing on the screen at first. Signal has never dropped out in use. Sound quality is better than my old NOKIA. Early days yet but battery life seems good compared to my old NOKIA.
on 12 February 2013
I am a bit of a late adopter in the smart phone market. Kept hanging on and telling myself that I did not need one. What would I use it for? I hardly ever made phone calls on my previous mobile, let alone used the radio it had or the camera (actually, the camera was a useful feature).
Anyway, I eventually pursuaded myself to get a smartphone and then started the immense task of choosing one! There are so many. Thankfully, I did not want an iphone (price tag or status symbol). I also did not want one of these mini-tablet things that people seem to be getting nowadays. I also did not want the most basic version available. Hence, the options became more limited since I wanted a mid-range and mid-sized phone. Had to be Android (of course!), but not necessarily the latest version. I wanted a sim-free one so I could swap sim if abroad and so I could use my current sim here in the UK.
This phone ticked all the boxes. Samsung is a world leader in the electronics market and their phones have a very good reputation. This one has an upgraded screen, processor and memory relative to the original Ace. I also got a "nearly new" one from Amazon, which although it did not have the original box, came with leads and charger together with some basic instructions, together with a large discount! The phone itself looked like new. Not a mark on it.
I just love the good sized display, which is crystal clear and even very small text is easy to read. It has two cameras, GPS, wi-fi, bluetooth, etc, etc. The list of features is almost endless! I am finding new uses for its "smartness" all the time and I am soooo pleased to have decided to get it. The only problem I found so far is that I failed to answer the first call I got on it, since I did not realise I had to "swipe" the green button to answer. I kept prodding the virtual button with my finger and eventually the call was missed! I thought that there must be something wrong with the phone, but once I read the instructions, all became clear. It seems I am not as smart as the phone.... D'Oh...!!
on 26 June 2012
I really like this phone, its fast and responsive to the touch. I use it for email, light browsing, some games, maps and of course as a phone. It is more than adequate for these things.
The only niggles I have are:
1. I keep pressing the volume bar and changing the sound whenever I click the power button (which are on opposite ends of the phone), or use the camera. I would have liked the power button to be on the top of the phone.
2. The battery is only ok. It will last two days on very light use or 1 day if you use it often. I suggest disabling the wifi, and data network when you are not using the phone.
3. The details for the phone state is has 4GB internal storage and 768 Mb RAM, however when I go to the memory settings, I can see only 2GB (1 GB system storage and 1GB USB storage) and RAM shows as 555MB.
4. This one is not an issue with the phone but with Android apps. Most apps you download either want to access your phone details (status, id, number and who is calling), your contact list, calendar, your location, or all of the above even when the app is just a game like solitaire. So far I have resisted installing any of those apps and only choose the ones that need the most basic rights. It would be good if you could prevent apps from accessing your personal data unless you authorise them.
The reasons I bought this particular phone as opposed to all the other mid range ones out there:
1. It was the only phone I could find that had front side camera for under £250 and was a newly released phone. I thought this would be standard on most phones but it's not.
2. The video promo for the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 shows it will be Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) upgradable.
3. Memory upgradable. I bought a 32Gb micro SD card for £20 and now have all my music on there with huge amount of room to spare.
The front side camera is important not only for video calling, but because of Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS). That upgrade will allow you to unlock the camera using facial recognition, so you can just look at the phone and it will unlock. Also software exists to prevent the screen from going into screen save mode when you are looking at it (eg, reading a book or watching a video).
Apart from the face recognition, the ICS upgrade provides for full encryption of your phone. This means I don't have to worry about personal data if someone steals the phone. There are other features that ICS brings which improve the usablility of the camera and from what I've seen the interface is more slick.
I'm still waiting on ICS so I hope I'm not disappointed.
UPDATE 1: SEPTEMBER 2012
It bothered me that my phone specs were different to what Samsung and Amazon has on their website so I contacted Samsung support and this is what I have learnt so far and my progress in getting an answer:
1. I've learnt that Samsung support is one of the worst I have encountered.
2. 28th June - I contacted email support with the simple question about memory specs of the Galaxy Ace 2.
3. Samsung asked for more info. I raised another web ticket with the required info.
4. 6th July - Samsung emailed with response to contact mobile support number.
5. 9th July - 20 minutes on call . . . could not answer my question. They would call back.
6. 11 July - Called Samsung support as I never received return call. 20 more minutes of futility.
7. 12 July - Decided to snail mail them using a first class stamp.
8. Nothing so far. . . Still waiting for an answer. . .
9. 11 Sept - Surprisingly out of nowhere got a call about the phone from Samsung. Had to go through the whole thing again. They said that there could be hidden memory used by the OS which is why half the memory is not shown. The support person mentioned that NFC was available but probably needed a software upgrade (ICS). Also, that sometimes phone specs are different for each region. So basically, I don't believe I got a proper answer. If a phone company is selling its phone based on its specifications, then those specs should be verifiable.
UPDATE 2 : JUNE 2013
Finally (after 1 year) the phone firmware has got an update. It's bypassed ICS and gone straight to Jelly Bean OS. v4.1.2. Feels like a new phone.
Notes on the update:
- You will need to install Samsung Kies software on your PC and connect your phone via the usb cable.
- Ensure that the software is fully patched and updated. The first few attempts to update the firmware of the phone failed until the Samsung software fully updated itself.
After updating the firmware to Jelly Bean there were a few things I notice:
- I had to reconnect to all my WiFi connections again (put in passwords again).
- My screen layouts were reset.
- I used the mini notes widget on gingerbread, but this doesn't appear to be part of jellybean, so I lost my sticky notes.
- I also noticed email doesn't update every thirty minutes (as specified in my sync settings). I have to manually refresh to check for new emails. Still googling for answers on that one (I tried deleting email accounts and re-adding them to no avail).
on 21 December 2012
This is my third android phone, first was HTC Hero, then HTC Desire HD (which died after 1.5yr for no reason). I also considered the Samsung Galaxy S3, S3 mini and the Note 1&2 as well as the Nokia Lumia series. Even briefly considered an iPhone5 until I saw the Sim-free price and had a panic attack.
In my opinion, between 150 and 200 quid this is pretty much unbeatable. Had a good play with it and can't fault it much. Here are the positives as I see it:
1) Cheap for a sim-free android phone
2) Light and compact, unlike some gargantuan monsters available.
3) Very crisp and bright screen, I can't make out individual pixels so effectively "retina"
4) Very slick and responsive interface, no lag at all prob thanks to the dual-core processor
5) Takes a cheap microSD to store all your pics/video/music
6) Screen/phone size is great compromise between pocketability and useable real-estate (noticeably bigger than iPhone4)
7) Serious sized battery for enough juice on the go
8) Very compact charger (euro version)
9) Will receive an Android 4.1 upgrade in the new year courtesy of Samsung
10) Google android Play market trumps App store and Nokia/Windows for range of useable and low cost/free apps.
11) Google maps right out of the box unlike the ridiculous IOS6
12) Connectivity: Wifi-direct, Bluetooth, Wifi-hotspot
13) GPS chip and navigation
14) HD video playback is really decent and easy to copy over from a PC (unlike Apple stuff)
15) Camera is good enough for A4 document scans and has flash
16) Front facing camera for Skype etc
17) Looks well made and fairly premium
18) Plastic construction more likely to survive a drop and other punishment
19) Android OS allows you to access folders of files and doesn't cripple really useful apps like Dropbox unlike IOS.
1) no Near Field Comms chip
2) doesn't support Apple airplay
3) Comes with a few unnecessary apps you can't delete
4) No auto-brightness
5) Built-in speaker a bit feeble (for music etc)
Checked a few online reviews of this phone and it has been heavily scored down as it has an older Android version Gingerbread (2.3). This still actually works great and Samsung have in any case announced a 4.1 update for this phone in due course. The camera is not as superior as an iPhone4/5 but then this is less than 1/3 of the price!
on 10 June 2012
"I'm really delighted with this phone. The webpage's load with ease. Downloading Apps via the play store is extremely easy. Playing back video is extremely smooth. Side loading video from i.e. BBC iPlayer is easy if you download to your Windows Media Player and play for a few seconds to get the usage rights and then drag and drop the video to your phone or memory card. The quality of the 3.8"screen is excellent. The phone is of solid build and the battery life is good too!. The camera is good the only negative is the lack of a optical zoom. I would highly recommend this phone to everyone."
on 18 June 2012
The second day after purchasing a brand new iPhone 4S from the Apple Store, I felt as though the product was not justified by having such a high £499 price tag. Knowing I had 14 days to return the iPhone 4S, I started looking for cheaper alternatives and came across the Ace 2, what an amazing find...
Samsung and Android devices have come a long way over the past four years. To summarize, the most important features that I feel make it a better performer and better value product than the iPhone 4S or other comparable Android devices are listed below:
Dual Core Processor - 2x800MHz for fast multi-tasking, packs a punch for a sub £250 phone
Google Play - App downloads using googleplay seemingly take on average 25% less time than a download from iTunes on the 4S
Intuitive User Interface (UI) - Quick access to key settings, apps, browser, and typical phone functions. Layout is intuitive. Overall, UI is more appealing to interact with than the sometimes sterile and trite iOS UI
Battery Life - Great battery life, well over 24-36 hours with heavy use. Also, cheap and easy to swap a replacement battery if you need extra juice on the fly.
Weight - super light, great feel in your hand. Makes the iPhone feel like an old Cadillac by comparison.
Size - On the smaller side for Samsung phones, but more sensible than the near 5 inch mini-tablets that may be difficult to carry around for those of us storing our phones in our pockets.
Warranty - 24 months!? Great.
As you could imagine, after a few hours of using the Ace 2 I went back to the Apple Store and returned the 4S to resurrect £250.
If you're looking for a 'mid-range' phone with relatively hi-end features... go with the Ace. You won't regret it.
on 15 July 2012
I got this phone to replace my HTC One V (after 2 weeks of consistently dying on me I had had enough!)
I am now quite glad that the HTC didn't work out because this is a brilliant little phone. Does everything I need and it's so user friendly, everything just works as you expect it to! I actually prefer it to the iPhone and the HTC One V, even if the tech spec isn't quite as good.
It's nice and quick, access to all the usual smartphone apps/ android services, plus a free trial of the Top 40 app which is brilliant if you're into the charts (play the charts from your phone without using up your data allowance!) Battery life seems about average for a smart phone - I used the phone quite heavily yesterday and it lasted about 24 hours before needing charging. Would probably last 2 days with lighter use, but the battery is replaceable so I'm not too worried! Also has a slot for a Micro SD so no worries about storage.
Overall I am finding the phone much more intuitive and just generally nicer to use than the HTC One V (which is meant to have a higher spec) and that is why I am giving it 5 stars!
on 2 August 2012
After a long and happy relationship with my dear old Samsung slider, we realised that our text-life had become dull and predictable. 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.
on 13 August 2012
Having finally got thoroughly hacked off with my Blackberry Curve I spent hours looking for a new phone and comparing them. I was torn between the Samsung Galaxy S2 and the Samsung Galaxy Note until I logged into my partners Which? account to see their reviews and coming across this phone - one of their 'Best Buys' though with not such a high score as my other 2 shortlisted. What eventually swayed me to this phone rather than the other two was 2 major points. Firstly, the size, the S2 is big, the Note is massive, and I felt both would be too big to carry round in a jeans pocket. The other thing was price, at almost 200 smackers less than either of the other two I felt this was the big clincher.
I have a 7inch tablet running Android so knew something about it though the version on this is an earlier one to the one on my tablet. Having said that I actually prefer this version, it seems much more intuitive than the ICS on my tablet.
The touchscreen seems to be very good, clear and responsive, much easier to use the touch keyboard than those horrid tiny keys on my Blackberry.
There is a distinct lack of instructions with the phone but the full manual downloads easily from the Samsung website. I like the fact that the mini SD card slot is accesible without dismantling the phone, the sim also comes out without having to remove the battery.
It set up my wifi easily, up and going within a couple of minutes, email took a little longer but then I'm using a non-standard setup with that and it still got it running pretty fast - you can set up multiple accounts too and have seperate settings and icons for each on the screen(s).
I haven't had chance to use it in a limited coverage area yet - one of my big gripes about all phones I've owned is that when it comes to weak signal, they're all pretty much as useless as the next, and living in a rural area as I do, weak signals are commonplace. Unfortunately one of the things Which? don't test is the phones ability to pick up a signal, they rate this in with battery life as modern phones use more battery trying to obtain a signal and therefore a rubbish battery isn't going to be much use, they rated the battery in the Ace 2 as very good and so far I'd have to agree.
on 14 February 2013
Overall, I like the phone. However, I was very disappointed when I found out that even though the technical specification state, it is has 4GB internal memory, it has only 1 GB system storage. That means that the operating system and the preinstalled applications consume already around 75% of the internal storage. It just doesn't make sense to brag about the storage size if it is unrelated to how much of it you can actually use.