Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Samsung Galaxy Ace S5830 Unbiased Review

I know I am a little late to review this phone. It was released more than 8 months back. Recently I suggested a friend to go for Samsung galaxy S1 but he ended up buying Galaxy Ace instead. The main reason was that for its price range there was no phone better he said. The clever people at Samsung have come up with a phone which targeted exactly at the mid segment market. Yes I know there are a lot of other phones in the market which are cheaper; LG Optimus 1 for example but this was phone was introduced with a promise that it would eliminate the pain caused by the slow 600mhz processors in the other phones of the same range as ace has a 800mhz processor. Has it really? Let’s find out.


First have a brief look at specifications

  • GSM Quad band 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 & 3G Network HSDPA 900 / 2100
  • Dimension : 112.4 x 59.9 x 11.5 mm, Weight : 113 g
  • Display : TFT capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors,320 x 480 pixels, 3.5 inches (~165 ppi pixel density) with multi-touch.Gorilla glass display.
  • Sensors : Accelerometer, Touch-sensitive controls
  • OS : Android OS, v2.2 (Froyo), Presently available with v2.3(gingerbread).
  • Processor : 800 MHz ARM 11, Qualcomm MSM7227
  • Memory : 158 MB internal storage, 280MB RAM, microSD up to 32GB, 2GB included.
  • Battery : Li-Ion 1350 mAh, Stand by: 450Hrs, Talktime: 8Hrs
  • Camera : 5 MP, 2592x1944 pixels, Autofocus, LED flash & video recording.
  • Connectivity : GPRS/EDGE/3G, WLAN - Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth - v2.1, USB – 2.1, microUSB, TouchWiz v3.0 UI, Accelerometer sensor for UI auto-rotate, 3.5mm jack, Google Search, Maps, Gmail, YouTube, Calendar, Google Talk, Voice memo/dial, Predictive text input (Swype), Geo-tagging, face and smile detection, Stereo FM radio with RDS

Design
At first look the phone looks simple elegant & beautiful. It looks clean & crisp with just one hard home button in the center. It has two feather touch buttons (back & menu). These buttons are invisible when back display light is off leaving only the central Samsung Home button. Hence its looks are compared slightly to that of iPhone 3gs but the back panel unlike the iPhone 3gs is not smooth but has a texture to it which makes it comfortable to hold & gives a good grip .It also looks pleasing. It has micro SD slot, power button & volume button on the sides. The side has a metallic silver finish but I have a strong feeling it will tend to chip off on constant usage. The micro USB slot has a retractable lid & is placed on the top side of the phone along with the 3.5mm jack. The loud speaker is placed on the back panel & is sufficiently loud.

Touch Screen & Display
Galaxy Ace has a 3.5” capacitive touch screen with HVGA resolution (320×480) which is much better than its competitors like the HTC wildfire & LG Optimus P500. But has problems when using it under bright sunlight & it lacks quality when compared to higher end phones. The touch sensitivity is good and is very responsive.

Operation
Ace comes with android froyo in built but is now available with gingerbread .It comes with Samsung TouchWiz per-installed. It took fairly long for the guys at Samsung to come out with update for Ace & I believe this is always going to a problem if you decide to buy this phone. You may not get androids new ice cream sandwich which will be available soon for Nexus S & Galaxy S2 even if they do decide to launch it for Ace it will be a very long wait. Android OS lets you complete freedom on customizing your screen unlike apple iOS .You can increase the number of home screens and add icons ,widgets on the home screens etc as in any phone running Android OS.

But few of the problems started arising on constantly using the phone. After downloading a lot of apps from the vast Google market I could feel the phone getting slower & slower. It started with slight lag while scrolling through the menu. Then I could feel the lag while typing messages. Thought this would be stop after updating to gingerbread but even Ace’s running on gingerbread starts lagging. What’s the point in buying a touch screen phone when you can’t even play Angry Birds peacefully !!!

I tried using the all new & talked about swype input function. The idea is that you slide your fingers without removing it, across all the alphabets of the word you want to type n the phone recognizes the word. But no matter how much tried I could not get the hang of it .Absolutely annoying task & I rather type out the word instead. Let’s hope that it is my fault and not the phones or maybe 3.5” screen is too small to use Swype function.

The built in messaging app is mediocre too. It lacks looks & charm but fortunately there are some good alternatives available in Google market like Handsent & GoSms.

Camera
Ace has an excellent 5MP camera with LED flash which takes pictures like you would’nt expect from a phone of this range. Although the flash isn’t all that good its still a pretty good deal. But the video recording is fairly low class. The camera has autofocus and a maximum image resolution of 2560 x 1920 pixels. The quality of the camera is fairly good. But like all other phones from the galaxy range it is missing a dedicated shutter button and this is a major drawback.
Check these snaps which i have taken from Ace




Multimedia & Internet browsing
The inbuilt music player gives a descent output but I prefer to use winamp which gives much better experience. Certainly much louder. The Gallery has a 3D feel to it n tilts when you tilt the phone.
The inbuilt android browser is really good but does not support flash hence you will need to stick to the YouTube app to watch Videos.

Memory and expansion capability
It has only 158MB of internal memory ,which is very low but it comes with a microSD slot with supports for cards up to 32GB.And the new Android OS lets you install compatible apps directly on the SD Card.

Battery performance
Another major drawback is the battery backup. It is pretty bad for a mid range phone. With froyo it was truly pathetic .Luckily it has improved little with gingerbread OS but unfortunately not too much.
 
Pro’s
• 3.5" 16M-color TFT LCD capacitive touchscreen of HVGA (320 x 480 pixels) resolution
• 800MHz ARM 11 processor, Adreno 200 GPU, Qualcomm MSM7227 chipset
• Android OS v2.2 (Froyo) (Upgradable to 2.3.4 gingerbread)
• 5 MP autofocus camera with LED flash; Geo-tagging, face and smile detection
• microSD slot (up to 32GB, 2GB in box)
• GPS with A-GPS connectivity; Digital compass
• Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
• DNSe sound enhancement, FM radio with RDS

Cons
• Only 278MB of RAM which make phone dam slow sometimes
• Dismal QVGA video recording @15fps
• No shutter key for the camera
• No support for Adobe Flash in the web browser
• No ambient light sensor

Conclusions
Overall Samsung Galaxy Ace is a good phone & when I say good I mean for its value. Its got good looks, a good touch screen & It runs on Android gingerbread. It gives you all the features that you might want or need and it delivers. A good camera, good sound output and a good browsing experience and the Google App market at your finger tips. It wins some battles and loses some.

Although compromises must be made in order to keep the price low but never at the cost of performance & this is by far is the biggest problem of this phone. Although Samsung has marketed Ace as a fast phone having an 800 MHz processor what they fail to mention is that it has only a 280MB RAM & this kills all the fun. It’s like having a big car with a tiny engine. It’s pointless .This sometimes makes you regret not shelling out the extra few bucks to buy galaxy S1 instead. But if you’re an average user for everyday normal usage this phone should be enough. But anyone who wants to do more should go for higher end phone.
Samsung with the new Galaxy S1 plus, Galaxy S2 & Galaxy note ,has dominated the higher end market but it has yet to make a winner in the mid range segment.

Thanks Kaushal for sharing his experience with us.