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Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 review

Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 - Affordable Galaxy

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Launch SRP S$438

Overall rating 8/10
Design:
8
Features:
8
User-Friendliness:
8.5
Performance:
8.5
Value:
8
THE GOOD
Decent battery life
Good performance
Affordable price
THE BAD
Limited internal memory space
Iffy white balance in photos
No news of update to Android 4.0 or 4.1, currently stuck on 2.3


Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 - Affordable Galaxy

Overview & Design

Samsung isn't really well-known for its affordable range, but in any case, it is assuring that the company, well-known for quality phones like the Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II, has some in its lineup. The Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 is one such option, coming in with a 3.8-inch WGVA TFT LCD display, a dual-core 800MHz processor, 768MB RAM, 4GB of internal storage, 1,500mAh battery, and a 5-megapixel camera. While its specs are unassuming compared to its more illustrious siblings, they fit right into a niche that meets a category of users. Let's take a quick look at what else it has to offer.

The Galaxy Ace 2 sports a very unassuming design: a small angular body that resembles a stubbier version of the Galaxy S II. Its curved edges make it easy to hold while its textured back cover adds a certain classy charm to it as well as a better grip. Its predominantly plastic body makes it pretty light too (it tips the scale at 122g).

As with most smartphones these days, the device sports very few physical buttons, brandishing a home button in the center with both menu and back touch buttons flanking its sides. The power button has been relegated to the left, with the volume rocker and microSD slot located on its right profile. While the buttons here are small, they are thankfully easy to locate and press. Otherwise, the handling experience was largely positive, albeit nothing spectacular.
 

Features

First and foremost, the Galaxy Ace 2 runs on the rather outdated Android 2.3 platform (no update as of now). In comparison, the HTC One V comes with Android 4.0. Generally, devices in this category are not as frequently updated as its higher-end peers due to their limiting hardware specifications but we were hoping that the Ace 2 would have gotten at least an update to Android 4.0, given that it was released in Singapore months after the release of 4.0. Otherwise, the Android experience has been left pretty intact with a less updated version of TouchWiz (therefore, don't expect newer technologies like Smart Stay or Pop-up Play). Samsung's earlier additions are there of course, including the Social Hub, Game Hub, Samsung Apps and Samsung's ChatON messaging app.

Performance

The Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 comes with a dual-core processor clocked at 800MHz, alongside 768MB of RAM. As usual, we subject the review unit to the Quadrant benchmark, which can be found on Google Play. To gauge how it performs against the competition, we matched its scores against devices that are priced similarly, such as the HTC One V, Sony Xperia U, and the Huawei Ascend G330.

A Quick Comparison
Device Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 HTC One V Sony Xperia U Huawei Ascend G330
CPU Dual-core Cortex-A9 800MHz Single-core Qualcomm MSM8255
Snapdragon 1GHz
Dual-core STE U8500 1GHz Dual-core Cortex-A5 1GHz
GPU Mali-400MP Adreno 205 Mali-400MP Adreno 203
RAM 768MB 512MB 512MB 512MB
OS Google Android 2.3 Google Android 4.0 Google Android 2.3 Google Android 4.0

The Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 came up tops in terms of number crunching but not by any wide margin. In fact, all devices scored within the comfortable range of 2000 to 2300. We attribute it largely to a higher amount of RAM available on the device compared to the rest, plus the fact that it comes fitted with one of the newer CPUs.

Apart from benchmarking, the Ace 2 ran smoothly and had no problems rendering pages or running graphic-intensive apps. The phone's lag-free performance and generally positive day-to-day experience pretty much did it for us.

 

Imaging

The Galaxy Ace 2 does pretty well for a 5-megapixel shooter. The device exhibits adequate levels of clarity and details though we observed that its white balance was off, producing greenish colors for indoor photos.

 

Battery Mileage

Using the same 480 x 800-pixel resolution video that we use across all our mobile device battery tests, we set the same test parameters which includes having the video looped under the following conditions:

  • Brightness and volume at 100%
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity turned on
  • Constant data streaming through email and Twitter
Test Phones Compared
Specifications/Device Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 HTC One V Nokia Lumia 610 Sony Xperia U Huawei Ascend G330
Processor
  • 800MHz dual-core
  • 1GHz single-core
  • 800MHz
    single-core
  • 1GHz single-core
  • 1GHz dual-core
Display Size
  • 3.8-inch
  • 3.7-inch
  • 3.7-inch
  • 3.5-inch
  • 4.0-inch
Display Type
  • TFT LCD
  • Super LCD2
  • TFT LCD
  • LCD
  • TFT LCD
Display Resolution
  • 480 x 800 pixels
  • 480 x 800 pixels
  • 480 x 800 pixels
  • 480 x 854 pixels
  • 480 x 800 pixels
Dimensions
  • 118.3 x 62.2 x 10.5 mm
  • 120.3 x 59.7 x 9.24mm
  • 119.24 x 62.18 x 11.95mm
  • 112 x 54 x 12mm
  • 122.5 x 62.6 x 11.2 mm
Weight
  • 122g
  • 115g
  • 131.5g
  •  110g
  • 130g

The Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 makes it to the top of the list in terms of battery performance, but by a very small margin as it is followed closely by both the HTC One V and Huawei Ascend G330. Do bear in mind that Samsung's battery saving functions kick in at about 15% and resumed playing our video at a lower maximum level of brightness. This had no doubt extended its battery life by a fair amount. Nonetheless, all smartphones with their 1500mAh battery in this group performed on a par with one another. However, because the Galaxy Ace 2 is not the lightest in the bunch, it drops to second place in terms of portability ratio, losing the first place to 115g HTC One V.

To give you a real-world gauge, we observed that the phone could last almost a whole day on a single charge, with emails and Twitter feeds pushed constantly to it. Other activities included occasional web surfing and phone calls.

 

Conclusion

For its price, the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 is a very decent device. It tops, albeit narrowly, the cohort in both battery life and processing benchmark results. While its 5MP camera offers good amounts of detail, the white balance is iffy. The device might not look like the brightest star in the industry, but it meets the basic handling requirements; the rather bland and cut-and-dried design is nothing to shout about. Its main flaw, however, would be the fact that it is still running on Android 2.3, with no news on whether it would be upgraded to Android 4.0 or 4.1.

For a lower price of S$398, the HTC One V might be a better all-round device to look at. While it might lose out to the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 in benchmark results, it comes with a superior build, better camera capabilities, and more capable software. Unlike the Galaxy Ace 2, the HTC One V is well-stocked with Android 4.0 and Sense 4.0 UI out of the box. Of course, if you are less concerned with the big brand names, the uprising star Huawei Ascend G330 (S$239) is definitely worth a look.