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Samsung Galaxy Ace review

  • Affordable entry level Android
  • Great design
  • Available on Optus, TransACT and Dodo
Written by Adam Wajnberg
14/03/2012

At this point, it might be better to just ask Apple and Samsung to call upon a champion and end all this acrimony with a one-one-one fight. Both organizations have burned up stacks of money pointlessly hurling bombs at each other in the courts that would have been better spent upgrading the salaries of the put-upon souls who build their gizmos. And the Samsung Galaxy Ace, with no real reason to be, seems like just the newest “neener-neener-NEENER” from Samsung.

Apple’s gripe with Samsung is mostly over the design of their Galaxy Tab tablets, which closely resemble the iPad, to the degree that almost any tablet resembles the iPad. Apple went so far as to submit to a court what tablet design they’d be happy for Samsung to sell to all the little Samsungites out there. For your consideration:

apple galaxy tab thanks:gizmodo

 

Cue: comedy foghorn noise.

Apple’s beef seems to be with Samsung’s liberal use of rectangles. With rounded corners. Anyway, Samsung responded like a mature multi-national behemoth: by releasing an endless series of variations on the Tab, with different screen sizes. The case expanded (and is still basically ongoing) to Samsung’s line of smartphones, which are accused of resembling the iPhone. Samsung responded with a series of ads suggesting that Apple fans have been hypnotized into worshipping a phone that hasn’t changed in years, while Samsung fans feast on the smorgasbord of variety on offer.

So whither the Galaxy Ace? Samsung didn’t need to release this phone, not when its price point so closely matches the genuinely excellent Galaxy S2, which is the clearest thing Samsung has to a single hit handset. And more to the point: The Ace so closely resembles the iPhone 3GS that it’s hard not to see it as a big thumb in the eye to the boys in Cupertino.

galaxy ace compare iphone 3GS att:phone-size.com

 

The screen size is the same, at 3.5”, but the iPhone 3GS has a sharper resolution. The Ace sports a 5MP camera, better than the old iPhone’s 3MP shooter, but the shots aren’t great, looking a little washed out and flat. Beyond that, the phone packs enough grunt to run Android 2.2 (Froyo) smoothly, even with Samsung’s bloated TouchWiz interface bolted on top. But that 800MHz processor isn’t ever going to run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The phone also has a nice little hardware button down the bottom, which few other Android phones have. Because that’s the iPhone’s thing.

The Galaxy Ace is directed squarely at the budget smartphone buyer, designed to compete with the iPhone 3GS, The HTC Explorer, and even the new Nokia Lumia 710, running Windows Phone. That’s a very good lineup for the grannies and technophobes who haven’t jumped on board yet with a smartphone. The Ace, however, doesn’t do much to win that category. With its lo-res display and yawn-worthy lineup of features, the only real selling point is the price – Optus is offering the Ace at $2 a month on their $19.99 plan, or free with the $29 plan. TransACT will give you one for free on their Endless 49 plan, but the Lumia is also free on that plan, and offers a much better experience. Other providers aren’t listing the phone on their website, but might have some available in store.

So the Ace is by no means a necessary device, but it’s a good budget buy on that Optus plan, for that one annoying hipster friend who insists the Motorola StarTAC represented the pinnacle of the cellphone experience in 1991. Dodo are selling the phone outright for $235, which is about the cheapest you can pay for a brand new smartphone running Android.

And so, the Apple/Samsung battle will rage on, with the Ace failing to do little other than keep some Apple lawyers in ivory backscratchers for another month or two. Meanwhile, Samsung and Apple quietly do lots of business together – Samsung builds most of the displays and chipsets for iPads and iPhones, and Apple pays them lots of money for that. And, going by the Ace, provides them with fresh design ideas for their own phones.

Pro

Great, comfortable design that came to them from absolutely nowhere
Smooth user interface
Great price, both outright and on plan

Con

Low resolution display
Won’t run Android 4.0
Only 2GB onboard, though expandable up to 32GB

The Samsung Galaxy Ace is available for $0 with TransACT's Endless 49 Plan, which includes unlimited standard calls and text to Australian landlines and mobiles. Call TransACT on 1300 302 514.

Optus have the Ace for $2 on their lowest plan, the $19 Cap. Or, you cna pick it up for free on any plan $29 and above. Call Optus on 1300 137 897.

Dodo have the Ace available on plan, but also have the phone going outright for just $235. Call Dodo on 1300 136 793.

 

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