Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 Preview

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Introduction and Design
Introduction:

The reason you should be very interested in the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 is that it could turn out to be one of the best value-for-money Android offers this season.

While the original Ace was a very decent phone for its bucks last year, the Ace 2 is quite on the way to cover that ground this year as well. It has a decent size screen with good resolution, slightly underclocked yet dual-core processor, and 5MP cam with flash plus a front-facing camera.

Indeed you can't ask for much more from what will likely be a lower mid-range Android device this year. We  ran a prototype unit of the phone through its paces, so read on our preview for the initial impressions...

Design:

Nothing out of the ordinary can be said about the design. It is made with the usual for Samsung black plastic, with slightly patterned tapered back, and rounded corners.


You can compare the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

The phone lies well in the hand, and is not overly thick or heavy. The power/lock button is comfortably placed on the right, directly under your thumb, facilitating one-handed operation.


This button, along with the volume rocker on the left, and the physical home key are easy to feel and with good feedback.




Display:

The 3.8” PLS LCD display on the Samsung Ace 2 is of above average quality for the phone's category. The colors are vibrant, it is bright enough for use in sunlight, and sports very good viewing angles. The  480x800 pixels resolution here translates to 246ppi pixel density, which is also above average, and you'd be hard pressed to call any interface elements jaded or pixelated.



Interface and Functionality:

Samsung TouchWiz 4.0 interface over Android Gingerbread is the proven formula on the Galaxy Ace 2, complete with its transparencies, transitional animations, and some helpful widgets. We can't vouch for the final unit, but our prototype behaves very well in the interface, powered smoothly by the dual-core processor with ARM Mali-400 graphics unit.


At 800MHz by default, it is slightly underclocked from the 1GHz+ frequencies we are used to see in multicore chips, but with 2372 points it still managed to beat the Galaxy Nexus on Quadrant, even though our unit likely doesn't have the software all finalized.

Typing will be easy on the Galaxy Ace 2, since your thumb can reach almost everywhere on the screen at that size, so you'll be able to quickly shoot text message replies without having to resort to the other hand for holding the phone.


The phone has 768MB of RAM, just shy of the high-end 1GB standard, and 4GB of storage for your apps and data, plus a microSD card slot, which is hot-swappable on the right side of the phone. Samsung has loaded the usual media Hubs that come with TouchWiz here, for music, books or video, and provides the common TW set of apps for notes, file browsing and media editing.

Internet and Connectivity:

Nothing belittling can be said for the stock browser of Android Gingerbread, and thanks to the dual-core processor in the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 rendering and Adobe Flash performance are zippy enough, with no unpleasant surprises, despite the phone's prototype nature. As usual with Samsung, screen brightness can be adjusted directly in the browser, and when you start surfing a website, the address bar goes out of your way, leaving you with a full screen view.


The Ace 2 sports a 14.4Mbps HSDPA radio, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, A-GPS, FM Radio and DLNA function for media streaming, so you can't complain from a lack of connectivity options.

Camera:

The 5MP shooter on the back of the Galaxy Ace 2 is accompanied by an LED flash, and is managed by the tried and true TouchWiz camera UI with its transparent menus that help you keep sight of the framing while tinkering with the options.

There is the usual rich amount of shooting and scene modes to choose from, like Panorama, Smile Shot and Action Shot for fast moving objects. The Cartoon mode transforms your photo into the jolly style of hand-drawn comics, but there is a relatively poor number of additional effects you can apply.



The pics look pretty decent as they are, but the software might be tweaked further for the retail versions, so we are just posting them below as a preliminary idea. The phone shoots 720p HD video with 30fps, which should be sufficient for any casual footage.

Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 Sample Video:



Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 Indoor Sample Video:



Multimedia:

We are met with the familiar TouchWiz music player on the Galaxy Ace 2, with its number of equalzier presets and sound modes, as well as the quasi-surround sound in headset mode. You can categorize tunes by albums, artists, folders and playlists, as well as chronologically, and even check the option to show lyrics, if those are available.


The handset plays most video files, including DivX/Xvid, up to 720p definition, and the video player has a pretty rich interface, which includes screen lock, subtitle support and screen brightness adjustments.



Expectations:

If priced right, the Galaxy Ace 2 has every prerequisite to become a bestseller for Samsung, with the notable exception of a more distinctive design.

The compact size and good PLS LCD screen will be a boost for the everyday interaction with your smartphone, whether you are in or outside, and the dual-core processor under the hood will make sure you don't feel underpowered.

Adding to these a decent 5MP shooter with 720p HD video capture abilities, and about the only things left to wish for in the category are Android Ice Cream Sandwich and a tad less bland design. If the Galaxy Ace 2 comes with a low enough price tag, though, even those two considerations might be thrown out of the window.

Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 Video Preview:




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