Samsung Galaxy Ace review: Samsung Galaxy Ace

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Typical Price: $528.00
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3 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars 60 user reviews

The Good Good look and feel. Smooth user experience. Swype keyboard.

The Bad Low-resolution display. Incompatible with Adobe Flash. Poor video-file recognition. Comparatively expensive.

The Bottom Line We expect a lot more phone at this price. The Ace looks and feels good, and executes the basics with ease, but it really needs greater support for multimedia to be worth what Telstra expects us to pay.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

6.5 Overall

Design

You may have heard that Apple has recently filed a lawsuit against Samsung for designing phones that it believes look too much like the iPhone. This suit listed a number of previous Samsung products, but in our opinion, Apple has never had as strong a case for this claim as it does against the Galaxy Ace. The combination of the 3.5-inch display, the size and shape of the bezel around the screen, the single mechanical button and the stainless steel trim make the Ace seem very familiar.

Brothers from another mother?
(Credit: Samsung/Apple/CBSi)

But then, we don't think that this is a bad thing for consumers, and whether you agree or not, the Ace is a very sturdy-feeling phone. We like the size of it in our hands, and we like the feel of the mesh-like grip on the charcoal-coloured plastic battery cover. The 3.5-inch screen uses capacitive touchscreen technology and is extremely responsive, though its HVGA (320 x 480) pixel resolution and its LCD panel look a little dull and blocky.

Samsung finds space for a 5-megapixel camera and an LED flash on the back of the Ace, alongside an external speaker grille. There's a headphone socket at the top of this phone, and a microSD card slot on the right-hand side, filled with a 2GB card that can be replaced with a card up to 32GB in capacity.

User experience

Samsung employs its TouchWiz UI in its Ace, similar to last year's hugely successful Galaxy S. Unlike the Galaxy S, however, the Ace doesn't suffer from the same performance glitches, and the experience is, for the most part, quite smooth and unobtrusive. TouchWiz includes up to seven home screens for widgets, and Samsung includes a range of widgets to use, though none offer anything new or innovative.

A big plus in favour of the Ace, compared with other phones in this price range, is the inclusion of a Swype keyboard. Samsung has included Swype in a number of its Android releases, and if you haven't used Swype before, you're in for a real treat.

One major disappointment, and it was a complete surprise for us, was that the Ace is incompatible with Adobe Flash, even though it runs on the Android Froyo (2.2) platform. Flash is one of the major points of difference for Android compared with other platforms, and we believe that most people choosing an Android phone would expect to be able to watch videos in the browser. We're guessing that Samsung has left Flash out to preserve performance, but those considering an Ace should keep this is mind.

Camera

A 5-megapixel camera sounds like a very generous addition in a mid-tier handset, especially when flash and auto-focus are included. However, these specifications are not indicative of the quality of the photos that this camera takes.

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