I still remember holding a Samsung Galaxy Ace a few months back. My immediate reaction upon holding the phone was it was very light, and not in a good way. It was too light to the extent of being plasticky. It didn’t feel like I was holding a real phone, but rather a toy phone. The screen was also something I didn’t like. The resolution was fine for a mid-range phone, but it had a very poor viewing angle. I recall though, that I was amazed at how quick the phone was.
Samsung has now updated the Galaxy Ace. It now has in its smartphone lineup the Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus s7500. I have to admit that I didn’t expect much from the “Plus” considering my impressions of the original “Ace”. I thought Samsung would be introducing very minor updates and offer the handset at the same price range, without any real upgrade from the consumers’ standpoint. I have used the Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus for a couple of weeks now. Read the rest of the review if you want to find out what I think about this smartphone.
Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus S7500 Specifications
- 3.65-inch HVGA display (320 x 480 pixels)
- 1GHz processor
- 512MB RAM
- 3GB internal memory (2GB of shared for multimedia, 1GB of direct storage for apps)
- expandable up to 32GB via microSD
- 5 Megapixel Auto Focus Camera with LED Flash
- Android 2.3 Gingerbread
- WiFi 802.11
- HSDPA 7.2 Mbps
- Li-ion 1,300 mAh battery
- Dimensions 114.7 x 62.5 x 11.2 mm
- 115 g
- Bluetooth 3.0, USB 2.0
- Accelerometer, Digital compass, Proximity
- 3.5mm Ear Jack, Stereo FM Radio with RDS
Hardware, Design, Display
The Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus gets a few spec bumps from its predecessor. The older Galaxy Ace had a 800MHz CPU, a 3.5-inch screen, 158MB of internal storage and a 278MB RAM. The Plus now has a faster 1GHz processor, a bigger 3GB internal memory, a faster 512MB of RAM and a bigger 3.65-inch display (although with the same 320 x 480 resolution). The Galaxy Ace Plus still has a 5-megapixel camera and also runs on Android 2.3 Gingerbread with TouchWiz on top.
As far as hardware specs go, the Galaxy Ace Plus is pretty decent. A combination of 1GHz processor, 512MB RAM, 3GB internal memory with microSD expansion, HSDPA connectivity, 5-megapixel camera with auto-focus and LED flash, and Android 2.3 Gingerbread are good enough for running apps, games and multimedia, and even for shooting good quality photos. It’s not the best set of specs and is definitely not the same level as the Samsung Galaxy S2 but for it’s mid-range price, they are reasonably sufficient.
Like I mentioned in my impressions post on the Galaxy Ace Plus, the handset is different from the Galaxy Ace. The Plus is more rounded on the edges and it is more curved at the back. It actually feels good in the hand and the curved back is ideal for long use. If the Galaxy Ace felt light and fragile, the Galaxy Ace Plus is decidedly more solid. It has a good heft and you feel like the handset will be able to withstand some rough handling. This is a far cry from the toy-like feel of the original Ace.
Overall, the Galaxy Ace Plus is more flashy, more refined, and more “premium” than the Galaxy Ace. The silver trimming on the edges of the Galaxy Ace Plus is now more pronounced compared to the older model. For fans of the iPhone 3GS, you will like the uncanny similarities between the Plus and Apple’s handset. The back part screams iPhone, although the camera is positioned differently.
The Galaxy Ace Plus has a refined design philosophy, at least when compared to Samsung’s other mid-range handsets, and especially when compared to the Galaxy Ace. The phone is predominantly black and the silver trimming around the handset acts as the design accent. All the buttons are black, like the volume rocker on the left side and the power button on the right. Incidentally, the location of the power button and the volume rocker are becoming more common on Samsung phones. This is how these buttons are positioned in the Galaxy Nexus and the Galaxy Note, and also in a host of other recent handsets from Samsung.
On top of the device is the 3.5mm headphone jack and at the bottom is the micro USB slot. At the back of the phone are the camera lens, flash and speaker grille. The back cover is made of glossy plastic. It easily bends but it’s also quite sturdy.
The display on the Galaxy Ace Plus is much, much better than the display on the original Ace. I mentioned that the older Ace had poor viewing angles and the colors seemed washed out. The Galaxy Ace Plus thankfully has a better screen. It has the same resolution but the colors are better and the viewing angles have been improved.
UI, Performance, Battery Life
The Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus runs on Android 2.3 Gingerbread. There’s no word from Samsung if this will get Ice Cream Sandwich in the future but from the specs of the phone, it should be able to run ICS. On top of the Gingerbread OS, you will see the TouchWiz skin running. If you’re a Samsung phone user, you are already familiar with this interface which has not changed much since we saw in in the Galaxy S. If you haven’t used a TouchWiz-running Samsung smartphone before, you will find this UI quite nice. It’s one of the best looking Android skins apart from HTC’s Sense. TouchWiz is smooth, refined, and this version of the UI is the best from Samsung yet. Here are screenshots of TouchWiz on the Galaxy Ace Plus.
The Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus a fast handset. Running apps is a breeze thanks to the 1GHz CPU and the 512MB RAM. It’s not all rosy of course as you will still experience the occasional stutter any Android handset experiences. For most apps, using the phone is painless, really. You just get a few hiccups when there’s too much apps running in the background.
Making calls and receiving on the Galaxy Ace Plus did not give me any problems. Calls are reasonably loud and clear. The 1300 mAh battery churns out a rather acceptable battery life. It’s not too short to keep you charging all the time, and it’s also not long enough to make you satisfied. Nowadays smartphones double as multimedia and entertainment device and a 1300 mAh battery will never feel sufficient. Nonetheless, I didn’t get frustrated with the Galaxy Ace Plus’ battery.
Browsing on the Galaxy Ace Plus is a nice experience. The stock Android browser is one of the best mobile browsers, and in the Plus, it still delivers. You get the usual double tap and pinch to zoom actions, along with a host of other features. There’s Flash 11 support on the Plus so playing Flash games and watching YouTube videos shouldn’t cause any problems. Even 720p videos run smoothly on the Plus.
If you want to know the benchmark scores of the Galaxy Ace Plus, check out these screenshots for the handset’s Quadrant and Antutu scores.
The advent of social networking has made cameras in phones somewhat necessary, so almost always, would-be purchasers of smartphones want to find out how good a phone’s camera is. The Galaxy Ace Plus has a 5-megapixel rear camera that takes good quality photos. Really good I must say. I honestly did not expect quality photos from the Plus but when I uploaded the sample shots to my laptop, I was surprised at how good the shots were. They were sharp and showed good color reproduction.
Taking quality shots is easy, thanks to the camera’s auto-focus and LED flash. Auto-focus is a must if you want to get a sharp image, and the flash of course is important for low light settings. The auto-focus on the Galaxy Ace Plus is good enough but like most auto-focus systems, it has a problem focusing under low light settings. I don’t take this against the Galaxy Ace Plus as even some of the dedicated digital cameras have this issue. Taking photos at bright conditions will normally give you good results. For low light scenes, you’ll be better off using the phone’s built in LED flash.
Here are some sample photos from the Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus. Click on the photo to see the bigger version.
The Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus is a worthy successor of the original Galaxy Ace. It has a bigger screen, a faster processor, a bigger RAM and a bigger internal storage. In terms of appearance, the Galaxy Ace Plus is more polished and more premium looking than its predecessor. It has an SRP of P13,990, just about right for the specs and performance of the handset.
If you’re looking for a mid-range phone, the Galaxy Ace Plus is certainly a good option. There are other choices in this price range but you can’t go wrong with the Galaxy Ace Plus.