Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 review: Flying high

GSMArena team, 13 July 2012.
Pages: 123456789

Gingerbread gallery and My Files

The Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 uses the standard Android gallery. It automatically locates the images and videos no matter where they are stored.

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The standard Android gallery

Little about the Gallery should surprise you. It displays full resolution images and supports double tap and pinch zoom. Sharing images over Bluetooth, email and MMS is enabled, and so is uploading to Picasa or using DLNA to push the image to a compatible TV.

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The Gallery offers only a few editing and sharing options

The My Files app is a simple to use but efficient file manager. It can move, copy, lock and rename files in bulk, even send multiple files via Bluetooth. My Files will only browse the memory card and the large internal storage (it can't access the system drive).

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The My Files app

Music player has DNSe, 5.1ch virtualization

The Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 uses the standard TouchWiz music player. Samsung have enabled equalizer presets (including a custom one) along with the sound-enhancing DNSe technology and 5.1 channel virtualization.

By default, tracks are sorted into four categories - All, Playlists, Albums and Artists. From the settings, you can add or remove categories to set up the music player just the way you like it.

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The music player is great The DNSe settings A now-playing interface in the taskbar

The album art has a central place in the Now Playing interface, but you can replace it with an equalizer. You can skip songs by sideways swipes. There's an onscreen scrubber, as well as a volume slider.

Another nice feature allows you to quickly look up a song on YouTube or via Google search by tapping on the track title. The handset will prompt you to select whether to look up the artist, the song title or the album and whether you want to do an Internet search, search your music library or YouTube.

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The Now playing interface Looking up a track

The Music player offers quick shortcuts to play the audio over Bluetooth or DLNA.

In this screen we also found a "Tag" button, which tries to identify the song and automatically fill in any missing ID3 tags (that's info about album, artist, etc.), but that came back with a negative result all too often. The "Lyrics" option in the settings didn't seem to do anything either.

FM radio with RDS

The Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 is equipped with an FM radio with RDS. The interface is simple - there's a tuning dial and you can save as many as 8 stations as favorites. You can also play on the loudspeaker, but the headset still needs to be plugged in to serve as an antenna.

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The FM radio app

Good video player hindered by iffy codec support

The player on the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 can handle the most common video files - MP4, AVI (DivX, XviD) and MKV. But we often ran into problems (even with some old, low-resolution files) and the player would either show a blank screen or fail to play sound.

The video player interface itself is fairly simple, but it covers the basics. You can adjust the brightness independently of the global setting and you can stream the audio over Bluetooth or use DLNA to play the video on another device.

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The video player is good, but codec support lets it down

720p files usually played (including DivX, XviD and MKV files), but 1080p didn't work. That is just FYI, since there's no TV-Out and the screen has just WVGA resolution, meaning you'd better stick with SD videos, as it will save storage and you won't see much difference. DTS and AC3 audio aren't supported.

Subtitles in various languages are supported, but you can't load them manually - the video and subtitle files must have the same name. You can adjust the text size and subtitle sync.

Audio output is good

Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 I8160 did pretty well in our audio quality test. The smartphone was nearly perfect with an active external amplifier and more than decent when a pair of headphones is plugged in.

An active external amplifier lets the Galaxy Ace 2 show its full potential and achieve some excellent scores. It's only averagely loud, but that's just the only bad thing we can say about it here.

The degradation when headphones come into play consists of a moderate hike in stereo crosstalk, and some extra intermodulation distortion. Overall it's a really solid performance.

And here come the full results so you can see for yourselves:

TestFrequency responseNoise levelDynamic rangeTHDIMD + NoiseStereo crosstalk
Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 I8160+0.20, -0.27-88.787.60.00860.018-88.9
Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 I8160 (headphones attached)+0.37, -0.08-88.687.60.0440.221-57.9
Samsung S7500 Galaxy Ace Plus+0.14, -1.30-88.288.10.0100.065-84.1
Samsung S7500 Galaxy Ace Plus (headphones attached)+0.12, -1.12-86.088.10.0180.186-43.1
Samsung S5830 Galaxy Ace+0.11, -0.47-84.986.80.0250.084-82.1
Samsung S5830 Galaxy Ace (headphones attached)+0.82, -0.22-84.586.70.0830.628-42.3
Sony Xperia U+0.03, -0.04-87.387.50.00910.020-87.7
Sony Xperia U (headphones attached)+0.45, -0.10-86.486.60.3930.352-66.5

Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 I8160
Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 I8160 frequency response

You can learn more about the whole testing process here.

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