Samsung Galaxy Ace S5830 review: Ace in the hole

GSMArena team, 23 February 2011.
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Unboxing the Galaxy Ace

The Samsung Galaxy Ace S5830 comes in a small box, but the it's quite well stocked. You get a microUSB charger and a separate microUSB cable, a 2GB microSD card with an SD adapter and some manuals.

There's a cherry on top too - you get two covers for the back. One is black with a dotted pattern, while the other is smooth, glossy white.


Unboxing the Samsung Galaxy Ace

Samsung Galaxy Ace S5830 360-degree spin

The Samsung Galaxy Ace measures 112.4 x 59.9 x 11.5 mm and the all-plastic handset weighs 113 grams. The edges are curved, which slims down the phone, and the build-quality is good.

Compared to the compact Star II, it looks much bigger but still reasonably pocket-friendly (it’s smaller than an iPhone).

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Samsung Galaxy Ace next to iPhone 4 and Samsung Star II

Design and construction

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. We wonder though if the iPhone is pleased. Looking at the front and sides of the two phones you’ll see more similarities than differences.

The specs should be pretty familiar too – a 3.5” screen of HVGA resolution (320x480) for one.

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Samsung Galaxy Ace

The Samsung Galaxy Ace S5830 has an unimpressive LCD screen. The colors are quite dull and viewing angles are far from perfect. Sunlight legibility leaves a lot to be desired.

Brightness and contrast are not ideal either. Black levels are average, but the maximum brightness is quite low. In turn, the contrast is low too.

Display test 50% brightness 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Samsung I9001 Galaxy S Plus 0 251 0 408
Samsung Galaxy Y S5630 0.4 247 624 0.75 471 625
Samsung Galaxy Ace S5830 0.23 160 701 0.34234 683
Sony Ericsson Xperia mini pro 0.57 346 609 0.9641 714
HTC Sensation 0.21 173 809 0.61 438 720
HTC Explorer 0.26 201 768 0.47 358 755
HTC Radar 0.26 204 794 0.59471 797
Samsung Galaxy W I8150 0.29 243 853 0.50423 853
Samsung I9103 Galaxy R 0.51 407 806 0.92785 858
LG Optimus 2X 0.23 228 982 0.35347 1001
LG Optimus Black 0.127 332 1228 0.65 749 1161
Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo V - - - 0.35548 1578

As far as touchscreen sensitivity goes we have no complaints – the screen is responsive enough but not overly sensitive (which can be annoying since it often results in unwanted taps).

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A HVGA capacitive display is a good compromise between features and price

Above the display, there is the proximity sensor, which blends well with the surrounding surface. There’s no ambient light sensor though, so the display brightness can’t be adjusted automatically.

Below the display there’s an arrangement of three keys, typical for Samsung. The hardware home key is central, with two capacitive buttons on either side – Menu and Back. The latter two are only visible when backlit – with the backlighting off, they disappear.

The invisible keys make the Galaxy Ace look even more like the iPhone – of course if you ask Samsung, they would tell you they’ve been after the Galaxy S II look instead.

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The proximity sensor • The three Android keys below the display

On the left of the Samsung Galaxy Ace S5830 there’s the lanyard eyelet and the volume rocker. The volume rocker is quite thin but prominent just enough to use comfortably.

The Power/Lock key is on the right (as it is on many Samsung phones), which makes it accessible with both the thumb of the right hand or the index finger of the left. This positioning can be uncomfortable for some though.

Also on the right is the microSD card slot, which is under a plastic lid.

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The volume rocker on the right • Power/Lock combo key and microSD slot the left

On the top side of the phone is the microUSB port with a retractable lid and the 3.5mm standard audio jack. The USB port is used for both data and for charging.

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The 3.5mm jack is on top along with the microUSB connectivity port

The bottom of the phone features just the mic pinhole.

The back of the Samsung Galaxy Ace has changed since the early version we used in the preview and we really like the new look and feel. The first back cover is black, finely textured surface that’s practically immune to fingerprints and pretty pleasant – and secure – to hold. The soft rubbery back cover takes after the Samsung Galaxy S II.

The second cover in the box is glossy white instead - it's smooth but can get scratched up and covered in fingerprints pretty easily.

The 5MP camera lens on the back is in the top left corner, along with the LED flash. The lens is exposed and vulnerable to scratches so you’ll have to take care not to damage it.

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The 5 megapixel camera lens is prone to scratches

The back also features the loudspeaker grill, which has a small nub that keeps the speaker from getting muffled when you place the phone down on a level surface.

Underneath the battery cover is the SIM card slot compartment and the 1350mAh Li-ion battery. It’s quoted at 640 hours of standby (in 2G, 420 h in 3G). Note that those numbers are for standby with Wi-Fi turned off. The Galaxy Ace lasts up to 11 hours of talk time (in 2G, 6 h 30 min in 3G).

Our own measurements show that the Galaxy Ace will last three and a half hours of browsing the Internet over Wi-Fi and just as much when playing video. Standby in a 3G network and with Wi-Fi turned on is a little under six days.

Samsung Galaxy Ace S5830
The 1350mAh battery can store a lot of juice

The specs of the Samsung Galaxy Ace are good enough without being top of the line, which is exactly how a mid-range phone should be. The screen is big enough at 3.5” without making the phone unmanageable. The resolution is sufficient for reading text but not too high as to drive the price up and strain the hardware.

Maybe that’s how Samsung arrived at roughly the same specs and dimensions as Apple with their original iPhone but still, the design is sure to spur iPhone rip-off jokes. The resemblance to the highly popular Galaxy S II will drive the sales up.

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Samsung Galaxy Ace in the hand

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