Samsung Galaxy Ace S5830 review: Ace in the hole
An excellent 5MP camera
The Samsung Galaxy Ace has a 5 autofocus megapixel camera for a maximum image resolution of 2560 x 1920 pixels. A LED flash is there to to assist you in low-light scenes. Some extra goodies are also at hand such as face and smile detection and geotagging.
The user interface is standard Samsung for the most part Ė and thatís not a bad thing. Itís easily thumbable and offers readily accessible scene and shooting modes.
The Galaxy Ace hasnít got a proper shutter key so youíll have to use the virtual on-screen alternative. To activate face detection, you should switch to Smile shot mode.
The image quality is as good as you can expect from a 5MP camera. The contrast is nice as is the color rendering. The amount of captured detail is very high too and the noise levels are kept reasonable. Overall, you get pretty pleasant results with this one, which is something we didnít expect to see from a device in this class.
Photo quality comparison
The Samsung Galaxy Ace enters our Photo Compare Tool to join the 5MP lineup. The toolís page will give you enough info on how to use it and what to look for.
The Samsung Galaxy Ace can record QVGA videos at 15fps. This falls into the barely usable category Ė OK for MMS, but not much else.
Here is the video sample from the Samsung Galaxy Ace.
Update: The Samsung Galaxy Ace received an updated that enabled VGA@24fps video recording. The video quality is decent but not great (it's certainly a welcome upgrade over what it used to be) although the bitrate is low and there are compression artifacts visible. The frame rate holds at a stable 24fps. The videos have mono sound recorded at 64Kbps bitrate.
Here's a video sample straight from the phone and one we uploaded to YouTube.
The Galaxy Ace is ready for worldwide roaming with quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and dual-band HSPA with download rates of up to 7.2 Mbps.
The connectivity pacakge offers Wi-Fi (b/g/n), Buetooth v2.1 with A2DP support and USB v2.0. The USB interface is standard microUSB, which makes finding a suitable cable a lot easier.
Android 2.2 Froyo enables Bluetooth file transfers, so thereís little else to ask for.
The Samsung Galaxy Ace doesnít pack much internal memory (158MB is downright low for app installation), but it comes with a microSD slot with supports for cards up to 32GB. Thanks to Android Froyo you can install compatible apps on the SD card.
The 3.5 mm standard audio port completes the connectivity tally. You can keep your favorite headphones and use them with the Galaxy Ace hassle-free.
Good browser, but without Flash
The Android browser is arguably the best available on a mobile device. Itís fast, generally bug-free and easy to use.
The user interface is pretty much nonexistent at first sight. Once the page loads, all you see is the URL bar and the bookmark button on a line at the top of the screen. Once you zoom in and pan around though even that line disappears (scroll to the top or press menu to bring it back).
The minimalist UI is quite powerful Ė hit the menu key and six keys pop up. You can open a new tab, switch tabs, refresh the page, go forward, and open bookmarks. The final button reveals even more options (text copying, find on page, etc.).
The Galaxy Ace browser supports three zoom methods Ė dedicated buttons, double tap and multi-touch pinch-zooming. The browser also supports text reflow Ė a moment after setting the zoom level, columns of text align to the screen width.
The bookmark list shows a thumbnail of the bookmarked page and you also get a ďmost visitedĒ list in addition to the history.
The screen is big enough to handle complex pages well, though the text isnít as sharp at low zoom levels as it is on phones with higher resolution. Regardless, itís still readable and panning and zooming are fast so the Galaxy Ace scores a good mark in web browsing.
Although the Galaxy Ace is running the Flash-capable Android Froyo, there is no Flash support in the web browser. The situation is quite similar to the LG Optimus One: the processor is either incapable of handling Flash content (or itís disabled due to performance issues).
The Samsung Galaxy Ace has the YouTube app to partially compensate for the lack of Flash support. Of course, there are plenty of other video sharing sites and sites that use Flash for completely different purposes, but you have to live without them.