Samsung Galaxy Ace S5830 review: Ace in the hole
The Galaxy Ace comes with the ThinkFree Office pack pre-installed – it’s a document viewer and an editor combined. It works like a charm and is capable of pinch zooming. Both panning and zooming are fast and the overall performance of the office package is excellent.
The calendar has four different types of view - agenda, daily, weekly and monthly. Adding a new event is quick and easy, and you can also set an alarm to act as a reminder.
The agenda view shows a list of all the calendar entries from the recent past to the near future. It’s a very handy tool when you need to check your appointments for the next few days.
There is also a calculator aboard. It is nicely touch optimized – the buttons are big enough and easy to hit.
The alarm clock app is decent and allows a huge number of alarms to be set, each with its own start and repeat time. But you don’t have the Stopwatch, the Timer and World Clock options. Still you get a Voice Recorder.
As usual, Samsung has included the My Files app – a simple to use but functional file manager, which also doubles as an image gallery. It can move, copy, lock and rename files in bulk, even send multiple files over Bluetooth. It will only browse the memory card.
Samsung filled the Galaxy Ace with a few of their home-brewed applications and we really appreciate their work. Most of them are quite useful and can be updated via Samsung Apps – the secondary app repository on your phone. Whenever Samsung updates any of the current apps or widgets, or releases new ones, you’ll find them here.
The AllShare app allows you to stream content to and from different devices (TV or computer) over DLNA.
Social Hub combines messaging and media sharing – this one app allows you to create a message (it may pack media content too) and then send it to various services – SMS/MMS, email, social networks.
Your appworld is the Android Market
The Samsung Galaxy Ace is running the latest version of Android and the standard HVGA screen means the phone can make full use of the Android Market (some apps won’t run on low-res screens).
The structure of the Android Market is quite simple – featured apps on top and above them, three sections (Applications, Games and Downloads). There is also a shortcut up there for initiating a search.
The Applications and Games sections are divided into subsections (e.g. Communication, Entertainment etc.) so you can filter the apps that are relevant to you. Of course, there is also an option of displaying them all in bulk, but you’ll probably need days to browse them all that way.
There are all kinds of apps in the Android market and the most important ones are covered (file managers, navigation apps, document readers etc.).
GPS the Google way
The Samsung Galaxy Ace comes with a GPS receiver, which got a satellite lock in about two minutes with A-GPS turned off. A-GPS can speed this up quite a bit, but requires Internet access.
Google Maps is on board, complete with Navigation, which can do voice-guidance for free. Availability is still limited though, and it relies on Internet connection.
Still, even without Navigation, there is some kind of guidance: your route and current location appear on the screen so you'll reach your destination eventually, but you’ll need a co-pilot to read you the instructions for that one.
Quite naturally, the app also supports the Street View mode. In fact, this mode is probably the best part of Google Maps. If the Street View is available in the area you're interested in, you can enjoy a 360-degree view of the surroundings. When the digital compass is turned on it feels like making a virtual tour of the location!
The Galaxy Ace doesn’t come with a third-party SatNav solution preinstalled but you can easily snatch one off the Android market. There are both paid and free options on offer.