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Damn the ice and damn the snow! Well, usually I like snow actually but within less then six months of breezing myself into the Twentieth First century with a Smart phone rather than a mobile phone, life with my Ace was just peachy and I was looking forward to taking my compact companion on a long haul flight for a three week holiday in the sun. It seems weird though, that all of the shops online are now using the new tag, "Smartphone," to describe these phones compared to the latter "mobile", word and if it distinguishes new technology compared to the old, I rather like the tag where my Samsung Ace is concerned. However, being smart can only get you so far! It's a pity the snow doesn't agree, or rather didn't agree when I slipped on ice going to the airport recently and the phone took the brunt of a slight impact. The Gorilla glass claimed by Samsung to stand up to pressure however has remained true - what I didn't expect one week into my holiday in a foreign country was the "black screen of death," a common fault that seems inherent with any Smartphone, let alone Samsung's excellent series of Galaxy Smartphones. Normally I wouldn't mind being without a mobile phone when I'm on holiday but with important business to send out and with a need to be online, I needed a replacement phone that was just as cheap to buy as my original Ace; enter the Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus S7500. After contacting Vodafone in the UK, they suggested seeking out the Ace Plus as it uses a similar bandwidth to the phones used in India, the country at the time that I was visiting. Nar2's Quick Skip Product Spec * Make & model: Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus S7500. * 3.65" Super PLS LCD touch screen with one push button control. * Small headphone socket, USB data combo charger cord & plug option. * Expansion possibility to 32GB storage, micro SIM type SD card. * 2.3 Gingerbread Android with 512MB ram & 1 GHz Cortex-A5 processor. * GPS with digital compass & 5.0 megapixel camera, 3GB internal memory. * Supports 2G, high speed 3G, Google Play Apps. Wi-Fi & Bluetooth enabled. * Multi-format video and audio player. * 11.3cm by 6cm by 1.14cm width, 114 grams weight. * Earphones supplied (white). * My price £130 from Vodafone UK on PAYG network, other prices range from £148 and upwards. Samsung the brand, General Design & Quality At the moment Samsung are on a roll; as they were when I bought my Ace in November 2012 in the UK, India seems to be the highest market at the moment for Samsung devices and the Ace Plus seemed to appeal to me for its range of features and a better equipped phone compared to the Ace Plus. India for example are being offered the Ace Duos, a phone that allows two SIM cards and though slightly smaller in size than the Ace Plus, I wasn't really that interested in the Ace Duos now with a defunct phone that Vodafone UK will have to sort out, and my latest newest baby in my hand, the Ace Plus. However, Samsung in Asia are also releasing a whole long range of "Galaxy" branded compact digital SLR cameras as well as other tagged items, so it remains to be seen whether the UK will be offered similar lines and the Note 2 and 3 has also been launched in Asia, but with a much bigger size compared to what I've seen in the UK. Where general design and quality is concerned then, the Ace Plus is extremely similar to the Ace Smartphone. It is thin, glossy to the touch and feels like a quality item. It certainly retains an air of familiarity when it came to taking the phone out of the box, but I was disappointed to find that unlike my original Ace, there are no snap on colour option fascia backings enclosed and the design to this phone is slightly different with the camera and LED flash located in the middle top half of the phone at the rear compared to the lens at the side. The colour of black is what you get and what you'll have to settle for and the back is just as dimpled as the original Ace but feels very slippery as a comparison. It doesn't make any difference when in actual use, because I used my rubber silicone cover from my old phone to ensure the new Ace Plus doesn't get bumped but constantly had to take the phone out of the casing to take photos if I wanted to due to the new arrangement of the camera lens and flash location on the rear. One bonus that I found in the box however is a pair of white Apple like stereo earphones but I'd have still liked the option of a different coloured backing fascia as I did with my old phone. A quick start user manual is also enclosed and standard battery charger but there is no micro SD card included compared to the original. At the front and sides, the Ace Plus retains the same buttons as with the old; so the volume control is on the left that also acts as the zoom control for the camera and the on button located to the right hand side. The central push button return function with one touch screen button on either side of the push button at the bottom of the touch screen has also been wisely retained. The familiar "Samsung" branding name in silver lettering is still at the top of the phone's screen and yet again Samsung have installed this phone with the promised "durable" Gorilla glass, that seems to have a slight increase of sealing to the fascia with closer gaps between the frame of the phone and the glass itself. Still flush and still very slim, only Samsung fans can tell the difference between the original Ace and the Ace Plus on look and quality; there's a slight hike here as well as a slightly bigger size. I am however delighted to find that the SD Micro-card holder in this phone is just so much easier to install without the daft process of pulling out a blunt knife to get a fragile door open on the exterior sides. Cue the lack of the SD card in the box - no need here since Samsung have already added a 3GB memory to this phone, but I thought I would add my 16GB card any way if I want to add music and videos in time. There is none of the nonsense of sliding the card in like the rather fragile experience from the original Ace phone though! This time, Samsung have wisely added an open section to the left hand side at the back next to the battery and can only be accessed if the rear snap on fascia has been removed. Just like plenty of my old Nokia phones, the Ace Plus also has bottom jack fitted for the micro 2.0 battery charger or USB cord which doubles as a storage connection feed wire as opposed to the top of the phone with the original Ace. Those upgrading to this phone from the latter will find it easy to use, but there are some surprises in store, naturally. General Performance & Downsides One of the first aspects that I noticed straight away once my phone had been charged up is the fact that the Ace Plus comes loaded with more apps than the original phone and some apps that I won't necessarily use. "Chat-On," is a Samsung chat app that allows file sharing as well as treating names instead of phone numbers. Though not of great importance to me, it is a good boon to have. The one app that I do appreciate is the ACCUweather.com app that shows the daily temperature - not just crucial for India - but for other countries and for the fact that it can be changed fairly quickly on the front, "home" page screen on the Ace Plus. Infact for those use to similar weather apps with Apple's Macbook and other Apple systems, there is certainly an air of familiarity with the apps that Samsung have built into this phone. Everything seems to be a lot faster when selecting apps to texting, to making calls and the phone's boost of a much faster processor with larger expansion means I'm not having to put up with slow gestures as I have experienced with the old phone. The natural "light and swipe," gestures of fingers accessing different pages and functions of this phone have also been carried over from the original Ace, but at times I find the functions can get too fast for their own liking. Like the original, it took me a week to get around the whole phone's features though and within a day after a full charge of 8 hours, I was able to access online Internet and sync up my emails - though word of warning if you have Yahoo or other external email servers - DON'T choose the option to have contacts synced up, as they will get added to the phone book in the phone and if you have a lot of contacts recorded in your email server, the phone wont necessarily separate the email address and names. The Ace Plus seems to be able to list separate info though when the function is accessed compared to the Ace, so its good to have this feature if you have additional email addresses you need to add to certain contacts. Where texting is concerned however, the Ace Plus moves the game on a little more and with better precision. The same quick to task accessing the QWERTY keyboard screen is still available as an option and there's even a fun voice control like the original phone that allows you to speak and the phone will start texting. Predictive T9 texting is also available and the phone's main feature is that it is simple to type text on the touch screen without problem. Compared to the last where I found I had to use my pinkie finger to get the letters and words that I wanted when manually typing, the Ace Plus accepts my other fingers with more precision with less time spent going back on words or letters that have either been put wrongly by the phone or if I haven't used as much control and precision to do so at the time! Where speech clarity is concerned and when making a call is concerned, the whole process is a lot faster too and more controlling for the user. Clarity is excellent as is sound quality. The process to accept a call by swiping the screen with the green or red circular touch screen buttons that come up still appear on this phone but I'm very pleased to find that it doesn't slow the Ace Plus down, able to receive a call's actual function with far more instant accessibility than the original. Speakerphone wording has been replaced with "headset," though the function is still the same and as before you can mute the call, put it into standby holding and other default features. After receiving a call for example, the Ace Plus uses the same call alert audible jingle to show that the call has ended, a further feature that I'm not used to my original Ace and though the same drop down menu is available on the front home screen, there's a further addition of "silent mode," which is easier and faster to action than having to go through the whole phone to mute the phone completely or manually press the volume control buttons to the side of the phone. These features are really basic but they've lifted my expectations of the Samsung Galaxy Ace experience and certainly add a touch of class! Where battery life is concerned, Samsung have fitted this phone with a shorter statistic life battery (1350mAh to 1300mAh) and I've already noticed the difference with a bit of a surprise - the battery with this phone seems to last longer than the one on my Ace. With a full charge, the Ace Plus is able to sustain life for about three to four days, but this is only if the phone is used as a phone and not for constant Internet or other features like listening to music. The phone's online battery life seems to mimic the original Ace, with about two days use before the phone requires to be charged. In certain applications then, especially for travelling and you require constant online access, the instant downside to this phone is that it will require a charge every two days for a full battery. However, drip feeding, or just allowing some charge to the phone in this kind of context seems to work better with the Ace Plus than against it. Now I'm back home the phone doesn't require that much of a charge since I have home Internet access, but it may be an off-putting downside to anyone who expects this phone to act as a secondary mini Internet hand held/palm phone first and a mobile phone, second unless they have access to a mains source where the phone can be charged ad-hoc during use. Although slightly weaker compared to the original Ace phone, it is the light proximity sensor that I've noticed this phone seems to activate to save the battery from any other usage, and with the light/brightness setting set at one quarter before the final, highest setting, I find the phone is bright enough without adding more. There are quite a few more advantages to the Ace Plus though. This phone's pixels have been upgraded from 240 by 300 pixels to 320 by 480 pixels. So far when it comes to photo shots or watching videos, I find the clarity is much better and more precise than before and the screen has a built in light proximity sensor that relieves the phone of more power usage. The built in multi format video and music player is still the same, so the formats range from MP3, AAC, WMA, and WAV amongst other AAC types. Where videos are concerned, MPEG4, H.263 & 264 and WMV are offered. The video player still features the excellent You Tube feature whilst the same FM radio has 4 presets radio also features RDS and full stereo playback. However, this phone doesn't have a front facing camera, but it does have a more controllable rotational slide function if the phone is held pilar box style to shoot photos or play games. It isn't as quick to rotate the screen around the other way - a problem I found with the previous Ace. Final Thoughts If you are looking for an upgrade from the Samsung Galaxy Ace, the Ace Plus is definitely a winner, despite a lower battery life. Quicker to function and with much more memory built in that will allow you to add apps or games to this phone other than what it comes with as standard, the Ace Plus is pretty to look at whilst being smoother and faster with its applications and general use. Though it lacks versatile extra video and music formats that the present Ace 2 now enjoys, the Ace Plus is more definitely the middle phone that sits up from the Ace and below Ace 2. Is £30 to £50 worth the added value from the original Ace? I'd say so, but it all comes down to a phone that is faster to process, easier to control and far more versatile with the apps it offers. For the price, it is hard to beat and more in tune with a phone user who likes the advantage of using the Internet some of the time but prefers a mobile phone for actual calling or texting. If you require more Internet time from a stronger, longer lasting battery, the Ace 2 is the next step up! Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2013. www.samsung.com
I've never been a big fan of touch screens but I wanted a new phone, or more importantly a smartphone, and most phones now are touchscreens. So after a lot of research I decided that a Samsung mobile would probably work best for me. With the Samsung Galaxy S2 being rather expensive I was leaning towards the Samsung Galaxy Ace, but the Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus (or Ace 2) was released and covered all the points I was looking for in a phone; a touchscreen that would work even when my hands were cold, a decent processor, a good sized screen and a good price. Specification: ------------------ * 3.65" Screen * 1GHz Processor * 512mb RAM * 2.7 GB User Memory * Up to 32GB External Memory * 1300mAh Battery Capacity * Up to 670mins (2G) / Up to 440mins (3G) * Up to 660hr (2G) / Up to 420hr (3G) *114.7 x 62.5 x 11.2mm Dimension * 114g Weight * Megapixels Camera Resolution (Rear) Design: ---------- The Ace Plus has a simple, practical design and comes in a smart black colour and lovely white. It has a 3.65" screen with the Home button in the centre below it and the word Samsung at the top underneath the earpiece. Next to the home button is also the Menu Key and Back key, but you can't see these when the screen has gone off. On the side is the power button on the right and ringer volume button on the left. This is the only real design flaw of the phone as they are both at the top and whenever I press the power button I always catch the ringer volume. If you are bringing up the menu for the power button it's not so bad as you can change the volume after but if you've just tapped the power button to lock the phone it means unlocking it again to change the volume or remembering to do it later which rarely happens. On the back you then have the camera and speaker. Underneath the phone is the mini USB/charger port and on top is the headphone jack. The jack is a standard size so you can use any normal headphones/earphones with the phone, which is great in my opinion as every other phone I've owned has required the official earphones with the same connection as the charger. So for once I can actually listen to music through my phone when my MP3 battery dies on me! Menus and Features: --------------------------- The touchscreen very responsive which is a good start. You can easily flick through the menus and use apps. The home screen is well set out, with a clock, google search, icons at the top and four main buttons at the bottom, which are call log, contacts, text messages and the menu button. There are 4 screens for apps from the Home screen and 7 screens from main screen where you can find all your pre-installed apps and any new ones that you download. You can change your display and customise your phone. As well as being able to use your own photos there is also live wallpapers which are animated images. You can also select your own music to use for the ringtone rather than the pre-installed ringtones. It is easy to insert a memory card and you can view the files on it under My Files. From there you can choose to set images as the display and music as your ringtone, play the music through the media player, or just view the files. Unlocking the mobile is simple as you just swipe your finger across the screen to unlock it. There is also the option of adding a swipe pattern, pin or password. Locking the phone is just as easy as you can just tap the power button on the side. Holding the power button down brings up a menu allowing you to put the phone on silent mode, activate/deactivate the data network, turn flight mode on and off or turn the phone off. Calls/Texting: ------------------ Calls sound clear on the Ace Plus and you can turn up the volume fairly high. However, it is slightly annoying having to slide your finger from call accept/decline rather than just being able to press a button as sometimes it just doesn't seem to want to accept that you moved your finger. If you can't get to the phone straight away you worry you'll miss the call and trying to answer it quickly just doesn't work. When ending a call you can just tap the end call so I don't see why they couldn't do the same for answering. One problem I did have was when phoning the network and having to select options. To do this should be simple as you just have to press the keypad button and select the number you want, but when I tried to get the screen to come on to select the keypad the screen kept flickering on and off and it took a few attempts to get it to stay on. It might just be my phone but using the keypad probably isn't something most people do often so it's not a massive problem. Texting is simple. The 3.65" screen means there is a good size keyboard for when texting. If you find the keys too small then you can turn the phone on its side and the keyboard will automatically change, showing a keyboard with larger keys. However when you turn it to the side you cannot see previous texts like you can when it's the other way (assuming you haven't written too much). There are plenty of options/settings for texting. The default for the keyboard is qwerty but you can change it to a 3x4 keypad like older phones or use the handwriting option. You can make it predictive text and there are also options for that too so you can change when it starts predicting the word. Choosing the correct word is easy as they are all listed in a row between the message and the keyboard. There are two handwriting options, one with four boxes to separate each letter and one that is just one big box where you can type full words. The handwriting option works much better than I expected it to and it shows you the letters like it does the predicative text so if you've done a capital letter and want a lower case letter you can simply tap the letter. I'm not sure it would make writing a text any faster and it's probably not an option I'll ever use but it does work well if you do choose to use it. If you click settings on the keypad you can scroll down and select Voice Input which gives you the option of pressing a mic symbol on the keypad so you can then tell your phone what you want to type. This should solve time, but it's not quite as good as it should be, especially not with names. It often misses words or just types something entirely different and it doesn't include any punctuation. For example, saying "Hey, how are you? Hope you're having a good day" first came out as "How are you hope you're having a good". Next it just said "good" and the third attempt was just "yep." Perhaps that time it was answering my question? I wasn't saying it very fast, but to get it to eventually go right, with the exception of it saying hi not hey, I had to speak almost robotically. You also need to be using data or have the wi-fi on for it to work. It's a nice feature to have, but not one I use often. Apps: -------- There are plenty of apps for the Ace Plus and it's really easy to find what you want and download them. Not only is there the Play Store (Android Market) but there is Samsung Apps as well. Both of these give you the option of searching as well as viewing featured, popular and new apps. Best of all most of the Android apps are free to download. Once you've found an app you want getting it is simple as you just click the download (or Get on Samsung Apps) button and it will install it to your phone. As with other smartphones the phone comes preloaded with some apps including things such as a calculator, voice search, voice recorder, alarm and a calendar. Internet: ------------ The Internet is fast and easy to use. So far I've not had any problems viewing any sites and you can easily use pinch zooming to zoom in on any page. The wi-fi works fine and connects very quickly so you can switch that on and click the Internet icon and it will load instantly. Software: ------------- No software comes with the phone so to transfer files to your computer using the USB cable means downloading Samsung Kies. When I first tried to connect my phone it asked for disk, but it doesn't come with a disk. So I downloaded Kies but I got no response until I unplugged the phone. once I'd done this and then plugged it back in it took a couple of minutes to connect but after that the program worked fine and I could easily transfer my files from the mobile to the computer. Camera: ----------- The Ace Plus has a good quality 5MP camera with plenty of options, including Flash, and video. You can use the volume button to zoom in up to x3. When you've taken the picture you can easily zoom in and out by pinching the screen. Battery Life: ---------------- There is an icon for the battery which always looks about half full and is really useless for showing how much battery you have left. Luckily you can view the percentage under the status, along with all the other information about your phone (such as your phone number and network). The battery life on most smartphones are poor so I wasn't expecting this to be any different. Obviously the more you text, call, use apps and the internet the quicker it will drain the battery. I'm not a heavy user but I probably charge the phone every couple of days or so. If you are a heavy user you'll probably find yourself charging this every day. When you do have to charge the battery it charges fast which is good. Manual: ----------- The phone doesn't come with a proper manual, just a quick start guide which tells you how to get the back off the phone, put the sim in, the buttons/ports on the phone and very brief explanations of the very basics of the phone (e.g. making calls). Under settings there is a system tutorial. This is only very basic though and teaches you how to use the onscreen keyboard. I had only very briefly used a couple of smartphones before but I had no problems in using the phone. There were a couple of things in the settings that I didn't really know much about or found after using the phone a little while and if I'd had a manual I probably would have known more about them or found them things sooner. Not having a manual saves on paper which is a good thing but it would be nice to have a full manual on the phone. As I got the phone right after it was released there was nothing online to start with, although there is now a full manual on the Samsung website. For those who can't always access the internet you can download the manual to print it out. Accessories: ----------------- The Ace Plus comes with a charger and a USB cable to connect it to the computer. Price: ------- You can get the Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus Sim Free for £215 from Amazon which is a great price for this. Overall: ---------- Overall this a great mobile that has all the features I wanted and does everything quickly. If you can't afford a Galaxy S2 or S3 then the Ace Plus is a great option to go for. Highly recommended.