Samsung's Galaxy Ace 2 attempts to bring a quality display to the mid-range or budget end of the smartphone market.
Mobile technology is moving so quickly that many smartphones are superseeded not long after they hit the shelves. The original Samsung Galaxy Ace was only launched by Telstra in June last year — just eight months later it already has a successor. To be fair the Galaxy Ace 2 is unlikely to hit Australian shelves for another few months, but it still highlights how quickly mobile technology is moving.
Like its predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 aims to bring all the features and functions of Android to a compact handset at an affordable price. The Galaxy Ace 2 offers a number improvements over the original. It has a larger 3.8in screen (up from 3.5in) and uses a PLS TFT panel instead of the regular TFT screen of its predecessor. Samsung says this will result in better viewing angles and a brighter image. Resolution is up too: from a paltry 320x480 to a far more respectable 480x800.
The Galaxy Ace 2 has 4GB of internal memory (up from just 158MB) and is now powered by a dual-core 800MHz processor (up from a single-core chip). A more powerful processor and a bigger screen will naturally result in an impact on battery life, so the Galaxy Ace 2 also gets a slightly bigger 1500mAh battery (up from 1350mAh). There's also a front facing VGA camera for video calls, a feature not found on the original Galaxy Ace.
Disappointingly, the Galaxy Ace 2 will ship with the 2.3 "Gingerbread" version of Google's Android operating system and not the current 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" version. Given Ice Cream Sandwich was unveiled late last year, it's frustrating to see new phones announced that aren't utilising the latest software. When you consider the Galaxy Ace 2's position as a budget handset, it's probable (though not impossible) it may never be upgraded to Android 4.0.
A likely reason for the ICS delay is Samsung's insistence on pre-loaded software hubs: Music Hub, Game Hub and Social Hub. To be fair, Samsung's Music Hub - a subscription based music service that costs $9.99 per month, $54.99 for six months or $99.99 for 12 months in Australia - is a nice inclusion on a low-end phone but the other hubs are unlikely to add much value.
Interestingly, the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 only utilises the 900MHz and 2100MHz 3G network bands, so it won't work on Telstra's 850MHz Next G network. Samsung could produce a model to work on Telstra's network but for now, the Galaxy Ace 2 will be of particular interest to Optus and Vodafone.
Samsung hasn't announced if or when the Galaxy Ace 2 will be released in Australia.