Hands on: Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus review: hardware
It's been a relatively quiet MWC 2012 for Samsung since the company decided to hang fire on the Samsung Galaxy S3 and ditched its press conference but it has managed to bring a few phones that we hadn't yet seen.
Not least the Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus, which launched at this year's CES and brings a bit of an update to the handset with the Ace name.
Where the original Samsung Galaxy Ace offered Android 2.2, a 3.5-inch screen and an 800MHz processor, the Galaxy Ace Plus comes with Gingerbread (Android 2.3), a 3.65-inch screen and a 1GHz processor.
So when it comes to looks, the two are very similar. The Ace Plus comes with 'metallic points of interest' that may well be metallic to look at but are actually very plasticky to touch and attract fingerprint smudges like nobody's business.
The 3.6-inch screen isn't bad, although it suffers the same smudge-based woes and images and text have a tendency to look a little pixelly.
This being a Gingerbread phone, there are a few buttons to play with. Samsung insists on putting the power/sleep button on the side of the handset which confuses us no end, and there's a home button and volume slider too.
On the back you'll find a 5MP camera and a smart but uninspiring mesh-effect back plate.
The Galaxy Ace Plus is not the slimmest handset we've seen this MWC but it's not too chunky for a mid-range Android.
Hands on: Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus review: software
It's really a shame that the Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus is only running Android 2.3 rather than the snazzy new Ice Cream Sandwich. To our eyes, the software looks a little dated but then those of you who haven't spent the last two days using various Ice Cream Sandwich phones non stop probably won't have that issue.
There's also Samsung's TouchWiz interface to contend with, and all the bright colours and juvenile icons it brings with it.
The 1GHz processor is a welcome addition, though, speeding through menu screens and opening apps with no lag.
Where we did encounter a couple of delays, however, was using the camera. It's a little slow to start up, as well as being a little slow to take photos. However, once the shutter fires, the photo takes pretty quickly – we didn't find we had many blurry shots at the end of our session. There are some nice features too, like continuous shooting. The video recording function also works fine – nothing to write home about but it gets the job done.
Watching video on the handset is also nothing particularly spectacular but it seems to be fast and largely judder free.
Music playback seemed to work fine, although we can't vouch for the sound quality of the handset given the background roar of MWC that largely drowned any semblance of a melody out.
It's hard to get excited about a handset like the Galaxy Ace Plus. It's an update to an already very average mid-range Android handset – we can only applaud the greater processing power and the larger screen, but we'd be more excited if this was a mid-range Ice Cream Sandwich handset or one that came with, say, a free puppy.
Like most mid-tier handsets, the success of the Ace Plus is going to come down to price. If it's available on an attractive PAYG package, we can see it being a bit of a steal – after all, a 1GHz processor and Android 2.3? A few months ago those would've been top end specs.