Review: Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus

Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus Review

Samsung's 2012 line-up of smartphones for the Indian market has rather been a dull one till now. With no sign of the much-awaited Galaxy S III or even an Android ICS running device in sight, the company is busy upgrading their old models in to better one's. It's not something new. Samsung has a habit of filling in their Galaxy line-up with models ranging from any size or shape you can imagine. Keeping this trend in mind, the Korean giant has launched the Galaxy Ace Plus, an upgrade to the very popular Galaxy Ace of 2011. The added 'Plus' surely brings in a much-needed slew of features to the device. For starters, the upgrade includes a 1Ghz processor, TouchWiz 4.0 UI and the video quality made reasonable to VGA (640 x 480 ) @ 30fps. It's time to indulge in the main course. Stay glued till you reach the dessert aka Verdict. 

Design and Hardware

Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus Review
At first look, the phone's design feels just like a standard Samsung smartphone with typical round edges, 3-buttons placed at bottom and the all-plastic build can be blamed. Unlike the old Galaxy Ace had a 3.5" display, the Plus gets a small update here to 3.65". The good part here is on keeping the two brothers side-by-side, one can barely notice an increase on the overall size. What Samsung did was, reduced the space occupied by the earpiece above and the three buttons below to adjust the bigger screen. The three buttons below include only one hardware 'home' button while the other two, menu and back one's are touch-sensitive.

Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus Review
Another design change in the new Ace Plus can be found at the back of the phone. The old Ace had an entire finely textured surface which looked rather good and felt secure to hold, but the new Ace Plus has now opted in for cornered bezel first, followed by a small plastic texture. The back obviously holds the 5-megapixel camera along with an LED flash below it and the speaker grille to it's right. The placement of the camera is perfect at the top-center of the phone. A small bump from the body comes out at the bottom. That's all to talk about the back. 

Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus Review
The headphone jack and USB/charging port lie all opened at the top-center and bottom of the phone, respectively. The power button lies on the upper right-side of the body in typical Samsung style. Volume rocker keys reside on the left. There's no physical camera button. Well, this isn't something new as all the phones from Galaxy line-up don't have it.  The phone feels light-weighted at 114g. Although it's not one of those slim profile smartphones, it does not feel bulky at all at 11.2mm thinness. The overall feel and look of the phone is clean and simple. Nothing attractive or ugly here.


Even though Samsung introduced a bigger display for the Ace Plus but they left the display's resolution same at HVGA (320 x 480) and the pixel density is also lesser at (~158). A slightly bigger resolution of 400x800 would have been reliable. These limitations are evident in viewing angles of the display. You need to maximize the brightness output for outdoor usage. Indoors, the display is vibrant and filled with bright colored icons. The display is no where close to the clarity of Samsung's own Super AMOLED or even iPhone's Retina display. The display is just fine for normal phone usage and watching a film might not be prove entertaining. 


Samsung did a great job of upgrading the Galaxy Ace Plus with Android Gingerbread 2.3.6. and TouchWiz 4.0 UI. Many minor fixes and new add-ons have made the Ace Plus a smooth performer. Unlike the old Galaxy Ace, this one managed to impress us and the credit foes to the 1Ghz Processor lying underneath.  

The first feature added here is the new lock screen. It opens up quickly thanks to the slide-to-unlock gesture that can be performed anywhere on the display. The transition is shorter and smooth.

The homescreen looks vibrant and organized with all new widget style placement in TouchWiz 4.0. You get seven homescreens to arrange all your widgets and shortcuts. The style of adding widgets has also visually changed and looks appealing. Long-press the home button pops up the standard Android task switcher and Samsung has provided their own fully functional Task Manager. But we didn't really had the need to use it again and again.

Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus Review
L-R. Lock screen, Adding widgets, App drawer customization, Browser features.
Other changes by Samsung are found in the app drawer. Now, you can add folders and a new page altogether, just like in Galaxy S II. The four shortcuts to keypad, contacts, messaging and menu remain intact when the app drawer is opened but they can also be customized according to your choice except for the menu button. Moving around menus and pages is smooth and we found no lags. Swipe-in with two fingers and you get a preview of all the pages.

The Browser also gets a bit of tweaks like a very useful swipe in with two fingers minimizes the current window and shows all running windows in a fluid left-to-right navigation style. Surfing around to media-rich websites was smooth and page loading didn't took much time. The browser supports Flash and playing a 720p video on YouTube was no issue for the phone. Another added functionality includes setting website specific brightness. A small yet handy tool. 

Music & Video Player

Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus ReviewSamsung has used the stock redesigned music player of TouchWiz UI. Equalizer presets plus an added custom preset are handy add-ons to the Music Player. A noteworthy feature inhere, is the ability to search for a title song directly on YouTube or simply Google it right from the Music Player. Biography of the singer can be searched on the net right from the player. Talking about the performance, the music levels are loud enough to fill in a room. This is possible through DNSe sound-enhancing technology used by Samsung. We entered an altogether different world as soon as those white headphones entered our ears and 5.1 channel surround sound button was switched on. The music seemed too noisy if 5.1 channel was switched-off. Overall, the Galaxy Ace Plus serves as a real good music companion. Samsung's offering free Bluetooth headset along with the phone. We experienced reduced noise levels and echo cancellation on the headset. It's free and that's great.

The Video player has nothing high-end to it. A simple clean layout of play, forward and rewind button is all you find in here. The codec support is limited to 3GP/H.263/H.264/MPEG4. No Divx/Xvid support present here. So you will have to download third-party apps from the Play Store.


The Galaxy Ace Plus doesn't disappoint as a performer. Samsung has done a great job of blending in TouchWiz 4.0 with Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread. The old Ace carried 800Mhz Processor. Considering the phone isn't a dual-core, we were amazed by the fluid performance. Although handling some games is the job of a dual-core processor, the single core Scorpion processor, Qualcomm S1 in the Ace Plus is sufficient enough for daily use and suits perfect to a mid-range handset. Here's where the Ace Plus stood out. A good 512 MB of RAM helps in the overall performance. 


The camera remains the same on Galaxy Ace Plus with a 5-megapixel snapper capable of shooting at a maximum resolution of 2560 x 1920 pixels. The interface too remains the same here as it was in the old Galaxy Ace. You have ample amount of scene modes to decide from and a 3X zoom. We took it out to test it in real-time and came back a bit disappointed. Samsung has tried to reduce noise level as much as possible but in return the camera seemed to have lost fine detail, sharpness and the pictures seem softened up on getting a closer look. Surprisingly, the camera is good at handling macro shots. One thing worth mentioning is, pictures are clicked real quick one after the another. Overall, the camera is above average and will serve well on a normal regular usage. 
Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus Review
All Camera Shots can be found at the end of the review. 
One very needed upgrade Samsung made here is by introducing VGA video recording (640 x 480 ) @ 30fps. The old Galaxy Ace had below par video recording at 15fps QVGA . We still didn't understand that why Samsung didn't opt in for 720p video recorder given the Ace Plus now has a 1Ghz Processor with it. Well, better to have something than nothing. Video quality is average as expected but better than the old Ace. 

One big major drawback of the Galaxy Ace Plus is Samsung just forgot to add a front camera to the phone. It's shocking to notice this. Every phone in this budget segment has a front camera. So, if you use video calling, then this isn't the phone for you. 


All necessary connectivity options are present in here. 3G, Wi-Fi b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot, stereo Bluetooth 3.0, microUSB port, GPS receiver with A-GPS and TV out. We didn't face any issues while transferring through Bluetooth and the GPS served well. There seemed to be some problem with our model's Wi-Fi connection. We had to reconnect it after every 10-15mins to get the connection back. We hope this might not be an issue with other models. 

Battery life

Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus Review

This is where a device needs to perform well. The Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus carries a 1300mAh battery, a little lesser than the 1350mAh battery found on the old Galaxy Ace. On a daily basis with regular calls, packet data usage, music and surfing, the battery manages to survive for three fourth of a day. On our battery test with Wi-Fi left on, 50% brightness and a video left to play on loop, the battery lasted for 7hours. We wish Samsung had added a 1500mAh battery to boost the battery life. 

Samsung offers only some pre-loaded apps like ChatON (their own cross-messaging platform), KIES 2.0, Social Hub, etc. The internal memory here is a good 3GB which can be expanded up to 32GB. A document and an image editor are built in. 


Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus Review

At an MRP of Rs.16,290, the Galaxy Ace Plus impresses at many areas but also has a few downfalls. A missing front view camera, average video recording and a low display resolution are the major limitations which stop the Ace Plus from being called the Best Budget Android device. Other than that, the 1Ghz processor impresses as a performer and the refined TouchWiz UI with Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread gives the user a fluid experience. All-in-all, the Galaxy Ace Plus outperforms the old Ace and is recommended at that price tag. It won't disappoint you except for a few drawbacks. On a scale of 1 to 10, the phone stands at 6.5/10.

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