Samsung Ace First Impressions Review

by Reads (8,856)

Last week, Sprint started offering the Samsung Ace, a Windows Mobile smartphone that, unlike most of this telecom’s offerings, can be used in the United States and around the world.

Samsung Ace

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In the U.S., the Ace connects to Sprint’s CDMA network, and offers the 3G service EV-DO. In other parts of the world, it can connect to GSM networks.

This telecom just got me a unit, but I’m going to go ahead and give you my first impressions. A full review will be along soon.

Ace vs. BlackJack

Physically, the Ace is very similar to the older Samsung BlackJack. Aside from a button redesign, and the lighter hematite-grey casing of the Ace, these devices share the same fundamental design. (compare the two)

In fact, the physical build is almost indistinguishable, right down to using the same battery, and the location of the SIM card slot. No, don’t get excited, Sprint’s not switching to SIM cards; this serves the Ace’s dual-band GSM radio, for use when roaming internationally.

It’s only when you look at it right next to the BlackJack that you realize the Ace is a little taller, and a little more curved.

Samsung Ace and BlackJack

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Despite all that similarity, the two devices don’t share the same connector: The Ace has a new, thicker connector for both headphones and USB than the BlackJack does. Goodbye all cables and adapters. On the bright hand, Samsung did include a wired stereo headset in the box, which was not included with the BlackJack.

Nor, for that matter, are the internals terribly similar. In place of the weak 220 and 260 MHz OMAP processors used by the BlackJack and BlackJack II, the Ace has a 416 MHz XScale, making it vastly superior for processor-intensive applications like video.

Keyboard

If you’ve used the BlackJack, then getting used to the Ace’s key layout takes a little time — if you haven’t, you’ll probably pick it up right away. While things are different, the keys still feel just as good.

The only downside is the loss of the press-and-hold option to access secondary key functions, rather than needing to press the function key first. I hope Samsung implements this in a future software update.

Samsung Ace

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The build quality overall is excellent, which seems typical of Samsung’s recent entries into the smartphone market.

Software

The Ace runs Windows Mobile 6 Standard, and comes with a standard suite of software for Web browsing, exchanging email messages, working with Microsoft Office documents, and more. 

While nothing major has been added to the standard software package, there are a number of small changes, like the addition of SprintTV, Sprint On Demand, Microsoft Voice Command, and some small utilities like a unit converter and tip calculator.

Preliminary Conclusion

Overall my first impressions of the Ace are that, like its relatives, it’s a robust and reliable smartphone that will prove to be a good choice for Sprint users looking for the features of a Windows Mobile device without the bulk of a Pocket PC phone.

It is available now at sprint.com for $200 with a two-year service agreement and $100 mail-in-rebate.

Additional Pictures

Samsung Ace   Samsung Ace

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