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Samsung Galaxy S Advance Review

By Simon Thomas on 27th June 2012

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If you’re after an all-rounder that runs on Android, the Samsung Galaxy S Advance is it. Plus it includes Samsung’s excellent social networking offerings and solid performance.

Full Review and Specification for the Samsung Galaxy S Advance

We’ve already seen the Galaxy S, and the hugely popular Galaxy S II, and now there’s the Galaxy S Advance from Samsung. But in a market crammed full of mid-range phones, can this all-round machine compete with those that are cheaper or have a better spec list?


Looking good


The Galaxy S Advance has the look of the iPhone 4 or Galaxy Ace, thanks to its squared off edges, sole Home key and silver trim.


The display measures four inches and is of the Super AMOLED variety, like that on the Galaxy S. Samsung’s S II featured a next generation Super AMOLED Plus display, but it’s hard to see the difference – the resolution may be less on the Advance’s screen, but it is brighter.


Hardware-wise, the Galaxy S Advance is more solid than either the Galaxy S II or Galaxy S. The body is made of a light plastic, but it’s thicker and has a hatched reverse side. The display has a Gorilla Glass coating, but still managed to get scratched, as did the plastic back of the handset.


You get half the amount of storage of the Galaxy S II at 8GB, but this can be expanded via the microSD slot to 32GB. A dual-core 1GHz chip helps the handset run smoothly, along with the 768MB of RAM. The operating system is not the latest version of Android, but Gingerbread – surprising as the latest Ice Cream Sandwich has been out for six months or so. 


Getting social


Samsung has overlaid Android with its TouchWiz 4.0 interface. It’s a basic version, which was also seen on the Galaxy S III. You can populate the seven homescreens with whatever widgets and apps you’d like. And the square widgets look even brighter on the Super AMOLED screen.


As we’ve come to expect from Samsung handsets, there are plenty of social features to enjoy. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter accounts are all linked by the Social Hub, which also aggregates social network feeds and texts.


The phonebook brings together all your contacts, and gathers all communication into a contact card, whether it’s messages, calls, photos or postings. You can see your updates in all kinds of ways, and you’ve still got Mail and Gmail apps, the SMS inbox and the separate social network apps.


The onscreen keyboard proves speedy and accurate and has a decent autocorrect facility. You can also choose a Swype keyboard – where you drag your digit from one key to the next – should you wish. It can prove really quick for inputting.


There were no lags using the keyboard or surfing the net. But there was some stuttering when playing social games online such as Scramble with Friends.


 Magic tricks


Samsung has included some neat little tricks on this handset, such as being able to silence an incoming call by turning over the handset  - or tilting the phone when viewing the gallery to make photos bigger and smaller.


The best addition has to be the facility to hold down a widget or shortcut on the home screen and then pan right or left to switch to another screen. 


Sound and vision


The camera has five megapixels and also features LED flash and auto-focus. It also shoots video. The front-facing 1.3-megapixel snapper takes decent pictures in daylight, as does the rear model. Colours are good and the pictures are clear. The five-megapixel snapper can’t cope with high contrast situations and tends to overexpose any areas that are well lit.


Low-light images don’t fare well when it comes to colours, but the flash does a good job. There are also a number of scene modes to enable you to take pictures in a variety of light situations.


There are video and music players which both support a number of formats – although you won’t be able to play MKV, Xvid or DivX files. Try to copy one from your computer, though, and it will suggest that you convert it to a format it does support. This is a neat trick, but you’ll find it takes about three-quarters of an hour to copy across a 90-minute movie. 


Battery life was decent and we found we could listen to music and watch the odd bit of video, and do a bit of surfing and still not have to charge until about 18 hours in.


Our conclusion


As we said at the start, there are plenty of mid-market phones around, so there are plenty to compare the Samsung Galaxy S Advance with. The Galaxy S II also has a dual-core processor, along with a better snapper and Android Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS). Or there’s the HTC One V, which runs on Ice Cream Sandwich and a 1GHz single-core chip. If you really want ICS, you can buy the One V for around £225 SIM-free, or the Galaxy S II for as little as £310.


The S Advance costs around £300 to £350 SM-free, which is not bad for a new smartphone with a dual-core processor, and which will probably get an ICS upgrade soon. The Galaxy S Advance is a good all-rounder with a neat design, and is a good choice if you’re not absolutely desperate to have the latest version of Android right this minute.

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Samsung Galaxy S Advance Review Scoring

  • Style and Handling
  • User Friendliness
  • Feature set
  • Performance
  • Battery
  • Overall Score

Samsung Galaxy S Advance Phone Specification

Type of device


Operating System

Android 2.3 Gingerbread





Form factor



Touch Screen

Processor speed

1GHz dual-core


STE U8500 (Dual ARM cortex A9)

Graphic chipset



January 2012


Coming Soon


Screen size

4 inches

Screen type




Display type

16 million colours




Internal storage


Memory card slot




5 megapixels

Secondary camera

1.3 megapixels

Special camera features

Auto-focus and LED flash


3.5mm Jack


Music player


Audio recording




FM Radio description

Stereo FM radio with RDS and recording


Video recording


Video player

Yes, MPEG4, H.263, H.264, WMV, DivX, VC-1

Video calling


Video streaming


Additional Features




Yes and downloadable

Voice control


Voice dailing



Music Hub, Game Hub, Find My Mobile, Polaris Office

































Colors (Standard)


Handsfree speaker phone


Customisable ringtones


What's in the box

Headset, charger, USB cable, earbud sizes, phone




603 hours


380 minutes

Battery life multimedia



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