As well as launching headline grabbing devices like the Galaxy Beam at Mobile World Congress, Samsung has also been re-booting its Galaxy range. The Galaxy S Advance is the latest to be updated, offering a new handset for the mid-range market.
The S Advance is powered by a 1GHz dual-core processor with 768MB RAM, making it closer to the Galaxy S2 rather than the original Galaxy S in terms of power. However, the screen more closely resembles the original with a 4 inch Super AMOLED display with WVGA (480 x 800) resolution.
Likewise, there is a 5 megapixel camera on the back with 720p video capability. The camera also has a single LED flash and a tap-to-focus feature as well as other effects and scene settings to personalise your pictures and get the most out of your camera in different settings.
On the front is a 1.3 megapixel camera for voice calls. There is a choice of either 8 or 16 GB of internal memory and the opportunity for NFC. Aside from the latter feature, the S Advance has much in common with the original Galaxy S. Like the original, the S Advance comes with what will be a slightly older version on Android within the next month. Equipped with Gingerbread 2.3, the S Advance will not ship with Ice Cream Sandwich like the majority of Android phones unveiled at Mobile World Congress.
This seems strange as there is no reason why the device couldn’t run it. With Ice Cream Sandwich getting a major run out on new devices at MWC it seems like a missed opportunity for Samsung not to have it here. That doesn’t mean it won’t get an update, although as the Galaxy S2 demonstrates, updates for Android are still laboriously slow to make an appearance on peoples’ handsets.
It isn’t as zippy as its big brother the Galaxy S2 but the S Advance is still as attractive and solid, and certainly a step-up from the original Galaxy S. The touchscreen is curved as is the design of the body meaning it’s a good size and fit to sit in your hand. It’s more like the Nexus S in that respect rather than the S2 as the curve makes it more comfortable when you use it for a call.
The S Advance uses Samsung’s Touch Wiz which sits alongside Android as a user interface.
The S Advance isn’t going to make as many headlines as the S2, nor the soon to be released S3 but it is a good smartphone device for someone who perhaps doesn’t want to spend the same amount of money on a flagship device but still want a good phone. Samsung made it clear at the beginning of the year of its ambition to gain a greater chunk of the smartphone market, with the UK a particular target, and its strategy is by offering a range of devices.
Starting right at the top end with the technology pushing, industry leading devices, it wants to offer something for everyone. The S Advance will go up against HTC’s One V and the LG Optimus L5 in the middle of the market, offering a good trade-off between features and price. The S Advance might lose out against HTC as the One V does run Android 4.0 while the S Advance is stuck with Gingerbread, which might swing things back in HTC’s favour. However it is a solid addition to the Galaxy range and makes it more accessible. The Galaxy S Advance will be out in March.