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Having launched last year running Google's Android 2.2 mobile operating system, FroYo, the fast-evolving software means that the Samsung Galaxy Ace now comes with Android 2.3 Gingerbread pre-installed.
However, things have moved on now, and even the budget handsets are coming with Android Jelly Bean, the latest version of the software which brings a host of improvements, so the Ace is starting to age really badly on that front.
If you're a first time smartphone buyer though, it won't matter too much - you should look at the alternatives, but for the price Android 2.3 performs just fine for the most part.
One of a broad range of varying-sized, differently-specified Google-filled Samsung handsets, the Samsung Galaxy Ace combines the Gingerbread OS with Samsung's TouchWiz user interface. This creates a user experience that is tried, tested and a safe bet that appeases user needs without offering a revolutionary or inspiring environment.
Intuitive to use from the box, the Android-based platform plies the user with the standard array of Google apps pre-installed that are easily and handily arranged alongside a host of widgets and shortcuts across the somewhat limited trio of home screens.
Largely due to the handset's restricted 258MB of RAM and 800MHz CPU, opening applications is a stilted affair, with a slight pause preceding the arrival of the desired programme and its content.
This intermittent performance isn't limited solely to app openings, however. Bringing the phone out of sleep mode is sometimes farcically slow and stilted, often causing you to second-guess the button press - an irritating issue that starts a vicious loop of counteracting button presses.
Scrolling through menus and lists is also a little more stilted and jilted than ideal, with a smooth flowing start brought to abrupt stops shortly after. This slows the user experience and puts the device marginally behind some its similarly specced and even lower-end competitors.
It sports four main applications (Calling, Contacts, Messages and Menu) at the bottom of the screen, separating these from the cavalcade of applications at the top, similar to that found in the iOS.
It also has a nifty task manager widget to help you keep your battery life optimised by showing what you've currently got running in the background.
That said, the battery life isn't bad as it uses a standard Li-Ion 1350mAh, which despite being under-powered compared to other smartphones (the top end devices are nearly three times the capacity, but are far more expensive) manages to hold on OK throughout the day.
Another useful widget is the bar at the top enabling you to quickly switch on/off the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, sync as well as increase the brightness of the screen.
Annoyingly, for non-gamers, there are a four pre-installed games that can't be uninstalled, clogging up memory and space on the menu screen.
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