Entering an area of the market filled with competition, the Samsung Galaxy S Advance sets itself apart on a hardware front more than on the software side of things.
Zippy dual-core CPU
Robust image editing
All-round strong performer
No Android 4.0 ICS
Poor light management on camera
Echo to calls
Unreliable video abilities
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Not content with adding the Galaxy S2 and Galaxy S3 handsets to its flagship smartphone lineup, Samsung is looking to capitalise on its leading Android line with the Samsung Galaxy S Advance, a mobile phone that arcs back to the original model, combining a selection of high-end specs with a revision of the now iconic styling.
Landing under the alternate moniker of the Samsung I9070, the Samsung Galaxy S Advance features an amalgamation of many impressive handset factors, with the firmly mid-range price tag of £330 in the UK ($330 in the US) for a SIM-free phone being pushed by a collection of impressive specs and a sleek, functional, if far from unique user experience.
Building on the base of the original Samsung Galaxy S handset, the Samsung Galaxy S Advance boasts a zippy Cortex-A9 1GHz dual-core processor, with the multi-core CPU running the show to much aplomb, despite falling behind the recent onslaught of quad-core smartphone monsters.
Joining the dual-core processor to keep things running along nicely, the Samsung Galaxy S Advance hosts 768MB of RAM, with the handset once again offering more than its mid-range price tag would usually suggest, with phone owners given the option of 8GB or 16GB storage capacity offerings, a feature usually reserved for the top-of-the-line cream of the smartphone crop. This can also be extended with up to 32GB of external memory.
While the speedy innards will see the Samsung Galaxy S Advance measure up as a mid-market mobile phone powerhouse, many will be looking to the smartphone's entertainment features before heading to a retailer, and on this front the S Advance offers a mixed bag of tricks.
With a 5-megapixel camera on the rear, Samsung's smartphone falls back within the confines of the standard mid-market offering with 720p HD video recording capabilities featured as another now expected specification.
With a second, 1.3-megapixel camera on the front, video calls are made possible. Elsewhere, inbuilt speakers, an integrated MP3 player and FM radio capabilities further enhance the entertainment options in an increasingly expected, less than groundbreaking fashion.
Featuring a 4-inch Super AMOLED display with an impressive 480 x 800p image resolution, Samsung has maintained its run of fitting its handsets with some of the most eye-catching and dazzling displays on the market.
Although not the HD offering found on the latest high-end offerings, the 233PPI images offered by the Corning Gorilla Glass-covered display remain some of the best on the mid-market scene.
Landing with the usual array of 3G and Wi-Fi internet connectivity options and Google's Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system under the hood, there's no immediate Ice Cream Sandwich update available.
With that said, given the device's £330/$330 SIM-free price tag, the Samsung Galaxy S Advance is brilliant value for the money, offering an array of specs superior to the market-leading handsets of barely 12 months ago, at a wallet-loving mark that is making such services and handset abilities available to a wider audience.
Design and feel
Like the original Samsung Galaxy S handset and the Samsung Galaxy S2 that followed, the Samsung Galaxy S Advance is a well-constructed - albeit largely plastic - smartphone with the compact, rounded edged finish fitting comfortably in the hand and offering little in terms of unwanted and unnerving flex when put under considerable amounts of pressure.
At just 4 inches in size, the Advance is considerably smaller than its 4.3-inch Samsung Galaxy S2 sibling and positively dwarfed by the industry-leading 4.8-inch Samsung Galaxy S3.
Despite this smaller form, however, the 9.7mm thick handset, which is larger than Apple's 3.5-inch iPhone, is heavier than its higher specced S2, with its 120g heft a mere 4 grams more than the now year-old handset.
Despite these added millimetres and grams, the Samsung Galaxy S Advance does not feel weighty or cumbersome in the hand, with the smooth backed, angular edged and rounded corner design sitting comfortably between your digits and offering a more reassuring feel than the larger, lighter, more unnerving Galaxy S2.
With few physical buttons detracting from the smooth and stylish form, those that are on the Samsung Galaxy S Advance offer little concern in terms of accidental presses, with the oversized, centrally located home button joined by a right side-mounted sleep-come-power button and physical volume controls featuring on the left of the handset.
Although these power and volume buttons line up in areas usually covered by your thumbs or fingers when held in conventional left and right-handed manners, thanks to their reassuring stiffness, there is little concern about unwanted presses turning the phone's display off or muting the handset during audio playback.
Despite being a largely plastic affair, the Samsung Galaxy S Advance stands up well to the everyday knocks and drops that are an unavoidable part of a smartphone's lifespan, with the Gorilla Glass display keeping the handset safe from some pretty hefty bangs and large spills to concrete that snuck into our test without intention.
Again helping to maintain the phone's sleek, appealing form factor, just two connection ports tarnish the smooth finish, with both the micro USB charging socket and 3.5mm audio jack lining up out of sight and out of mind on the handset's base.