Samsung has announced their latest addition to the Galaxy S line up, the Samsung I9070 Galaxy S Advance, during the Mobile World Congress 2012 in Barcelona last January this year. The Galaxy S Advance is said to target the upper midrange market competing with other smartphone models such as HTC One S, HTC Vivid, Sony Xperia P, Xperia Sola, LG Lucid, the latest Lava XOLO X900, Samsung Galaxy Ace 2, and its predecessor Samsung Galaxy S Plus among other upper midrange and midrange smartphones.
Samsung has once again introduced two new smartphones in the consumer electronics industry of India, with its latest smartphones, the Samsung Galaxy S Advance (GT-I9070) and the Galaxy Pocket (GT-S5300). The Galaxy Pocket is a very slim phone having only a thickness of 11.9 mm, fitted with an 832 MHz processor and runs in the older Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS. Its internal memory is 3GB and can is expandable up to 32GB. The phone is also packed with several pre-installed that will keep you up running after buying the unit. It comes with a Social Hub, a ChatON messenger and Facebook apps, price is also reasonable for an entry level phone at Rs. 8,150. The addition of these two phones has increased the total number of Samsung smartphones in the Indian market to 19 models at a price range between Rs. 7,350 to Rs. 38,250.
The Samsung Galaxy S Advance, on the other hand, offers way higher specifications that will cater to the upper midrange consumers. Though not as impressive as the higher end models and brands, this midrange smartphone outshines its competitors within the product range. The announcement during the MWC 2012 was not a limelight to midrange smartphones, especially for Samsung, with phone like Samsung S Advance, Wave 3 and Omnia W acting merely as fillers to the show. Tablets and a new projector phone was the actual highlight of Samsung, with its ever increasing level of promotion of the Samsung Note. Another reason maybe is to provide a good market run of the Samsung Nexus. Setting aside Samsung’s high-end tablets and smartphones, let us examine the Galaxy S Advance to see if it can really live up to the tough competition in the midrange smartphone sector.
Design & Screen
The design of the Samsung Galaxy S Advance can be closely associated with the Samsung S II, as well as taking some design inspiration from other Samsung product lines such as the Samsung Nexus. This well-thought collaboration of designs provides a premium feel to this phone even though it is listed on the mid-range classification. A closer look at this phone will reveal a curve-shaped screen display that adheres with the user’s face more naturally, adding up to a more comfortable usage when making calls. The fine texture of its plastic back cover provides its users an added grip and the heavier bottom allows a more comfortable grasp of the phone. Since the phone’s exterior is made mostly with plastic, it does not feel that sturdy. However, the design makes it fit well on the user’s hand.
At the front side of the smartphone, a 1.3 megapixel secondary camera can be noticed at the top left part that provides its user the capability of video calling and video conferencing. The Home button can be physically seen positioned at the bottom of the screen. It is positioned at the middle of the panel with the capacitive touch buttons on its both sides, Menu button at the left and the Back button on the right. Samsung Galaxy S Advance is designed with a 4-inch Super AMOLED display with a WVGA resolution of 480 x 800 pixels. A relatively low resolution compared to its superior brothers and other competitors among the mid-range class. Super AMOLED stands for Super Active-Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode, which is characterized by an integrated touch layer as compared to other screens which has an overlay of touch detection layer. Some prominent features of the Super AMOLED screens include its ability to display brighter screens, less sunlight reflection and even reduced power consumptions. Another key feature of the screen is the use of the Gorilla glass manufactured by Corning. It is made with an alkali-aluminosilicate glass sheet that was engineered to be thin, light and damage-resistant. This providing a very though screen for the phone making it perfect for everyday use and it can withstand some not-so-serious drops.
The back part of the phone is where you will find the 5 megapixel camera with LED flash and the speakers are located right next to it. At the left side, you will find the volume rocker which makes it very convenient to increase or decrease the volume for those who are right-handed. On the other side, the power button is positioned at the upper right side of the phone. The micro-USB port is located at the bottom of the phone which is for power and for connecting the phone to PCs. For some reason, Samsung chose to position the 3.5mm headphone jack also at the bottom. Some users find this convenient especially when charging the phone while listening to music or watching a movie since the wires will only be from one place, not from the top and bottom.
Samsung Galaxy S Advance runs on the older Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread OS with the most recent TouchWiz 4.0 launcher. For those who are excited with the latest Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, it is quite unfortunate at this time since Samsung has not yet announced the availability of an OS update. The interface is almost identical with the Samsung Galaxy R.
The same old lockscreen and different unlock patterns for missed events such as calls and messages are still present. Homescreens can also be stretched to a total of 7 homescreens to make favourite applications easily accessible. The numbered dots that identify the screen panels can also serve as a faster scroll bar between homescreens. By pressing and holding on the dots, the user can easily scroll through the homescreens rather than doing several swipes.
Samsung’s TouchWiz also features four shortcut docks at the bottom of the screen, wherein the first three of which can be changed by the user depending on his preference. The phone also has a Samsung pre-installed widget that shows the number of running applications at the homescreen.
Hardware, Features & Connectivity
High-end smartphones usually uses dual-core processors, while mid-range devices are usually equipped with a single-core CPU. However, Samsung Galaxy S Advance does not conform to the trend since it is packed with a 1 GHz dual-core Cortex-A9 CPU with Exynos Mali-400 MP GPU and 768 MB of RAM. The processor is manufactured by ST-Ericsson and is commonly known as the NovaThor U8500 chipset, which is capable of competing with the best dual-core processors in the smartphone sector.
The S Advance also offers connectivity to average speed networks such as HSDPA and HSUPA with has data speeds of up to 14.4 Mbps and 5.76 Mbps, respectively. It also features a 802.11 b//g/n Wi-Fi support as well as DLNA and Wi-Fi hotspot capability. The device also supports Stereo Bluetooth v3.0 and FM radio with RDS. Other features include an accelerometer, gyroscope, proximity sensor, and GPS with A-GPS connectivity and digital compass.
The Samsung Galaxy S Advance has proved its dominance over the mid-range class with the results of its benchmark tests. The device was compared with the Samsung Galaxy R running in a 1 GHz dual-core Tegra 2 processor and with the Galaxy S II running with a 1.2 GHz dual-core Exynos chipset.
Camera & Storage
Samsung Galaxy S Advance does not offer a high resolution camera with only 5 megapixels and a single LED flash. The phone is typically for average camera users, with photo qualities that is perfect for uploading in social networks and uploading videos online. It also features a face and smile detection capability and can function relatively in low light conditions. The camera is also capable of recording HD videos in 720p at 30 fps.
For the storage, Samsung Galaxy S Advance will come in two variants, an 8GB and a 16GB internal storage device. It will also save the consumers some money if they buy the 8GB variant and just expand the storage using a microSD card. The S Advance supports microSD cards with sizes up to 32GB.
Little is known when it comes to the battery life of the Samsung Galaxy S Advance. However, it is known that the battery module rating of the device is 1500mAh Li-ion. In that case, battery life may be compared with the Galaxy W I8150.
In addition, some users claimed that the batteries lasted for two days based on his average of usage of sending several text messages, making some calls, and moderate browsing and games.
To note a few disadvantages of the Samsung Galaxy S Advance, we consider the accessibility keys. The device does not have a dedicated camera key. Switching microSD cards is not that easy since the slot is under the battery cover rather being on the side of the phone. Video recording also lacks support for 1080p resolution. And lastly, the phone will be launched with the Android Gingerbread with no definite date for ICS update.
The Samsung Galaxy S Advance is the latest addition to the Galaxy line. It is a mid-range smartphone that offers some capabilities of the some high-end devices. The key to its success in dominating the mid-range class is through its NovaThor 1 GHz dual-core processor and Exynos Mali-400MP GPU that performs well along side with other high-end devices like the Galaxy R and Galaxy S II. The exceptional build of the phone makes it very enticing to consumers with its Super AMOLED display with Gorilla glass technology and the unique curved-shaped screen adds a classy look and sleekness to the Galaxy S Advance.
All in all, the Samsung Galaxy S Advance may not be able to take the number one spot in the mid-range class but surely it is among the top performing smartphones of its class. The Galaxy S Advance is already available in the Indian Market last April 18, 2012 with a price tag of Rs. 26,900. Before buying this phone, you may want to consider some of the new smartphone releases, especially those powered by the latest intel Medfield processor.