A cheaper version of the Galaxy S3
Samsung's sleek Galaxy S3 is one of our favourite Android smartphones, but it's currently very expensive. The new Galaxy Advance GT-i9070 launched just before it, on the other hand, is a little more affordable.
There is more than a whiff of the iPhone in the Galaxy Advance's design and it has the same rounded rectangular shape with a lozenge-shaped earpiece at the top. That said, the rest of the Galaxy Advance is more similar to the Galaxy Nexus, since it has the same plasticky build and a tough glass screen that curves from top to bottom.
It still feels well-made and is actually a little lighter than the Nexus, but is also marginally thicker – not that you'd actually notice. The 4in screen is smaller, too, but it's a much better fit in the hand than the 4.65in display on the Nexus, particularly when it comes to one-handed operation.
The screen's 480x800 pixel resolution seems low compared to the ultra-high resolution screens found on the latest crop of premium Android smartphones, but it's more than adequate for most apps. Or at least it would be, if not for the fact that it's a PenTile matrix screen.
This technology makes text look fuzzy and small text in particular is difficult to read as a result. The effect isn't so pronounced on the Galaxy Advance compared to other smartphones we've seen, but it is something to be aware of.
PenTile matrix screens are supposedly cheaper to make, but Samsung hasn't skimped on the rest of the Galaxy Advance's specification. Its 1GHz dual-core processor is more in keeping with a smartphone launched last year, but it's still more than powerful enough for running the latest apps and games smoothly.
The phone has a memory card slot for expanding the 4GB of onboard storage, too. The quality of the five-megapixel camera is also surprisingly good when there's enough light, but the shutter lag that creeps in when there's not enough natural light makes keeping a shot in focus all too tricky. Be careful when using the LED flash – it is far too unflattering for close-up portraits.
The 13.5-hour battery life in our video playback test makes the Galaxy Advance one of the longer-lasting Android smartphones. Sadly, it isn't one of the most up to date when it comes to the operating system and it comes with the older Android 2.3 instead of the more recent version 4 which is worth having as it has a host of improvements. Samsung has yet to confirm if the Advance S will receive Android 4 and, if so, when.
The Samsung Galaxy Advance S is a good smartphone, but it's overpriced – it's not as cheap as its competitors, such as the HTC One V. This also means it's dangerously close in price to the Galaxy SII which has a better camera, more storage and can be upgraded to Android 4 now. Unless you can find the Galaxy Advance S cheaper elsewhere, we would rather have the Galaxy SII. If you're on a tighter budget, the HTC One V is better value.
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The Samsung Galaxy Advance is a good Android smartphone, but it has a lower specification than the year-old Galaxy S2 that's available for a similar SIM-free price – and that's the Android smartphone we'd go for if we're spending this much
Stylish, small and light; Long battery life
Imperfect screen; Camera poor in low-light; Not as good as the Samsung Galaxy S2
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