Samsung recently announced a tricked out edition of their highly popular mid-range droid – the Galaxy Ace. We got our hands on the new Samsung Galaxy Ace Hugo Boss Edition and you can bet we’ve shot and filmed the whole thing.
Although it’s pretty much the same deal on the inside as the original Galaxy Ace, the Hugo Boss edition has been pimped out and made manlier and sexy than before. Read on for the full scoop.
If you’ve read up on our review of the Galaxy Ace then you’re already well acquainted with the pros and cons of the device. We’ve seen Samsung come up with this sort of fashionista editions of their popular models – take the F480, for instance.
Samsung Galaxy Ace Hugo Boss official shots
Here’s a quick unboxing video and a user interface demo of the Samsung Galaxy Ace Hugo Boss to start you of. Inside the box we found no fashionable accessories. There’s a 2GB microSD card, a pair of black headphones, a USB cable and a charger.
The main focus is obviously on the Boss part of the Ace and we’ll get deeper into that. But before we do, let’s cover the basics. The Galaxy Ace Hugo Boss edition offers the same 3.5-incher display, 5 MP sharpshooter as on the original but comes with the more up-to-date Android Gingerbread. It’s not the sharpest tool in the shed with its 830 MHz processor but it does the job done with a relative ease.
Galaxy Ace Hugo Boss in our office
As we’ve pointed out before, the Galaxy Ace is a good smartphone for the occasional user. Now with the Hugo Boss edition, users will get a more refined, mean looking version of an already good product. That’s something many fashion-conscious people would appreciate.
Retail package is suede-like
The retail box of the Galaxy Ace Hugo Boss looks very high class and features all the goodies you’d need. By the sight of it, you’d expect a more expensive product hiding inside. The box itself is pitch black and made out of a special textured, almost fabric-like, paper.
Galaxy Ace Hugo Boss retail box
Design and build quality
On the outside, the Hugo Boss edition is strikingly different from the original Galaxy Ace. Although nothing on the inside has changed, the black exterior, overhauled back panel and Hugo Boss logo above the display are true game changers for an otherwise mid-range product when it comes to design.
The materials used haven’t changed all that much – it’s still entirely made out of plastic – but the Galaxy Ace Hugo Boss edition comes with a more upscale feel to it, whereas the original left a distinct budget impression.
The 3.5-inch 16M color display of HVGA resolution on the front of the Galaxy Ace Hugo Boss is relatively good – colors look vibrant, viewing angles are ok and sunlight legibility is acceptable. It’s no SuperAMOLED Plus but it will display Android in a colorful way.
Above the display you get a proximity sensor, the earpiece and a Hugo Boss logo. Under the 3.5-incher there’s a home button and two capacitive menu and back keys. They only light up when you press them so most of the time the black look remains unspoiled.
Galaxy Ace Hugo Boss
There is a microSD card slot on the right side of the Ace Hugo Boss along with a power/unlock button in typical Samsung fashion. The left side only features a volume rocker and a pinhole eyelet.
At the top of the Ace Hugo Boss there’s a 3.5 mm headphones jack and a MicroUSB connector port, hidden under a plastic sliding lid. The sole microphone pinhole is placed at the bottom of the phone.
Controls on either side • top and bottom parts
The back of the Galaxy Ace Hugo Boss has a revamped back panel. It stays true do the dark vision of the whole device but is painted in an interesting pattern, giving it a textured look, even though the finish is smooth and not textured. The back panel looks great and features a matte finish but it’s prone to scratches so avoid placing the phone on surfaces that might scratch it.
The battery is the same Li-Ion 1350 mAh found in the original Galaxy Ace. It’s quoted at 640h/420h of stand-by (2G/3G) and 11h/6:30h of talk time. We had too little time to do a thorough test of how it performs but it should mirror the Ace’s performance.
Back panel • Under the hood
The Galaxy Ace Hugo Boss lives up to the title of a fashion accessory. It looks good and can easily fool people into believing that it is indeed a high-end phone. We like the new black-on-black look and the matte feel to the back.
Galaxy Ace Hugo Boss in our office
Android Gingerbread at the front
The Samsung Galaxy Ace Hugo Boss comes with Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread as opposed to Froyo on the original. Despite the update in software the changes are hidden from the naked eye and all pretty much remains the same – the lockscreen, homescreens, menu, etc.
As per usual you’re offered a total amount of seven homescreens but you can delete as many as six and use only one. A pinch gesture on the screen opens up a preview of all your homescreens, from which you can reorder them and change their number (add or delete them).
Android Gingerbread 2.3.3
The notification area, one of the Android strong points, has five switches for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, sound and rotation-lock. Naturally it also displays notifications, such as missed calls, unread emails, app installs, connections and more.
Pressing the menu button on the homescreen and then selecting add will let you put more content on your homescreen (a press and hold on the homescreen does the same trick), add/delete homescreen panes or change the wallpaper. Live wallpapers are supported too, though there is only one preinstalled and you will have to get the rest from the market. The contextual menu has shortcuts too for search, notifications and settings.
Add to homescreen • Notification area
The main menu consists of two panes and much like the homescreen, instead of a vertical scrollable grid (like in the vanilla Android) you get a side-scrollable one. List view is not available.
The all too familiar TouchWiz task manager is here too, complete with a homescreen widget that shows the number of currently active apps, it saves you the need to install a task killer.
The Galaxy Ace Hugo Boss edition outperformed its older brother up to two times on some benchmarks. The hardware hasn’t changed but keep in mind that Android Gingerbread brings a big performance boost.
Quadrant • Neocore • AnTuTu • Smartbench 2011
The Samsung Galaxy Ace is very snappy, even on its sub-par 800 MHz processor. Daily routine tasks will be handled without glitches.
Hugo Boss add-ons are purely visual
As a Hugo Boss-branded device we expected the Galaxy Ace to come with some exclusive mobile content that would set it apart from the rest. Alas all we did find is a big selection of wallpapers and an app that directs you to the mobile version of the Hugo Boss site, which is accessible via any mobile browser out there.
The Hugo Boss mobile site is pretty simple and easy to navigate. You get links to various venues and collections of clothes and fragrances. It’s nice to browse for about two minutes if you’re into all that stuff – and you would be into it, why else would you have bought the Hugo Boss-branded Galaxy Ace?
The Hugo Boss app
The Hugo Boss-branded wallpapers on the Galaxy Ace Hugo Boss edition have gone as far as eradicating the usual Samsung ones. It would have been nice to see a Hugo Boss live wallpaper but all you’ll get is a choice of static ones. They are very nice though, and stylish as one would expect from the brand.
Hugo Boss wallpapers
That’s about the differences on the software side. We did expect more but this isn’t a flagship phone and the price doesn’t justify more goodies, software or otherwise.
The same great 5 MP shooter
The camera sensor on the Samsung Galaxy Ace Hugo Boss is exactly the same as the one on its predecessor. It’s a 5 autofocus megapixel camera for a maximum image resolution of 2560 x 1920 pixels. A LED flash is there too to assist you in low-light scenes. Some extra goodies are also at hand such as face and smile detection and geotagging.
The samples below will tell you the whole story but the great 5 MP shooter of the original Galaxy Ace has crossed over into the Hugo Boss one. There’s good contrast, plenty of detail, color rendering is spot on and little amount of noise.
Camera samples made with the Galaxy Ace Hugo Boss
Sadly the conditions outside didn’t allow the Galaxy Ace Hugo Boss to shine but it still shows good results.
Camera samples made with the Galaxy Ace Hugo Boss
Video recording bumped to VGA
The video recording of the Galaxy Ace Hugo Boss has been improved a lot but it still fails to impress our team. Sure VGA is way better than QVGA and with it comes a much better suited container for the file (.mp4 instead of .3gp) but the video recording still isn’t impressive.
And here is an untouched VGA@30fps sample for direct download.
We like the nice exterior overhaul – it looks badass and just plain cooler than the original, budget-conscious Ace. If you’re looking to buy a good smartphone with nice features and a lower price tag than an iPhone or upper-class Galaxy the Galaxy Ace Hugo Boss is something you should check out for the holiday season.
But if the name in question’s your interest – Hugo Boss – then you could achieve the same effect on pretty much any other droid out there. All it takes is a replacement black panel, some wallpaper downloads and a bookmark on your homescreen to the Hugo Boss mobile site. The brand-optimization just doesn’t run deep enough for our liking.
We’ve seen fashion-reworked Galaxies before and we know the effort could’ve been better. Still the Galaxy Ace Hugo Boss is a different phone, even if only on the outside and we have to respect that this hasn’t taken a huge toll on the price.
We liked the Galaxy Ace and as for the Hugo Boss version, well it does look a heck of a lot better. And is still the good device it was before the night rider make up was applied.