We’ve covered a few versus articles on the top dogs of the market, but now I’m here to debate two devices that won’t make your wallets cough. I’m talking about the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 and Sony’s Xperia U.
The aesthetics of the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 don’t come with anything new, we get the same old all-plastic design with textured back and chrome margins that we’ve been getting from the Galaxy family, whereas the Sony Xperia U comes with a new design that is beautiful and most important, it gets your attention.
The Xperia U is made entirely out of matte plastic with no textures at all and it has a few nice touches to it that some of you might find pleasing. The shape of this device inclines to sharper edges that give a more robust feeling when held. Though I’m not a big fan of the glass on the bottom of the phone, I must admit it’s kind of cool, changing color based on what the screen is displaying.
At closer inspection, the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 measures 118.3 x 62.2 x 10.5mm which is bigger, but slimmer than what the Xperia U measures 112 x 54 x 12mm. Because both devices are more compact, handling is one of their strong points.
We can see that the Ace 2 comes with the standard Galaxy design, whereas the Xperia U delivers more eye candy, but let’s see if that’s enough to place the Sony Xperia U higher in the hierarchy.
The Galaxy Ace 2 features a 3.8” PLS TFT (246 ppi) display that is a bit reflective, making it not very good in outdoor usage and regarding brightness, well let’s say that I’ve seen better. The screen comes with no protection, meaning that you’ll have to spend some extra cash. The overall experience on the Ace 2’s screen is pretty good, with a 480 x 800 resolution (double than the previous Ace) that renders a sharp and clear image with no jagged edges.
Sony’s Xperia U comes with a smaller 3.5” LED-backlit LCD (280 ppi) display (same size that the first Galaxy Ace came with), which could be a deal breaker for some of you, but let me tell you that 3.5” is enough to satisfy all your needs, Apple’s iPhone is living proof.
I can say that the screen on the Xperia U is a bit better regarding image quality, with sharper images, a better contrast, good sun legibility and great viewing angles.
The Xperia U comes with a scratch resistant display, but hear me out, it’s better to change the protection than the entire display, so go for it and buy a screen shield, it’s not expensive at all.
These two bad boys come packed with a few goodies and if they came out a few months ago, some of us would consider them being high-end devices not middle-range as they are now.
Processing power on the Galaxy Ace 2 is given by an 800 MHz Dual-core NovaThor U8500 CPU paired with the good ol’ Mali-400MP GPU, the same that comes with the Galaxy S2 and S3. The device also comes with 768 MB of RAM, which is enough to run anything you throw at it and more than enough to give you a great multitasking experience.
The specs on the Sony Xperia U mirror the Ace 2, having the same Dual-core NovaThor U8500 CPU, but at a higher 1 GHz frequency with the same Mali-400MP GPU. We get 512 MB of RAM on the Xperia U which is less than the Galaxy Ace 2, but enough to run smoothly.
Here comes another possible deal breaker for the Sony Xperia U; the internal memory, which cannot be extended via a microSD card and you only get 4 out of 8 GB of user available memory. I don’t know where the other 4GB go and don’t tell me they’re going in the Android OS because that’s one fat lie.
We get a better story with Samsung’s Galaxy Ace 2, as it comes with 1GB of internal memory which can be extended through a microSD slot.
Both devices come with a 5MP, autofocus, flash enabled camera that can film at 720p @ 30 fps, but the camera on the Sony Xperia U is more advanced, as it features touch focus, 3D sweep panorama and image stabilization which is a must have if you’ve got shaky hands. They both come with a front facing VGA camera for video conversations and others.
I have to say that the camera on the Galaxy Ace 2 is not as good as the one on the Xperia U, as it takes too long to take a picture, especially indoors and when it takes the picture, you get a under-saturated image with smudged colors.
For the moment, both handhelds come with Android 2.3 Gingerbread, but they are planned to update to Android 4.0 in the second half of 2012.
On top of the Android experience we’ve got the TouchWiz UI 4.0 on the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 which is a great addition and has more functionality than Sony Xperia U’s Timescape UI from which you can’t even manage your home screens properly.
The Timescape UI on the Xperia U is inspired by other Sony products (PlayStation, PSP etc.) and it looks good, but it lacks the simplicity and functionality of the TouchWiz UI.
The battery life on the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 is pretty nice, offering up to 8 hours of full use, including 3G talk time, web browsing, video playback and gaming. You’ll get a couple of days of stand-by time out of the 1500 mAh battery that the Galaxy Ace 2 comes with.
Because of its smaller size, the Xperia U gets a smaller, less potent 1320 mAh battery, which paired with the higher clock speed of its processor, you’ll get around 5 hours of full use out of it and almost 35% less stand-by time compared to the Ace 2.
It’s obvious that the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 wins, but if the guys at Sony made an extra effort to add a microSD card slot to the Xperia U, I would’ve given this round a draw and let it to the user’s preferences. Don’t get me wrong, the choice still stands for the user’s tastes, but for the smart user, the one that won't sacrifice performance and functionality for eye candy.