Jelly Bean for Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 review

So it’s finally here: the long waited upgrade for Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 users to Android version 4.1.2 or more commonly known as Jelly Bean. However, is it living up to the hype and is it worth getting? Read on.

Jelly Bean on Samsung Galaxy Ace 2

Jelly Bean on Samsung Galaxy Ace 2

 

When I got the Ace 2, I thought it was a good phone. It ran well with some pretty good specs and nothing seemed to be wrong with it. However, I had always been wishing I had Jelly Bean on it because I thought that Gingerbread was holding back the phone from its full potential. I upgraded my SGA2 about a month ago now and to put it simply, I want to get rid of it. When I first got it, the phone looked and felt like a Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini because it was smooth and fluid. Give it a few more days and some flaws started becoming apparent. Firstly: the crashes, and boy are there lots of them. If you start running 2 or 3 apps at the same time, you will already notice some slow-down in performance and it will eventually start lagging and, in most of my cases, crashing the phone. When this happens, you end up looking at a black screen wondering why you got the flipping upgrade in the first place. Hold the power button down for a few seconds and the phone will reboot itself which really isn’t something you want to be doing if, for example, you were doing something really quite important like taking a phone call from your boss at work. Now, I’m not saying that you’ll have to reboot the phone every time it slows down, because usually it will just freeze on the screen you’re on and you’ll have to wait about 30 seconds for it to fix itself!… wait…that isn’t a good thing…

Don’t get me wrong, when I first got the upgrade I thought “This is pretty cool” as new features such as quick task-closure, voice search and a fancy keyboard. Not just that, but it is also satisfying when showing off your phone to friends because after all, it does look very nice compared to Gingerbread. But here’s my problem; you can never guarantee that showing it off to your friends will work because it could crash at any moment! I think it simply lies with the fact that the SGA2 is not suited to Jelly Bean. When the phone was running Gingerbread it said the RAM was 512mb but with Jelly Bean it says 624mb which could show that the phone is not powerful enough to run the operating system. Furthermore, I have done my homework and it seems as though many people have been having problems such as slow-down and performance drops with 4.1.2. Coincidence? I think not.

To round off this short review on Jelly Bean for the SGA2, I simply wish I didn’t get it. It has some good sides but, frankly, if the phone doesn’t even work then what’s the point in even having it in the first place? I shall look into downgrading back to Gingerbread or Android version 2.3.

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About joelscheven

About me? Well, I am a student and I like to write. I share an enjoyment in technology, music, films and other random things.
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36 Responses to Jelly Bean for Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 review

  1. Andreas says:

    Did you made a full wipe of the phone after upgrading it?

  2. Jon says:

    I’ve just upgraded and I’m having the same problem.

    I’m in two minds to downgrade or try a custom rom – I had numerous problems with the old gingerbread rom so was hopeful this update would solve it but it’s worse!

    • joelscheven says:

      Thank you for reading this blog and taking the time to comment.
      I eventually downgraded back to Gingerbread and my phone is working great now; it’s so much faster and, more importantly, it doesn’t crash anymore. I never tried installing a custom rom with Jelly Bean so all I can say is good luck! Unfortunately, this phone simply isn’t suited to running Android 4.1.2

  3. Pingback: Downgrading Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 from Jelly Bean to Gingerbread (success) | Joel Scheven's blog

  4. Bekken says:

    I can only agree, the phone is extremly slow after upgrade. I do not see any crashes, probably because I monitor the RAM and kill apps when it come down to around 70MB free, when it hit ~50MB then it crashes. The phone have 768MB RAM, if only could change the ICs to get 1GB RAM, that would make it! I am planning to downgrade because I can not run my e-mail, skype, SIP app, Viber and FB as GB did nicely! :)

    • joelscheven says:

      A wise decision. I constantly closed my apps after I had finished using them when I had JB so you can imagine why I was so frustrated when the phone blanked out and crashed! Can’t really stress enough why anyone should not get JB for their Ace 2.

  5. Ace Gray says:

    My Ace 2 after jelly bean upgrade seems to stall every one and a while all I do is hit the sleep key and put back on again and this seems to free up everything a bit annoying but I can live with this.

    • joelscheven says:

      Yeah, while it isn’t a huge problem by simply pressing the power button, I still don’t think it is worth having Jelly Bean on the Ace 2. I mean, having to do such a thing just so the phone stays functional doesn’t quite justify buying the phone in the first place. My Ace 2 is back on Gingerbread and it works as it should do; without significant slowdown or crashes. As long as you are happy, that’s all that matters, but it’s definitely useful for other people to realise these likely setbacks if they ‘upgrade’ to JB. Thank you for reading my blog!

  6. Jon says:

    I upgraded to JB on my Ace 2 and it started freezing up or rebooting about every half hour. It was horrendous! The solution, for me, was to remove Chrome (which I’d installed straight after the JB install) and my phone is actually usable now. I’ve had maybe one crash in the past fortnight.

    • joelscheven says:

      Hey there and thanks for reading my blog! That is some good news indeed, and should definitely be followed by other people who have had problems with Jelly Bean. The fact that it still crashes – albeit once a fortnight – is simply going along with the theme that this version of Android simply isn’t optimised for the Ace 2.

  7. what about gaming on the galaxy ace 2 ?? , because i want to buy the phone and i really want to test the new emulator Drastic ( nintendo Ds emulator for android ) on it
    Gingerbread or JB not a big problem for me

    sorry for my bad english im french ^^

    and great review .

    • joelscheven says:

      Hey, thanks for reading my blog! Gaming on the Ace 2 is pretty good and can handle all the games Ive thrown at it. Keep in mind that the screen size is slightly too small for some of the more heavy, console quality games that you might want to be playing for longer periods of time. Its a great device as it is well sized (not too big for a pocket) and it packs enough power for prettt much anything you want to do with it :)

      • so galaxy ace 2 is the best phone for me
        one question please , what about the camera ? it is good ??
        Thanks for that!

      • joelscheven says:

        Yeah, but maybe also have a look at the Galaxy S3 mini; its slightly larger and more powerful processor for not that much more money. As for the camera, its 5mp ehich doesnt seem like much but the quality is still more than good enough for Instagram or Facebook or whatever you want. The flash is also very powerful.

  8. John Ryan says:

    I’ve personally gone back to Gingerbread a couple of times then upgraded once again to Jelly Bean when a new firmware has been released to see if problems were fixed.

    The Gingerbread performance is almost flawless. Runs nearly perfectly smooth with ZERO crashes or slowdowns (slight interface lag occasionally but only in the miliseconds). Jelly Bean is the opposite. Sometimes for short periods it runs fine and when it DOES you really feel the benefit/improvements of Jelly Bean. However, frequently the phone can lag to a crawl and YouTube particularly has a lot of MAJOR lag problems where it lags so bad the phone has to be force restarted to be able to do anything with it. I want my smartphone to “just work” without the hassle.

    However, downgrading to Gingerbread there ARE some things that are gonna be missed. Some minor animations but more particularly some Google apps are gimped on Gingerbread. Namely Gmail and YouTube. Gmail in particular as you are unable to download certain attachments efficiently. However, I can get people to email my other address and just use Samsung’s email app which still handles fine on Gingerbread.

    No doubt about it, Gingerbread is heavily gimped compared to Jelly Bean but as my last device was a Blackberry Curve 8520 this device even running Gingerbread is lightyears ahead. Plus 99% of 3rd party apps are still 100% Gingerbread compatible.

  9. dista says:

    Thanks God, I read this blog before I go to update my Ace 2 to JB :)

  10. Marc says:

    After some experimentation I think I found the reason behind this problem. First this phone has just about enough RAM to run Jelly Bean. But more importantly: there seems to be a memory leak in the core of this Jelly Bean system by Samsung. You can observe this leak in Settings->Application Manager->Running. Just after a reboot everything is fine. But after a couple of days applications struggle really hard to use the very little memory now left free by the system; you can see them “Restarting”.continuously. The only (painful and shameful – but effective) workaround is to reboot.

    I’ve been looking for a tool which could accurately measure the memory used by the base system (as opposed to applications) to measure the speed of the leak more accurately but could not find any such tool yet. Any suggestion?

    This memory leak is bad enough that Samsung should really issue a minor fix release.

  11. hh i’m back, i think the only way to ru JB smoothly is waithing for a better updat or use a custom rom like cygenmod or italien job

  12. albion b says:

    my galaxy ace 2 runs jb very good no slowdowns no lag on ui and nothing
    the only problem is that games like temple run 2 lag only a bit, but after you root it,install a custom kernel and use Seeder,than it runs games with no problems.And facebook,youtube,and touchwiz are much smoother on jb on gingerbread scrolling laggs on everyapp and i hate that thing so jb is better for me!

  13. bonaendre says:

    Hi! I’m facing the same problems unfortunately. I didn’t have a choise: my phone has been upgraded by t-mobile, and after the jelly bean upgrade it crashes after a couple of hours’ use. Sometime after stating a video on youtube or facebook, but it has noting to do with the apps, the operating system crashes after a while (maybe it’s a RAM issue don’t know).
    The phone has been wiped and Jelly Bean reinstalled by the official Samsung service, and then… NO CHANGE. I sent it back and they didn’t do anything, what they say was “you installed third party applications, like viber and others, that could cause crashes, and warranty cover in these cases”. Of course I tested on a new system after a factory reset with NO third party apps installed, and the phone crashed. Needless to say on Gingerbread there was no lag or freeze issue. So the answer from Samsung service is outrageous.
    And of course they said if I downgrade back to Gingerbread I’m loosing my warranty, and they WON’T put the Gingerbead back to the phone. This is crazy. Now I’ve got a phone that crashes every day because Samsung couldn’t write appropriate drivers for the phone to handle Jelly Bean well, and the won’t downgrade. :-(
    As I see many of us facing the problem with this type of galaxy Ace2 that won’t work well with JB, so I just don’t understand Samsung’s policy.

    • joelscheven says:

      That is very disappointing to hear, indeed! I’m slowly starting to disapprove of Samsung and this has just given me more reason to do so; it is just plain lazy and completely shows zero care for customer service. Thumbs-down to Samsung for this…

  14. lazeeboy says:

    Got curious and installed JB on my Galaxy Ace 2. It was quite sluggish at first. Had to root the phone and install supercharger v6. So far, so good. Rarely lags now. :)

  15. avir says:

    Hi..The real problem is that after upgrading, many Samsung apps that are the duplicates of the Google services. Useless apps, bloatwares hungry for rum doublicated. This is a shame for samsung devices and developers

  16. Marc says:

    After a couple of months testing, monitoring and measuring I can definitely confirm a memory leak with the Jelly Bean 4.1.2 upgrade on the Ace 2. Technical details and proofs below.

    => Simply rebooting every 2 days works around the problem. Very ugly but it works App Manager->Running view is also very useful but it does not tell you everything. Monitoring both places gives a fairly complete picture of any memory leak.

    AndroidSystemInfo shows exactly where the leak is: in the main “Android System” process. Unfortunately most (and many) Android system threads share the memory of this process so it’s not easy to assign the leak to a specific feature. However the leak is somewhere in this process for sure. The memory used by the Android System process fluctuates quite a lot but right after boot it starts around an average of 60MB. Then it grows by a bit less than 10MB per day. After less than a week the phone becomes slower and slower and eventually unusable. Thrashing becomes more and more visible in the Settings->App Manager where more and more applications are shown as “Restarting” for long periods of time.

    Please let us know if you can observe this memory leak the same than I did.

    There also seems to be much slower leak in the “System UI” process but it is totally eclipsed by the one in the Android System process.

    At first I was tempted to blame some Samsung customization/bloat. But in fact this memory leak could just as well come from plain Google software and almost never get noticed on higher-spec phones with plenty more memory. Who knows. Someone on XDA with a debugger? In any case the limited memory on the Ace 2 offers no spare room at all to hide leaks like this.

    Final word: a lot of people seem to claim that a factory reset solved their problem(s) with the Ace 2. Maybe it did solve *their* (other) problems like crashes maybe, but for sure a factory reset did not help this Android System memory leak at all. And a factory reset is painful: I lost a lot of (minor) settings like custom ringtones, home screen, backgrounds,… I also manage to duplicate most of my contacts :-(

  17. Marc says:

    Joel: some daemon ate part of my previous post attempt, could you please delete it?

    After a couple of months testing, monitoring and measuring I can definitely confirm a memory leak with the Jelly Bean 4.1.2 upgrade on the Ace 2. Technical details and proofs below.

    Simply rebooting every 2 days works around the problem. Very ugly but it works

    Now don’t get me wrong: even with the “reboot workaround,” Jelly Bean on this phone is still a bit slower than Gingerbread. But it’s fast enough for me. With Jelly Bean you get compatibility with more applications, better battery life, a number of new features and bug fixes (notably with tethering),…

    A very interesting new feature in 4.1.2 is the ability to disable built-in applications. For instance disabling Google Plus makes the phone feel a bit more responsive.

    The most convenient app I found to track memory leaks is: AndroidSystemInfo. It’s simple to use and to the point. The built-in Settings->App Manager->Running view is also very useful but it does not tell you everything. Monitoring both places gives a fairly complete picture of any memory leak.

    AndroidSystemInfo shows exactly where the leak is: in the main “Android System” process. Unfortunately most (and many) Android system threads share the memory of this process so it’s not easy to assign the leak to a specific feature. However the leak is somewhere in this process for sure. The memory used by the Android System process fluctuates quite a lot but right after boot it starts around an average of 60MB. Then it grows by a bit less than 10MB per day. After less than a week the phone becomes slower and slower and eventually unusable. Thrashing becomes more and more visible in the Settings->App Manager where more and more applications are shown as “Restarting” for long periods of time.

    Please let us know if you can observe this leak the same.

    There also seems to be much slower leak in the “System UI” process but it is totally eclipsed by the one in the Android System process.

    At first I was tempted to blame some Samsung customization/bloat. But in fact this memory leak could just as well come from plain Google software and almost never get noticed on higher-spec phones with plenty more memory. Who knows. Someone on XDA with a debugger? In any case the limited memory on the Ace 2 offers no spare room at all to hide leaks like this.

    Final word: a lot of people seem to claim that a factory reset solved their problem(s) with the Ace 2. Maybe it did solve *their* (other) problems like crashes maybe, but for sure a factory reset did not help this Android System memory leak at all. And a factory reset is painful: I lost a lot of (minor) settings like custom ringtones, home screen, backgrounds,… I also manage to duplicate most of my contacts :-(

    • Marc says:

      After reading about a million of random discussions I finally found and tried these bootloader fix instructions:

      [MOD][JB][I8160+P] 624 MB accessible RAM on … | Samsung Galaxy Ace S5830, S5830i, Ace II | XDA Forum

      My available RAM increased from 482MB to 624MB, which makes the experience MUCH better. I STILL have the Android system process leaking memory exactly like before but it seems that thanks to the increased memory I don’t have to reboot the phone as often as before.

  18. Pingback: Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 is really slow sometimes - Android Forums

  19. Mark Brookes says:

    How do you down grade the ace2 back to gingerbread?

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