on 18 August 2011
Excellent phone. I would give it five stars, but nothing is perfect! It does have its peculiarities but so does any mobile phone. I agree the phone battery can take a hammering if you enable all the phones features. The answer is use them when you need them or get a house brick size battery, which makes the phone much thicker, but spookily is an option via Amazon. You get a new case back as well.
The original Samsung back is flimsy when not fitted to the phone. Is it a problem? I'll let you know if it breaks.
The SIM FREE feature works well. I have used an Orange Pay As You Go card and a Brazilian Contract card, works fine.
The audio player is a bit lacking, the iPhone is much better. If you have an iPod or an MP3 player who cares! It's one of the features that would be nice to have, but I personally want it for communications not to play music. Yes it does punish the battery.
On the comms front, like the iPhone4, the sensitivity can be a bit poor by comparison to say a regular Nokia or similar mobile.
SKYPE have finally released a video enabled Android application. I have installed it and it works exceptionally well on the Galaxy S2.
I changed the wall paper to black. How many people realise that by having bright colours on the display also drains the battery. This is an OLED display, so no light equals low power consumption.
I am now getting three or four days of low use out of the battery. If I run SKYPE and WIFI and use for 1 hour then the battery loses about 30% as a guide.
Other features of the phone are well explained in other reviews on this site. I am very pleased with the product, it does what it says on the tin!!
on 1 February 2012
I came from an HTC Desire which suffered from a lack of storage for applications and a poor camera but was otherwise a fantastic phone. At the time of writing my choices were between the Galaxy S2, the Motorola Droid Razr and one of the HTC Sensation models.
The decisions came down to:
# S2: Nice big screen, best camera quality, lighter than the Sensation. No LED for notifications (I realised this post-purchase)
# Sensation: Inferior camera to the S2, slightly heavier and thicker, but sturdy and with removable battery.
# Razr: No way to remove battery, looks top-heavy (phones should be neutral or bottom heavy, or they slip out of your hand more easily). This got dismissed early on due to the non-replaceable battery and the fact that I'd tried the other two handsets out.
So I went for the S2 on the basis that it was light and thin and had a better camera. I couldn't see that the S2 lacked anything compared to the Sensation at the time (but found out about the lack of notification LED very quickly). I did buy a gel-case because the S2 is so thin and light that I feared for its safety if (know thyself; when) I dropped it. It still looks great and feels much safer in its rubbery jacket.
Hardware: The S2 is amazing. It is so light and the screen is lovely, the camera is great quality for a phone and pretty quick to respond. The screen is even visible (just about) in the glare of a sunny ski slope. It picks up wifi and data networks really fast compared to my Desire. The GPS turns on and off intelligently and seems to use much less power than the Desire. I was able to GPS-track whole days of snowboarding with battery life left, which I found really surprising. Having the screen on for a while does drain the battery, but you'd expect that - its big and bright after all. It can get warm-ish if you're playing a game or skyping (works surprisingly well too) and the CPU is running at full power, but no more so than other similar handsets, definitely nothing alarming - even with the gel-case, which ought to prevent heat dissipation. Overall, its super-rapid and responsive - exactly how you'd want it to be. I'm never waiting for it (unless I'm waiting for data) and that's great.
The Samsung interface is a matter of taste, in the same way that HTC Sense is. I dislike both, they add nothing for me. But ADW Launcher and Launcher Pro are both are a vast improvement and can be tried or used at no cost, so there's no reason to avoid a brand because of the way the vendor has skinned Android. The S2 DOES come with Swype though - a keyboard replacement app which is pure genius. But again, that can be had for free.
The cons: No notification LED. For me that's a surprisingly big deal. I can't look across the room and see I got a text or email while I was away or pull the phone out of my pocket for a quick look because I didn't hear the SMS noise. That's perhaps not a big deal, but I use MS Exchange for email. That means I need to use a PIN to unlock the handset. Inputting that can get tiresome. On the Desire I was able to set a longer PIN timeout for when I turned off the screen myself or if it turned itself off. On the S2 you must input the PIN immediately if you turn the screen off. If you then realise "Whoops, I forgot to check blah....", its a pain and you end up entering a PIN multiple times per day, needlessly. If Samsung let you set two timeouts, it wouldn't be a big deal at all, but its a real source of frustration for me.
Another con in is the lack of the hardware "search" button (there's menu, home and back - you don't see 'menu' and 'back' in most of the pics because they're touch sensitive and only illuminate while the screen is on). This means that you do more scrolling in the browser instead of stabbing a shortcut button to get back to the search/address box. Progress apparently... :
The charger: HTC makes a great charger. You can pull the USB lead out of the mains-plug and use it independently. Genius. The Samsung charger doesn't let you do that. So you take a USB lead and a charger when you travel with the S2 ...nuts.
Finally, the earphones - they're appalling. They fall out, they sound dreadful and there's no skip or back buttons on the cable. They have rubber ear plugs, so the sound of the cable rubbing against your clothes is transmitted into your ears. That's louder than the sound from the 'phones and then they fall out, again. Did I mention they're the most miserable earphones in the world? They are. Ugh.
Overall, the S2 is lovely. If it had that notification LED I might even say it was perfect (not so for the boxed extras though!). It's as big as you'd want a phone in your pocket but lovely and thin. It's super speedy with bags of storage. It looks very sleek and minimalist too. If I knew what I knew now though, I'd probably go for the Sensation which is currently nearly 30% cheaper (Jan 2012). The notification LED is something I benefit from several times an hour; the improved camera is great, but day to day convenience would swing it to the HTC for me. Still, many people won't have the MS Exchange security PIN issue that I do and it IS a lovely handset.
on 1 July 2011
Not going to go into a big review as that has been done many times, however I will point out my experience of some of the issues highlighted in professional and these customer reviews.
Flimsy back cover.
Yes it is, and I did think I'd break it, but actually it really is built from a tough and flexible plastic which oddly enough, feels fairly sturdy. It also fits over the battery into the main unit very firmly and is not going to come out. The surface is also very nice to hold. I don't hold much sway with the 'but it should be made from aluminium' bunch because it would add weight (however small), and the joy of this unit is its supreme lightness (I come from a HTC Desire and it's just not in the same league weight wise). In short, it really doesn't matter and shouldn't put you off buying this phone.
Wifi signal quality poor.
Not so, sorry. I have an excellent test where I work and can connect at the extreme edge of the signal range with no problem. HTC Desire and this phone are exactly the same, regardless of what the little icon says. It connects quicker too, the wifi hotspot works better (than the desire), and once you've seen the speed of the browser, you won't go back anyway.
Gorilla glass scratches.
No idea, I always use one of the very cheap screen covers available all over Amazon. No idea why people don't to be honest, seems eminently sensible to me.
Samsung UI a bit clunky.
I didn't see the first galaxy UI, but can attest that this one is absolutely fine. I come from what many consider to be the best: HTC Sense. There are one or two minor things that HTC does better (selecting and adding widgets, lock screen), and some that believe it or not Samsung do better, (resizable widgets, power control in notification area). In short I doubt very much anyone moving from HTC to this phone is going to hate it as it is much more customizable. The Samsung gallery is better too.
Yes, it is a fast as everyone says it is. Wow.
Tablet or phone?
Phone, this phone in fact. I was wondering about getting some tablet. Glad I didn't. The size of this phone, it's lightness means total portability without the main drawbacks of a small phone. Comes with an editable office program bundled as well which on first impressions is absolutely bang on. Doesn't open password protected files though.
Android or Apple.
Please, I'm not interested in the Apple vs everyone else battle. You buy what you like and you pay what you agree is a fair price. This is a bloody good phone and I have zero regrets. Well done me.
After a lot of use I thought it might be helpful to add an extra bit. Definitely still five star. Device comes bundled with an excellent exchange client that (superior to the htc) can search the exchange directory for contacts and in landscape mode has an outlook like split screen; email list on left, selected email content on right.
It also has the excellent swype keyboard bundled which is amazingly easy to learn and even more amazingly easy to get good at quickly. You will never want to go back to a normal touch keyboard again. Enjoy.
on 11 September 2011
I Love this phone. I won't pretend I get the ins and outs of of the technical side of it.
I'm a technophobe at all, but I'm no wizz. This is a very easy phont to use. I always
get Nokias so I was a bit nervous about going with a make I've never tried before but its so simple.
And stunning, the colours you get on the screen, the clarity of the picture is amaxing, my best firend
has an iphone 4 and it doesn't even compare to the S2! Its so easy to put music on, it took a while
but I think thats because my laptop had trouble keeping up! Thats one of the most impressive thing
about this phone is it so damn fast. I'd given up going online with my old X6 becasue it took so long
to load and was real baal ache, this is wizzy, its zooms!! And thats what I wanted. The apps available
good, I've already used the Kindle app and Vouchercloud and so many more, they're easy to find and download
in just seconds.
I'd also like to comment on what other people have put about the battery, Tiday I've listened to about 3
hours of music, been online for about an hour, made several phonecalls/sent txts, played a game for a bit
and used the camera and the battery has hardly gone down at all. I have got it in power saving mode from 70%
and I have the wifi and 3g off when I'm not using it. I was abit worried by other reviews that I'd have to
carry a charger with me everywhere!! But I don't know what they were doing on the phone to run the battery down
that quickly?!!? If you use it all day online/music/games then yes I suppose it would go down fast but who
has the time for that? Don't most people have jobs?? If you're online that much all day then surely you'd have
a pc or laptop and not just use your phone!! I so far have had no issues with battery.
I'm very happy with my phone and have yet to find any major faults with it!
on 31 July 2011
I don't like long reviews so i will try to be brief.
As an iphone user i had some doubts about moving to android, but because of all the hype about the S2 i decided that i had to try it.
The phone itself is well build and despite of what many people say the back cover aint that bad, once it is on the phone it doesn't feel that cheap anymore, and the use of this cover did make a difference in the weight of the S2. The S2 is one of the thinest phones on the market and despite being a 4,3 inch is really really Light. The screen is absolutely gorgeous, it's obviously big, and has amazing colors(the black in the S2 is really black, not the grey you usually see on almost every other phone on the market).
About the OS i honestly didn't have any trouble at all moving from IOS to Android, with the exception of finding some settings, it was a smooth transition.
One thing i really love about Android over the IOS are the widgets and be able to create multiple home screens with them and your shortcuts.
As for the specs, the S2 has a dual core 1,2Ghz processor and 1GB of Ram wich flies pretty much in everything i used til now. As for the battery life, i usually turn On the S2 at 8Am with 100%, i make a few calls during the day, i listen a bit of music during work and if i don't play with it, i still have 30%-40% around 10PM, if i do play in my lunch time i usually have to recharge it in the middle of the afternoon, so i Guess it's not that bad (it was the same on my iphone 4) but i honestly think that this is something that needs to be improved in the next generations.
Unfortunately it has some bugs, here are the ones that i came across:
* when i was on phone with someone i suddenly stopped hearing them for 1-2 seconds(was corrected in the last firmware update).
* Sometimes when i make a call i dont have sound but the person on the other side can hear me.
* It froze on me 2 times when i was trying to quickly cancel a call
* The camera has some kind of problem and you will notice a smooth pink color instead of the whites (already has some tweaks that solve it)
* Sometimes when you have your S2 in your pocket, and your doing absolutely nothing and have the Wifi turned of and no app running on the background the S2 gets really hot and drains the battery with no reason at all,this one started to happen only after i installed the new firmware but it really is annoying.
If it wasn't for the bugs i would probably give it a 5 star review because i really love the screen and the responsiveness of the phone but for this price i would expect that at least the firmware updates corrected the bugs not add more them.
I currently have a HTC Desire HD so I wasn't sure whether I could justify the cost of upgrading to this or whether there was even enough of a reason to upgrade. The geek in me won the battle so I picked one up on PAYG from the highstreet on the day of release (sad I know).
Wow, what a phone this is! It looks stunning to begin with and there is definately a wow factor when you first remove it from the box. Looks can be deceiving though and here comes my one and only criticism of this amazing phone. Its all plastic and a little cheap feeling. While this is great in that it feels so light, if you like your gadgets to have a premium feeling to them and that is your primary concern buy a HTC Desire HD or the upcoming HTC Sensation or even an iphone 4.
I can get over this though and did very quickly once I saw the stunning screen come on. It is simply the brightest most colourful screen I have ever seen on any gadget with movies looking wonderful. Add to this that the phone is responsive and shows no signs of lagging, crashing or even slowing down and you have a truly mobile phone fantastic experience. To put this in some perspective I simply cannot stand to use my Desire anymore as it feels slow and a little washed out.
The S2 is running the latest Android software and while I didn't notice too many changes in the interface its all very smooth and enjoyable to use.
I also need to comment on the battery life which has been a major issue for me since phones became smart. You might think that with a dual core processor and this super bright screen battery life would suffer. Samsung clearly thought so and included a high capacity 1650mh battery which along with some clever power management tools has been getting me around two days usage (50% more than my HTC)!!!
Finally there are some clever extras Samsung have included such as Kies Air which lets you wireless sync media, contacts etc to your phone & vice versa. The camera is full 1080p and I have been very impressed particularly with the video. Even my dedicated camcorder is not full HD so I am seriously considering getting rid of it and using the phone. As it comes with 16GB of storage (I have added an extra 16GB Micro SD) this is more than enough to store hours of video footage, movies and music.
Overall this is a superb phone and if you can live with the plasticy finish, you will be very pleased with everything else! I am using a gel protective case so it won't bother me personally. Hard to imagine how this canbe bettered in the short / medium term.
I HAVE PLEASURE IN ANNOUNCING THAT I FINALLY HAVE A BUG-FREE SAMSUNG GALAXY S2 WHICH IS PERFORMING PERFECTLY. I WILL OBVIOUSLY LEAVE THE REVIEW BELOW AS IT STANDS BECAUSE THERE ARE (OR WERE) SOME ROGUE BATCHES OUT THERE AND YOU NEED TO KNOW. I COPPED FOR IT BIG-TIME, SO IT IS BEST TO LEAVE THE INITIAL REVIEW AS A WARNING. MY REPLACEMENT PHONE THIS TIME WOULD GET 5 STARS. I AM A HAPPY BUNNY.
Please bear with me for this review, it is offered purely as a customer service based on my first-hand experiences and those of my wife. I can assure you that this phone is unbeatable IF you don't get a duff one! The one-star rating is based solely, as it should be, on the 4 of these phones which I have had, 3 of them returned and 1 which is still a problem, plus the 2 that my wife has needed, 1 returned and 1 working well. The phone in full working order would get 5 stars. I intend to get one that is finally working properly but it is driving me nuts at the moment! I will of course update this review of necessary.
This Samsung Galaxy S2 beats i-phones et al into a cocked hat at time of writing. The screen quality is fantastic, its connectivity to the internet on wi-fi is the fastest I've seen anywhere (stunning, in fact), its video and stills camera is amazingly good with full 1080 HD, it has great memory capacity, and the Android operating system is superb. Even if you offered me the latest Apple phone in exchange I would say no thanks. I just want one of these Samsungs in full working order!
Bear in mind that on-line forum comments are often blighted by a silly Apple v Others debate usually from people in entrenched positions. I am not one of those people.
Right, here we go then...
I've had constant problems with my people contacts on 4 of these phones; as soon as I press the icon to search contacts, the entire phone freezes up, sometimes for 3 or 4 minutes, sometimes less. Then it shudders like a mini-machine gun as it divests itself of all the stored touches that I have poked onto the amoled touch-screen as I tried to enter or search contacts. An on-screen message then says "force close" or "wait". If I press "wait" it usually comes up with what I want, but a long wait is NOT acceptable! I have a lot of contacts synched-in from places like Viber and Skype, but I have no idea whether or not these cause the problem, and even if they do then that's a design fault on the phone. This fault manifested itself on all 4 phones I've had so far. The problem with sending it back each time for a new one is that I then lose all my music and apps that I have paid for...but, you now say, just export them, Steve, and save them elsewhere. Yes, I know, but I cannot for 2 reasons:-
1) It should be possible to export and store all this data onto my laptop, and re-import it to a replacement phone later. For this there is a system to download onto your computer, it's called Samsung Kies. Believe me this is a poorly designed piece of software, however many times you re-download it in disbelief at what you've got already. If you research all the community Samsung Galaxy S2 forums you will see that a lot of people have problems with it. Some phones connect, others will not, and it seems a lottery. The system is full of faults and bugs, and Samsung need invent something foolproof, and easy to use, or it may depress faith in their future sales. We have two laptops, one running Windows 7, the other the awful Windows Vista - but the problem with Kies is the same on each. It will not work by lead, wi-fi or Bluetooth. If I cannot connect then I cannot transfer, obviously.
2) I could instead transfer all the data onto the 16gb micro-SD card which I have put into the phone, which I could then move to a new phone. However there are no instructions for doing this except for really geeky 2-page length ones on the internet which use such technical language that the average user could not cope, and even then many people have posted comments on the forums to say they have followed instructions but it failed.
I have tried all methods that I know to export data such as music and contacts off my phone and I have failed, thus I am delaying sending back this 4th faulty phone because I then lose all that I value which is on it.
LATEST UPDATE ON THIS....18.1.'12....YOU CAN NOW DOWNLOAD (FREE) Apps2SD FROM THE ANDROID MARKET, AND ALSO SanDisk Memory Zone WHICH ALLOWS MUSIC, DOCUMENTS, PHOTOS AND VIDEO TO BE TOGGLED BETWEEN MEMORY CARD AND PHONE MEMORY. IT TAKES SECONDS. YOUR SD CARD DOES NOT HAVE TO BE SANDISK FOR THIS TO WORK. IT IS A MOST EXCELLENT APP AND IS EASY TO USE. NO GEEKY LANGUAGE OR KNOWLEDGE REQUIRED. LOOK FOR THE LITTLE RED SQUIRREL ICON.
THERE IS NOW ALSO A GREAT APP AVAILABLE FROM SAMSUNG FOR THOSE OF US ON THE DREADFUL ORANGE SYSTEM WHERE RECEPTION HAS STEADILY DEGRADED OVER THE LAST YEAR... IT IS CALLED SIGNAL BOOST AND USES ANY AVAILABLE WI-FI TO BOOST THE ORANGE SIGNAL. IT DOES NOT TRANSMIT THE CALL OVER THE WI-FI, IT IS FREE, AND YOU GET A 100% CLEAR SIGNAL FOR YOUR NORMAL INCOMING OR OUTGOING CALLS.
My wife's first of these phones developed a nasty echo which meant that callers got their voice back at high level but with a delay. I researched this to discover it is a random fault, Samsung still don't acknowledge it, but many people suffer from it; it is sometimes made worse by certain types of protective covers, BUT the covers do not cause the problem even though some "experts" tell you they do. Your only recourse is to return the faulty phone and hope you don't get one back that also has this random fault.
When trying to set up the recommended g-mail account on the phone many people find that the device refused to finish the process, leaving you with a message "searching for e-mail" beyond which you cannot progress. Two of my phones had this, but suddenly after 3 weeks one of them cleared and the synch with g-mail worked. There was no problem at all getting it to accept my main aol e-mail onto the phone and that works well and that's how I get my e-mails onto the phone.
So, the above are the main problems we've had but other posters on this site clearly have not. I suggest you also research the variouis Samsung user groups elsewhere to get a broader picture.
Common irritating problems on the phone are lack of output power for the on-board speaker, which is only mono (although through the headphone socket you get great surround-sound stereo).
The on-screen Querty keyboard seems to be designed for people who don't use commas or apostrophes, so you have to keep skipping to the next screen option to import them.
Given that this phone is on sale in the UK a pre-set .co.uk button would be sensible, but you only get .com.
When typing comments into a small space box for posting, for example, on a forum or newspaper's readers' comment, you simply cannot always return the cursor to a place on the text where you want it, it jumps around and you have to prod your finger many times to place it in the right area of your text.
Unless you use the + instead of 00 on contacts, it doesn't want to know and refuses to accept your international call.
The phone can heat up alarmingly in your pocket at random times even though no applications are selected or running. This means I have to whip the battery out pretty quickly. Some phones have this fault, others do not.
The Samsung Galaxy S2 is about as big as you'd want a phone to get and still be able to hold it in a hand. Some people moan about the plastic back cover, but it is flexible, light and strong. I do not understand what people find wrong with it.
Obviously as with all smartphones, battery technology has not kept up with the times and heavy use will soon gobble up you battery. Go elsewhere on Amazone to get the external plug-in units which you charge separately and then keep in your pocket to clip it onto your phone for power emergencies. Our family have two each of these and they have served us well. You can of course carry round a charged spare battery but this involves taking the back off all the time, so the phone has to re-boot.
My last comment is about the possible upgrades to the Android system. Most of these phones now have 2.2 or above, but Samsung need to give simple instructions on how to upgrade your phone to the newest possible in the simplest way possible; in an ideal market they'd have all customer contacts for this model and contact them direct to the phone to offer automatic upgrades. I'd love to be in charge of their database and customer service, I could make them kings of the mobile world; their products are excellent but customer service needs a kick up the pants.
I hope Samsung get to read this and act upon it, because this phone in full working order is the best thing on the market bar none. But, they will only march on further with it if they can iron out the random glitches and convince people that their customer service and fault solving is quick, simple, free and easily available. Steve Riches, Northampton, UK.
on 9 June 2011
The Samsung Galaxy SII is undoubtedly an amazing phone. Android 2.3 runs flawlessly with no-slow down noticeable at all.
There are two enhancements which I would recommend to all owners.
Firstly the stock keyboard isn't that great. It's certainly not as good as the iphone keyboard. You will keep hitting the wrong keys even though they seem to appear large enough.
I would recommend downloading Smart Keyboard. It is far superior to the included stock one, and in many ways better than the Iphone's. At £1.77 (and an initial free trial) it's well worth the money. It's auto-complete and swype features are incredibly useful and you won't know how you lived without it.
Secondly, the camera. Specifically the camera application. While the built in camera app is very useable and takes good pictues, if you want to do any post-processing (toy cam, greyscale, vignette, polaroid style etc...) it is not ideal. Probably on par with the standard iphone camera app.
Download Vignette, at £2.50 (also a free trail) it gives a whole host of options allowing you to take fantastic looking photos without endlessly trawling through menus.
Additionally, although the built in Samsung Kie's software is great for transfering music and video onto the device I would suggest doing it manually. By going into Settings | Wireless and Network | USB utilies - you can connect the device like a USB key. Then just copy the music/videos into the media folder (or anywhere else) and you're done!
on 7 May 2012
I got this for my wife and I must confess I don't know much about mobile phones, but this machine is more like an ultra compact computer than a phone and I found myself endlessly playing with it,especially the internet,google maps etc and there are some great apps available like satnav which works a treat and i found myself using it quite a bit (when I could rip it out her hands) My biggest mistake was buying this for her indoors as she now spends more time with the S2 than she does with me,well I suppose it is slimmer and more attractive than me !
Being the owner of a 10 year old HTC mobile phone and suddenly being confronted by the Galaxy S2 has been a bit of a culture shock to say the least! How times have changed, not that I was unhappy with the HTC but there were a growing number of things I wanted to do or try out that I couldn't so after spending hours reading reviews - iPhone or Galaxy, I went for the Galaxy, mainly because the file system is much easier to access on the Galaxy, drag & drop for media files etc.
To say I'm pleased with the phone would be an understatement, there is no point in a review of this type listing everything that it can do because it would fill a book and that information is available elsewhere, suffice to sat that after nearly 2 months of ownership I'm still finding new things it will do and new apps to play with.
On a slightly different note I will say that part of my reluctance to upgrade to a smartphone is that I'm on pay-as-you-go, not contract, and I spent a lot of soul searching about data charges. However I have wi-fi access at home and work and my broadband provider is BT. Why is this important? because as a BT customer I am also a member of BT Fon and BT Fon gives me access to thousands of wi-fi hotspots around the country. Looking at BT's coverage maps show that you're never very far away from a hotspot so I only need to turn my data connection on when I'm out of coverage and, as yet, I've never needed to do that.
The next big question is do I upgrade to Android 4 or 'ice-cream sandwich' as it is better known when it shortly becomes available?
A big recommendation from me then.