3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Hard to fault really,
This review is from: Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II 16 GB Sim Free Smartphone (Wireless Phone Accessory)
Well I must say that after a few weeks use, I'm getting to grips nicely with this Samsung Galaxy S2. In my two-week search for my first smartphone I've borrowed an i-phone 4, had an i-phone 3GS and also had a Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray, but ended up keeping the Samsung Galaxy S2.
The I-phone 4 I borrowed belonged to a friend who was leaving the country and asked if I wanted to take over her 3 contract and i-phone. I was mightily impressed with the I-phone 4, especially the sound quality when playing music, but the contract was just too expensive so I passed on that one. Also the phone is a bit too big for me to carry around easily. Plus, the sheer expensiveness of the thing worries me. What if I lose it or drop it? I would worry...
So, the Sony Ericsson was a 'free' upgrade from Vodafone. I went for that one initially because I didn't like the idea of carrying around a huge slab of a 'phone', and that model is small. The screen is fantastically clear and bright and smooth and rich of colour. It IS a good-looking handset, and fast as well. But for two reasons, I sent it back. Firstly, it was just too small for my poor old eyes to read stuff on the screen, and secondly, it once froze while simply receiving a call (!) When that happened (I had to remove the battery to get it to even switch off!) that was it. It went back.
(I have also acquired an i-phone 3GS, which was very cheap, takes a standard SIM card (as opposed to the 'microSIM cards used by later i-phones) and feels better in the hand (I think) than the i-phone 4. The sound quaility for music is very very good indeed, although, compared side-by-side I would have to say the i-phone 4 has slightly better sound. The difference is small, and could even possibly be because the i-phone 4 I had was a few months old and the i-phone 3GS had yet to 'burn in', but the difference was there. The 3GS still sounds excellent, both through headphones and through an amp, so I'm keeping that one. Actually, half the reason I'm keeping it is because the T-mobile data plan it came with was a very good deal, and T-mobile has a strong 3G signal in my area, whereas Vodafone's 3G signal is not good where I live. I'm sticking with Vodafone for voice and sms text messaging because although their 3G network is ropey around here, it is 2G (usually) that matters more for phone calls and Vodafone definitely has the best 2G network around here.)
So, the next phone Vodafone sent me was the Samsung Galaxy S2, and that's the one I've kept. It turned out that although they said it would be locked to Vodafone, it was in fact open to any network. (It has no external Vodafone branding but does come with a few Vodafone-branded apps and icons in the software.) It has taken / is taking me a long while to get it all set up how I want it, but so far I am very impressed. I don't
use it much as a telephone, having decided to keep my old Nokia dumb phone for that.
I use the Vodafone SIM in the Nokia as I need a good TE-LE-PHONE signal for my TE-LE-PHONE (duh!) and Vodafone has the best overall PHONE signal in my area. And I use the T-mobile SIM in the S2, just for data. The S2 has a screen which really is big enough and clear enough (just) to be a comfortable mini-computer for email and web browsing, and happens to work very well indeed as a SatNav with the included software. I find it too big (and too complicated!) to use it as a telephone, although I have tested it as a phone and it works fine. Call quality is totally fine.
Now battery life for these smart phones is often poor. The i-phone 4 was very good with battery life; the 3GS is significantly worse and the S2 was, initially somewhere between the two i-phones in battery life, but has improved with time and now (with the original standard battery) is similar to the i-phone 4. I won't say how many hours or days because that is dependent on so many variables.
One thing I did which I heartily recommend is to get the official Samsung extended battery and back cover for the S2. On paper the capacity of the extended battery is only 20% or so higher than the original (2000mAh vs 1650mAh) but it seems to last longer than I would have expected based on those figures.
(In case you haven't seen one of these Samsung extended batteries/back covers, it leaves the phone flat at the back rather than kind of 'hollow'. In other words it doesn't make the phone any thicker overall; just 'fills in' the hollow. In my opinion, the phone looks and feels better with the larger battery and flat back cover. I wouldn't be surprised if this was in fact the original battery choice for the phone and then someone asked, "but is there any way we can make it thinner than the i-phone 4?")
Just to give some idea, my S2 has been on standby for 36 hours now and the (2000mAh) battery is shown as 89% full. (I have almost not used the phone at all since it came off charge this time so that is purely standby, with 3G on, wifi on, GPS on and mobile data on.) If we believe the indicator then at that rate it would last 300 hours or more on standby, but I somehow doubt it is THAT good! I guess it would last a week though, and that is better than the i-phone 4.
Whilst comparing here it is worth remembering that you can easily carry a spare battery for an Android phone but i-phones don't have that option. This also gives you the option to keep one on charge, and rather than 'charge the phone', just swap batteries. (No more waiting for charging!) One more thing: the S2 takes much longer to charge than the other phones I've tried. Not a problem for me as I tend to charge things while I'm asleep.
So far I haven't come across any bad points on the S2, not that I remember anyway. Occasionally I have wished I could increase the font size slightly but usually it's fine as the screen is so large and clear. The power button is opposite the volume adjust buttons so when I press one, I tend to also press the other by accident. I have got used to that. It's just one little niggle I mention for the sake of having something negative to say - to show I'm a discerning and critical consumer, you know... I actually am a very critical customer - a right difficult customer at times - and I can say the S2 is excellent as a mobile internet device. But I don't intend to use it as telephone. I-phones are a better size for use as telephones.
Oh, sound quality: the S2 is NOT as good as the i-phone in terms of sound quality (audio/music play-back) but it is very good nonetheless. The i-phones are warmer sounding, and more 'musical', whereas the S2 has an open, clear and 'analytical' sound. Unless you are comparing it directly with something even better it will sound very good indeed.
The camera is good on the S2. I've not used it much myself but a professional photographer friend uses one regularly and rates the camera highly. (I'm not really a camera person.)
The Kindle app works well on the S2. I use it with black screen and white text - partly to save power and partly because it's easy on the eyes that way. On the S2, black really is a deep black, and not some shade of grey. The S2 is totally useable as an e-reader and the Kindle app will sync fine with your Kindle account.
Overall I highly recommend the S2.