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(306 reviews)
3.8 out of 5 stars
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  1. 341 of 355 people found this review helpful
     Best screen on any phone period, very fast hardware - probably best Android phone to date 20 May, 2011 On
    Good things:

    - Awesome screen - all the greatness of OLED (perfect blacks, high contrast, looks good in direct sunlight) without the ugliness that was PenTile. Here you just get the bright, popping colors. Oh, and at 4.3", it's a pleasure to look at from any distance. The resolution is still 800x480, though. Wish they'd up it to match iPhone.

    - Very light. I mean, VERY light. Samsung wasn't kidding when they stressed that point. Considering the size of this thing, it's very hard to believe. When you put the phone into someone else's hand for the first time, they usually are confused because they expect it to feel more "solid", and not so featherweight.

    - Fairly thin. Good if you wear your phone in the pocket of your pants.

    - The UI is buttery smooth, with no hiccups that are common on all other Android phones I've seen. Not sure if it's Samsung's new powerful GPU (Exynos), software optimizations that they did, or a combination of both, but overall this thing is just as slick as iPhone 4.

    - It can be rooted, and custom ROMs already exist. No signed bootloaders or other similar malarkey.

    - It comes with Android 2.3. That means better perf, WiFi tethering/hotspot out of the box, and the ability to tilt and rotate the map in Google Maps - among other things.

    - It comes with Polaris Office. It is a very nice Android office suite - from what I've seen so far, more full-featured than Docs to Go, QuickOffice etc - especially when it comes to supporting advanced MS Office features such as charts. It cannot be purchased from the market, and only comes bundled with select devices, such as this one or Asus Transformer.

    - MicroSD card slot, for all those gigabytes of music.

    - It has CyanogenMod. They've finally got Bluetooth working, so you can use it for everything.

    Bad things:

    - Battery life doesn't seem to be so good. It gets through the day, but if you forget to charge it in the evening it won't last you a second day (except if only on standby). It seems to be purely a software issue as people with (unofficial) Android 2.3.5 report much better numbers. Likely going to be fixed when 2.3.5 officially rolls out for XEU models.

    - It heats up quite a bit when in active use. More so than any other phone I've used. It's not exactly a surprise considering 1.2GHz dual-core CPU and a powerful GPU, and I suspect that ultra-thin form factor makes cooling less efficient than it could have been otherwise. Overall it's tolerable, but very noticeable.

    - Some applications seem to be showing images in 16-bit color rather than 32-bit (particularly the browser). This leads to nasty dithering artifacts, especially on bands of clear colors and gradients. Head to XDA-developers forum for Galaxy S II for more details on this. It seems to be a software issue, so future updates may solve it.

    Things to be aware of:

    - Front is full glass, back is textured plastic. I love the back for the texture, which looks pretty nice and gives a good grip when held, but it's not as "oh, shiny" as iPhone 4. Lack of metal seems to be what makes it so light, among other things. On the other hand, I didn't notice any creaking, so assembly is high-quality.

    - It runs Android 2.3.4 (as of this writing). However, there is no voice/video chat in Google Talk. Google Voice can be installed (in US) and works fine. There's no clear schedule on official updates so far, but 2.3.5 has been released in some countries and is likely coming soon for XEU version.

    - Android is not stock, but Samsung's TouchWiz. This is much less invasive than what you typically see on HTC Android phones, and some changes are fairly nice. But many people prefer stock.
  2. 148 of 153 people found this review helpful
     Gorgeous Display, Awesome Phone 4 June, 2011 On
    This phone is awesome. As far as appearance goes, it's *thin.* Like, 8.49 mm thin. Much thinner than the iPhone 3G that I owned previously. Although it's thin, the curved sides allow for easy gripping. The casing itself is plastic, so it feels cheaper than other all-aluminum phones, but its absolute thinness prevents if from feeling cheap. It's a classy phone.

    The screen is massive (4.3") and beautiful. It's probably the best single feature of the Galaxy S II. You can view the display from all kinds of angles (good for sharing pictures of cats) and the colors really pop. This is all due to Samsung's patented Super AMOLED Plus technology. It's the secret juice that makes the Galaxy S II's screen really stand out when compared to other phones. One semi-downside of the display is that it's resolution is 800x480 and NOT qHD. This means when watching HD movies you have to deal with annoying black bars around the film to maintain the viewing format.

    The awesomeness of the screen, though, really can't be overstated. It's vibrant. Pictures and video are vivid and really pop off the screen, even in direct sunlight. The viewing angles and contrast are great. Really, a superb screen. Blows my old iPhone 3G's screen out of the water. It's a beauty to behold. Web pages render stunningly.

    Samsung's S-AMOLED Plus technology also helps with battery life by selectively powering down black pixels to maintain battery life. This means that even though the phone has an impressive two cores clocked at 1.2GHz each and that beautiful 4.3" display, battery life is still impressive. I manage to go two days between charges and that's with fairly frequent usage. I do notice that taking a lot of pictures seems to drain the battery life, though, so you'll want to keep that in mind if you have cats. You should be able to get at least two days of battery life, I'd say. The Galaxy S II is certainly no slouch when it comes to the battery life department.

    When it comes to internet, this phone supports 21.1Mbps HSPA+ speeds, so downloads are blazingly fast. This is another area where it blows my old iPhone 3G out of the water. Downloading apps feels almost instantaneous and web pages load very quickly. You might want to check if your area is covered by 4G, as coverage isn't that extensive.

    Camera quality is pretty decent at 8 megapixels. Of course, any professional photographer will want to carry around a dedicated camera, but the Galaxy S II more than suffices at Facebook pictures. One complaint I do have about the camera is that the flash tends to be a little strong and people end up looking like ghosts. Maybe Samsung will do something about this in a software update, I don't know if that's possible or not.

    One interesting feature regarding photography is that the phone comes with a photo editor app. It's rather lightweight and I doubt anyone could use it for professional touch ups, but for simple things like cropping or stylizing images it's very convenient.

    The phone can also record video in full HD (1080p). Quality is excellent, like nothing I've ever seen from a phone before. This will eat through battery fairly quickly though, but I'd wager you would still get 4 - 5 hours of usage even if you were recording video the entire time, which you of course wont be doing.

    As far as software goes, remember that this phone has a powerhouse dual-core 1.2GHz Exynos processor that can handle *anything* I throw at it. The phone is always very snappy. It flies through homescreens, menus, and applications. In Quadrant, the phone scores between 3,000 to 3,400+ and in Linpack it gets about 47 mflops.

    All in all, this phone is excellent and I'm very happy with my purchase. It's a real upgrade over my old iPhone 3G. It supports blazing fast 4G downloads, has a stunning 4.3" screen powered by Super AMOLED Plus technology, and with two 1.2GHz processors, it can handle any workload that I throw at it.
  3. 119 of 126 people found this review helpful
     Great phone, even for the price... 24 June, 2011 On
    First off, if money is hurting you, then look for another phone. But if you can afford to shell out $700, then the SGS2 unlocked is perhaps the only phone that can justify it.
    **Camera---best i've seen on a smartphone (barely beating iphone 4)...

    **Screen---vibrant colors on the samoled+ w/o the pixelated effects on the regular samoled. the 4.25 isn't too big or too small for my taste. although i must add that it looks bigger in real life than it does in the video reviews.

    **Form factor---Very slim, incredibly lightweight, takes a little getting used to bc the size-thickness ratio. almost feels like holding some type of card...really wish they would have used a smooth battery cover instead of textured.

    **Build quality---despite the fact the its form and plastics make it seem cheap, it actually feels pretty solid. the batter cover is made of some type of material that makes it very flexible w/o snapping.

    **Dual core cpu---smooth. but what can I say for 1.2Ghz dual core? other than that, you wouldn't really notice much else difference from a 1Ghz single core...for now anyways.

    **Media---Codecs that let you play DivX, Xvid, among others is great. Havent really tested games on here, so cant comment on that. DLNA is cool, but I miss the HDMI out.

    **Battery---I've heard horror stories about the 1650mAh battery life, but I honestly havent seen any worse performance compared to other HTC/Samsung/Moto android smartphones. YMMV

    **Software---GB 2.3.3 on there with touchwiz 4. TW4 is really starting to grow on me, but I wish it had more and better widgets like an rss news feed, or a friends feed that blends twitter and fb together. Although TW4 widgets look really pretty, some stuff like the keyboard needs more refinement. idk why the call log would display sms sent/received...weird stuff like that are found here and there on the UI...also the app tray SUCKS.

    **Storage---got the 16gb. VERY HAPPY that it has 16gb internal with a micro sd slot for more. i threw in an old 16gb in there for a total of 32gb. allows it to be a media powerhouse.

    **Speaker---very loud, yet crisp. HUGE step up from my nexus s 4G.

    All in all, i'm satisfied with the purchase. not VERY satisfied, but satisfied...however considering the price i paid, that says a lot. this phone is definitely the best android phone out there right now, and if they touch up TW4, it will be the king of the hill until the next generation of sgs launches...4 stars only bc of the price and UI isn't complete...sorry for the lengthy review ;-)
  4. 97 of 104 people found this review helpful
     Up-to-date Review: I9100 Released in May 2011, Unsupported by December? 27 October, 2011 On
    Will this phone even be updated and supported after the next two months? Android fragmentation and lack of updates and support plague many users and it's an absolute nightmare for developers. This issue can't be ignored in a review of this phone because it is probable that it will affect your experience, but maybe this issue won't affect you as much depending on your needs and technical ability. Feature phones and other smart phone ecosystems have suffered from fragmentation before(such as WinMo 5-6), and most users hardly noticed or cared for years as long the phone worked and its features were suited for task XYZ. Admittedly, I am speaking from the perspective as an avid technophile, early adopter, code tester/sometimes active mobile platform developer, but before I digress too much I'll speak mostly about this phone which I've been using nearly everyday for the past 2-3 months.

    ---edited: 10/27/2011(Day later)
    ---Update: 10/29/2011 (See below)
    ---Update: 11/15/2011 (See below)
    ---Update: 01/12/2012 Very important (Test Driven ICS - See below)

    --- * Background * ---
    I am no fanboy. I've owned a LOT of smartphones that ran different OS's with the exception being BlackBerry. Starting with Windows Mobile 6, to the original iPhone, Nokia N79, and working through to the iPhone 3GS, Motorola Cliq, G1, cherishing the Nexus One, maintaining an EVO 4G, using a Samsung Captivate, an iPhone 4, HTC HD7, Infuse 4G and I've used and sold a few others. This phone has been the most satisfied I'd been with a phone to date, so... with over a 100 reviews on Amazon alone and millions already owning this 5 month old phone here goes my 2 cents.

    --- * Overall * ---
    Overall, the phone itself is fantastic. As of today, this phone easily garners 4 out of 5 stars. I believe if you already have this phone or simply can not wait to upgrade from a feature phone or older smart phone that you would be satisfied with this phone. However, if you can afford to wait a couple months then I highly suggest you wait until the holiday season of 2011 or even into the first quarter of 2012.

    --- * Hardware Pros * ---
    - Form Factor: Simply put this device is the best device I've held in my held. It's deceivingly light and after using it everyday for the past few months picking up other phones feels weird. The "old lady" had been using the original EVO 4G and I almost felt sad for her that she was even carrying it around. It felt like a brick in comparison. This is at the borderline of the size range for what I'd want in a phone that works exceedingly well for both portrait and landscape. I don't have big or small hands, and I don't think I would want to do any prolonged typing/messaging on a virtual keyboard with s device that has dimensions any longer or wider.

    - Screen: Mentioned many times that the screen is amazing. I wish the resolution was set higher using qHD or better.

    - Dual Core Processor/16 GB Storage/SD Card: Compared to every other Android Device I've used this thing is a speed demon. It has 16GB of storage and an SD card slot. Check.

    - 8MP Camera: I'll list this here. Megapixels don't mean everything. Samsung did a nice job with the optics and rendering on the camera app for this S2. 1080P video recording is okay. It's almost on par with a cheaper point and shoot camera I got almost two years ago that does 1080P. You might be fairly impressed recording video and with the quality of the pictures given good lighting and a steady hand. If you're trying to capture something more than 15-30 feet away depending on the lighting conditions or while you're moving and panning around or recording sporting events you'll still realize that it doesn't perform well enough to replace an HD camera or HD camcorder.

    --- *Hardware Cons* ---
    I don't like that the power button is opposite the volume buttons. It sometimes leads to accidental presses of the button on the opposite. There have been a few times when the phone was on silent/vibrate mode, I hear the phone vibrate, pressed the button to check the message, put the phone away, and then I hear the next message because I accidentally hit the volume up button. Also, it is true that the phone does get hot. It doesn't get so hot that it affects using the phone. I would say that it gets alarmingly warm. I only experience this if I'm using polling GPS while streaming data over 3G or using the Wifi Hotspot feature.

    --- *Hardware Neutral* ---
    - Home key/button is a physical button. This was definitely different than any other Android phone I've used that had capacitive buttons. I liked it for the convenience of not always having to press the power button to turn the display on. This was something I grew accustomed to doing by pressing the trackball on the Nexus One and the home button on the iPhone, but Samsung was definitely not helping their case in their disputes with Apple and I speculate it may partly be the reason the US versions all use the traditional capacitive buttons.

    - Plastic material is fine for me. I've noticed some micro abrasions that occurred on the rear below the battery cover before I ordered and received my case. It's not noticeable. I just feel that there is always some sort of compromise between weight, scratch resistance, ruggedness, etc when OEMs use different materials.

    - It lacks a search button. I sometimes miss the convenience of not having to press the menu button to search through Gmail and other applications. However, I understand it was sacrificed for the physical home button which makes the device more unique. Also, because this only has 3 hardware/capacitive buttons vs the more common 4 button configuration in most US Android devices I am not sure how this phone will incorporate some of the newer features of Android 4.0 such as application management. That is when/if this is updated to Android 4.0 (see gripe below)

    - Well, this thing is a phone. Call quality is good for me using AT&T. It's not great. Reception is probably a 7 or 8 out of 10. The speakerphone is just okay. The sound seems thin to me. I never had any issues with bluetooth pairing/connections out of the box aside from using a couple headsets I later faulted after realizing they were crappy refurbishments. I also haven't any experienced any problems with data. My service won't come anywhere close to the theoretical speeds on the device(not its fault).

    - Out of the box battery life is good enough to last you throughout the day. Evening/overnight charging is required like nearly every other smartphone used moderately throughout the day for phone calls, web surfing, checking email, apps, etc. Don't expect to be able to do substantial video playback/streaming or gps without access to a charger.

    --- * OS / Firmware / Software Pros * ---
    - Obviously, this phone being an international version means that it is unlocked. That is a big pro if you travel and means that it's one less phone call to your cell provider if they even support unlocking your device. Another obvious pro for me is that this runs a sanctioned version of Android 2.3.x which permits a lot of powerful customization and the typical Google services Android is known for out of the box. If you've never used a smartphone before you will be very impressed. If you're coming from another smartphone you will appreciate the customizability and the ability to quickly access certain features/settings via widgets, notification bar, or your own custom shortcuts. Some users can be overwhelmed, and a lot of times I've helped people with their Android phones only to hear them say, "Oh wow I didn't know I could even do that."

    - Because this is the international version Wifi tethering is available for use out of the box. You can bypass paying your carrier extra for data you are already paying for when needed for the occasional Wifi hotspot. This is something that shouldn't be abused. You may feel guilty later if caught or when you receive your bill. There's no need to root/hack/jailbreak your device with this.

    - Touchwiz: The newest version is a major improvement and has been noticeably lag free +99% of the time. Some of this is due to the dual core processor but much of it is likely due to the fact that this version of TouchWiz is partly hardware accelerated. Features like using the virtual keyboard within the Dialer / Phone App to type the name and quickly find a contact (a "feature" that should've already been part of vanilla versions of Android 2.3.x) and some other things are welcome additions that can eliminate the need for 3rd party software and just add a nice touch to the device.

    --- * OS / Firmware / Software Cons * ---
    - A big negative for me was finding out that you have to register for a Samsung account to get push notification updates for your phone. I barely tolerated this crap from Apple with them and iTunes, and I see no reason why Samsung feels that they are a distinct name-brand or deserve the trustworthiness of my user information (even if it's just an e-mail). I think the excuse may be due to OTA updates not being done via the cell carrier. You can still download and install the OS / Firmware updates from online or use Kies from your desktop, but I feel like I'm being strong-armed for information or into installing an application on my PC.

    - Out of the box Vlingo is used as the default voice search and anytime you press the home button twice the app is launched. That can get annoying.

    - I don't mind UI customizations. TouchWiz isn't bad like it was on the Captivate, but I don't like crapware installed on my phone. Samsung includes their apps for you to use like SocialHub, MediaHub and Kies which I detest because some are only useful when integrated with your Samsung account. There are apps available in the market that can do what Kies does but better and work on multiple platforms and devices. You don't have to use these things. You can use a custom launcher and hide these apps or simply ignore them.

    --- * The real gripe * ---
    Everything below knocks off a star from my perspective

    Five months after its release this is still the best Android phone IMO. Yes, it would have been nice if the phone had a higher resolution at release, but the resolution is still adequate. My real gripe for any prospective buyer today is with the OEM and Google's treatment of the Android ecosystem. It's simply a mess. Almost three years ago to the date Android was introduced with the G1. A little over a year into its existence as a proud Nexus One owner I joined a growing enthusiastic Android user base with the original Droid owners (a Verizon marketing blitz that's still associated with all Android phones) and was excited by its features and potential. I remember the HTC EVO 4G being featured on Oprah before its release in mid 2010. There were probably a couple dozen Android phones then. There are over a 100 different Android phones/devices worldwide and despite user advocation about the "openness" of Android right now it can be a complete open mess. Fragmentation is absolutely horrendous and suppert, interoperability and compatibility varies wildly across devices. If you want to video chat someone using something popular like Skype then you need to know if your device and their device is supported. The EVO 4G has had a camera bug since its release. It's been poorly managed because of poor OEM support. You could use Google Talk if your OEM has released an update for your device. Sorry, EVO 4G you're not included even though you were the most popular smartphone on Sprint. There are a lot of new and very good games being released on the Android Market lately. Some of them are only compatible targeted at devices with Tegra 2 chipsets, so this device (Galaxy S II - I9100) is not supported. I played Madden 12 on the iPhone and saw it in the Android Market. I figured I'd try it out but the Galaxy S2 is not supported. Ironically, the Galaxy S Captivate is supported.

    Google will patch some of these issues with the upcoming release of Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) but after reviewing the software developers kit I can tell you that 90% of the problems concerning fragmentation will remain. Documentation, and compatibility testing tools still leave much to be desired. The kernel API's still does not unify support for the most popular modern and soon to be released chipsets which means availability from the more demanding games soon to be released will still vary wildly from device to device with varying chipsets. This will still be a nightmare for game developers. Google developers are encouraging developers to use unsigned API's to take advantage of features that may or may not work! As a contributor to various devices in the Android developer community It's as if Google is content with incrementally releasing (sometimes half-baked) new features to keep the community interested all the while knowing that much of their gains in market share of mobile advertisement is coming at the expense of feature phones being cannabalized by lower end Android sold for cheap. It creates multiple ecosystems. One for the lower end Android phones sold for cheap catering to the feature phone market, a market for the enthusiast wanting a premium device, and those who are casual buyers wanting a premium device. It is the latter group that gets screwed when their device is left unsupported roughly 6 months after its release. There is no focus on building a coherent Android ecosystem that addresses this issue that would satisfy expectations and the broader user experience (I'd go so far as to split it and improve the market so that app compatibility is further addressed). Nothing dampens an experience more than a new user who starts to research their new phone and its capabilities, hears about so-and-so app, realizes he can't find it in the Market and discovers his device isn't supported. It doesn't matter (help or hurt) that there are other marketplaces for apps. A year ago the ecosystem was wildly split between Android 1.x and Android 2.x devices. I see a complete repeat of this occurring again in the near future with Android 2.x devices and Android 4.x devices.

    The OEMs are only concerned with increased hardware sales and are poorly trying to differentiate themselves with their custom UI's (e.g. TouchWiz) which creates a more fragmented user experience regardless of the adoption of Android 4.x and beyond. OEMs have a less vested interest in upgrading your current device versus luring you to upgrade/purchase a newer one. The S2 has been out for 5 months and the US versions have been out for less than a month and there has been no official statements that even hint that this device will be updated to Android 4.0 which has been in development now for over a year and the first device to be released with it is made by none other than Samsung themselves. Though, there is no roadmap for device updates that include a device that's not even 6 months old but they have a product release roadmap that includes an HD version of the Galaxy S2, the Galaxy Nexus, and the Galaxy S3. That's not very encouraging to a prospective buyer.The reason this long-winded gripe is included is because it is frustrating if you are a prospective buyer not knowing which camp will you fall into two+ months from now. That is roughly 7 months after the device was released.

    I went through this before for almost two months after getting the Motorola Cliq shortly after its release. After being stuck on Android 1.6 searching the market for voice navigation apps and watching Google Maps Voice Navigation being shipped on a phone made by the same company called the Motorola Droid with Android 2.0 I got irritated, sold the phone, and upgrade to the Nexus One upon its release. It wasn't until many many months later after many devices were already updated to 2.2 that the Cliq was finally updated to Android 2.1 and I am glad that I made the decision to abandon it and got the Nexus One. I can only imagine the frustration for users who signed 2 year contracts to get that phone. I imagine my view on Android would be completely different if I were in a different situation.

    Maybe you don't care about all of this. Maybe you just want a good phone for your personal use and you are satisfied with this feature set and you don't really care about app or game compatibility or for interoperability with other devices. This phone is sold without contract. Thankfully, if you make the decision to get this phone you won't be stuck into a two year contract but considering the price range this phone is being sold for right now you may just as well be stuck with buyers remorse another 2-3 months from now. I am speaking from experience.

    Of course, there are those who would say that you could simply root the device. There are various ROMs available out there. Problem solved, right? They aren't living in reality and are completely ignoring that over 95% of phone buyers aren't enthusiasts, tech geeks, etc. Mostly everyone who uses a has a life that very likely includes an occupation, kids, other reason for lack of time or motivation/comfort to dedicate an entire evening downloading and installing Samsung Kies, USB Drivers, ODIN, ROMs, other root kits, etc on their computer, carefully following instructions in sequence while risking not being able to use their phone the next day.

    Hopefully, this review helps you. It was written for potential buyers in mind. If something changes I will update this below. Thank you for reading.

    ---Update: 10/29/2011
    Reports from Samsung Italy state that the Galaxy S2 will be updated to Android 4.x (Ice Cream Sandwhich). No release dates were given nor confirmation of which Galaxy S II variants/versions would be receiving the update. Let the OEM games begin. If you were interested in this phone today I want you to know I still believe that for a device being sold today with a dollar sign before a number north of 500 that you are better off waiting a few months if you can for the Galaxy Nexus(the Google supported device series) or the coming refresh of the Galaxy S series or something similar.

    ---Update: 11/15/2011
    Starting today, Google will begin releasing the source code for Android 4.0.1 which will allow the OEM developers to update their devices. Still, there is no word whether the I9100 will be updated. The report from Samsung Italy has not changed but reports from carriers in Korea are stating that the Samsung Galaxy S II HD will be updated. The Galaxy Nexus is expected to launch in certain regions later this week with more carriers in other regions expecting to begin sales by 11/25/2011 which should mean that a lot of update and developer news should begin sometime next week. Side note: There is a security flaw in the I9100 that may affect some users using older firmware.

    ---Update: 01/12/2012
    Hopefully, within a month you should see an ICS update for the I9100. I've been using/testing a couple Android 4.0.3 ROMs based off leaked builds by Samsung (CM9 the most) for the past few weeks. Let me tell you, ICS doesn't just breathe a breath of fresh air into the device it gives it a whole new life. I don't care for TouchWiz 4 being skinned on top. Touchwiz is far less meaningful now thanks numerous improvements, but I understand the OEM's need to keep familiarity for those less inclined to modify.

    It's been dull. Development across the board from the major players has been slow and hard release times scarce the past few months. In the meantime, I've had the chance to play with Windows 8 and be one of the rare users of a jailbroken iPhone 4S. Let me tell you that Android 4.x is one of the most impressive OS's I've seen and CM9 is probably the most impressed I've ever been with any OS for any platform. Numerous small changes have resulted in a big leap for the Android platform. I didn't think a change in what font was used would be a big deal but the added clarity from the new font on the S2's beautiful AMOLED screen makes it that much more impressive. Even with its lesser resolution in a side-by-side comparison with a Galaxy Nexus the S2 still holds its own. One of my original concerns was task switching. Holding down the home button to bring up the new task switcher. The ease of use for swiping and navigating the notification tray and the task switcher make operating a small device that fits in your hand as easy as navigating your desktop. It's not as easy as the Galaxy Nexus virtual buttons, but this has been seamlessly addressed for the S2. Every single Android device with 1GB of RAM and a 1Ghz processor needs to be updated to Android 4.x

    When a stable release of Android 4.x is finally released my chief complaint in this review may not be as valid, but my argument remains when it comes to value. I can't recommend a nearly one year old product being priced near the same price as when it was released. However, if you can afford to get it a discount go for it
  5. 16 of 17 people found this review helpful
     Great phone with fantastic display/formfactor 17 July, 2011 On
    Have used the phone for a little more than a week now. I have owned *MANY* phones, across iphone, blackberry, nexus, samsung galaxy S, ...

    * Form/Design: neat compact/slim design. By far one of the thinnest phones I have owned. It easily fits into your pocket. The housing has "plastic" back. Having had it in a pocket with keys, ... for a week there are no scratches on the unit. Great design.

    * Screen - the new screen has excellent contrast and great resolution. Really one of the best screens out there.

    * OS: uses the latest anroid 2.3.3 very responsive and great performance.

    * Comms: The phone has about the same signal quality as an iPhone 4. It is not better and not worse. In areas with poor signal it uses a lot of power to stay connected and it will make the unit heat up. Also battery power will drain quickly. That is quicker than an iPhone or a Blackberry. Known problem for Andorid phone. If you live in an area with great coverage not a problem, if you live in an area with average or poor coverage it will imply poor battery performance.

    * GPS: The GPS performance is OK for navigation (love the google navigator), but it does drain the battery quicker and the GPS performance in terms of accuracy is more noisy than the iPhone.

    * The camera generates very crisp pictures at 8MP. Quick impressive. The flash is not ideal (ok it is a cell phone and not a camera replacement). For non flash situations you get vibrant pictures of high quality.

    * Battery performance -- on average the battery lasts a day. Better than the older Galaxy X and on par with the best android phones.

    Overall a nice phone. If they could generate better battery life it would be close to perfect.
  6. 21 of 24 people found this review helpful
     A Godsent Phone for Andriod Users. 19 June, 2011 On
    I'm sure you have heard about the good reviews of the Samsung galaxy S2 and Guess what? they are all right.

    I'm not even sure where to start with this phone! The Screen is AMAZING and I mean every bit of that. me talking about it doesn't do it justice really you have to see a screen this beautiful. I have had an iPhone 3Gs prior to this Phone and I will say it is such a huge!!! improvement as far as specs go...this phone is ultra fast that I couldn't believe it. I will say that this isn't my first Android Device. I have had Dell Streak, A7 tablet, and Galaxy Tab and while all of those are "OK" Devices None of which made me completely switch to Android until I got this phone. I don't even pick up my iPhone 3Gs anymore. another perk of this Phone is that it is Unlocked from the start and no hassle with Carriers. I took out my AT&T simcard popped in in this and it was ready to go and getting good speeds up to 7 Mbs too.

    GPS locks on so fast, record 1080p, Kies Air, Watch Flash videos, All share works flawless, Changeable batteries, Speedy boot times, Very good call Quality, Should I even go on? Its too many to name for an out of the box experience. I'm not to big on Rooting devices but it almost feel there is no reason too unless you just wanted custom roms. This is hands down THE best phone I have ever used Thus far. Which brings me to my next point this is very VERY THIN, place it in my pockets and I have to keep checking my pants to make sure my phone is there. Amazing job Samsung!

    Two things I wish Android had is a Better Ecosystem, Which it ain't bad but I do like iOS app store better just do to the fact of sheer fact of Number of Apps and Games but by all means Android market isn't bad at all. Another thing is I wish I could find some Accessories from Samsung itself, none are out and most of which you will find is Aftermarket Accessories. I would really like a Battery case for it whenever they release it.

    Other then those Two facts it doesn't take away from the Phone, Samsung has really defined themselves in the mobile market and finally made a phone the way Android was meant to be especially in terms of speed. You have to get this phone.
  7. 44 of 54 people found this review helpful
     NO WARRANTY, Lost My Money 3 December, 2011 On
    Please make sure you read the one star reviews about products. I am not giving the product itself one star, but the whole situation. Please keep in mind as noted in the item title "NO WARRANTY" this is so pathetically true. Two months into purchasing this amazing phone, it all of a sudden will not turn on anymore. Its completely dead. I contacted the seller and he was more than helpful, not. He suggested I contact Latin Samsung, as he wants nothing to do with making his customers happy. Latin Samsung is a joke and they do not want anything to do with USA/CANADA.

    I was basically left high and dry with a phone I spent over $600 for. I finally talked to samsung usa and they offered one of their repair depot companies that I could PAY someone to fix it for me. In case this happens to anyone else who purchases this phone in this particluar situation,here are the details. You can call Service Absolute at 1-514-738-8333, and they should be able to repair any phones provided by samsung.

    The Galaxy S2 is the most amazing phone, and now that I have had it, I cannot go to any other phone. I suggest people only purchase items in which to seller will actually back their products they sell.
  8. 17 of 20 people found this review helpful
     This will not be a technical review 21 July, 2011 On
    I never could have imagined a product like this just a few years ago. Before buying this smartphone, I made a list of what I wanted when I would make my next smartphone purchase. I had a Sony Xperia X1, which I didn't like moments after I purchased it mainly because the Internet was pathetically slow, the camera was bad, etc. This Samsung phone is not perfect, but it's as close to perfection as I could hope it to be. In fact, I can't imagine a phone in the future that could significantly improve on it; although, I know that will happen. The Internet is lightning fast--faster than any computer I've used and I have the latest desktop and notebook computers. Streaming video never needs to rebuffer. It's always 100% at the beginning. The camera is amazing--probably not as good as stand-alone digital 8 megapixel cameras or 1080p HD camcorders, but almost. I've popped recorded HD video onto a 46" HD screen and it looks great. I don't have a lot of games on it yet, but those I have work flawlessly. Those using the built-in gyroscope respond perfectly. FM radio works great as well. That's a big plus for me. No 3G or wi-fi is necessary to listen to its FM radio. It has voice commands. After programming the voice commands, they work perfectly. Sound quality from any source is excellent. It's a very thin and light phone, but in no way does it feel vulnerable to breakage even if one would sit on it. There's no sensation to carrying it in one's pocket. The battery does need to be recharged every day with what I would consider to be normal use--that's with fairly heavy use of the Internet. Of course, the video quality of the screen is perfection. That's been covered in most reviews here. I'm not going through all the features of this phone, but there hasn't been one feature I've tried that hasn't worked nearly perfectly.
  9. 12 of 14 people found this review helpful
     In this case, you get what you pay for - excellent all-around smartphone 16 July, 2011 On
    Others have ably covered the phone's technical specs. This review will be from a practical standpoint from a user who's not super-techy. Coming from a "stupidphone", I wanted a device that would consolidate many of the gadgets I like to carry around: phone, digital camera, GPS, PDA, MP3 player. I did *not* want to sign up for a monthly service plan (currently using T-Mobile pay as you go, plus their Web Day Pass for data). I wanted a pocketworthy phone that wasn't too bulky. After much research I settled on the Galaxy S2.

    This phone fits the bill perfectly. It is a pleasure to use, sturdily built yet thin and light, with a bright, vivid display. It is intuitive, fast and responsive, with apps loading quickly and no frustrating delays. The camera, an important point to me, is 8 MP. The picture quality is quite decent for a point-and-shoot, rivaling in sharpness photos from my 10 MP Canon Powershot.

    I purchased this from FGS Trading, fulfilled by Amazon. The phone I received was a French version. Don't be alarmed when you see a European plug on the charger - the US adaptor is included. You can Google up an English version quick start guide and manual. One of the first options after initially turning on the phone will allow you to change the language to English.

    Two problems I initially had: 1) the wi-fi connection would drop periodically; 2) there was no way to disable the camera's shutter-click sound, even when the phone itself was in silent mode.

    These problems were solved after 1) upgrading the phone's firmware to Gingerbread XWKDD 2.3.3; and 2) rooting the phone and renaming the shutter-click sound file.

    I was hesitant to root my shiny and expensive new phone, but the camera sound annoyed me so much I decided to go for it. There are detailed instructions available on the internet. It was not difficult but it took a while, mainly due to the Samsung Kies software taking forever to install on my PC. Also, before rooting the phone I read that you must update the firmware to XWKDD. This step wipes your downloaded apps, phone contacts, and all the customizing you have lovingly done so far. But after the phone is updated and rooted - sweet success! Silent camera!

    One downside is battery life. All this awesomeness requires battery power, and I'm finding, with moderate to heavy use, this phone needs to charge daily.

    All in all I'm very satisfied with this phone, which is high praise considering its hefty price tag.
  10. 9 of 10 people found this review helpful
     Does Not Support T-Mobile 3G or 4G or future 4G-LTE 28 April, 2012 On
    This unlocked Samsung Galaxy S II phone does not function on the T-Mobile 4G network in the USA.

    This is an INTERNATIONAL phone made for the UK/Ireland market. It supports Quadband GSM/GPRS/EDGE frequencies of 850 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, and 1900 MHz, only. Unfortunately, T-Mobile offers only 2G service on any of those frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz).

    T-Mobile uses UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+ frequencies of 1700/2100 MHz for 4G, and for the future implementation of 4G-LTE (needing both frequencies for uplink and downlink). This Samsung Galaxy S II does not support 1700/2100 MHz. Therefore, this phone cannot operate on T-Mobile's current U.S. 4G network.

    So, while a T-Mobile SIM card does work in it, currently (as of April 28, 2012), T-Mobile supports this phone at a maximum speed of only 2G.

    According to Wikipedia, "T-Mobile's LTE network will be rolled out on the AWS spectrum, and their HSPA+ network will transition to the PCS band, in order to achieve compatibility with other networks and phones in the USA."

    Regarding the 1700/2100 MHz speeds, Wikipedia states that T-Mobile is the "First carrier in the U.S. to deploy services on AWS frequencies. Markets HSPA+ as '4G.' Will be used for LTE in the near-future. UMTS frequency band IV".

    Further, regarding the 1900 MHz speed, Wikipedia states, "According to reports from users, T-Mobile started to use PCS for UMTS in some areas. Will be expanded during LTE upgrade. UMTS frequency band II." Relatedly, Wikipedia also shows: "Band II (W-CDMA 1900) in North America and South America (ITU Region 2)." Band II (W-CDMA 1900) refers to 1900 MHz.

    So, hopefully in the future, if T-Mobile has any sense, this "flagship" Samsung phone will work worldwide at 1900 MHz at 4G speeds; but currently it is stuck at 2G, maximum, when using T-Mobile in the USA.

    REPEAT: This Samsung Galaxy S II does not currently work on the T-Mobile 4G network, in the United States!
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