Samsung Galaxy S II


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+Dick Montage
Am I getting this right? US, UK and Canada versions of the phone dont have NFC? Then what's the point?

What's the point of what?

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TheElite

Am I getting this right? US, UK and Canada versions of the phone dont have NFC? Then what's the point?

No. Canada version does. UK version will soon have it, but the US version won't.

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Avneet Singh

how do u get the black/white icons on the weather widget..i am getting the colored ones :(

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Roger H.

Aww man, i want this phone so bad. Lowest i found it for is "$625" and that's tempting but man still a lot of cash. I'd throw $500-550 right now on one :D. Think i should get it still at said pricing?

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Digitalx

No version but Korean models have NFC and there's no change for that any time soon despite this "soon" for UK rubbish. However eventually when this NFC sticker stuff comes might be able to utilize it. But until then zilch despite minor roll outs Samsung judges it as unnecessary.

As for above, SHoTTa35. Sure any price is worth getting hold of it as it's an excellent phone and it's either wait till it drops to your price range or go for it now, nothings really going to change other then your time purchasing it heh.

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BetaAddict

No. Canada version does. UK version will soon have it, but the US version won't.

Well, there's a slight hope for a US variant to have NFC, but don't expect it to be in stock until the end of the year considering it's only just now spotted under review at the FCC.

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Boz

OMG!!! Galaxy S2 arrived on Friday.. OMG! This phone is beyond sick! I'm serious. The screen is unreal. The phone is super light yet feels high quality.

It's similar difference compared to iPhone 4 when iPhone 4 was compared to the rest of the smart-phones when Retina display came out. Super AMOLED is unreal. The phone has been on whole day and I didn't charge it at all when I opened it. It was at a 1/3rd of the battery and I was like let's drain this sucker so I can charge it fully from empty. But this **** won't die. ALL DAY and I've been without mercy (using 4G, bluetooth in my car, GPS etc nonstop)

I'm browsing HSPA+ mode on AT&T and it's seriously browsing at close speeds to my wifi.. but everywhere. The only time I see 3G is when I'm driving (i'm in movement) I guess HSPA+ can't hold a moving signal well. Everything runs super super smooth. Touchwiz is DISGUISTING. That's the only beef I have so far. I switched it to Launcher Pro and voila. There we go.

Overall, I'm blown away.. this phone is really perfection. 8mb camera (that's the only thing I have left to try out) but I've seen examples and they look awesome. The only thing that is pis*ing me off is that today they saw there's another SGII coming to the States.. with NFC on it.

But I guess i"ll live without it. I'm using Nexus S to test apps and stuff with NFC anyways. I guess with NFC SGII really becomes the ultimate smartphone. No wonder they are selling them like crazy.

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ToneKnee

I'm really liking this phone, but I had android before and I had to go back to the iPhone.

You _had_ to go back to the iPhone? Want to explain why? Anything we could help you with?

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Hardcore Til I Die

OMG!!! Galaxy S2 arrived on Friday.. OMG! This phone is beyond sick! I'm serious. The screen is unreal. The phone is super light yet feels high quality.

It's similar difference compared to iPhone 4 when iPhone 4 was compared to the rest of the smart-phones when Retina display came out. Super AMOLED is unreal. The phone has been on whole day and I didn't charge it at all when I opened it. It was at a 1/3rd of the battery and I was like let's drain this sucker so I can charge it fully from empty. But this **** won't die. ALL DAY and I've been without mercy (using 4G, bluetooth in my car, GPS etc nonstop)

I'm browsing HSPA+ mode on AT&T and it's seriously browsing at close speeds to my wifi.. but everywhere. The only time I see 3G is when I'm driving (i'm in movement) I guess HSPA+ can't hold a moving signal well. Everything runs super super smooth. Touchwiz is DISGUISTING. That's the only beef I have so far. I switched it to Launcher Pro and voila. There we go.

Overall, I'm blown away.. this phone is really perfection. 8mb camera (that's the only thing I have left to try out) but I've seen examples and they look awesome. The only thing that is pis*ing me off is that today they saw there's another SGII coming to the States.. with NFC on it.

But I guess i"ll live without it. I'm using Nexus S to test apps and stuff with NFC anyways. I guess with NFC SGII really becomes the ultimate smartphone. No wonder they are selling them like crazy.

The SGS2 does look like an amazing phone and I'm tempted to buy one but it's not a big enough upgrade from the Desire for me.

If it had NFC I would seriously consider it!

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  • 4 weeks later...
mrk

It's a pretty massive upgrade over the Desire to be honest! I upgraded from the Desire which was running Cyanogen7 / LeeDroid.. The speed difference is unreal and the screen size is so much nicer to use for varous things like watching videos, satnav and the speaker is far far better. And then there's the camera which is borderline HD camcorder quality in low light.

how do u get the black/white icons on the weather widget..i am getting the colored ones :(

Just go into Menu > Skins.

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  • 3 weeks later...
lemonbear

Got this phone two days ago and haven't stopped playing with it since. It's amazingly light and slim for something of such awesome power. Rooted, flashed with lite'ning ROM cause I didn't like the stock interface. This is a massive upgrade coming from an old Nokia 6085 flip phone.

What's a good app for the camera?

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Scorbing

Hi again :p

homescreensetup_2011.08.24.png

^ Picture updated August 2011, this is how I have my handset configured. You won't see another Droid with the same look at this point in time :p

I've had the GSII not even two days so far and this review will compare it directly to the HTC Desire which it is replacing. I have had the Desire for a year now and it has been rooted since day one, just like this GSII, although no custom ROMs exist for it yet. Root access alone is good enough for now though because out of the box this phone is very good.

Out of the box the phone looks posh and minimalist, and most of all VERY lightweight, far lighter than it looks. There are no two tone colours other than the polished thin bezel and home button surround. Everything else is thin and flat.

sgs-ii_04.jpg

^ The battery cover is very slim and very flexible but once attached to the phone it hugs the back of the battery and feels more like a unibody device than you'd imagine.

sgs-ii_01.jpg

^ I am using WidgetLocker to customise the lock screen.

Compared to the Desire it's a welcome difference. The Desire's rubberised matte body would show up marks and greasy marks far too easily and the screen smudged quickly as well. not so on the SGSII, the screen seems to be less prone to fingerprints and smudges but when they happen it's easier to wipe with less effort required. The back is textured so doesn't require any cleaning from smudges or whatever else.

The camera lens seems exposed too much for my liking, it might scratch easy down the line.

Some review sites said the bundled headphones were quite good. They are not, they are rubbish but the output from the phone is good and was able to satisfy my musical listening needs via my Sennheiser HD595 and Ultimate Ears 100 series.

The built in speaker is also of a higher quality than the Desire and any other Android phone I have seen. It is not as high quality as higher end Nokia phones or the iPhone 4 though.

sgs-ii_05.jpg

The Samsung customisations try to stick to the look and feel of AOSP Gingerbread as much as possible but Samsung has still managed to put in their own apps such as the social/gaming/media hubs. I care not for these so didn't check these out, in fact I removed them from the phone via Titanium Backup.

The Touchwhiz launcher that Samsung use is better than the stock Android launcher but it's still not as customisable compared to others on the Market. I have LauncherPro Plus and GoLauncher EX and have ADW EX in the past. Go Launcher is what I use day in day out.

sgs-ii_07.jpg

sgs-ii_08.jpg

Samsung's lock screen is possibly the worst lock screen I have ever seen. It's ugly and has a delayed response. This is the reason I paid the ?1.20 odd for WidgetLocker shown above, I would highly recommend this as you can do a lot of stuff with your lock screens and it's relatively cheap as well.

I was quite pleased to see Samsung patched in notification bar widgets for core functions but it would have been nice to customise what widgets are there like in Cyanogen ROMs but I am not complaining here because the phone is already rooted and only a matter of time before custom ROMs start cooking via the good folks at XDA.

sgs-ii_09.jpg

As of now the latest version of Android for non tablet devices is 2.3.4 and the GSII ships with 2.3.3

sgs-ii_10.jpg

2.3.4 brings video calling via Google Talk and integrates it with the contacts app. It also fixes bugs for the Nexus S that users have reported. The GS II already has video chat integrated so thumbs up to Samsung for having this feature in already.

-

That's the overview out of the way, let's discuss speed and differences to virtually all other phones out right now.

This phone beats them and beats them hard. It's so fast at almost everything. You click the camera and in less than 1 second it's loaded and ready to take a picture or record video. Those 1.2GHz cores are being utilised throughout the phone very effectively. The browser has been modified by Samsung and is hardware accelerated too, you can see this acceleration in action in pinch zooming, scrolling and navigating tabs (windows). It also accelerates page rendering by the looks of it. Pages load faster and even with active media running pages still scroll and zoom as fast as ever.

The multitouch capabilities are up there with the Atrix and 2X, I was able to register all 10 fingers but sadly I don't have more to spare and there's very little room for more fingers to touch the screen :p Maybe a test with my nephews and nieces one day though haha!

Once you've used a 4.3" phone as slim and as fast as this, everything else just feels old fashioned. It really does spoil you. I feel it's on a level above the iPhone 4 in all aspects bar very fine text reading but the pixel rendering of the Retina display lends itself well there although at less than 4" screen size it it dwarfed. The GSII's Super AMOLED+ display is magnificent as well and will wow anyone who uses it.

-

Over all I think it's a big step up from the HTC Desire. I use my smartphone quite a lot, it is my navigator, appointment keeper, social networker, communicator and my portable imager and speaking of imager, the camera is very good too, probably inline with what I've shot with the iPhone 4 really (maybe better in many areas). The camcorder auto focuses while it's recording too which is nice but it focus hunts in low light, maybe a software bug, I don't know. There are many settings within the camera software. ISO ranges from 100 to 800 and metering can be spot, centre weighted or matrix. You can even control the exposure compensation and apply basic filters and effects. Video settings include resolutions in standard form from mobile video to 480P, 720P and 1080P.

Here's a picture I shot at night at iso400, 1/40sec using the stock camera app.

sgs-ii_camquality_1-40s_iso400.jpg

More samples with and without flash can be seen in an update here and daylight samples here

-

The battery life seems to be better than the Desire although heavy usage of media apps does drain the battery (expected) although I haven't run the usual charge cycles fully yet so I will give it a week before putting a final thought to battery life.

Can't wait until the MHL cables are out so I can plug it in to a HDTV and play NES/MEGADRIVE and also wathc HD movies. A sidenote on gaming, you can't pair a Wiimote etc with this over bluetooth like you can on AOSP ROMs, the same goes for HTC phones running Sense. Need a custom ROM...

Speaking of movies, this will play 1080p videos no problems and hardware acceleration works in both Flash and local media too and I found no problems playing media but do note that if you intend to watch BluRay rips on this then filesizes should be split into 5GB chunks as the storage is FAT32 formatted and then just playlist the chunks in the media player. I use Mobo Player for video playback as it has an excellent UI and folder watcher system.

What about using the phone in sunlight?

My Desire was just about readable in sunlight but I tried to use it in the shade as much as possible. It had an AMOLED display so was easier to read than LCD phones but still sometimes you'd struggle and have to squint.

The Galaxy S II is excellent in sunlight as you can see from this picture:

sgs-ii_14.jpg

VIEW HIGH RES

I had no trouble reading text but I do note that the screen is glass fronted so you probably want to avoid glare from the sun (as with all glass fronted phones).

The microphone on this phone is very good too, the voice recorder app Samsung include is quite flash as well with a very smooth equaliser graph that loioks very cool.

Here's an audio recording I did with the app: http://robbiekhan.co.uk/root/android/Rec001.3ga (play on your smartphone or use VLC)

Missing bits and stuff "I" don't like (but ultimately should be sorted in custom ROMs):

1: No silent state in the volume up/down, only volume + vibrate.

2: No option to adjust lock screen timeout.

3: Screen cannot be left awake while plugged in, the option has been removed by Samsung.

4: Cannot enable private browsing in the default browser.

5: Cannot enable user agent switching in the browser. - Type about:useragent in the URL bar, thanks H!

6: Camera zooms in a bit when set to 1080p, this seems to be the norm for many phones though.

7: Cannot customise notification bar widgets.

8: Cannot turn off camera sounds. I deleted them using root explorer instead, requires root.

9: Cannot manually focus when recording a video, would have been nice to manually fix the focus to a subject! You also cannot zoom when recording in 1080p, only 720p or below. The focus hunt when recording can be annoying at times but I'm sure this is more a software thing. Video sample at the end of this post.

11: Samsung's T9 dialler is very nice but when using the search function it only lists the first number for a contact if they have more than 1 applied to their card, this is an issue because you can't click them in the search result and view other numbers, it immediately starts dialling that one number instead. In this regard I highly recommend Dialer One using the dark theme. It's very good and also supports landscape orientation (Samsung one does too) unlike other diallers (HTC etc). ***UPDATE*** I found a solution to this although a secondary issue still remains. See my update in this post.

12: There are many areas that trap dust in the casing, I guess this is a problem for a lot of devices these days but it's nothing major for a device that's got grilles and filters protecting the internals. Below are a set of macro photographs showing where the dust gets trapped:

sgs-ii_17.jpg

sgs-ii_16.jpg

sgs-ii_15.jpg

sgs-ii_19.jpg

sgs-ii_20.jpg

And to finish, few more photos and a video sample:

sgs-ii_11.jpg

sgs-ii_18.jpg

sgs-ii_12.jpg

sgs-ii_13.jpg

Vs iPhone 4

sgs-gg_vs_ip4_text_th.jpg

The stuff I'm using:

Launcher:

- GoLauncher EX

- Custom dock icons

Lockscreen mod:

- WidgetLocker

Homescreen widgets:

- Minimalist Text

- Snowstorm (weather)

Keyboard:

- Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread (modded version from Cyanogen 7 nightly)

Root method:

- @ XDA Devs, www.goo.gl/3MY0x

Until next time, thanks for reading!

UPDATE 2

Cases info in my update post here.

LOL...LOL...Look at those photos. No wonder Apple is ticked off at Samsung....LOL

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  • 2 weeks later...
Hardcore Til I Die

I like what Samsung have done with calls in the background, full control from the noti-bar!

sgs2_call.png

Oh, and I'm on 19% battery now since this morning, current running time since full charge is 14 hours.

Today i have watched an hour's worth of TV (mkv/iPlayer), Watched several youtubes, streamed some music, made approx 20mins of calls, checked emails, Bookfaced, Played Wordfeud throughout, updated apps, browsed the Market, uploaded stuff to my website over the air, administered the phone and tweaked stuff around....and more.

The display ontime is listed as 3hours 6mins.

I do like! My HTC Desire would go down faster with that kind of heavy usage.

Day after I got my phone I had similar usage. Even when the battery hit 1% I was able to watch YouTube videos for 15 minutes :laugh: Lasted from roughly 6am until 1am the following morning, and because I had only just got it I was playing with it constantly. About an hour of GPS, lots of browsing, emails, etc. Texting.

Battery life is incredible :)

Now:

10h 35m on battery

Display on - 1h 21m

Voice calls - 14m 42s

56% remaining.

100% without a signal...?? not true at all :laugh:

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Hardcore Til I Die

The SGS2 does look like an amazing phone and I'm tempted to buy one but it's not a big enough upgrade from the Desire for me.

If it had NFC I would seriously consider it!

It's a pretty massive upgrade over the Desire to be honest! I upgraded from the Desire which was running Cyanogen7 / LeeDroid.. The speed difference is unreal and the screen size is so much nicer to use for varous things like watching videos, satnav and the speaker is far far better. And then there's the camera which is borderline HD camcorder quality in low light.

Just looking back at this thread and I so went back on my word, don't regret it although I will miss my Desire :p

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Kerm

I have to say, I got this phone recently, and it keeps on impressing me. Not least of all the battery life is astounding for a smartphone!

I feel the opposite, it's the only thing that bugs me about it.

Less than one day with proper use is just sad.

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2xSilverKnight

I feel the opposite, it's the only thing that bugs me about it.

Less than one day with proper use is just sad.

If you like touchwiz 4.0, download VillainRom 2.5.

It's basically the stock rom, but optimized for battery usage and more.

Or you have several other AOSP based rom you can try like Cyanogen 7.

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Roger H.

I got mine now and loving it! I'll be switching over the CyanogenMod once it's been tweaked up right, might never even fully get GingerBread before Ice-Cream Sandwich comes along, either way, can't wait to see how great this phone gets!

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  • 2 weeks later...
mrk

Extended battery installed today.Maybe not so surprisingly the phone is actually more comfortable to hold with the added thickness (even though it's only a slight increase).

It doesn't add much weight to it either so it's still thin and light.

As expected, the mesh case and any other hard case will not fit any more but silicone/gel ones may well fit.

I can confirm the Walnutt bumper case fits perfectly but I'm still deciding if I want to use it or not as it does add extra couple of mm in thickness taking it a shade over 10mm at the thickest end although it does make gripping the phone much easier and protects all edges from impact.

Some pics:

sgs-ii_extendedbatt_thickness-side.jpg

sgs-ii_extendedbatt_thickness.jpg

Walnutt bumper case:

sgs-ii_extendedbatt_walnutt3.jpg

sgs-ii_extendedbatt_walnutt2.jpg

sgs-ii_extendedbatt_walnutt.jpg

Mobilefun have the extended Galaxy S2 battery in stock again so grab one :D

Will keep the original battery as a spare, I'll nab my dad's kdigi dock which charges phone and battery just to charge the spare from time to time I reckon. I'll update with thoughts on battery life with every day usage after the weekend.

Speaking of docks, the kdigi dual phone + battery charging cradle works fine with the extended battery as does the Zenis and the cheap £5 eBay dock.

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Got3n

I have one of these phones and notice as well that its a little TOO thin, sounds weird i know but it just feels weird, other than that my stock battery life has been awesome, get over 30 hours on normal use, with little use i can easily reach 48 hours, so i can only imagine how long the extended battery lasts.

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lemonbear

Ahh mrk, how I love your updates about stuff relating to this phone. :shifty:

Must be the crystal clear pohotos.

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Kerm

If you like touchwiz 4.0, download VillainRom 2.5.

It's basically the stock rom, but optimized for battery usage and more.

Or you have several other AOSP based rom you can try like Cyanogen 7.

I don't understand anything that you just said. :)

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Roger H.

I saw that extended (2000mAH) battery too and was thinking about picking it up. I don't run out of juice by the end of the (work)day, usually 40% easily but then if i were to go out at night i'd end up worrying a bit that it might die by 11pm (21:00) if i'm snapping pics or just playing around with it. I figured an extra ~400mAh might help that! I saw pictures showing there was a 1mm increase in thickness so that wasn't a big deal anyways and the weight was like 30grams more or something? Eitherway, looks like a winner all around to me!

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mrk

Hehe yeah the weight difference is not really anything you'd notice but the phone is nicer to hold due to the extra 1.2mm although the phone itself isn't thicker as a whole as the rest of the phone now is flush with the speaker area which was the thickest part.

I've ordered a cheap bumper case off eBay as I wanted a pure black one instead of the grey/black my Walnutt case is, looks like a lot more are cropping up now too.

The SGP Neo Hybrid is £17~ which is just way too expensive for a bumper case IMO.

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xTL

Hi +mrk i found your thread by a mere coincidence, when searching for galaxy s2 customization and i must say, your config of your samsung galaxy s2 is outstanding!

i love your homescreen, i would love to duplicate it, and i'v been trying ^^

sgs-ii_08.jpg

But for me it's hard, first Android phone, never did any customization with the iPhone, so advice is appreciated!

i know your using on your homescreen

- Minimalist Text

- Snowstorm (weather)

but i can't get it looking like that...

perhaps now when i think about it The requierment for the homescreen to look like that is - GoLauncher EX? ( referring to the weather and other text on the screen, not the dockbar )

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quick

I feel the opposite, it's the only thing that bugs me about it.

Less than one day with proper use is just sad.

Heres a couple of tips (in case you haven't already done this)

Install SetCPU, setup a profile for SCREEN OFF to underclock the CPU (set min and max to the lowest setting)

Set another profile for SCREEN ON for set the min to be lowest and max to be highest clock setting

another profile for Charging to have the min lowest, and max the highest

Also optionally set a profiles for "When in a call" to be min=lowest max=highest. (this should be placed above the screen off in the priority)

Also

Go into wireless settings, pick menu, then advanced, set wireless to "Never turn OFF"

This helps battery life because when the screen goes off (by default) if it will shut off wifi, then you are running with the 3G/4G radio which uses a lot more power... that way when you are in wifi range it will stick to wifi even when the screen is off.

Another option is an app called "tasker" you get setup a few battery saving things with it.

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