After so many years being an Apple fanboy, it’s quite difficult to foresee my step towards being an Android Army. But I have my own reasons, and please read on to know about it.
Anyway, I bought the Samsung Galaxy S II (SGS2) (read the glowing review here) a few weeks ago after a prolonged search for the best Android phone, and has picked the phone with white as the colour of choice (slowpokingly thought that white is the new black).
Some info on the SGS2:
- Quad-band GSM/3G;
- 4.3″ 16M-color Super AMOLED Plus capacitive touchscreen;
- 1.2 GHz dual-core Cortex-A9 CPU;
- Android OS v2.3.3 with TouchWiz 4;
- 8 MP wide-angle lens autofocus camera (front 2 MP) with LED flash, 1080p HD video recording at 30fps;
- 8.5mm thickness and low 116g weight.
SGS2 in the retail box
The retail box is simple, mimicking the Apple iPhone’s renowned simplicity retail box. While the iPhone box is glossy, the surface of the SGS2′s box is velvety and feels like leather. Hmmm, something different.
Bottom of the retail box
The bottom part of the box explained what’s the phone is all about and its best features.
White SGS2 in the box
The dimension of the box is slightly bigger than the phone itself. This will aids in keeping the cost of manufacturing down and more trees in the world. But to me, small box equals to small storage space. And the larger the storage space is, the more boxes can be put inside.
The Samsung branding is proudly displayed on the top front of the phone. There's the speaker grill, camera, proximity sensor and light sensor holes at the front.
Samsung has becoming a force to be reckon with in the smartphone market. From a phone that is difficult to use years ago (too much Korean-inspired look and feel), to the simple Bada OS, and now to the current Android OS. The benefit of Samsung using the Android OS really shows here. With a specification that is more than the OS can handle, Samsung really sets the standard in the world of smartphones.
See how thin the SGS2 is!
This is one of the reasons why I skipped the iPhone 4S and got myself the SGS2. The screen size - 4.3″ 16M-color Super AMOLED Plus capacitive touchscreen. Acres of ‘em! That’s abundance of screen space to explore!
The flat back
The battery cover is coated in glossy white paint and it’s quite slippery to hold when you have oily fingerprints all over it. I don’t really have that kind of problem (not that I don’t have fingerprints) ’cause I’m using a leather case (more on this on the next entry) with my SGS2.
On the black version of the SGS2, the battery cover is full of dimples and gives the illusion of a grippy back. The battery cover for both the black and white versions is so thin you might think it will be easy broken. Well, based from the videos I saw of youtube, that is not the case as the cover is so flexible, you’ll be hard-pressed to be able to break it (see the video here).
Another Samsung branding at the bottom back and the speaker
The SGS2 is a thin phone (used to be the thinnest smartphone in the world) with 8.5mm of thickness. But the profile is slightly raised at the bottom of the phone to accommodate the speaker and reception assembly.
It's 8 MP, baby!
The back camera is 8 megapixel (front is 2 megapixel) with LED flash and 1080p video capability. Awesome!
The photo capability of the SGS2 is probably 50% of the reasons why people flocked to buy the SGS2. The end result is a crisp photo with minimal artifact (check out an unedited sample here).
Inside, there are slots for the SIM and miniSD cards
The battery is rated at 1650 mAh and with normal use, it will last you about a day. But don’t expect the battery to last a day for the first few days of the phone’s ownership as you’ll suffer from the new-phone-syndrome, and this will eats your battery life away.
My only wish is for the battery capacity to be at least 2000 mAh, so my juice will probably able to last the whole day.
Battery is rated at 1650 mAh but it could be a bigger capacity.
There’s a battery extended kit out there (read the review here) if you like to add more juice to your phone. But with the extended capacity (2000 mAh), comes the added thickness (about 1.6mm more), and with that Samsung has included an extra battery cover. Nice.
Unused Samsung mid-end earphone
The enclosed earphones looks premium enough to justify the high price of the SGS2. I haven’t got the chance to test the earphones as I’m using my trusty old Sony earphones for all my audio pleasures.
Update: I’ve been using the earphone for some time now and all I can say is: it’s crap! The build quality is quite good and comparable to other premium brands but the sound is thinny, virtually no bass (even when the bass equalizer is set to 80%) and full of echos. If you wanna use it for handsfree calls, it’s fine and you can hear the voice on the other end very clear. But as a music earphone, best avoid it like a plague. Invest in some higher-end earphones and you’ll never regretted it.
The USB cable is standard for all smartphones.For those living in a cave, this cable is for attaching the SGS2 to your PC/laptop.
Extra silicone earplugs
Your ear holes too big or too small? Fret not, Samsung is kind enough to enclose some silicone plugs for everyone.
Quick start guide
You call this a quick guide? It’s too thin, and too quick!
Fast charger or weird charger?
The fast charger’s design is a bit weird. Rather than having a conventional charger, Samsung has gone all the way to make it weird, with the cable comes from the side rather than the bottom. Why Samsung, why?
Using mini USB charger will minimise the size of the hole at the phone, thus enable the phone maker to make thinner phones. Really?
The SGS2 feels nice in my hand (but bigger than all my previous phones). There's a glimpse of my Melkco leather case here.
Pros: Well built phone; Android OS is superb; powerful processor; tons of free and paid softwares; great camera & excellent photo (even in macro!); nicely sized (try the Galaxy Note and you’ll understand); great screen; lots of third-parties accessories; IT’S SO BLOODY THIN!!!
Cons: Price too steep; battery life too short; white SGS2 makes the screen look small; minimal in-box accessories; shipped without a leather case (unusual for an expensive phone); slippery to hold for the white SGS2; crap earphone; screen in unviewable under sunlight.
Final Words - I’ve been using the SGS2 for about a month now and what can I say, it’s the best phone I ever bought! The Android OS is fantastic, easy to use, and the phone is well-built.
What I like most is the Android OS. There’s tons and tons of software available for SGS2 and most of them are free. The quality of the softwares are comparable to Apple’s and gaining.
But honestly, I think the SGS2 is over-spec and not many of the softwares available can take advantage of the duo-core power of the SGS2. Maybe the phone is ahead of its time but it seems that other manufacturer have come up with quod-core processors, which is double the processing power of the current chip in SGS2.
I, for one, likes to have something powerful I don’t really used, rather than didn’t have at all. What do you think about that?
Check out the videos by Samsung below:
COMING UP NEXT: Melkco Leather Case for SGS2