TmoNews Reviews The T-Mobile Galaxy S II

Quick Note: I’ve published this review because I want to get out there but I’ve done so without a 1080p video sample which isn’t cooperating on the upload to YouTube. I’ll have the video added in tomorrow. Enjoy the review!

I was incredibly excited to get my hands on a Samsung Galaxy S II review unit from Samsung and doubly excited to test out T-Mobile’s 42Mbps HSPA+ network in South Florida. The expectations for the Samsung Galaxy S II are high, especially on T-Mobile where it is hitting the market along with the HTC Amaze 4G  just as iPhone 4S launches and the Galaxy Nexus rumors continue to swirl.

All in all, I truly enjoyed my time with the Galaxy S II and, as you’ll see in the review, my only real trouble with the phone that can’t be rectified through software updates or Android enhancements was the size. This is absolutely a try-before-you-buy kind of device, especially for those of you who, like myself, have small hands. Yes, I know, small hand syndrome isn’t going to affect a lot of you but if you have the opportunity to check out the phone before buying, I’d recommend doing so on that point alone. Now back to the review.

Specifications: 

  • • 4.52″ Super AMOLED Plus display
  • • 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S3 processor
  • • 16GB Internal Storage, micro SD expandable memory (up  to 32GB)
  • • Android 2.3.5
  • • HSPA+ 42Mbps
  • • 8 megapixel auto-focus camera with flash
  • • 2 megapixel front-facing camera
  • • 7 hour talk time, 167 hour standby time
  • • 135grams
  • • 5.11″ x 2.71″ x 0.37″

Pros: 

  • • Super fast 4G data speeds
  • • Dual-core processor is speedy
  • • 8 megapixel camera takes excellent photos
  • • 4.52″ screen offers plenty of display real estate
  • • Phone feels very solid, even with plastic backing

Cons: 

  • • Large display may be a con to some
  • • No widget for music pre-installed
  • • Some lag encountered with multiple applications running
  • • TouchWiz UX is a love it/hate it relationship
  • • Screen took extra time to auto-rotate far too often

Hardware:

As an iPhone 4 user most of the time, I’m generally used to a heavy, glass- encased device and I get a good feel for it in my hand. I often have concerns that I won’t like going to a plastic or “lighter” phone because I will psychologically believe it isn’t as sturdy. That wasn’t the case with the Galaxy S II. It’s definitely lighter than the iPhone 4, but it feels just as solid in my hand. The tricky thing is the iPhone 4 is just one gram heavier than the Galaxy S II but, in my mind, it feels incredibly lighter even if the actual weight varies by a tiny amount. I was a big fan of the design of the Galaxy S II, except for the screen size. I’ll start this off by saying this is a personal opinion and does not, by any means, detract from the great device that is the Galaxy S II.

In my eyes, the wireless industry as a whole is getting to a point where we have to stop and ask ourselves “how big is too big?” There was a lengthy time where we all wanted a 4.3″ Android device on T-Mobile as we envied those models on other carriers. For most people, a 4.3″ Android smartphone is a perfect size though I’d have to throw my own voice in for 4″ being the perfect size. At 4.52″, the Galaxy S II is at a point where I’d have to recommend that someone unsure about buying the phone stop into a local T-Mobile store and try it out. If you’re sure about the screen size, know that it’s a great screen and there is a lot to love about the screen itself.

My “issue” has nothing to do with the colors, clarity, resolution, dpi or anything else like that. It’s simply a matter of how big is too big for your pocket? The size issue is truly my biggest bone of contention with the device even though there are other little inconsistencies here and there. I can’t emphasize enough how that remains a personal opinion and should not, in any way, detract from my final recommendation of the phone at the end of this review.

The hardware itself has only three tactile buttons with the volume rockers (up and down) on the left side of the device and the power button on the right-hand side. The charging/microUSB port sits at the bottom of the phone with the 3.5mm headset jack resting on the top. The front of the device itself shows the standard Android layout of Menu, Power, Back and Search capacitive touch buttons. The front-facing camera sits left of the ear speaker.

The Galaxy S II Super AMOLED plus screen offers up an 800×480 and, for the most part, the colors are pleasing to the eye and blacks can be crisp. Though there are times the screen felt a little saturated as I might have expected a higher pixel count based on the size of the screen. Overall, the screen is pleasing and worked quite well in direct sunlight.

The body itself of the GSII is largely made up of plastic, yet retains a much sharper feel than that of other recent Samsung smartphones. The textured rear helps avoid fingerprints and I can’t thank Samsung enough for taking that into consideration. Fingerprints in no way, shape or form affect the overall usability of a phone, but they’re just ugly. The rounded edges of the phone are welcomed but the overall style of the phone is just average. The Galaxy S II hardware won’t stick in a crowd but that’s okay. I’ll take usability over style any day of the week.

One elephant in the room that can’t be overlooked is the inclusion of a different processor in the T-Mobile version of the Galaxy S II in order to combine a proper chipset for T-Mobile’s HSPA+ 42Mbps network. The dual-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon is very fast and, while I did find some instances of lag on the device, that mostly coincided with a multitude of applications running in which case lag is often expected.

Software:

The Samsung Galaxy S II runs Android Gingerbread 2.3.5 along with Samsung’s TouchWiz 4 user interface glossing over the entire phone. I’m not a huge fan of Samsung’s user interface especially when it comes to managing widgets on home screens. I definitely feel TouchWiz is a love it or hate it user interface on Android and you definitely have to be a fan of it if you aren’t going to root the phone and customize it.

The keyboard on the GSII is a combination of Samsung’s own keyboard and the always enjoyable Swype keyboard. I found text input to be a breeze using the 4.5″ display and, if you decide to landscape for text input, you have a beautiful keyboard to work with.

The dual-pane mode for emails and messaging is just awesome, simply awesome. It’s such a joy to have on a phone and can really only work on a screen this large. Of course, this comes back to the screen size issue but Samsung is making excellent use of the display size by enabling this function.

The web Browser on the GSII is a very solid experience. The large display helps make websites a breeze to read and scrolling/zooming are very smooth. The addition of the dual-core processor helps ensure that Flash won’t weigh down the phone for anything complex on a webpage.

While some of you put a lot of faith in quadrant benchmark scores, the rest of you don’t put any faith in them at all because they aren’t always relevant to the real-world functionality of a phone. That being said, the Samsung Galaxy S II put up scores anywhere between 3200 and 3900 for me, all very impressive. Remember the days of the sub-1000 score?

Overall, the software on the Galaxy S II is very pleasing, save for Samsung’s own touches to the Android experience which are definitely a love/hate relationship. As an extra, I really appreciated the addition of the task manager by Samsung available on one of the seven home screens. It helped me manage applications as I was testing almost everything on the phone I could find or download.

Media and Camera:

The Galaxy S II release coincided with the release of the HTC Amaze 4G on     T-Mobile. Each phone has its own claim to fame. For the Galaxy S II, display size is a big factor going into a buying decision. For the Amaze 4G, it’s the superb camera. We should emphasize for those of you still stuck deciding between both phones that the Galaxy S II has an excellent camera. Images are sharp, colors are pleasing to the eye and it captures images quickly. There are plenty of settings and shortcuts for you to personalize the camera experience to your heart’s content. The Galaxy S II shoots full 1080p HD videos and they are beautifully done. We would have liked to see some sort of stabilization addition to the video, but, unless you are on a roller coaster, hand shakiness should only be a minor issue. There is absolutely no reason not to recommend the Galaxy S II over the Amaze 4G if camera is the sole issue. While the focus of the Amaze 4G is a camera and, as such, might perform just a wee bit better, the Galaxy S II can more than hold its own. The addition of the Photo Editor was a bonus as  well.

The music player is fairly good as it offers all the typical options one could want out of a music player. You can list songs by album, artist or song title and the user interface is simple and easy. Music can, of course, be played from both the music app and the lock screen. There was no widget on the home screen to play music which we found a little strange. Aside from that little omission, the music app was genuinely good.

Phone and Coverage:

When it comes to calling, the Galaxy S II was a total win. The reception was among the best on any T-Mobile phone I’ve used in recent memory and, believe me, I’ve used a lot. The GSII offered solid 3G reception, solid GSM reception and, where available, solid 4G reception. Calls were clear. Other callers said I sounded clear and speaker volume was adequate.

The real purpose of this phone is T-Mobile’s 42Mbps HSPA+ network and it shines. Data speeds in my area were superb with at least a few results hitting north of 20Mbps on the download. Speeds were generally between the 6 and 15Mbps range, all speeds that are most welcome. The upload side things were a little slower with an average right around 1.02 upload.

Setting up the Galaxy S II as a tethering hotspot is as easy as can be and it was a joy to travel with. I took the GSII and my computer to a number of Starbucks locations and the mobile hotspot easily eclipsed the traditional Wi-Fi speeds I would get running off the Starbucks Wi-Fi connection.

The Galaxy S II and the Amaze 4G have, much to a number of buyers’ remorse, not come with Wi-Fi calling pre-installed and nary a word from T-Mobile regarding the issue. Never fear though as TmoNews is here and we’ve uncovered that for both phones on the network, November 13th will see Wi-Fi calling added. If you have an immediate need for this feature you might want to consider holding off on your purchase until after the 13th.

Battery:

With a screen this large and a processor this powerful, Samsung has done what they can to ensure lengthy battery life by adding in an 1850mAh battery. Along with some built-in power-saving settings, we always recommend leaving Bluetooth off when not in use and consider dimming the screen a little, etc. Overall, the Galaxy S II lasted me a complete work days which usually lasts between 7am till about midnight. That, of course, also allows for a whole lot of extra use as I am testing the device out so regular usage may get you a little more juice out of this, perhaps an extra half day or so. Samsung claims 7 hours of talk time and around 7 days of standby time.

Conclusions:

My first impression upon taking the Galaxy S II out was one of “Wow, this thing is LARGE”. Because I’m not one to rush up reviews just to beat everyone else, I like to take my time and really “get to know” a phone before taking her to meet the parents. Given that, after almost 10 days with the phone, I’m happy to say that I’ve truly enjoyed my time with it and I’ll be sorry to see it go back. While my concerns about the size are my own, they are offset by the fact that the screen size, especially when turned in landscape mode, really allows the Galaxy S II keyboard and browser to shine.

The real reason to buy this phone is the strength of T-Mobile’s HSPA+ 42Mbps network, especially if it’s already in your area. The Galaxy S II can really fly when it’s put together with those network speeds and we’ve got the speedtest results to prove it. You’ve really only got two options on T-Mobile right now for speeds that fast, the Galaxy S II and the HTC Amaze 4G. As we’ve covered earlier in the review, both phones are excellent and they each have a unique set of strengths that really aren’t lost on either. The camera on the Amaze 4G is better, but the Galaxy S II camera is superb so better is relative. The Galaxy S II is lighter and has a plastic body whereas the Amaze 4G is heavy but has what feels like a more durable body.

Overall, it’s hard not to recommend the Galaxy S II as the best phone in              T-Mobile’s lineup right now. It’s a combination of everything Android fans on T-Mobile could want, even if it lacks the Exynos processor so many of you had hoped to see included. The GSII still puts up impressive benchmark scores, displays excellent network speeds and works as a great phone to boot. The design of the phone won’t inspire you to show it off to everyone in your family but that really doesn’t matter. The uninspiring design isn’t really what’s important in a phone. The beautiful screen coupled with a 4.52″ Android experience is why you should really consider shelling out the $229.99 for the Galaxy S II.

As for TouchWiz, it’s still “meh.”

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  • zazou1

    Thanks David.  I have been looking at the Amaze and the SGII.  Still not too sure which one to get, but this helps!!

  • Mikex915

    This or see if I can pick up the nexus on t-mobile’s network? I don’t know. I love the look of ICS. On the other hand I like that GSII has 42 HSPA+. Do use the browser alot but touchwiz is boring. What to do?

    • http://ashn.myopenid.com/ Ash

      XDA dev caan fix your boring touchwiz.

  • guest

    u know what they say about guys with small hands..

  • Action 6

    i hope this comes  free for upgrade soon!

  • Kyle3

    Touchwiz cra.p, Gingerbread and only 800×480?? I PASS
    The Galaxy S2 was introduced in January (Korea) if I’m correct, give me the Galaxy Nexus!!!

    • Anonymous

      So we’ll probably have to wait 10 months for the nexus

    • Tortionist

      I took a look at the specs for the Nexus and the only thing that stood out to me, was ICS. If you root your phone and flash a ROM you’ll be able to get ICS soon. the specs were not much better than the SGSII. I’ll wait for the SGSIII in June(leaked release date). We’ll see how that goes.

  • SoTacMatt

    Nice review David! The panoramic photo, is that part of the Samsung camera?

    • http://tmonews.com David

      Sure is!

  • UMTSoverPCSplease

    Dude you should give a seminar about reviewing cellphones to all other popular websites such as cnet, engadget, mashable, phonedog… the list goes on. The comments are so objective despite the iphone disclosure. No need for a video if everything is well explained. Facts and opinions are clearly distinguishable. I mean really… I usually skip though the specs reading other websites.

    • http://tmonews.com David

      Wow, thank you!!! I’m a little taken back by this…it’s so flattering! The video was just a demo of the 1080p video from the phone itself, not any part of a review. Just a demo video should readers can see the quality of the video, which is great by the way.

      • Tortionist

        He’s right though. Your review is better than any i’ve ever read and I use Cnet to decide whether I should even take a second look at a smartphone. Good job David.

  • Alex76_19

    So does this include the ATT bands for 3g or not??

  • guest

    microsoft exchange activesync does’t work on this phone

    • Anonymous

      Really??

  • Jaganimated

    Its now a waiting game I guess.. this or the nexus.
    But how long is too long to wait for the Nexus.
    After reading this review it almost makes me forget about the Nexus.
    ALMOST.

    Good review.

  • Datruth63

    Waiting on the dogfight between the amaze and sgII.. The reviews are really helpful but what’s making this decision even harder is im stuck between touchwiz 4.0 & sense 3.0.

    Im really not “impressed” with the nexus galaxy… So its out of these 2 phones

    • http://twitter.com/BigJawnMize Will Wagner

      I have been thinking Amaze because of the unlocked boatloader options.

      • Antonio Merkerson

        What does an unlocked bootloader means?

        • 20 °

          In the land of HTC, it means losing your warranty. In the land of Samsung, it means getting the option to mod your phone the way you want and keeping your warranty..

  • UMTSoverPCSplease

    Oh forgot to ask. How do you able to download ~10-20Mbps on EDGE?????

    • http://tmonews.com David

      Generally speaking, I only download when I’m on Wi-Fi. Because of what I do for the blog everyday, I’m usually in front of Wi_fi most of my day.

  • Anonymous

    Ice cream sandwich will come eventually, but don’t hold you breath for it soon.

  • Aloha

    Damn those speeds!

  • Nearmsp

    David – Thanks for the review. I was particularly interested in your review because you use an iPhone and I have been struggling to decide between an Iphone 4S on AT&T and a SGS2 on T-mobile. Now that T-mobile charges for tethering and AT&T gives it for free on their 4GB data plan and the fact that I can get 24% employer discount ( I was not aware AT&T gives discount and one can check the premium plan discount on their web), AT&T is cheaper for me. 
    T-mobile’s own forum for this phone is reporting that the wi-fi calling is now working. can you please check to see if that is the case? I know you posted a November date but I am told one can call now and enable that feature. If the UMA is working, then I would probably chose the SGS2 over an iPhone 4S.

    • http://tmonews.com David

      Look, all things considered…if both the iPhone 4S and the Galaxy S II were both available on T-Mobile, I’d for go the 4S. That’s my own preference though and it doesn’t take away from the Galaxy S II and how great of a smartphone it is. It’s just personal preference.

    • Anonymous

      I tether on my phone all the time and i dont get charged o_O

  • Rashad3g

    How come you didn’t mention that tethering isn’t free anymore!?

    Its a $15 charge now.

    Yes the option is still there but we have to root it and uninstall the tethering manager to use the native tethering options.

    • http://tmonews.com David

      Because that isn’t part of the review. I don’t talk about rooting, hacking or anything that 99% of the Android community won’t touch on in reviews. This is straight out of the box, the way most users will keep their smartphone.

  • Vim

    David,

    Does this phone have quad-band UMTS like the Amaze, or penta-band UMTS like the Galaxy Nexus? Or does it just support T-Mo’s AWS freqs?  We know that the Amaze and Gal Nex won’t turn into expensive paperweights if the AT&T buyout goes through and AT&T pushes everyone off the AWS freqs.  What about the Galaxy S 2?

    • TMOTECH

      The AWS FREQS will not be going away anytime soon. I have witnessed ATT construction going on at sites and talked to their Technicians and they are using 600-865 MHZ antenna for their LTE build out. They will be using the 700 and 850 MHZ bands for LTE. Not AWS. At least not in my neck of the woods. Central Florida. 

      • Vim

        If the deal falls through AT&T will have to give up its own 1700 MHz holdings to T-Mobile as part of the severance package.  There is thus no point in AT&T investing in the development of that band until the dust settles on the deal. Nevertheless AT&T has told the Feds that it plans to utilize T-Mobile’s 1700 MHz holdings (along with its own) to increase the LTE network capacity it has available to reduce congestion as 4G traffic grows. 

  • Anonymous

    Nice review. Btw, it’s “tactile” buttons (not “tactical”).

    • http://tmonews.com David

      Duh!!! I thought I proofed this well too!

  • Alexroth95

    im in boca, hmu!

  • Jrvybezz

    can any body tell me where i can find a good case/holster for this bad boy ?

    • http://www.facebook.com/titadab05 Ali Othman

      A T-Mobile store?

    • TmoRep

      its practically indistructible if you get the Zagg screen/back protector and the D3O case. thats what i have and now i can put the phone in the same pocket as my keys wthout having to worry about scratches.

  • Vim

    Very nice review! I consider 4″ optimal for WVGA, but I’m personally willing to move up to 4.3″ for qHD or 4.6″ for 720P.  I’m addicted to the web and I’m up for anything that makes web-viewing less painful on a smartphone.  A tablet is just too big and too fragile for me to carry around everywhere.  That said, a 4.5″ screen that’s only WVGA is a bit of a waste in my eyes.  If it’s going to be that big, then it should have more pixels.  So for me the choice is between the Amaze and the Gal Nex, assuming T-Mo does get the Gal Nex in the near future.  

  • Sanman202

    Good detailed review and glad to see that you like the phone and didn’t tear it up even with the mention that you use an Iphone. Android is stepping the game up and pretty soon it will be a world class operating system. I think it will overtake Apple and I think Apple knows they have a big fight on their hands. Back in 2007 they were at the top of the hill but Google is climbing.  I already see the difference from Eclair on the Galaxy Vibrant to now Gingerbread on the GS2. The GS2 is a step up if you haven’t already tried it. The phone processes so fast and opening apps is a breeze. The web browsing is amazing on the phone. I have a netbook and probably wont use it that much anymore as the screen sizes are increasing on the phones. 

  • http://twitter.com/dougsylvia Doug Sylvia

    so what’s the story with wifi calling?  I upgraded from my BB 9700 on the 12th when this phone came out and they told me it had wifi calling.  When I got home I realized it didn’t, I called tmobile and they said the update would be sunday oct 16th, when the 16th came with no update I called again and they said they had no idea when the update would come.  I have basically no service at my house with out wifi calling and not knowing when it’s going to be available is driving me nuts.  I absolutely love everything else about this phone, but if wifi calling isn’t coming soon or at least with an official date, I might have to return the phone next week before my 14 days is up to avoid getting stuck with a phone that doesn’t work at my house.  I’m tempted to just move to att (which has full service at my house) and get an iPhone 4s.  only downside is that my tmobile phone is completely paid for for me and I would have to pay the $90 a month for att

    • TmoRep

      i also have the gs2 but wifi calling will be available on the 2nd of november if im not mistaken. youll need a new sim card for wifi calling if the metallic side of your sim doesnt have “9177″ written on it.

    • Cubzfan1968

      The fix is coming on 11/13

  • nerdlust

    Great review! Its between this and the amaze. With a big screen I think I can give up the perfect keyboard of the cliq2. I got to have flash,4g, sd card.

  • Olsonac07

    So wait…you typically use an iPhone? What service are you using?

    • Tortionist

      His is unlocked and he uses it on T-mobile.

  • Sohail

    NNice new model TSX!! i got one too

  • C3zar

    will you be making a review for the Amaze?

  • Davenycept

    Still have my vibrant..actually still works great but I have to get my hands on this..I’ve read the reviews closely to make sure I want it because of the processer..but its mine I want it!!!

  • Davenycept

    I still have one question if someone can help me on..my gf is an htc fan but lines the fact on the galaxy s devices you can dave internet videos (not youtube videos) to the phones internal storage…does anyone know if that can be done on the amaze too. Please let me know here on email me at davenycept@gmail.com thanks

  • Anonymous

    Ok let me give my mini review of this phone after a good week of owning it. First of all I love this phone. But let me start with the

    Cons: minimal lag here and there when swiping the home screen but nothing major like the sensation, not exynos( S3 is good) but no exynos, resolution could be better, no led notification.

    And now the

    Pros: LIGHTINING FAST Internet browser!!!!!!!! I mean honestly it is ridiculous how fast this phone performs when it comes to Internet both on wifi and cellular data, very light for its size, thing, overall good build quality, the super AMOLED plus display is beautiful, the snapdragon S3 processor is quite good ( not exynos though), excellent call quality, very good battery life, unlocked bootloader, 16 gig of memory.

    • Anonymous

      I gotta agree completely.  

      • Anonymous

        And I forgot one more con, the freaking bloatware that preloaded. Other than that very nice phone, plus root has been achieved so it won’t be too long until we see nice ROMs for this cool phone.

        • Anonymous

          The bloatware is more of a carrier con but yeah its ridiculous how much is on the phone.

        • Anonymous

          They really get overboard with the bloatware. My Sensation has 4 apps from HTC and T-Mobile that have Application recommendations… LIke seriously, couldn’t I just go on the Market and look at “Top Paid”, and “Top Free”… why do I need HTC and T-mobile to make suggestions? And some of those apps are running in the background no matter what at all times, sucking up resources.

  • Davenycept

    Ok great barondebxl..how about multitasking and scrollingwhile in flash heavy sites?

    • Anonymous

      Everything is smooth, with 1GB of RAM multitasking is flawless honestly. Flash on ANY site loads fast as hell, plus you can scroll or pinch to zoom while a video it’s playing and the video won’t stop. My friend as a rooted sensation 4g with his CPU over locked to 1.5 GHz just like the SGSII, his rom is very fast, still it can’t mess with the galaxy s 2 in any benchmark nor performance or web browsing. I know a lotta people wish that this phone had exynos, actually everybody wish that including myself, but this phone performs very well. If you own it just compare it to anyone with a high end phone and you’ll c what I’m saying. It blows anything that it’s not a Galaxy SII out of the water period.

      • Rider

        That makes no sense the hardware is nearly identical how could his not be equal to your benchmarks?

        • Anonymous

          Actually it makes a lot of sense. 3.0 that it is. The galaxy s 2 has more ram, touchwiz is less of a CPU hog than sense, the screen resolution is higher on the sensation therefore has to push more pixels in graphic benchmarks. it’s all about optimization. They may have the same hardware but the software is what matters in this case so yeah it does make sense.

        • Anonymous

          But you said your friends Sensation was rooted. Did he not remove the Sense 3.0 from the phone? When I finally get my hands on a PC so I can root my Sensation, Sense is the first f’n thing to go.

          If he did remove Sense, the samsung being faster would still make sense because the Sensation has less memory, and therefore shouldn’t be able to multi-task as well.

        • Anonymous

          No he didn’t remove sense, he is using the Android Revolution HD ROM which is like the stock ROM but faster and without the bloatware. You have a sensation? You need to root it cause stock that phone sucks. There are many ROMs to choose from, however I strongly recommend android revolution had 3.6.2 it’s fast, it’s stable and the battery life is GREATLY improved.

  • Info

    Mr. Tinyhands would rather take his iPhone into Plato’s Closet.

  • Henryjahmon

    I get great 4g speeds with my GalaxyS4g. I cant wait until I get my hands on this bad boy.

  • Yuya Ong

    Just got this and I love it! Best phone Ive ever owned!

  • Mark

    David, are you sure the tethering works out of the box or did you have the $15 plan for that. Cuz my gs2 and a lot others have proven that it doesn’t work. Care to elaborate on how you enabled it? Tia.

    • Anonymous

      It should work out of the box. The only time you have to pay the $15 is if you use it so much that it triggers T-mobiles system to sent out a fee request. I use it all the time on my Sensation, but never long enough to be a problem, only in extreme situations. I have yet to get a notification about it. But thats HTC, not Samsung, so im not sure in this case.

      I do find it a little ridiculous that you have to pay for a feature built into the phone. You should only have to pay, or deal with the throttling when you exceed data, not for using something built in… But I guess that’s why corporations make billions and I make 10s of thousands.. lol

  • Tortionist

    Great review David, I enjoyed it thoroughly. The SGSII is a beast. It’s a great phone, like you, I have small hands and had to eventually sell it. I got the Samsung Galaxy S 4G, also a great phone, not as great as the SGSII, but the size is right with a 4″ screen. It’s perfect. All in all, I agree totally with your review on this phone. If it were 4 inch I would have kept it, especially if it had the Exynos processor. 

  • Anonymous

    I wear baggy pants and have medium to large hands so screens this big are perfect for me. 

    • Mastrorj

      i bought a Casemate case for this phone. Maybe one of the best cases ive ever owned for a smart phone. Adds some size to it but its worth the protection and still easily fits in the pocket.

  • Anonymous

    Amazing review! Great job and thanks for taking your time with the phone and addressing the concerns of your readers Your review has sealed a purchase as I will now buy this phone for my wife.

    It is refreshing to see an honest and thourough review.

    Thanks again.

  • Anonymous

    Amazing review! Great job and thanks for taking your time with the phone and addressing the concerns of your readers Your review has sealed a purchase as I will now buy this phone for my wife.

    It is refreshing to see an honest and thourough review.

    Thanks again.

  • Fgh

    You forgot to mention the vertical line problems in the LED screen and the fact that you can no longer use hotspot tethering and the phones data at the same time. Also, those quadrant scores will be back down to <2500 in less than a week. Mine had over 3700 to begin with then aftet a few days could never get that again. Samsung quality fail.

    • HTC Pyramid

      Thanks for confirming. Yep, this phone is a no-go for me. I have to be able to use Hot Spot and my phone data simultaneously. I really wanted this phone too. Maybe I should just buy it and and pay someone to root it to get that feature.

    • Anonymous

      Seriously? No Tethering while using phone data? Thats sad. Man no one can ever get it all right… there’s always a problem!

  • Anonymous

    I love my GS2 whole heartedly.  Its got no bugs, its lightning fast, no lock-ups, and the screen is as amazing as expected.  This phone is beyond its time.  WiFi Direct, NFC, and 42Mbps are features that not everyone has the option of enjoying today but this time next year these things will be commonplace and the GS2 will be ready for it.  

    Even without all that stuff listed in Ice Cream Sandwich, I am happily content with the phone and whatever Samsung decides to put inside of the Touch Wiz 5 update will be simply amazing.  Especially with CyanogenMod, Steve Kondik himself working with Samsung.

    • Anonymous

      I hope their re-design doesn’t cause more lag. I hate all carrier skins, but at least Touch Wiz is less intrusive than others. At the same time, the striking resemblence to iOS cannot be denied. They probably should re-design it.

  • Anonymous

    its laggy sometimes b/c they put the snapdragon processor instead of samsung exynox chip.. stupid t-mobile… i would prefer to have faster processor than 42 mbps.. seriously… stupid snapdragon processor

    • Bryant

      they had to…the samsung chip wont work with t-mobile’s 4g

  • galaxy_S2

    Is the video online yet?

  • DRO1D

    Fun fact: You can delete those unwanted factory favorites in the browser app through Kies Air. I had been trying to delete the T-Mobile and CNN favorites from the stock browser, and couldn’t do it through the phone, but it worked through Kies Air.

  • My2Cents

    Great review!  Those data speeds that you clocked are truly amazing! I agree with you on the size of the phone.  How big is too big?  For me I found this with the Galaxy 2.  They only reason I haven’t purchased one yet is because of the size of the phone.  I’m not sure if T-mobile was stuck with making the phone this size, because T-mobile’s version is larger than the international version even though they have the same screen size. If they just did it without having to then I just don’t understand why.

    I was hopeful for the GS2, because i felt even my Sensation is a little large and heavy for my taste.  But my goodness the GS2 is big.

    • Anonymous

      I hated the g2x, but i must say I think 4″ is the perfect size. Anything smaller is too small for my fat fingers, anything larger becomes uncomfortable. The long design of the sensation and other new HD devices coming out is awkward to use with 1 hand, and often leaves the joint in my thumb aching.

      As for T-mobile choosing the larger screens… I know a lot of people spent time on sites like this whining that T-Mobile hadn’t released any giant screens like the Evo… now they’re releasing them one after another. At the end of the day you can’t please everyone. There’s still a few people probably crying that this thing doesnt have a hardware keyboard.

      • My2Cents

        Totally agree with you on the sensation.  The power button on the top of the phone seems a little ergonomically ackward. 

        I don’t mind T-mobile going with the larger screens.  Because there is a huge base of customer’s who want this.  My problem is that the international version of the GS2 has the same screen size as T-mobiles version.  Yet the international version is smaller thinner and lighter than my smaller screened Sensation.  T-mobiles GS2 is wider and taller than my sensation, which makes it significantly bigger than the international GS2.

        My question is why?  is it the hspa+ 42 radio?  If it was the same size as the international version, I’d have this thing in my hands right now.  It’s just a little too big for me.  So I have to decide if I can live with it.

  • http://twitter.com/jewishdave jewishdave

    really? lag? i’ve read time and time again that the galaxy s2 is the first android phone without lag. if t-mobiles galaxy nexus has lag, i’m either done with android or done with t-mobile. i’m so sick of lag. it’s horrible.

    • Anonymous

      I’ll just say this LauncherPro is blisteringly fast and smooth on this thing.  The only reason there is mild hesitation while swiping the homescreen is because of Touch Wiz but its too mild to call it lag.

      Witness LauncherPro or some other high quality Launcher replacement and I guarantee you will be blown away at how responsive it is.

      • Mastrorj

        id have to respectfully(meaning im not here to start a fight here) disagree with the problem being touch wiz. From what i was told this processor even tough dual core, will only work  when its using high demanding graphics and or games. Thus making every day regular usage only using one of those cores. 

        Id agree with u saying maybe its too little to call it lag. Aaron from Phonedog called it lag, but maybe it might be easier or nicer to call it slight hesitations??

        Now Sprints version has the other processor running at 1.2 instead of 1.5, however again from what i was told was that this particular processor is running both cores at the same time. And ive had it a month now, no lag, no slight hesitations and i mean this when i say i put my phones through the ringer. 

        Wether im right or wrong isnt the point, but from these explanations it kinda makes sense and seems logical. 

        Launcher Pro is a WIN hands down. And yea ur right about its responsiveness works great!

        • Anonymous

          I can’t disagree with anything about the Exynos version cuz I only ran through it for a few minutes.  I really don’t know what to say other than the TW Launcher is the only thing that has had these hesitations in the swiping animation on my phone and when I use LP everything is perfect.

          Even N.O.V.A 2 HD runs smooth while outputting through HDMI.

        • Mastrorj

          hmmm maybe it could be that samsung configured touch wiz for the exynos better and didn’t optimize it for the tmo version yet. I’m sure once rooted it goes away

        • Anonymous

          Im rooted with SetCPU set at performance and its still noticeable.

        • Mastrorj

          really?hmmmm. crazy

        • lookitzjohnny

          cause you don’t have a custom kernel that supports the scheduler you set. your on a stock kernel.

      • Anonymous

        I’ve tried to like LauncherPro, but I really dislike the UI changes. I guess at the end of the day i’ll always long for Vanilla, but that’s just me. I know that when I put Launcher Pro on the Sensation the thing ran like crap… but then, the Sensation always runs like crap. Dealing with the G2x and now the Sensation, i’m really losing my taste for celllphones. I just want something that works as advertised, without crashing, reboots, and other quirks like the screen turning back on immediately after turning it off, and then having to hit the power 4 more times before it finally shuts off (sensation).

        • guest

          Try the gingerbread launcher in the market. It prety much gives the GSII a vanilla look and feel. No lag.

    • Anonymous

      The reviews I read about the Galaxy Nexus said that there were some hesitations when opening certain apps and such. I don’t think Android 4.0 removed much of the lag sadly. I love Android but its a shame they can’t seem to make something run smooth. i know it’s because they add way more than iOS to the interface, but at the cost of the lag I some times wonder if its even worth it.

  • Fixxmyhead

    been rocking mine for 2 days now and its amazing, best phone ive ever had and i love the screen size (dont know why people like typing on little screens it really bothered me on the mytouch 4g). battery life lasted me the whole day with moderate use almost 17 hours.speeds are awesome and im glad im not using that POS mytouch 4g. i would definitely recommend this phone 

    • Deon Davis

      Hey the mytouch 4g is not a POS. Especially if got it rooted with a custom rom!

  • Anonymous

    Looks like a Sexy beast. I would grab one if I weren’t waiting for the Nexus… and I loathe carrier skins, especially the iPhone knockoff that is Touch Wiz. As for the lag, there will always be some lag. Hell I still get lag on my computer, so how can I expect absolutely none on my cellphone… granted my computer is usually running much more intense programs… but still, expectations should be set accordingly. Even my iPad lags on a whole lot of things. Nothing is perfect.

  • Lovmykugl

    Will this phone be upgradable to Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 or not?  Not sure how Android phones work…Just seems weird to be making such a big deal out of this phone and the OS is already not the newest.  Also found it interesting that the Tmobile reviewer is used to using an iPhone.  Also startling the other article that Tmobile users may soon find themselves customers of MetroPCS and not ATT.  I wonder what happens to prepaid customers with a merger?  Tmobile is pushing prepaid so much but if those people aren’t under contract, Id think that ATT/MetroPCS or whomever can change the contract details.  Something to think about if people are buying new TMobile phones to use on prepaid

  • Lovmykugl

    Can someone explain the differences between Android and iOS for those who have never used a smartphone and don’t really even understand what operating systems are?  I guess there are plusses and minuses to both.  I have a Macbook so am leaning toward an iPhone but may wait until the next generation phone which hopefully would have an improved Siri and be on 4g.  Also what happens to Tmobiles network if they merge with ATT – I kept reading articles today that the iPhone couldn’t be on TMobile cuz its system doesnt support it.  I know TMobile is GSM like ATT but is it different also?  Will Tmobile phones work with ATT (or MetroPCS?(

    • My2Cents

      Hi There,

      I think whether you choose Iphone or Android really depends on what you want to use your phone for and how you want to interact with the phone.

      Android phones over time have imitated the hardware and form factor of the Iphone, so that’s less of a consideration than software, and the availability of applications and accessories.  What I really like about Android is it’s flexibility.  I love having the ability to customize the phone any way I like right from the start.  I use my phone for work, and the integration of my corporate calender, contacts and email has been really great since Google lincened exchange support.  I also have transferred all of my personal calender and contacts to Gmail and Google calendar.  So anytime I get a new phone, all I have to do is sign in with my Google account and everything updates to the new phone automatically.

      I can also easily communicate with any of my Google chat friends seamlessly through Android. Android also has a healthy amount of applications to choose from both free and pay, and if my phone couldn’t do a certain thing I wanted it to do, i’ve always been able to find an application that would make my phone do it.

      Now for Iphone.  I think one of the primary reasons to go with Iphone right off the bat is if you’re entrenched with Itunes.  Apple really did it right when they made the Iphone also work as an Ipod.  I have a cube mate next to me that has both and Android phone an Iphone right next to each other.  For him he was forced into Android, but he’s entrenched with Itunes so he can’t get away from his Iphone.

      Also I’ve found that Iphone always get’s the big applications that I want well before Android.  So if you want to be the first to get some of the really cool apps Iphone is for you.  Iphone also has significantly more choices of Apps right now than Android does.  However both platforms probably have everything you would ever need.

      The last thing is accessories.  The Iphone is also the
      undisputed king of accessories.  Because it’s the largest selling
      individual smart phone it makes sense for accessory makers to put focus on the
      Iphone over anything else.  Iphone’s have
      the most choices in cases, stereo docks, car integration, airplay stereo
      integration.  Basically if you want to
      take your phone well past phone calls, emails, and text messages and really
      want to use your phone as a fully integrated entertainment device, no other
      phone has as many options for this as the Iphone.

      So I would say make your choice based on which phone meets
      more of your needs.  If you choose
      android I would personally go with a high end android phone because honestly
      there are quite a few android offerings that I feel are not that great.  But high end android phones in my opinion
      match up well if not equally to the Iphone. 
      And if you go with Iphone.. Well just go out and get the 4S  why not get Apples latest and greatest.

      Lastly.  Network
      support.  AT&T and T-mobile use the
      same “2G” or GSM bands.  Every phone that
      is made by other companies runs on this band because there “3G” UMTS bands do
      not provide enough reliable coverage so 2G needs to back it up.  Of course 2G is a slower older
      technology.  However if you do buy and
      Iphone 4S it will work on T-mobile, just at the slower 2G speeds.  There are also a few Pentaband android phones
      out there.  Pentaband phones will work on  both T-mobile’s and AT&T’s 2G and 3G
      bands.  However most phones come “locked”
      so you have to unlock them for them to work on the other carriers network.   Samsung has been the major carrier using the
      Pentaband radio.  On T-mobile the Samsung
      Vibrant, and Galaxy 4G both had a pentaband radio.  I haven’t done any digging on the Galaxy 2
      yet but I wouldn’t be surprised if it also had a pentaband radio in it. 

       

      So sorry this was a bit lengthy but I hope it helps.

        

      • Lovmykugl

        Just wanted to thank you for your thoughtful response which is so rare on this site where people tend to snipe and bad mouth each other.  I have a Mac and my contacts etc are in my Mac (not my Gmail) so Id probably lean toward the iPhone .  The only way Id probably sign another contract….Otherwise Id probably get a lower end Android on a prepaid plan and from what you say, I might be disappointed with it performance. I don’t really understand the difference between operating systems or what they can or cannot do.  Honestly pretty much everyone I know has an iPhone – even people in other countries.  I think I only know 1 person with an Android; the rest have Blackberries for business.  Ive been pretty disappointed with Tmobiles service over the last year and a half.  I cannot even tell you all the bad interactions Ive had with support ranging from the front line reps to the so-called executive customer relations who pretend to work for the “Office of the President.” They’ve been just as useless and rude as the first line people.  Just recently I had a person contact me and want to talk to me after writing a letter to the CEO telling them why I will not be a Tmob customer for much longer.  She emailed me asking me to call her so we could discuss.  (Why she didn’t take the initiative to call me since she had my number and account information, I will never understand).  I then called her 2 days in a row and left messages, and also emailed her on both those days letting her know that  I tried to reach her again.  Still nothing.  It just goes to show that every complaint I had was justified.  

        Anyway , the confusion with Android for those of us new to smartphones or not as technologically advanced is that it seems there are so many versions out t here and they work differently on every phone…And if.when you have a problem, whom do you call?  I doubt Google supports it and yo probably have the same problem as with PCS where you’ll call your provider and they’ll say its not a hardware issue sothey cannot help you.  At least with Apple, Ive got someone to call to help me out and a store to go to if they need something in person.

        • My2Cents

          No worries at all.  Support is definitely an issue with Android phones.  What of the biggest issues is that most android devices have a customized manufacturer skin on top of the original OS.  So with almost every android device you have a uniquely different experience. 

          For me I like this, because I can pick and choose from which version I like the best.  But yes you do run into support issues, because it’s almost impossible for Google to support so many versions of the phone.  Plus you run into issues, where if your phone is too old, or has an older OS system version, you won’t be able to get certain apps on it.

          You certainly will have tons more support with the Iphone, since they only launch one device at a time, and each device will have millions upon millions of users.  I can tell you almost everyone in my family has an Iphone, and none of them have anything bad to say about them. 

        • Deeg

          Yeah almost everyone in my family – from 50 year olds to preteens have iPhones too and they all love them.  I have a friend in Australia who has the iPhone 3gs and he cannot stop telling me how much he loves it and  how he couldn’t imagine life without it…so despite all the haters, they must be doing something right.

      • ecd

        Very nice my2cents.  I was waiting for you to swing one way or the other, thinking iPhone.  But you remained totally unbiased, objective, and informative.  When you said FIRST that the iPhone will work  on Tmo….THEN you spoke about unlocking the phone to use on another network.  You have to unlock them (GSM for GSM / CDMA for CDMA (much harder cause you have to make sure your name is off…correct?)) BEFORE you can even use 2g, 3g, or hspa+, correct?  And then if it is only a 3g phone then they will get only EDGE, correct.  But if it is hspa+ and uses the same bands, then it will be fine.  And now with the possible merger, hope not, Tmo and ATT are using the same bands so Tmo can still sell phones…correct???  That was a question, not telling you…again you were awesome

        Now, McDave, when you said, if you want things to “just work” switch platforms…you on the other hand weren’t talking about iPhone, and NOT being objective.  Were you? 

        Cause that is the one thing I would add to my2cents.  If you want something finished and polished and not gonna come out with anything for awhile, get an iphone, if you want customization, change, and don’t mind things being put out in a test mode, developing mode, etc.. Android is for you.  Things are constantly being improved, you will get updates sooner, even Samsung has improved, and new phones at all ends of the spectrum are coming out.

        As for getting back to this review, what I see from Phone Dog, and many other reviews…I do believe that the Galaxy S2 IS the best phone out there for all the points made here and in those reviews and my trying it.  And the Amaze is very close as well as the iPhone 4s…and soon to be Nexus Prime.  While I have had 4 phones in the last 14 months, both nexus phones, I was excited, and when I heard it is not coming to Tmobile immed.  I was disappointed.  But I have several, not just one, people telling me that the Galaxy S2 is the better phone even between those 2.  Sure it will have ICS, but so will the Galaxy s2 in so many months.  it has a faster proocessor (Galaxy) at 1.5 even tho it doesn’t clock that fast, and a better camera   .    But more than any of those phones, I am AGAIN impressed with my2Cents and his reply.  Very kind I might add too.  Have a good day all…Go
        Cardinals

        • My2Cents

          oops sorry about that you’re right.  I meant that every phone made by AT&T and T-mobile run on the same 2G frequency.  I’m not sure about CDMA I only know about GSM network technology. 

          The problem with 3G is T-mobile uses this wonkie 1700mhz frequency for upload.  AT&T uses 1900mhz.  Most 3g/4g phones made by both carriers run on one or the other but not both. 

          However there are a few phone’s out there that are made that will run on both.  These phones must have a “pentaband” radio installed in it to achieve this.  Gosh I don’t know why all manufacturers are not just putting this radio in there phones.  They might sell more of them if they did.