My first hand impressions with the AT&T Samsung Galaxy S2.

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by BigBeast, Oct 2, 2011.

  1. BigBeast macrumors 6502a

    Mar 6, 2009
    Just a little background- I've had every iteration of the iPhone. Besides the 2G iPhone, I've picked up each new iPhone on release day. I love my iPhones and my many Macs however, I've recently felt intrigued by Android and figured I'd try it out- and with AT&T's 30 day return policy, I feel comfortable in trying my luck. SO- I picked up a SGSII today.

    What I like:

    1. Beautiful 4.3" screen
    - This is one of my main reasons for switching. The iPhone 4's screen is just too small. 4.3" is great! I'd maybe even like 4.5"...
    -The colors on the SGSII from the SAMOLED a incredible! They make the iPhone 4's colors look VERY weak.

    2. Application layout:
    -I think Android has better management in term of app organization. Let's face it, folders in iOs needs work.

    3. Haptic feedback.
    -I like the small vibrations when I've done something on the phone.

    4. Notifications
    -Truly uninterruptive notifications. iOS 5 NEEDS to fix this! Seriously- this is great.

    5. Weight
    - Even with the bigger screen and footprint, and WITH a case, it's STILL lighter than the iP4.


    1. Lower resolution
    -While the screen may have beautiful colors, it is immediately noticeable that it's resolution isn't near the iP4. On the iP4, the engadget app's thumbnails looks like true pictures. On the SGS2, they look like old bitmaps.

    -NO ITUNES! iTunes is an incredible software suite that complements the phone perfectly. The Android community tries but fails miserably to do this. Google cal and contacts continue to sync incorrectly and sporadically, and trying to sync music requires the use of usually two or more apps that still can't do what iTunes does.

    3. Security- the lack thereof.
    -I was surprised when I downloaded an app and put restrictions on its syncing and it continued to sync in the background. In the settings pane to control syncing properties in Android, it states that although you can restrict applications from syncing, some apps can still do it in the background. I guess one of the apps I did can- and I HATE that.
    -Apple allows the user FULL control ofver their apps and the services the user wants to allow or withhold. Don't want an app to be able to obtain internet access? You can turn that off. No location data? That too. On Android? Your option is to ROOT your phone which can possibly brick your device costing you $800 in the process ($200 from upgrading and $600 to buy a replacement) and voiding your warranty.

    4. Lack of UI slickness
    - Apple has created small touches to iOS that create a more natural feeling.

    5. Lack of simplicity
    - Android isn't as easy to operate. Going through different settings and apps and screens makes for an awkward browsing experience.

    I'm sure there'll be more things I like and dislike as it's only been about 11 hours since I've had this phone. Keep this in mind tho- I've been around computer for the last 15 years. I'm no slouch when it comes to tech and I'm the type of guy people come to when they need things fixed. I'm not a programmer or hacker but I know more about computers than the average Joe. With that said, using Android for a mere 11 hours harkens me back to when I had a Palm Treo with Windows Mobile on top. Nothing seemed to work how I wanted it to and I wasn't satisfied. The DAY I picked up my first iPhone- I KNEW that things were going to change. Apple has truly made a product to beat- and envy. If they can continue to progress- fixing things that need to be fixed (notifications, screen size (IMO), etc.) and continue strengthening current things that work (iTunes, UI, etc.). They'll continue to stay on top.

    I can't wait until Tuesday's keynote to see where Apple is headed. After 15 months- they better have come up with something GREAT! I'll have to take back my SGS2 sometime within the next 29 days- but I'll definitely try to put it through the gauntlet within that time. Guess I'll also have to see what Google announces on the 11th though- maybe the Nexus Prime can do what the SGS2 can't... Maybe not. :apple:
  2. ctbear, Oct 2, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 3, 2011

    ctbear macrumors 6502a

    Dec 6, 2010
    I would say the lack of iTunes like syncing is actually an advantage. You don't "sync" music, you just copy the music files to the storage. Simple as that.
    Calendar and contact syncing is done over-the-air through your Google account. No "syncing" and setup required.
    But other than that I agree with you.
  3. BigBeast thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 6, 2009
    1. Yes Google does do it over the air- but THAT's syncing- just wirelessly. Trust me- when the Mac contacts app continues to notify you that Google wants to change the info on your computer when you've made NO changes in your information, you'll be scratching your head saying- wtf??

    2. Actually, it's not as simple as copying over music- since iTunes can keeps cover art, playlists, smart lists, and all other perks organized and easy to navigate with zero hassle. Android still can't seem to get this right.
  4. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006
    For syncing I will suggest you use double twist. It works great and will handle keeping everything up and running just fine. It pulls your iTunes playlist and will sync the ones you want. It is not two way so if you make changes on your phone's playlist it will not be imported back into iTunes double twist playlist will be updated but it will not sync it back to iTunes as Apple is blocking that. Also you can not play anything DRM but works good enough.

    As for contacts I have always had mine stored and sync with Google from first my blackberry and iPod touch. With that in place it sync up really well with my Atrix since it was pulling from Google and sycing back with that.
    It truly depends on how much of your stuff is stored in the Google system. Android plays really well with Google.

    I might suggest you get a Google voice number and use that for your voice mail. It blows Apple VVM out of the the water in how well it works. The putting the voicemails into text is really pretty nice for getting a rough idea on what the message is.
    I am going to point out rooting your phone does not void your warranty. The only way you could void your warranty is to unlock your boot loader but rooting will not do that so it is good. The warranty will be just fine.

    This has more to do with that the UI is a massive change from what you are used to. It is not that it is not slick but just different. Once you get over the change it is just fine.
    Case and point is take people who go from using Windows to OSX. They have a learning curve and to a lot of people at first they hate it as everything is different. Once they get over the learning curve they are just fine.
    There are several different launchers you can check out. ADW is pretty popular.

    Android has a steeper learning curve than iOS but at the same time you have a lot more options in how you want to customize your settings. iOS assumes and treats you like you are an idiot so you have very few options and settings you can change. Android you have a lot you can adjust and you can customize the UI pretty heavily.

    You only have given it a 11 hours which no matter how big of a tech geek you are that is just not enough time to get over the learning curve and adjusting to it. Once you get used to it and getting things set up chances are you will like it.
  5. ctbear macrumors 6502a

    Dec 6, 2010
    1. That's why I put "syncing" in quotes :) I don't use the Contacts app on my Mac, so can't really comment on that. Maybe some incompatibilities between Google and Apple's software?

    2. I never have issues with the songs' tags, and they come from my iTunes library too. I know there are some software to let you sync iTunes playlist if you wish to, and you probably wanna switch to another music player because the default one is pretty bad.
  6. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006
    my guess is it could be the part when your phone was synced in things got marked as changed so it just needs to let it update and it should be ok.
  7. 1080p macrumors 68030


    Mar 17, 2010
    Planet Earth
    I had the SGS2 import. I only lasted 3 weeks. Then I sold it and went back to an iPhone.
  8. BigBeast thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 6, 2009
    1. Double Twist is the best app to do this- but I've already encountered a few problems with botched playlists, absent syncing, and hanging issues.

    2. Sorry if I possibly posted incorrect info on rooting voiding the warranty- you may possibly get away with it if you can reflash cleanly- if you can't reflash for some reason- yes, you can void your warranty- especially if you brick your phone from rooting.

    3. I had my original iPhone for less than an hour and could pretty much do everything easily on it. After 11 hours, I'm still trying to get Google and iCal to talk through CalDav, my contacts to sync properly, and to stop apps from using tools I don't want them to. The learning curve is fine- I can navigate pretty well. But when I need to root my phone to control the processes my apps can and can't call, you aren't talking about a learning curve...
  9. Ajones330 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 9, 2008
    SEC Country
  10. BigBeast thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 6, 2009
    No- that's not it. I went to a fresh install on my SGS2. There was no contact information on the phone and none on Google's server since I hadn't used gmail to sync (Apple did it just fine). So all that was needed was a forward push of all data to Google and the SGS2. What happened was somehow, Google wanted to change info from their end end to make changes in my contacts app on my Mac.
  11. iPadThai macrumors 6502a

    Apr 25, 2010
    every single android phone I've even picked up and played around with has some kind of stuttering, issue with lag, or just not up to par with an iPhone - and that's only compared to just an iPhone 3GS.

    It seems that android devices are just like PC's - you need more cpu horsepower just so that the user experience doesn't choke. It's not that bad on a nexus S but even on that device, there is still noticeable 'stutter' compared to even a 3GS.

    The only device run by Windows 7 has no lag or stutter just like the iPhone.
  12. marksman macrumors 603


    Jun 4, 2007
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_4 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8K2 Safari/6533.18.5)

    Worse resolution on a much bigger screen does not appeal to me at all. That is a double ding on display quality.
  13. applegirl81 macrumors member

    Jun 27, 2011
    I completely agree with you. The gs2 is a very very strong phone. I have used it on the at&t network and sprint's also and I love the phone! Maybe after tuesday and NO new iphone is announced people will open their eyes and start thinking for them selves instead of going with the trend all the time. Apple is slowly falling and everyone knows it!! If they weren't they wouldn't be suing everyone that is their competition! All i can say is they better have a new phone tuesday or a lot of people will go else where especially since 4G is getting stronger on a daily basis.
  14. vitzr macrumors 68030


    Jul 28, 2011
    I must be the exception, since I have enjoyed BOTH my iPhones & Android phones concurrently since each was released.

    I buy new ones at each release date and have had lots of fun with them.

    Neither are perfect, to which I say "so what". Nothing Is.

    I'm legally prevented from revealing the name of my latest Android. It seems that Apples eager to launch another law suit against any smartphone that works.
  15. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006

    Rooting never has voiding the warranty. If you brick your phone you take it back for warranty. No fuse or EEPROM is changed simple as that. So again do not panic thinking it violates the warranty.

    It is a lot like jail breaking your phone which does not violated your warranty.
  16. something3153 macrumors 6502

    May 20, 2011
    See, this is fascinating to me - I can make my 3Gs stutter quite easily.
  17. TM WAZZA macrumors 68000

    Sep 18, 2010
    Hamilton, New Zealand
    I lasted 2 weeks :D
  18. Zeonmx macrumors member

    Mar 18, 2011
  19. vitzr macrumors 68030


    Jul 28, 2011
    I enjoy the humor on this forum. The sarcasm is also quite entertaining.

    Those who "get it" know what I'm talking about.

    Those who don't, may never. They'll live on in sheer bliss.

    Or... :)
  20. iPadThai macrumors 6502a

    Apr 25, 2010
    I'm glad you like your device - just be aware of the screen burn in issues with all of these amoled screens including the samoled screens.

    I'm happy to stick with apple quality.
  21. Zeonmx macrumors member

    Mar 18, 2011
    Quality of both Samsung and Apple are similar, since Apple uses Samsung's parts for their iphone production.
  22. Chief Oddball macrumors regular

    Jun 22, 2009
    Our local AT&T stores sold out of the SGS2 in a flat minute today, but I got to play around with a demo unit for an extended amount of time. Actually, I was quite impressed with the phone. I like the larger screen and the pure black of the SuperAMOLED tech. But the resolution is not quite as good as the iPhone 4; although it is subtle, some aliasing is visible on smaller text.

    The UI seemed a lot more fluid than any Android device I've used before. The wealth of options everywhere was staggering coming from my three years' experience with iOS devices, but as an old-school PC tweaker I enjoyed the idea that I had all of them at my disposal. I'm just not sure I really need that kind of control (and therefore that kind of hassle) on my phone, which by and large I just want to work properly and then get out of my way when I'm done with it.

    It wasn't all roses, though. I particularly disliked Android's version of inertial scrolling. Seemed to start slow, then suddenly start flying and took forever to wind down, such that I'd have to stop it again with my finger. Coming from iOS it was annoying, but I'd probably get used to it.

    But I could not for the life of me get past the keyboard. I tried keying input into several different apps, including the memo pad where I attempted to write several full paragraphs. The keyboard just could not keep up with me, dropping every fourth or fifth character. Major showstopper for me, as I like to write quite a bit on my phone -- blog posts, notes, lists, emails, and so forth. I wonder if anyone else has experienced this, and if there is an easy solution? It was really the only significant problem I had with the phone, but it was a major one.

    After playing with the SGS2 I went over and picked up the iPhone 4 demo unit. This is a 16-month old device, but IMO it still looks and feels like a world-class machine and the display resolution is still out of this world. As a current 3GS owner who never got an iP4, I'm going to have a hard time resisting whatever Apple announces this week.

    Anyway, my feeling is that anyone who's seriously considering the SGS2 as an alternative to the iPhone 4S/whatever would be remiss if they didn't at least wait until more news of the Nexus Prime emerged, for comparison purposes.
  23. iPadThai macrumors 6502a

    Apr 25, 2010

    Samsung Galaxy SII SAMOLED display burn in - OLED screen persistence, retention S2

    It is well known that the Samsung Galaxy S suffered screen burn-in on its AMOLED (Super Active-Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode) display. The most prominent area to suffer burn-in (or image retention) is the status bar. Early models with older firmware (e.g. Android 2.1) used a grey or white status bar, causing icons such as the clock and battery symbols to be clearly burnt in (and becomes very evident when the phone is showing a full-screen solid colour such as a grey background).

    The Samsung Galaxy S II with its new Super-AMOLED display, released in early 2011, is yet to yield any reports on screen burn (as of August 2011) - but then again, it has been less than six months since its release. The Galaxy S has been around for about one year, and thus has had more opportunities for burn-in to occur.

    The SGS2 runs Android 2.3, and by design, has dark menu bars and a black status bar. The darkness probably originated from the need to reduce power consumption on the Samsung/Google Nexus S, which also features an AMOLED display.

    Ways to prevent / reduce screen burn-in

    You can mitigate the possibilities for screen burn in by adhering to these simple rules:

    Always try to set the display as dark as practical. Running the display at full brightness will aggrevate the potential for burn in. Organic LEDs, especially the blue ones, tend to reduce in brightness rapidly as display intensity is increased.
    Disable the auto-brightness. Quite often, an AMOLED display set to low brightness is more than bright enough for nearly all indoor environments, and there is little or no need to increase the brightness. When outdoors, you can easily increase the brightness on the SGS2 by holding and sliding on the status bar (which acts as a hidden display brightness slider). Just remember to slide it back to dim when you no longer need the added brightness.
    Set a shorter display time-out. A 30 second or 1 minute timeout is very effective at reducing the time the screen is 'on' when the phone is idle. Only set a longer time-out (such as 5 minutes) when you really need it, although such occasions should be rare.
    Use dark wallpapers. A solid black wallpaper is even more effective. The other upside to having dark wallpapers is that it saves battery power. Organic LED displays don't use a constant backlight (such as with LCDs), and will actually consume less energy when showing a dark image. If you must use a non-black or other artistic/photographic wallpaper, change them every once in a while so the same image isn't constantly being displayed.
    Try not to show static content. This applies especially to the home screens. Change or re-arrange your icons and widgets so nothing is ever constantly in the same place more more than a few weeks at a time.
    Try not to expose the screen to strong sunlight. Organic LEDs will break down and degrade rapidly when exposed to ultraviolet light. Fortunately, the glass covering on the phone stops most of the UV from direct sunlight, but the heat and light can still cause some degredation.
    Occasionally change the way icons appear on the status bar. This can be as simple as changing the clock format from 12-hour (AM/PM) to 24-hour. When in 12-hour format, the AM/PM symbols don't change much and pose a real risk to burn-in (particularly the 'A'). By switching to 24-hour format, the AM/PM symbols are not shown, and the digits of the clock actually get shifted to the right to take up the space originally occupied by the AM/PM. This has the side effect of shifting other icons that constantly show, such as the battery status. If you do this every month or so, it can be an effective way to prevent burn-in on the status bar area.
    Install the Screen Filter app. There is an application by that name on the Google Android App Market. Screen Filter allows you to further dim the screen below the minimum available setting via the normal means. It will also help to further reduce power consumption on (S)AMOLED screens. Dimming the screen can make it easier on your eyes when using the Galaxy S / SII at night, because even the normal minimum settings can still be blindingly bright. It can even dim the screen until it's completely black if you want, but they say if that happens accidentally, the app will need to be uninstalled (e.g. via Kies) to restore the brightness.
    Diagnosing screen burn or image persistence

    You can activate the diagnostics on the Galaxy S2 by keying in *#0*# into the dialler keypad. A menu will appear, and there are buttons to fill the entire display with red, green or blue. With a solid colour being displayed, you should be able to discern whether screen burn has taken place or not.

    You can also create an image on your PC with a dark or solid grey colour. The image dimensions should be 480 x 800 pixels. Save it as a GIF or PNG and copy it to your phone, and display it using the gallery app. Using the same technique, you can create a solid black wallpaper to use on your home screen and/or lock screens.

    Temporary image persistence

    It has been noted that after displaying white text and certain icons for 30 seconds to a minute, then switching to a different image or menu, a very faint shadow imprint of the previous text/icons can be seen. This seems to be normal and the persistence will gradually go away after 20 to 30 seconds. It can be unsettling at first, but reassuring once the imprint dissapears.

    SAMOLED display technology still in its infancy?

    Commercially available organic LED displays have only been around for about half a decade, and high-resolution OLED smartphone displays for only a small number of years. Unlike LCD technology, which has had more than 20 years of perfection, organic LED displays still have a long way to go. The fact that they use 'organic' dyes and semiconducting materials means they have a limited lifespan. No one really knows just how long these displays will last. On the other hand, LCD displays manufactured 20 years ago are still going strong.

    What can you do about it?

    Unfortunately, not very much, apart from the points listed above. LED displays have a lifetime that specifies the time to half brightness (similar to the half-life of radioactivity). The light output will gradully become dimmer the more the display is used. So, things such as the clock and battery symbol will cause the areas of the screen they occupy to reduce in intensity, thereby leaving a sort of a darkened 'imprint' when the screen is showing a solid colour when the said icons are not displayed. Hopefully, the time to half brightness will be much longer than the useful lifespan of the phone itself. This may not please some purists and those who like to hold onto a handset for a long time, but is an unavoidable fact of this new display technology.

    Unlike LCDs, OLED burn-in cannot be 'washed out' by displaying a complete white screen for an hour or two. A white image on an LCD causes the crystals to relax, thereby alliviating the problem of image retention when showing constant items such as desktop icons or status / task bars. But on an OLED screen, a white picture will cause more wear and degredation of the light emitting diodes.


    Here's one of MANY threads about screen burn in issues. Just thought everyone who's raving about amoled or s-amoled screens should be aware of. Typical Samsung response is: "we don't give a f...".

  24. lilo777 macrumors 603

    Nov 25, 2009
    While there might be a theoretical issue with the burn in, you will not find much complaints (if at all) about it on Samsung Galaxy forums. As an owner of the original Samsung Galaxy S (from the date one here in U.S.) I can tell that I do not have any issues with my phone.
  25. Zeonmx macrumors member

    Mar 18, 2011
    Irrelevant. Small minority problems like this are also noticeable on other smart phones, including iphone. Remember that infamous iphone backplate overheating that cause backplate to melt and leave a strange color?

    Doesn't change the fact that SGS2 is still one of the best smarphone in the market.

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