Product Type: Samsung mobile phones
Newest Review: ... I had this phone before I upgraded to get the Samsung S3 which I currently have now, my overall opinion of this phone was really goo... more
In A Galaxy Far, Far Away
Samsung Galaxy S2
Member Name: Ayesha-`
Samsung Galaxy S2
Advantages: Nice aesthetic design, excellent camera, good quality display
Disadvantages: Personally prefer not to have so many features imposed on me
My phone contract with Orange came to an end way back in April. At that time I wasn't really ready to sign up to a new contract as I didn't know exactly what I wanted in a phone. The HTC had been a lot of hassle for me and I certainly did not want to spend £30 odd on something I barely liked. My boyfriend, on the other hand, was in a hurry to get the iPhone and still had a few months left on his o2 contract, which came with this smartphone. I decided I could try this phone in the meantime and then decide whether I wanted to get a better phone or just get a SIM only deal and keep his old phone.
As much as possible, my boyfriend gave me this phone with all its original stuff. The phone itself is white with a silver lining around the front and silver lettering 'SAMSUNG'. Only one button sticks out on the front and that also has a silver lining. The screen area is quite wide but does not take up the whole length of the phone so it is not that big. On the back is the camera flash, with '8.0 MEGA', to indicate that this phone has an 8 megapixel camera, great! Again, 'SAMSUNG' is written at the bottom of the back cover and you can see a notch where you put your nail to lift away the battery/SIM cover. This comes away quite easily, which is a change for me. However, I have noticed on accidentally dropping the phone it perhaps comes away a bit too easily. The back is all white otherwise and on the top, you can see the headphone port. Buttons are along the side, with the on/off switch being on the right and the volume buttons along the left side. Perhaps I find this tricky because I keep accidentally changing the volume because of the way I naturally hold the phone.
The feel of the phone is very light and for small hands like mine, comfortable to handle. It does have a very plastic feel to it though, so does not feel like it is particularly high quality in terms of materials. In a way I'm glad it is not too heavy because I always overload my bag with stuff so the lighter the better for me.
Battery Power and Charger
The charger that came with this phone is in one piece. My previous HTC charger also worked well with this phone so I have been using this instead. The one-piece charger does not have the convenience of also being a USB cable and so to connect to the computer a separate cable is needed, and this is also supplied with the phone.
The battery life in this phone has always been pretty poor, and having installed some game applications that run in the background, it has only gotten worse. I tend to find that if I use it at all in a day I will need to charge it again by night. Charging takes me at least 3 hours, even when plugged directly into the wall (as opposed to being connected to a computer). When the battery gets to around 20% it seems to go down faster and faster and although unlike my old phone it will use every last bit of power, it takes a small percentage of charge just to be able to switch it back on, otherwise it will switch off again, even when plugged in. I have tried to use this phone as my alarm clock but have often woken to find that the battery died in the night and so the alarm never went off.
This phone uses an Android operating system. There are a few apps on it that I have never used and some I do not really even know how to use. You cannot uninstall any of the preinstalled stuff and this always annoys me. There are also links that look like apps but lead you to purchasing sites where you would have to buy the app to get what is advertised.
It is very easy to download and install apps from the Play Store, however, and there are plenty of freebies around. Some do take a lot of battery power, and I think my phone's battery weakened even more after I downloaded Words With Friends. Even when not in use it seems to use a lot of power, but I wanted the game.
I am pretty sure this is about the phone and not the network provider. The phone has a facility to set limits on access to data and to monitor your phone usage. You would need to double check your limits with the network provider first and then decide for yourself what limits you set. I have found this really useful as I'm terrified of going over on bills.
There's under a couple of Gigabytes of internal storage, of which I am hardly using much at all, and this is probably just all the preinstalled stuff. The memory card I have in the phone is a micro SD 8Gb, which is more than half full, but it has been quite sufficient for me. I do not really use the phone for any music or video content, but I guess that extra memory could be purchased for anyone wanting to do so. I have just a few extra apps, but I don't think these take up too much space either.
I have a little trouble scrolling through the contact list, because the phone is designed to make a call or start a text message by simply swiping left or right. I don't want this function (another I don't know how to get rid of) and I don't scroll in a straight line so have accidentally dialled a fair few people already! You can search for contacts by name, which is much easier than scrolling all the way through, and there is also the option of creating 'groups' and looking at 'favourites' which will have the people you talk to most listed.
So for me the crucial thing about a phone is still the ability to make calls. Skype has failed me miserably in recent years, so we are back to buying massive minutes bundles and spending ages on the phone instead.
The call quality on this phone is pretty good, and the speaker option is clear and not too loud. In fact I have used it by accident and not realised for a while that it was on, because it does not hurt my ears when too close to my head (unlike my old phone). The clarity is what really helps with the speaker, but it would be no good in very noisy environments.
The phone uses a new sense technology that detects when you move your head away from the phone and automatically unlocks the keypad. This might be useful if you are multitasking, looking something up to tell the person on the phone or going through an automated system and being told to press a number for a choice. I think it works by detecting if a certain part of the phone is uncovered, however I'm not really sure where if so. I really can't get the hang of this technology myself. I had it on my old phone and thought it was faulty because it kept unlocking whilst I was talking on the phone and dialling other people. However, I have found similar difficulties with this phone in spite of the fact my partner used it without problem for a while. I guess this must mean there is a knack to it. However, in my opinion a good phone design should not force me to have to learn a new skill just to use it and I am looking for a way to opt out. If you know, feel free to comment and improve my review!
Now that I have free unlimited texts I have started using them a lot more liberally. I also get picture messages with my package. I did discover a while into using the phone however, (my boyfriend had restored factory settings before giving it to me) that it was set to automatically delete my messages when I hit a certain limit. As it took me a while to discover this I was absolutely devastated to have lost many, many messages all of a sudden. When I sent or received a picture message, for some reason this cause the phone to delete all messages before it. I can't retrieve them and to me this meant something. I've become used to looking back through messages and have been unable to find some crucial information because of this as well. Always check the settings, I guess.
I have found this touch screen much more pleasant than my previous phone, in spite of the fact it is not much bigger. I send a lot of text messages and for someone with clumsy fingers this is probably one of my better experiences of typing. I still have some troubles and so I am not great at gaming on the phone. I have tried Minion Rush on this phone and although I have learn the different types of touches I must still be getting them wrong as the Minion often jumps when I want him to go left or moves left when I want him to roll down. This might not make a lot of sense without knowing the game but the point is that the screen seems to misinterpret my intended 'swipes' etc. Apart from games, it has not been too much of a problem for me, though.
Graphics and visual clarity
I do like this phone for graphic quality. The detail is very good and crisp and the colours are also very bold. When taking photographs they appear on the screen pretty clearly and you get a reasonable idea of how they will look on screen, particularly if lighting conditions were good.
I have almost replaced my lovely Samsung camera with my Samsung phone camera, which annoys me because I bought a camera for that function. However, the quality of photography on my phone is actually better, and the phone also takes really good pictures even in the dark. I don't have very steady hands and yet the pictures almost always come out well. The camera is a decent 8 megapixels, which is pretty reasonable and good enough for most things. I even use this camera for my design work.
The Internet is much faster than my old phone, but probably slow for today's standards. I think this is somewhat affected by the speed the browser can load the pages (as opposed to network signal as this is not really relevant here) I do find navigating this a bit fiddly, in spite of the fact I am happy with the touchscreen. I don't like the way the windows open, because it is impossible to tell how many are open and it also took me a while to work out how to close them. I think it could just do with being a bit more intuitive, but I guess I have gotten the hang of it.
This phone is pretty decent, and definitely better than my old phone. I have found it easier to use, although I have had to get used to new ways of doing things, as you might expect when switching brands. It is now very out of date and so will not appeal to most people. However, if like me you are looking to get hold of a decent second hand phone it is not a bad one to go for at the right price.
Summary: Pretty good for the price
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