The much awaited phone arrived last Friday and as is the norm, I let wife do the opening honors. Here are some of my observations after a week of using it.
1. The package (box) says the phone has ‘AMOLDED’ screen. It’s time Samsung got its act together and avoided such horrendously embarrassing errors…that too on such a hotly expected device!!
2. The package includes a neat enough leather pouch, but I’d sure look for a waist holster-type pouch. Croma…here I come! However, the package does not include a user manual – the PDF version of the user manual is indeed available for download in the Samsung website, but it seems strange that Samsung did not add it in the box. Eco-friendly initiative?
3. The first time you see the device (I haven’t seen it in real at all and I ordered it online, via Flipkart!), you are sure to let out a mildly audible gasp. It’s that big and sleek at the same time. Honestly, it is a bit too big and is more like a well-fed girlfriend/wife…it is quite a handful, I mean. But that’s precisely what I was looking for too, in this phone.
4. My idea behind buying this phone (as I had already explained earlier) was that I believed this may be the sweet-spot between a phone and a tablet. And this phone hits that sweet-spot beautifully. Reading in this phone is an absolute pleasure; I’d call this phone the content consumption champion! Gmail looks brilliant, Google Reader… even better. The browser is super snappy and it supports multiple windows like a champ too! I still haven’t found a decent enough way to bit.ly links to share, but the in-built share feature is adequate, I suppose.
I installed other browsers like SkyFire, Firefox or Dolphin…and seem to like Dolphin over the other two. I however need to check RAM usage and retain one that works best. Incidentally, Firefox is a 13+MB download, while the other two are much smaller – within 2-3 MB. I liked the tab management in Dolphin the best, compared to the side panel tab view in the other two.
5. The phone is s-u-p-e-r snappy. Almost non-existent lag while you are using it and this is valid for times when you seem to have many, many things open at the same time! Mighty impressive!
6. The wifi reception in the phone seems reasonably poor, though after I adjusted the placement of my wifi router at home (from a shelf-like enclosure to a central hanging spot), the bars in wifi remained minimal, but browsing was perfect. Given the number of people posing this question worriedly on the net, I suppose this feature is not all that robust, in this device. But it works and I won’t complain, particularly after my router-placement adjustment. However, could all those people who are complaining about wifi have placed their routers wrongly? Unlikely.
7. The first app that I installed in the device? Yes, of course…Angry Birds. The birds rock in the huge screen! Other apps installed – Twidroyd, default Android clients for Twitter and Facebook. All work flawlessly.
8. The 7 screen thingy seems like a stupendous overkill, but it may please the trigger-happy app downloader.
9. Video is gorgeous! Watching films in this phone is such a brilliantly immersive experience…I have already seen a couple of films in it and I love it! Music is equally good, but a bad design decision renders the phone’s speaker pointless…it is placed behind the phone, at the bottom, so when you keep the phone down on a table, the sound muffles to a bare minimum. Would I complain about it? Perhaps. Or, I will place it face down, or keep it on something else.
I love streaming random kiddie videos via YouTube for my daughter, provided it is on the home wifi – EDGE internet sucks pathetically in India anyway and 3G is prohibitively expensive beyond marketing hyped meager packages of 1GB and data below that. Incidentally, my wife’s Wave 2 (from Samsung again) is a super phone for video as well. In fact, I’m surprised how close the Wave 2 is, to this premium device. Wave 2 is almost half this device’s price and comes mighty close in terms of features and is also pretty sleek! Yes, Wave 2 does not have Android and runs Samsung’s own Bada OS. There’s no earth-shattering disadvantage of having a Bada OS phone except that you don’t get Angry Birds in the Samsung apps market. I had to find a cracked Symbian version of Angry Birds that runs when it feels like, on the Wave 2!
10. On-screen typing! This is something I was terribly worried about. This is my first full-touch phone and I’m pleased to inform you that on-screen typing on this touch phone is not as cumbersome as I imagined it to be. Of course, typing while I’m in a moving vehicle (no, I’m not driving…I’m being driven around), in India’s pothole-ridden roads may be next to impossible, but for all practical purposes (when you are stationary), typing is a breeze. Was this phone supposed to ship with swype or not? Every review said it was supposed to, but even after seeing the context menu in the typing screen, I couldn’t figure how to get swype to work. Then, I checked online and a helpful soul said that one needs to long-press the input screen…then you get the swype option! It’s a mystery why this wasn’t added in the contextual menu, which has something called ‘keyboard sweeping’ and that is not swype!
The other thing…select, copy and paste works beautifully. You need to get used to it, but once you do, there’s no going back!
11. The camera is decent, but not as good as a 8 megapixel camera is supposed to be. The flash is severely underpowered and pictures that look darker on the device seem much better on a PC screen. There are jokes about the pink in this camera’s photos, but trust me, they are not for normal folks like you and me. The camera in this phone is mighty functional, though the lack of a physical button to click may annoy/shock you initially.
12. I really appreciate the amount of effort that has gone into the ‘Settings’ option in the phone. It is exhaustive, including fabulous power management options. You’d need a lifetime and a lot of patience to go through all the settings, however – there’s just so much to play around with!
13. The Kies Air is a nifty touch. Kies is as bloated as iTunes (a software I despise) and Kies Air makes the actual software redundant. Just start Kies Air on the phone and use it via any browser by entering the IP address on your displayed on your phone screen. Works perfectly and is helpful for occasional PC-driven updates and tasks on the phone.
14. The all-important battery life. Yes, it depletes fast, but I don’t expect a device of this nature to last longer than a day. I charge in the night and till then the phone works pretty well. And to think I’m always on the net – across 2 twitter accounts, Gmail and Google Reader. That’s fairly decent battery life, in my opinion.
15. In terms of accessories, I would definitely need this killer USB to MicroUSB cable! Looking for a place to buy this in India.
And that’s about it! I love the phone and believe it perfectly satisfies every expectation that I had from it. I bought it to consume content…read stuff. For that, I can’t think of a better phone than the Samsung Galaxy S2. If you ask me, I’d call this phone the father of the mighty Jesus phone!