A Phone That Is Almost a Tablet – The Samsung Galaxy S II

November 24, 2011

11:00 am

A few weeks ago, Samsung gave me a Galaxy S II SGH-T989 phone from T-Mobile to test out. I have been an Android fan for a while.  My previous phone was a Google Nexus One (made by HTC), which I liked except that the space for apps is limited.

Here are my first impressions of the Samsung Galaxy S II:

Screen
The screen is a 4.52” Super AMOLED™ Plus Screen, and even if I did not know what this meant, it is really attractive. While making a call, the numbers are big and bright – very easy to see – and I love watching videos on it, as it gives you a nice screen view.

Camera
The camera is a 8MP Camera with an additional 2MP front-facing camera for video chats. I can also take 1080p HD video, which is very useful for me.  I usually carry a lot of cameras, but, of late, I have been carrying only this phone, leaving my digital and video cameras at home. The picture below was taken with my  Samsung Galaxy S II.

Here is an example of a video using the Samsung Galaxy S II.

Colors on my Samsung Galaxy S 2

Address book and email
I love the way the Samsung Galaxy S II address book integrated across all my contacts, including social networks.  It also counts interactions on email or on the phone. Of course, that feature helped me come this painful realization that I make more work-related calls than calls to my house. The device syncs very well with work exchange server Exchange ActiveSync®, and it also has the ability to look up my global address book.<

Voice Talk powered by Vlingo
While driving, I can set the Voice Talk app to driving mode so it does some cool things, like letting me know a text has arrived or letting me speak to it to make a call, send a text or a memo, or even navigate. Initial test results are surprising, as it even understands my “southern” accent.

Calendar
The Samsung Galaxy S II Calendar syncs not only with Exchange and Gmail calendars, but also Facebook events. I find this sync feature usfeul for seeing the birthdays of Facebook friends.

Screenshots
The Android OS, as far as I know, does not offer this option.  With the Galaxy S II, you can take a screenshot by pressing the home button and the power button simultaneously. This adds the screenshot of the screen to the photo Gallery.

Moving from the Google Nexus One to Samsung Galaxy S II was pretty seamless. I just logged out of the Nexus One and logged in to the Samsung Galaxy S II and all my settings were carried over. Even iPhone users admired the screen and size of the Samsung Galaxy S II.  With the Google+ app on the phone, my media is now seamlessly integrated to my Google+ account and Picasa.

Special features:

  • NFC: The Samsung Galaxy S II phone has the Near Field Communication feature, and I plan to use it when it becomes prevalent where I shop.
  • HDMI Capable: Currently there are times I have had to use a laptop to connect to my wall-mounted Sony TV. The Samsung Galaxy S II with a HDMI adapter can be connected to the TV.
  • Telenav Navigation System: I love the Google navigation system but need a change from the droning voice (not the fault of the voice provider).  The Samsung Galaxy S II has an alternative the Telenav Navigation system with turn-by-turn guidance. I find the voice a relief!
  • AllShare™: This feature lets you wirelessly stream media to Smart TV, PC and other DLNA Certified® devices. I could detect my DirectTV DVR but have still to figure out how to make it work.

In closing, I love this phone – except for these two issues:

  • T-Mobile bloatware: Compared to the clean Android system that I had in my Google Nexus One, the Samsung Galaxy S II for T-Mobile comes with a lot of bloatware that I cannot uninstall. In my opinion, this is a failure on T-Mobile’s part rather than Samsung’s. I would like to have the option of installing these apps rather than have them already on the device.
  • Phantom switch off: For no reason at all, my Samsung Galaxy S II switches off.  The only way to restart is to remove the battery and reinstall it. I have not sought any help as this has not yet been a big issue for me yet, but I will check out online forums to figure out how to get around this.

Do you own a Samsung Galaxy S II? I am interested in hearing your opinion of the phone – leave a comment below!  If you own the new Samsung Galaxy Nexus Prime, I would love to hear from you as well.

NOTE: Tech Cocktail worked with Samsung on a special Tech Cocktail Mobile Mixer sponsored by Samsung in September 2011.

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Shashi Bellamkonda is the Chief Marketing Officer at Surefire Social. He is also an adjunct professor at Georgetown University. Shashi is passionate about helping startups and small business and has been recognized twice as one of the Top 100 Tech Titans by the Washingtonian and Top 100 Small Business Influencer Champion 2011 by Small Business Trends. Follow him on Twitter @shashib.

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