Samsung Galaxy S II 4G Initial observations, Tips, unboxing Video, and Images

I’ve been rockin the Galaxy S II for several days now and I’m settling in, slowly. I say slowly as I typically have high and often unrealistic expectations… that’s just me! 

Of note, I’ve been an iPhone iOs user for about 2.5 years until recently, although I have sporadically used other devices during that time including several Nokia smartphones, a Google G1, T-Mobile (Google) myTouch, and a couple of others. Read on for some first thoughts on this Android 2.3 device, enjoy some pointers, likes and dislikes, an un-boxing video, and some sample images.
Overall though, my main device has been an iPhone, as a result, making the switch to Android from iOs is a little challenging. I guess it’s just human nature for me to compare everything I do on the new android to the environment that I’m familiar with. Add to that, given that iPhone pretty much dominates the smartphone market, until recently, in North America, comparing my experience to iPhone makes quite a bit of sense and should prove to be a cool experience.

Video – Enjoy the following unboxing video for a first look at the Galaxy S II 4G

And so, enter the Samsung Galaxy S II 4G. The device is one of the closest competitors to the iPhone and boasts the following attributes as the main selling point: vibrant, speed, and large touch screen. My first observation after unpacking was that the Galaxy S II is very light. The device is all screen on the front (AMOLED) and otherwise is largely made up of plastic casing on the exterior. the result is a light device… something I’ve started to really like as it makes it very easy to slip into pockets without weighing you down. The other main observation you can’t miss is the vibrant, bright screen. The Galaxy S II is all screen at 4.3" and boasts an AMOLED touch screen, essentially this means that its tough, flexible, light, power efficient, and vibrant. Colors are amazingly bright and the screen is very crisp, an ideal environment for looking at graphics, photos, a web page, or video on the device.
Some other noteworthy features and observations about the Galaxy S II 4G:
  • Very light and comfortable in the hand, ideal for a touch UI
  • Plastic rear cover is light and feels almost flimsy, however, it is very easy to open to access the battery, SIM card, and microSD slot. I really like the rough finish to the back cover rather than a shiny or smooth case that could be slippery and result in drops.
  • 2 cameras is great, a front facing 2 MP camera has been useful for self portraits and filming video.
  • Rear camera is 8 MP and also has an LED flash. Ideally I’d love a sliding cover to protect the camera but that wishful thinking. So far the results of the camera usage have been impressive.
  • Setup and integration of the Android OS with my Google account was fast and simple… up and running in moments.sing the touch keypad has been a bit challenging, mainly due to my familiarity with another device. 
  • The Galaxy S II also has swype touch available although I’ve yet to go down that road.
  • Out of the box the device came bundled with loads of apps and services and locating apps that I need using the Android market has been simple and a pleasure so far – there’s many terrific apps.
  • I’m enjoying the connectivity and sharing experiences that Android OS (2.3) provides. For example, sharing media of any kind with my social services and installed apps is just a click away and very handy. The bundled social hub service made it easy and fast to connect my social media accounts with the device.
  • Alert notification is excellent, all my messages and incoming mentions are brought to my attention and made accessible via the home screen.
  • Performing what i feel are basic tasks, like accessing system settings, moving widgets, and configuring services has been easy and hassle-free.
Some tips for the new user:
  • pressing the home key for about 2 seconds brings up a task manager where you can view all the apps that are running and exit/close them. This is also where you can view system memory details and uninstall apps if needed.
  • A function I depend on is screen capture and this is possible via holding the home key and then the power button. This is a bit sensitive though and may cause the task manager to open… you’ll need to try a few times likely in order to get the timing right.
  • Camera settings should be inspected prior to loads of use. Ideally you may not require max resolution as this will result in image files that are about 2MB for each photo. The built in photo editor and the camera panoramic setting are a real bonus!
  • 4G Device on Virgin mobile is way Fast!! I downloaded a 3.6 MB app OTA in about 3 seconds!
I mentioned that getting apps from the Android market is a breeze. So far I’ve found almost all the apps I expected and used on iOs are also available via the android market. The first 10 Free apps I loaded from the Android Market were:
  • Native Twitter & Seesmic Twitter client
  • Foursquare for social checkin
  • Kik messenger – provides me with free texting/messaging with US friends
  • Facebook for Android
  • Flickr
  • Blogger – for mobile blog posting to service
  • LinkedIn Android app – keeps me connected to linkedIn
  • TuneIn radio
  • Retro Camera – fun camera effects
  • Waze – free mobile navigation
Note: I’ve written this post as part of my participation as a tester in the @virginmobilecan #VMtester program. I’ve been provided with teh device by Virgin Mobile Canada

Photos of the Galaxy S II


Editor (18230 Posts)

Glenn is a geographer and a GIS professional with over 20 years experience in the industry. He's the co-founder of GISuser and several other technology web publications.

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