My Impressions On The New Phone

This is the best phone I’ve ever used. How’s that for an open? The Samsung Galaxy S II isn’t without faults (beginning with its clunky name), but it is so pretty and fast that everything else is inconsequential.

It’s difficult to describe the screen in words. More blacks. More contrast. That’s the result of SUPER AMOLED technology.

The iPhone has greater resolution. I can’t paper over that. I haven’t yearned for additional screen real estate yet.

Everything is fluid and fast. You touch, it happens. You swipe, it keeps pace with your finger.

There are apps for the iPhone that aren’t available for Android phones like mine. The opposite is true too. The vast majority of what I want to do with a smartphone is already taken care of.

Android exposes more of the inner workings of the phone. For a geek like me it’s fun to see what the GPS is seeing, even if it’s worthless from a practical standpoint. There are lots of other small peepholes into the hardware.

The phone is a little larger than the iPhone. It easily fits in a shirt pocket and rides nicely in my pants pocket. The screen is Gorilla Glass and reasonably impervious to scratching.

When people pick it up that always comment about how light it is. It’s mostly sturdy, though I worry about the back cover over time. It’s very, very thin.

Smart phones suck batteries. I spent $12 and ordered two spares and a charger off eBay. The batteries are small and flat and easily carried.

A large problem with any new technology is you have to make choices before you understand your device. It was my intention to use the phone for a little while then wipe it clean and start again. That way I had a small idea before I downloaded and installed apps permanently.

The factory restore took ten minutes tops. Painless.

I was pleased to see we are served by 4G out here on Mount Carmel. I’ll still stick with WiFi when I’m home.

We have WiFi at work, but it’s very weak at my desk. Unfortunately as soon as you lock onto WiFi the phone disconnects you from the 4G network. That’s the bad news.

The good news is a program called Llama. It allows you to create profiles so your phone acts differently at different times and places. The phone knows to shut its ringer between 4:00 and 5:00 and again from 10:00 to 11:30, but only if I’m at work! It also knows to turn off WiFi at work. That’s a pretty neat trick.

The profiles changes can be triggered by a variety of things including nearby cell towers, GPS location, time of day, etc. That’s one feature Apple didn’t have.

Yesterday I took my friends Peter and Farrell on separate tours of the station using Skype and 4G connectivity. I walked up and down stairs and through the newsroom and studio.

There are tiny things wrong with the phone. I wanted to answer a text message with a video reply. Only the rear camera is enabled for that. Why?

I can’t seem to get Gmail, from the same company that built the operation system for the phone, to push emails to my phone as received. Instead the phone polls Gmail every ten minutes.

The menu structure is often non-intuitive, but there are so many menus because there’s so much you can customize. This complexity unlocks the phone’s power!

Is the Samsung Galaxy S II for everyone? Yes, if you want to play at least a little. If you’re going to use your phone as it came out of the box the iPhone might still be the right choice.

9 Responses to “My Impressions On The New Phone”

  1. Andre Normandin says:

    Aha! I knew you would love Android once you got your hands on it!!!!!

    Android brings out the inner geek, which in both our cases, isn’t far from the surface to begin with LOL..

    Welcome to Android!

    – Andre

  2. Pamelarose says:

    Geoff
    Can you set it to constantly alert you when you have a voice message. Hate that iPhone won’t do that. Handy when your on call ( to wake you up) or loose the phone so it keeps sounding off as you look for it. Next invention. Keys that do the same. ;-)

    Pam

    • Geoff Fox says:

      I don’t use AT&T’s voicemail. I forward all unanswered calls to Google Voice. It sends emails and/or texts.

  3. John says:

    What version of Android are U using? My Sensation is using Version 2.3.4 The one big problem I have is that there is no way to increase the font size on the Sensation. The font size is very small (at least to me.)Does Ur’s have the same problem?

    John

  4. Carol says:

    Thanks so much for the tip about Llama. I just got an android phone and am still finding apps. Llama is great! It great how you help us with so many things besides the weather. We are vacationing in SC for Oct and really miss seeing you for the weather. Not that the meteorologists on the Charleston stations aren’t good, but they aren’t you.

  5. David says:

    Geoff,

    Are you using the Gmail app or the Email client app to get your Gmail. The Gmail app will get your emails instantly (pushed). Other apps you may want to try in no particular order:

    Feedly
    Gentle Alarm
    HDR Camera +
    Titanium Backup (Once you root your phone)
    Go SMS
    Widgetsoid
    TiKL
    Uninstaller
    Seesmic or HootSuite
    1Tap Cleaner

  6. Richard says:

    As a oong time Blackberry user……this is interesting to me and my step-son who currently has an Iphone and not thrilled…… Does it have a “desktop software” for synching with outlook, calendar, email, etc? Blackberries is awesome…….so I need that. How about tethering to a lap top as a modem? doable? or does it work as a wifi hot spot? either would work…….

    Keep the info coming…..you are far better than consumer reports :)

Leave a reply

Current day month ye@r *