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3.4 out of 5 stars
Samsung Galaxy Exhibit 4G (T-Mobile),  t679
Price:$110.55 + Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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981 of 1,011 people found the following review helpful
on November 8, 2011
I find it hard to believe, but it's now approaching three years since I published this review. The smartphone market has evolved markedly over that time and there are now quite a few good options in the $200-250 range. If your primary concern is price/performance, then I'd suggest looking at the Motorola Moto G - Universal 4G LTE - Unlocked - 8GB (Black) which, at $200, costs the same as the Exhibit II when I purchased it back in 2011. At $200, the Moto G will give you an unlocked phone with universal 4G/3G, which is critical if you travel internationally. I don't own it, but it appears to have a high quality 4.5" screen and fast performance from the reviews I've read on amazon. You may also like to consider the 2014 successor to this phone, the Motorola Moto G (2nd generation) - Global GSM - Unlocked - 8GB Black which has similar features (same resolution and CPU) but only 3G with a larger screen (5") and better camera for $180.

If you like T-Mobile (USA) and want more screen real estate , you may consider the ZTE ZMAX coming out soon, which costs $252 and offers formidable specs, including a 5.7" 720p display, 4G LTE, 2GB RAM, Quad-core 1.2GHz CPU and, perhaps most impressively, a 3400 mAh battery which sets it apart from just about any smartphone on the market.
_____

Let me begin by saying I'm an economist. Logos do not impress me. Excellent price/performance ratios impress me. Although I must admit, the Exhibit II is a fairly beautiful phone in real life; don't let the photos scare you.

This powerful yet humble device has the same memory (512MB RAM) and CPU speed (1GHz) as the iPhone 4. And, dare I say, it actually makes phone calls. It even has a larger screen than the latest $700+ iPhone 4S. Still with me?

Why I bought this phone (with a new prepaid plan):

>1. Freedom: With T-Mobile's prepaid plans, you can start or stop your service anytime without any fines. You can switch carriers, sell your phone, and walk away without even saying goodbye.

>2. Screen: The 3.7" screen is bigger than the one on the iPhone 4S. The 800x480 resolution makes for a relatively high pixel density (252 ppi) and looks fantastic.

>3. Android has developed into a very solid OS. With over 400,000 apps to choose from, I'm overwhelmed.

>4. Price: Why spend $500 to $800 on a flagship phone when you can get 90% of the utility/functionality for $200? At $200, if my phone is destroyed, lost, or stolen, it's not the end of the world.

>5. Plan: The phone is shipped with a prepaid SIM card, so there's no need to order the $7.00 SIM card from T-Mobile. For $30/month you get 5GB of "4G" data, unlimited texts, and 100 minutes of talk. If you setup a Google Voice # and get either the GrooveIP app ($5.00) or the Google Voice Callback app (free), you'll be able to make unlimited domestic calls for free, over the internet. It works quite well and even allows you to make much cheaper international calls than you would through your carrier. Just make sure to set it up correctly, so you don't accidentally use up all your minutes. Edit: Groove IP/Google Voice is only reliable with a Wi-Fi connection so it may not be a viable alternative to normal voice calls in all situations.

>6. ROI: The return on investment is phenomenal. This phone truly represents a breakthrough in information and communications technology. For the first time in history, with a device that costs $200 and service that costs $1 a day, you can have a 3.7" window to the world that goes with you, guides you, informs you, entertains you, wakes you, and connects you to everyone and everything that matters in your life. The list of gadgets that this phone makes obsolete would go on for pages, but let me just say that if you don't have a smartphone yet, get this phone and don't look back.

I was finally released after serving a 2-year sentence, I mean, a....contract. I'm free!

EDIT: (after 1 week with the phone)

Performance (including call quality) is excellent while battery life falls short of miraculous. With more moderate use and battery saving apps, you could easily go an entire day without needing to recharge. The 3Mp camera on the phone doesn't quite replace my old DSLR, but it works flawlessly for bar-code scanning, jpg-to-pdf scanning, and other "utilitarian" applications. By the way, the maximum video capture resolution is 640x480, not 720x480.

EDIT 2: (after 4 weeks with the phone)

My Exhibit II is still going strong and looks brand new, even after dropping it a few times. I've gotten used to using Samsung's "swype" keyboard which is the only technology I've seen that truly makes touchscreen typing viable beyond a few words. I'm not surprised that the phone is out of stock at both Amazon and Walmart.com. If you're planning to get this phone, good luck finding it in stock! On eBay, the going rate for this phone is $250. Get it on Amazon, if you can.

EDIT 3: (After 40 days with the phone)

The phone still works perfectly and looks great. Even now, it's easily the best smartphone under $300 and, at $189, has the best price-performance of any phone currently on the market.

EDIT 4: (After 10 weeks with the phone)

We have had many fruitful discussions in the 100+ comments that have been posted since I first wrote my review 10 weeks ago. If you own this phone, I strongly recommend reading the comments posted by Franquis, Yogi Bear, and others who have become de facto experts on this device. They have surpassed my knowledge of the phone and I have learned from their insights. It appears many of us have been having difficulties with the Groove IP app and various alternatives have been suggested, including Skype.

I have dropped the phone so many times and I finally managed to crack the screen but it functions perfectly nonetheless. The Exhibit II is a truly remarkable device (at any price) and I continue to be amazed by its capabilities.

EDIT 5: (After 1 year with the phone)
I got this phone exactly one year ago today (Nov. 2) and it's still going strong. It has enabled me to harness the power of the internet in my daily life like never before. For anyone still thinking about getting this phone, I would recommend waiting for the LG Nexus 4 which will pack the most advanced specs on the market for the humble price of $299 unlocked, without a contract. The Exhibit II was the best phone for the money in the US market for quite a while, but better options are finally emerging.

Thanks for all the continued input in the comments section!
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213 of 220 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2011
UPDATE 12/5/12: This phone has officially retired for me. I upgraded to the Samsung Galaxy SII from T-Mobile. Here are a few final points on this phone. It has gained its own section in the xda-developers forum, so go check it out if you're new to this phone and are interested in customizing it. Check out the updated review below for more information.
====================================================================================================
-------------------------From a regular user's point of view-------------------------
I love this phone! I picked it up at Wal-Mart because of their exclusive $30 monthly plan with 100 talk minutes, unlimited text, and unlimited web (first 5GB at 4G speed per month, rest of the month slows down to EDGE). I'll tell you, I have never reached my 5GB limit, and I'm a heavy Internet user! T-Mobile's 4G HSPA+ network is really good, considering the price. Of course it's spotty in some places with T-Mobile being the way it is, but not most places that I've been to.

The phone is sleek, and is loaded with features. Of course, being an Android phone, it is capable of doing many things that cannot be done on common feature phones. The 3.2 megapixel camera is quite good; it's not digital SLR quality, but it gets the job done when you need quick snapshots. The screen is nice and bright, very detailed and unpixelated because Samsung did a smart move by fitting a whole lot of pixels in a 3.7 inch screen. The 1GHz processor really hits the spot! Everything I do on it is fast! There's barely any freezing with the exception of browsing complicated webpages with more than 5 windows open.

Personally, I think this phone beats the iPhone 4. For those who don't know the truth, the iPhone 4 costs $650 unsubsidized when it first came out. So to those saying "meh you can just get an iPhone for the same price", keep in mind that this phone does not require a contract, so you aren't forced to pay $100+ for cellphone bill every month. If you do simple math, you'll find that you'd actually save money in the long run with this phone compared to the iPhone locked into a contract. This phone showed me so much I've been missing out with iOS! It has pretty much the same features of iOS, and then some. You'll find that this phone is highly customizable due to Android OS's capabilities. It should be relatively easy to use for those new to smartphones.

The phone has many pre-installed apps, which can be either good or bad depending on your preference. The apps are supposed to help you access T-Mobile stuff easier, but they are of no use to me. I rooted my phone and have since flashed many custom firmwares/ROMs to make the phone fit my needs.

I really have nothing much to say to regular users. If you're new to Android, you should probably hit up YouTube and see what it's capable of. I can't explain how to do everything in this review. If you're looking for a bit more information, check out the section of review below!
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-------------------------From a geek/power-user's point of view-------------------------
Now, let's talk about the performance-price ratio. When you first get the phone, it may be a little 'meh', but many great developers came out and started pimpin' this phone. There are many custom ROMs available; Gingerbread ROMs for those with performance in mind, and Ice Cream Sandwich/Jellybean ROMs for those that want a little taste of unofficial upgrade. There's also a custom kernel floating around that allows the seemingly weak processor to overclock to 1.8GHz! That's about an 80% increase in processing power! Think about that, a 1.8GHz phone for $200. Now keep in mind that this isn't a dual-core processor, but it still performs like a champion.

This phone can very easily outperform similar competitions at this price range, thanks to the great developers over at the xda-developers forum for taking the phone's hardware to its limit. At one point, users were able to score a little under 7000 points in AnTuTu Benchmark, which is double of the usual 3500 points that you'll usually see with the stock ROM.

There are many ROMs to choose from. Whether it's Gingerbread-based ROMs or Ice Cream Sandwich-based ROMs, or Jellybean-based ROMs, you can't go wrong with this phone. Developers are always porting ROMs such as CyanogenMod, AOKP, MIUI, Paranoid Android, PAC, etc. You'll probably step into the day where you have nothing left to customize! I'm actually looking back from my Galaxy SII with a bit of envy, seeing how this phone has stepped up so much from its start.

This phone is perfect for people who wants a mid-end experience at a low-end price. Seriously, this phone is very powerful with a few tweaks here and there. For $200, you definitely can't beat the phone for what it's capable of. It's no Galaxy Nexus, but I think that it can be its little brother. And computer geeks, I know how much you want a device that's affordable and highly customizable! ;)

All information regarding rooting, custom ROMs, and software modifications are available on the xda-developers forum.

Specifications:
* CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon S2 - 1GHz single core (overclockable to 1.8GHz with custom kernel)
* GPU: Adreno 205
* RAM: 512MB (356MB allocated to stock ROM; 364MB allocated to most ICS/JB ROMs)
* Display: 3.7" TFT LCD touch-screen (800 x 480 resolution)
* Cameras: 3.2MP rear-facing camera with LED flash; VGA front-facing camera
* Cellular Network Technologies: GSM 850/900/1800/1900 + HSDPA 850/1700/1900/2100 capable of up to 14.4Mbps on an HSPA+ network
* OS: Android 2.3.6 (up to 4.1.2 with custom ROMs)
* Storage: ~2.5GB total internally, up to 32GB externally via microSD card
====================================================================================================
Here are some of the accessories I've gotten for this phone. I bought some of these to upgrade over another, so make sure to choose one from each section to your liking. I have reviewed all of these, so be sure to check the reviews before digging in. ;)

Memory cards:
ADATA 32 GB Micro SDHC Card Class 10 with SD Adaptor AUSDH32GCL10-RA1
SanDisk microSDHC 32GB Flash Memory Card (Retail Packaging) SDSDQM-032G-B35,Black
**************************************************
Cases:
BW TPU Sleeve Gel Cover Skin Case for T-Mobile Samsung Exhibit II 4G T679 -Black
T-MOBILE SAMSUNG T679 EXHIBIT II 4G SMOKE BLACK TPU GEL SKIN CASE, IN QUBITS RETAIL PACKAGING
**************************************************
External power/battery:
Anker® Astro3 10000mAh Dual 2A USB Output External Battery Backup and Charger for iPhone 4S / 4 / 3GS, iPod, iPad, iPad 2, the New iPad (iPad 3); Most Android Phones (Samsung Galaxy S / S2 / S3, HTC One X One S Sensation EVO, Motorola Droid, LG Optimus,...
ATC Power Bank 5000mAh Li-ion External Battery Pack and Charger with LED lights for Motorola Charm MB502, Grasp WX404, Rambler WX400, Bali WX415, Droid 2 A955, I1, Cliq XT, Quench, i890, Backflip, Devour, A555, Brute i680, Quantico V840, V845, i410, Crush
Hyperion T-Mobile Samsung Exhibit II 4G 2 x 1600mAh Battery + Charger
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139 of 150 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2011
I have been researching pre paid phones and plans for a while now and this phone with the pre paid plans T-mobile has is a great deal. The phone is really nice for a $200 buyout phone. It has great sound quality (both earpiece and speakerphone). I am coming from the original Droid on Verizon. The camera on the phone is very decent. Certainly as good as the 5mp on the Droid and faster too. I like T mobiles wi-fi calling from home..it allows me to run on my own wifi system if T-Mobiles signal is weak indoors. Video chat using Gtalk works very well. The phone comes with Kies Air for wireless transfers from your laptop and Yelp (for finding all those nice places to do business with). The GPS system works very well and the web is super fast on T-Mobiles great 4G (and I get it almost everywhere even in places my friends do NOT get Wimax on Sprint. The phone is very light and smaller in size than the Droid (but with same screen size). It has a textured back for better grip. The battery lasts all day with moderate use (remember not to load the phone with tons of apps and widgets). My chargers for the Droid work with this phone (including the car charger). The screen is very easy to see and the colours are good. It comes with Gingerbread 2.3.5 and the scrolling is very smooth. It's a way more pleasant phone to use than the Droid is. It's not flashy, but it works very well.

Cons: Lots of bloatware (not removable without rooting), ATT might consume T-Mobile potentially ruining a good thing, I wish it had a 4" screen...maybe version 3 will have that.
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206 of 232 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 2012
I ordered this off amazon, tax free, with two day shipping. Arrived in a timely manner, but just got to activate it this morning. Activation is very simple. The kit includes a sim card, which you just insert above (and to the left) of the battery in the back. Then you will want to go to t-mobile.com/activation and follow the instructions. It comes with a random $3.34 balance.. for emergency.. instant calling or something I suppose. But following the activation, it takes you to where you can pay for your service online. You can also get those cards at the store, but honestly, it's so easy just to pay online. And then you're good to go. I chose the $30 unlim text/data + 100 min plan. You don't need to go to walmart or tmobile to get this. To my understanding, it is only available for new activations.

The price and quality of the phone is all great. One problem I have with it is that... honestly... I'm not really an Android fan. I didn't think I would mind it at all but somehow it really annoys me how much bloatware it comes with. Sure, there are ways to delete it. But people on reviews made it sound 100x easier than what I had to do. I don't really consider myself technologically challenged, but it was hard to find all the steps to uninstall this crap I didn't want. You can't just go to the "APPLICATIONS" menu and drag what you don't want to the trash. Why? Everything I've tried to delete just stays there when I go back to the menu. What the hell is that function for then? Why can I not just delete the stuff I don't want? (And there are many.)

I'm new to Android so rooting was a brand new concept for me. I must have downloaded 4 different apps off the Android market to no avail. I didn't understand why the hell something called "______ Uninstaller" cannot uninstall apps. After a bit of research and trying a bunch of different things, I finally figured it out.

I figure I'd type it out in layman's terms for those who have trouble rooting:
- Turn on USB debugger (settings>applications>development>usb debugging)
- Have the right USB drivers installed ON YOUR COMPUTER (Apparently these are difficult to find. Install the samsung galaxy x drivers from softpedia instead. When I did this, it told me it wasn't installed correctly but I couldn't find a fix so I just ignored it.)
- Connect your phone to the computer via usb port
- Then you can download SuperOneClick on your COMPUTER. It is a computer application. Extract (it is a zip file) and run. Click on "root." (top left big button) It may take a couple minutes. It should say root complete or whatever at the end. And to confirm that it is indeed rooted, you will see a "Superuser" icon in the applications folder.
- Now you can begin the uninstallation, but that is not all! You have to download some more stuff to uninstall. From the Android market, you can find some apps that will allow you to uninstall items. Android Mate was too advanced for me. You have to know exactly what files you are deleting (which is a constant annoyance.) If you delete the wrong files then your phone might not work or it will brick. Kind of terrifying, considering the price I paid. I used Titanium backup to uninstall items, but you still run the risk of deleting things you need. It is better to "freeze" the apps but that is a premium feature, which you must pay for. I also tried Root Uninstaller to no avail. It didn't show any apps besides Market and itself for some reason. I'm sure there's something out there that might be better but, so far, my experience is that these apps are not that user-friendly.

Others have claimed that the process above is "easy" but it wasn't for me, apparently. Maybe some people know how to do this intuitively, I don't know. But think about it. All I wanted to do was delete pre-installed junk like internet radios and "MORE FREE APPS!@!!" apps. But it took entirely way too long. You can just press on any app in iOS until it's shaking and then press X to delete. A couple seconds, max. I don't understand why it is so hard to delete things on the Android (not even including the risk of bricking your phone at every corner.)

Aside from my long rant, in the end, it is a good deal for a 4g smartphone and great rates on plans. Still, I'm not too satisfied with Android. I feel like it's one of those apple vs. windows commercials, comparing efficiency. There's a pre-installed anti-virus (free trial for 14 days, then you have to pay). Really? I never even thought that would be an issue with iOS. Obviously these are my opinions, and others will have no problems with the bloatware. I'm a bit OCD and inefficiency is such an annoyance. I just want my phone to run as efficiently and quickly as possible, not having junk on it that tries to make me install more apps or pay for premium services. Yes, the iphone costs way more, but I would still rather have it than Android. That's just me though.

EDIT:
After a few days of use, I'm getting used to the Android system more. I don't mind it as much, and hopefully it will hold up well. It's still a fantastic deal, and with no contracts none-the-less! In the end, the savings are fantastic. Think about the activation fees and taxes and whatnot when you have to get a phone with a contract. This phone is really a smart purchase.
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45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on March 21, 2012
I got this phone about three weeks ago to replace my LG Optimus T. I liked the Optimus T, but felt it was a little laggy when running apps and the screen was smaller than I really wanted. This phone initially seemed perfect: bigger screen, bigger memory, better camera. All of that is true and I really enjoy all of those aspects of the phone.

My biggest complaint is the text messaging. The phone, out of box, has some pretty bad texting problems that can be found across the t-mobile board (wish I had seen those earlier!). Messages fail constantly; some messages that fail have more than 160 characters, other are short messages. It took me five minutes to get an "Ok!" sent to one of my employees. If this problem didn't exist, this phone would be a 4-star for me, but both Samsung and T-Mobile support don't seem to want to do anything about this problem.
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45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2011
Let me start this off by saying I'm not someone whom normally writes reviews on Amazon as when I buy stuff, it's generally things that people aren't on the fence about. However, I decided to go ahead and write a review to strongly recommend that you consider the Samsung Exhibit II from T-Mobile. When I read the PR from T-mobile about this phone, I got really excited that finally a GOOD smartphone was coming to the prepaid lineup at a reasonable price. I placed my order the day the phone came out and received my order on November 4.

Screen Quality --- I think the specs are not quite as good as some of the top of the line models, but they're incredibly sharp and pretty dang close. It's incredibly clear and leaps and bounds better from the earlier android and iphone screens. Trust me, you won't be disappointed. Text is smooth and crisp.

Phone calls --- Sound quality is excellent and sounds like a landline using T-Mobiles free wi-fi calling app. It integrates seamlessly with the phone and elects to use Wi-fi if a good signal is available. If not, it'll switch to the cellular network. There are no apps to install on the device or on your computer/router. Like I said, very seamless. Also, phone calls over the cellular network sound excellent as well.

Text Messages --- Typical Gingerbread text message interface. The phone comes with swype which I had never used before, but have since become accustomed to and am thrilled it came preloaded on the phone.

Memory --- The memory is a bit shallow. The specs say it has 4 GBs of memory though I have about 1 GB of USB storage and 1 GB of onboard memory. I don't know where the rest is though it could be used by the Android OS. Honestly, I would consider it a non-issue since you can get a Name brand Class 4 32GB microSDHC relatively inexpensively. I certainly have the option to upgrade the memory at anytime. Also, I have installed every app I can think of that friends have/use as well as several Amazon free apps of the day and I've used under 1/3 of the 1 gb system memory available. With the Amazon Cloud music player, it makes the total storage on your droid phone a non-issue since Amazon lets you upload unlimited music to their cloud for free. Then, you can stream it to your phone for free. So, I could have 200 GBs of music on my Amazon Cloud and this phone could play it all perfectly without the need for tons of onboard memory. Also, as another reviewer mentioned, there are several free radio Apps that I found on Amazon that are free and stream thousands of stations.

Battery --- I've been getting about 15 hours of usage out of the phone and keep in mind, this is my first smartphone so it's still fun to play with. I don't have the screen brightness maxed out, but it's definitely bright and good enough. Also, the nice thing about buying a non-Apple device is that it has a user-replaceable battery. I found a generic replacement from Amazon relatively inexpensively. So, after a year of charging and uncharging when the battery begins to age, I can buy a new one and it'll be good as new.

Overall, this is a great phone for the price. It's honestly not as snappy as a top of the line, dual core smartphone, but you're also not paying the price of that new phone either. It's still fast enough to handle every application I've run on it. But, I do have several widgets and services running so I know that I'm taking up ram and CPU power doing that.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon March 11, 2012
Not because the phone itself is revolutionary. It's an average phone if you look at the specs. It's because the phone allows average people to afford a quality smart phone with an affordable plan. I switched from the OG Droid on Verizon to the Exhibit II on T-Mobile two months ago, and I couldn't be more pleased.

Mobile phone companies in the U.S. have been fleecing the public with smart phone plans for years. The Samsung Exhibit II 4G, along with T-Mobile's $49.99 "all you can eat" plans (available in both contract and prepaid flavors depending on your preference), represents a milestone that should change the industry, if only more people knew about it.

First of all, make no mistake: this is a solid mid-level Android phone at a bargain-basement price. Great screen, great touch screen response, good performance. It's rootable, so you can remove the bloatware (XDA Developers is a great resource -- Google "XDA Developers Samsung Exhibit II 4G root". Once you're rooted, download "Root Uninstaller" from the Market and follow XDA's advice about which apps to remove).

Let me briefly tell you our story. My wife and I bought Motorola Droids a few years ago for $250 each (2 year contract price!), then paid Verizon $170/month for a family plan with 1400 minutes, data, and text messaging. When it came time to upgrade, we felt that was too much money, downgraded to feature phones (bought from eBay), and started paying $110/month for 1400 minutes, text messaging, and no data.

Fast forward to a couple of months ago. Thanks to this product we were able to buy two very good Android phones on Amazon for under $200 each. Brand new, full price, no contract. We are now paying $100/month combined for unlimited talk, unlimited text, and unlimited data. Yes, Verizon's network is better in rural areas. But if you think about it, who needs to pay $1700 extra over the course of a 2 year contract so you have coverage that one day or one week per year you're in BFE? In reality, very few people.

But that's not all. Even if you're in BFE, Wi-Fi is ubiquitous. Many campgrounds have it, all McDonalds in the U.S. have it, etc. This is good news because the Exhibit II comes with T-Mobile's fantastic "Wi-Fi Calling" feature. This means you can use your phone anywhere in the world with Wi-Fi without paying roaming charges. Or, within old metallic office buildings with Wi-Fi where no cell phones from any provider work. Even Verizon can't beat that. I'm telling you, it works wonderfully. IMO, Verizon's admittedly superior wireless network is not worth anything close to $70/month more than T-Mobile's for the vast majority of users, especially when you factor in Wi-Fi calling. Your priorities may vary.

In short, this is the best value in cell phones today. You get a mid-level Android phone without a contract for under $200. You get a plan that lets you use its full potential for only $50/month, from a legitimate national provider. You get this for less than many smart phones cost with a 2-year contract.

I applaud T-Mobile and Samsung for producing a high-quality offering that makes smart phones accessible and affordable to average people. I hope this becomes a trend with other carriers.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on February 14, 2012
I purchased this phone after owning a Blackberry Curve 8530 for less than a year. While the Blackberry was reliable and provided all the basic needs, I wanted to step up to something much better. This phone has not disappointed me so far. In fact I used it strictly as a media player for 2 weeks before activating to see if this is what I wanted. Coming from Blackberry and stepping into the Android world, the differences are astronomical. While Blackberry App World has relatively few apps to download (40,000), Android Market has over 500,000. This phone is just about compatible with everything on Android Market too. Apps like Beautiful Widgets, Set CPU, Titanium Backup Pro and Player Pro (awesome app for music lovers btw) work flawlessly on this phone. With the 1 GHz processor and 512mb of ram, there's hardly any lag whatsoever. The Blackberry Curve froze up constantly while in the middle of doing something! On the touch screen, I find it very responsive and user friendly. Getting adjusted to typing on screen rather than a keypad has not been as big a deal as I thought it would be either.

As far as phone service, I had been a Virgin Mobile customer for 8 years so leaving was a big decision. Unfortunately the Sprint network crawls at a snail's pace here in Louisville. I'm talking 500kbps to 1mbps speed on their 3G network. Still no 4G and no plans for it in this area in the foreseeable future. Root Metrics rated them the worst here as well (far as data is concerned). T-Mobile's 4G is not 4G LTE but pretty damn good if you ask me. Average speed here is 4mbps download, and 1mbps on the upload. All a normal user needs. I use wifi almost everywhere I go, so I elected the $50 plan with unlimited minutes/texting, and 100mb of 4G data transfer. VM was charging me $45 ($10 fee included for having a Blackberry) for 1200 minutes, unlimited texting and web. Would have been $55 if I wasn't grandfathered in when they raised rates.

If you are porting your number, be prepared to spend some quality time with customer service. It took me over 40 minutes on the phone with T-Mobile to get the phone activated and give the necessary info for porting. No fault of theirs, they were actually very helpful. Just part of the process. Getting my number transferred took almost exactly the whole 48 hours, but it was done nonetheless. Props to T-Mobile for having CSR reps that speak excellent English as well, something else VM was having problems with in recent years.

Last points, I rooted the phone to have complete control over it and got rid of bloatware I didn't need (Titanium Backup Pro is essential while doing this kind of thing). Very easy with Zerg Rush. You will also want a battery saving app like Juice Defender, especially if use the phone a lot or the screen is on quite a bit (that's the biggest battery killer of all). In a 2 hour period if I am playing music and surfing the internet, the battery can go from 100% to 70%. With the phone on standby, I have yet to determine the life span. Keeping Bluetooth, GPS off and letting Juice Defender manage what needs to be on and when, helps tremendously.

Bottom line this is an excellent choice for those of us who don't want contracts, yet want a nice Smartphone that is comparable the high end "contract only" devices out there.

Final update 10/2012:
I have in the last 9 months used the stock ROM, RebelROM, Peach Sunrise, Exhibition, CM7, CM9 and CM10. Out of those, Rebel and CM7 are by far the best of the Gingerbread ROMs. CM9 is the best if you want ICS of course, and CM10 is Jellybean but a long way from being fully operational.

You also need Clockwork Mod 6.0.1.2 to flash ROMs and make backups. Other helpful apps I have found are Neutron music player, CMarks to sync Chrome bookmarks to your phone, Avast Anti Virus which is free & comes with an anti-theft app and My Data Manager which you will need since you will not be able to use the T-Mobile apps to track data use anymore. If you know what you're doing and are WILLING to spend some time, this phone is fine for the money. If you want it all from the moment it comes out of the box, better look elsewhere. This is not the device for people who are unwilling/unable to make the effort to make it work efficiently.

From XDA these apps are safe to freeze/delete:

AnalogClock.apk
Browser.apk(Only if you use an alternative browser i.e. Opera Mini, Dolphin Browser/HD, Firefox)
Dlna.apk
DownloadProviderUI.apk
DualClock.apk
IQ-tmobile-release-signed-zipaligned-v1.1....
JobManager.apk
KiesAir.apk
MobileBackup-unsigned_v3.3.02.apk
MyFiles.apk(Only if you have an alternative File Browser i.e. Astro File Manager)
SamsungWidget_Program...
Swype.apk
TetheringManager2.apk(Only if you don't use T-Mo's tethering service)
TouchWizCalendar.apk
TouchWizCalculator.apk
TwCalendarAppWidget.apk
VideoPlayer.apk(Only if you have an alternative video player i.e. Mx Video Player)
VoiceRecorder.apk
WiFi-Calling.apk(If you don't use it)
ZinioSettingsProvider.v2.03.3331.TMobile....
sihome-signed-tmo-android-8.apk
talkback.apk
tmobile_m4m_3_0_15.signed...
vvm-signed.apk
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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon November 24, 2011
After coming across T-Mobile / Walmart's $30 monthly plan, I started looking out for a phone that can connect on T-Mobile's 4G network. The two other candidates (Galaxy S II and the not-yet-available Galaxy Nexus) are all above $500, and I'm not sure I want to spend so much on a phone. Then I came across this one.

It lacks some of the other features I'm interested in. I'd like to have a good camera, this one is about average. I'd like to play with NFC. And dual processors would be nice in some situations. And I'd like to have Gorilla Glass on the front. But I'm not prepared to pay full retail for a Galaxy S II. Contracts don't make sense in my situation when I take the total cost of ownership into account - I don't use the phone enough to justify the price.

For the price, though, this is an amazingly good phone. The display is crisp, the UI is responsive. Voice is clear, and it gets better reception than my other phone (a clamshell feature phone). It's easy to root, which you'd need to do if you want to uninstall some of the bloatware T-Mobile put in there. It won't win any design awards, but it looks good. It has a 3.5mm headset jack, LED flash, takes microSD memory. The micro USB port is protected behind a sliding door.

Activation was painless and can be done online. The SIM card and all other information is included, and if you don't have the box handy and don't want to remove the battery, you can get the IMEI by dialing "*#06#" - it'a also easier to read this way. There's $3.34 on the card, so you will need to add money if you want to activate the $30 Walmart plan. Getting T-Mobile to SIM unlock the phone, on the other hand, is painful. When I talked to a rep, she told me my account needs to be active for 60 days. I have another T-Mobile prepaid account that qualifies, but then she said that SIM needs to be in the phone for more than a day, and to call back later. This is despite me explaining I paid full retail for the phone.

I've not tested the data network too much yet. I'm sure you can find reviews of T-Mobile's 4G network elsewhere. What little I've tried was quite fast and responsive, but then again, I had 4 bars of 4G signal at that time.

Battery life was OK. I did not measure it before I uninstalled the bloatware, so I'm not able to state how much of a difference it made. My email client constantly checking for mail probably is not doing battery life wonders either. And I have it connected to wifi both at work and at home all the time.

Added after 5 day road trip : you definitely want to pack a charger with you (or a micro USB cable). Even with limited use and battery saving options turned on, it would be practically depleted after 24 hours.

Additional update on battery life : I rooted the phone and deleted, among other things, T-Mobile's My Account and changed my Hotmail app to sync only on demand (instead of Push). Battery life appears to have doubled because of that.

The only thing that really irks me about this phone is the inability to connect it to my computer. I had to install Microsoft's MTP Porting Kit on Vista before it would connect, and I couldn't get it to connect to my Windows 7 laptop. Both run 64 bit Windows. Some web forum posts mentioned installing Samsung Kies for the drivers, I'm waiting to see if there's an alternative before doing it. You can use Kies Air to connect to the phone. Kies Air runs a HTTP server on the phone and allows you to connect from another computer's web browser (no software install required) over wi-fi to manage the phone, including file transfers.

I had a hard time finding USB Mass Storage Class mode until J. Weng helped me out in the comments. Apparently, it is under "Wireless and Network" and is not a permanent setting, but needs to be activated every time you wish to connect.

There are a number of errors in the manual. I think one part stated it had 16GB of internal storage. That is incorrect, there's only 4GB of internal storage. The organization of some other parts is confusing, and the section about storage is just one huge mess.

It would also be nice to have the micro SD accessible without having to open the battery cover, but it is a small inconvenience.

Finally, it would be nice if there are more accessories for this phone. It's still fairly new, but some choices of skin / case would be nice. I did find a very nice case though : T-MOBILE SAMSUNG T679 EXHIBIT II 4G SMOKE BLACK TPU GEL SKIN CASE, IN QUBITS RETAIL PACKAGING

Overall, I'm very happy with the purchase. I'd rate it 4.5 stars if that option is available.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on December 6, 2011
I have had the phone for about a month now. I must say that going from a "dumber" phone to this has been a life changing experience and I will never go back to a non-smart phone. The phone itself is really quite nice, it is the perfect size (not to big, not to small) but like many have commented, very slippery! Getting a case for it is a must. As noted, it does come with some bloatware that is preinstalled and the only way to get rid of some of the applications (like media social, etc) is to root the phone (this gives you administrative rights - for the brave just google "rooting samsung exhibit II" and you will be able to find the means to do so).

Since many reviewers have described the positive aspects of the phone, I wanted to point out that not all is rosy with T-mobile's pre-paid 100min, free text, free web plan. I was dismayed to find out that I was not able to use Google Voice as the default voicemail for the phone, nor was I able to use T-mobile's own preinstalled visual voicemail --- I can see the business logic behind these moves (T-mobile does not want pre-paid customers to have easy ways to get around using the limited 100 minutes while checking voicemail (google voice and visual voicemail use data instead of minutes)....still, I feel that T-mobile has mislead customers (they have nothing on their website that states that going pre-paid "limits" some of the features vs. what subscribing clients have access to).

Still, it's not a bad deal overall - just annoying that they treat pre-paid customers like 2nd rate clients.
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