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90 of 94 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 30, 2012
If you find yourself torn between the GS2; T-Mobile's other flagship, the HTC Amaze; and jumping ship for the iPhone 4s, this review is for you. If you're new to Android, then read on, too.

Amaze is the GS2's only real competition on T-Mobile at the moment. Amaze is more stylized, but the GS2 is a lot thinner. The GS2 has a larger screen which, depending on your tastes & size, may or may not be a plus. The GS2 has the most beautiful screen colors, saturation & vividness, but Amaze has a higher pixel density for clearer images & text. Amaze has a fancier user interface, but Launcher Pro Plus or SPB Shell 3D can be downloaded on either. Bottom line - They're both very competitive.

However, if you plan to take advantage of the hd video recording, the sound quality of recorded video on the Amaze is unacceptable. This is the only noteworthy difference. I exchanged my Sensation for this very reason. You can hear an example of the quality by searching YouTube (HTC Amaze 4G 1080p Camera Test| Booredatwork) or (HTC Amaze 4G 1080p HD Video Sample). HTC's recorded video sound is quiet, choppy & staccato. Both devices have their pluses and minuses, but this is where the line in the sand is drawn. The GS2's playback on recorded videos is excellent.

The iPhone isn't really in the same league. It's an incredible device, but it's just an app tray - squares on a (small) screen. As a result, iPhones are a little more consistent. The Apple is a bit smoother because it doesn't have to do much more than launch apps. You wouldn't expect a multi-functional Range Rover SUV to be as smooth as a Lexus sedan. You also wouldn't expect a Lexus to do as much as a Range Rover.

iPhones have no widgets, no multiple homescreens, (still) no full flash browser, no customization, no memory card, no removable battery, no keyboard options, no homescreen replacements, smaller screen... You get the idea. With Android, if you don't like the gallery, keyboard, browser, camera functions, messaging, icons, screen transitions... download new ones. iPhone is mostly closed. iPhones don't do much more than host/open apps. They're well-designed, user-friendly & have wonderful cameras, but they're tract phones, can't really customize/alter them.

iPhones don't have true multi-tasking. You can have a number of apps open at once on the iPhone, but the Galaxy SII allows me to continuously download a movie whilst listening to music & surfing the web - all at once. The GSII's dual-core processor does so w/o as much as a hiccup. I've been unable to exhaust the GSII.

Another thing iPhones don't have is bloatware. The GS2 has plenty, unfortunately.

However, if you're a busy career and/or family person, or not too good w/ technology, the iPhone is definitely better for you. No question. iPhones take less time to configure, learn & operate. They are more consistent. Everything works as it should out of the box.

iPhones hold their value much better, if that matters to you. Reason being, Samsung, HTC, Motorola come out with new Android flagships nearly every month. Folks will only pay so much for a smartphone. The iPhone, by contrast, is Apple's standard for the year.

If you're worried about apps, iPhone has many more, hands down, but Android offers most any app that you'd would want. Siri? Android already has Vlingo & Iris. They're no where near as accurate or robust, but I'd sooner call my friends than have a back/forth with a phone. Android Market also offers aDownloader which is a movie torrent. I was able to download 'The Hangover II' in HD in 45 mins & watch in on my HD tv... for free. Due to the closed operating system of Apple, the iPhone is unable to host torrent apps. What's more, many Android apps have free trials so you can test drive before buying them. If you want music on your iPhone, you must purchase it through iTunes. On the GSII, you can either purchase it from Google Play or download it from beemp3 or 4Shared... for free. You can do so much more with the Android operating system.

The GS2 runs on T-Mo's 4G network. The iPhone doesn't have the capacity to reach the same network speeds on any carrier. It's rather dated already.

There is *a lot* to configure & customize on a high-end Android. Busy, older folks will either be overwhelmed, or proceed w/o a clue as to what this device can actually do, in spite of having paid for it. Secondly, Androids are *very* Googley. When you sync your Google account, be prepared for folks you've emailed once, 8 years ago, to show up on your phone. If you have a Picasa album, all of your photos will be automatically downloaded to your phone. If you erase them, all of the images will be deleted from Picasa online as well. Even storing phone numbers poses you with questions of storing to phone, SIM card... or Google. Just store the damned number. The same with calendar entries. Once you select your default, everything flows, however. On set-up, Android has a lot of options, choices, customization, questions, combinations, permutations. Imagine asking for water & the waiter spends 5 minutes asking you - sparkling or flat?... chilled or room temp?.... w/ or w/o ice?... large or small?... green glass or blue?... with straw or w/o?... doily or coaster? Gimme a break. I don't want that many options, frankly. Once you get everything as you like it, however, it's a very personal phone that does exactly what *you* want it to do. Really quite something. Android won't win any prizes for being user-friendly (at least on set-up), but it will for being thoroughly customizable. You can completely change the look, speed & operation of the system at will & fairly easily once you 'get it'.

As with any device, I have a few peeves w/ the GSII. Fortunately, most of them can be remedied. T-Mobile slaps a bunch of bloatware on the phone. They can only be removed by rooting your phone (YouTube has tutorials). You can always unroot so as not to void your warranty. Although the phone has plenty of space, you'll free up just that much more. I don't like the idea of being forced to have apps I don't want, particularly those that constantly run in the background. Secondly, there is no indicator light or *recurring* SMS alerts. WTF? Download 'Handcent' to alleviate this problem. Thirdly, although the speaker is loud enough, the sound is just okay. Fourthly, photos are saved to so many different folders. You can't simultaneously select/send photos from different folders (downloaded folder, camera folder, etc) You'll have to download QuickPic. It's the best gallery I've seen on any operating system/device. It will even show hidden, cached & (thought to be) deleted images. Finally, the charging cord is ridiculously short. If I want to charge whilst using the phone in bed or on sofa, I need an extension cord.

The native browser is good, but tends to checkerboard when pinch/zoom. I recommend downloading the free Dolphin Browser. It's the most robust browser, bar none. It does everything.

I shouldn't have to download so many third-party apps for things as basic as sms alerts & a decent gallery, but at least you can get the one you want instead of settling for what is given to you. What tipped the scales to 4 stars is that there is no recurring calendar alarm. This coupled with no indicator light and only brief chimes, has caused me to miss appointments simply because I dare step away from my phone for a second. I tried Calendar Even Reminder but, as Android apps must be designed for a handful of overlays (Samsung, HTC, Motorola) across numerous Android versions & with individual customization, it only worked sporadically. In short, this phone doesn't come with a dependable calendar alarm. I thought we had this mastered in the late 90s. (After an app update, Calendar Even Reminder now works flawlessly, but I went months w/o a real calendar alarm & intend to punish Sammie by deducting one star. ;-)

Herein lies reasons I say iPhones are better for non-techies, busy people and older folks. They don't do a whole lot & you must take what you're given, but they're ready on day one. The GSII takes a bit up upgrading to make it behave. It's appeal is that it does *so* much more than an iPhone. It's exceptionally more high tech and customizable. Sometimes, figuring everything out seems like a science project, though. I only need one navigation system, for example, not *three*. When I say, "Navigate to..." don't ask me which system to use, just take me to my damned destination. This pretty much sums up Android. There's such a thing as too many choices. It's the law of diminishing returns.

I won't itemize everything the device does. I'll leave a link below. I love the speed, big screen and vivid colors. It's been very dependable. It's very slim yet sturdy & squeak-free. Tasteful, low-profile design w/a high profile screen. Both T-Mobile's and Sprint's G2S have larger screens than AT&T's. Of all the GS2 variants, T-Mobile's version is the only one to offer an 1850mah battery, the largest of the lot. Battery life is much better on this unit than most (I hear) & the battery stays cool. There are even 2500mah & 3500mah batteries available by Mugen Power. If you want a more exhaustive list of features, or to compare stats alongside any other phone, gsmarena is a thorough, straightforward site.

Network speed is completely variable. This device can reach download speeds up to 42mbps as it runs on T-Mo's 4G (HSPA+). However, the speeds you get vary greatly & depend on location. At home I get only 3-4mbps. A mile from my home, I get 13.44mbps download speeds. I've gotten as much as 20-something. Just depends on where you are. The same applies to other carriers. The Amaze is the same. The iPhone 4S doesn't have the capacity to reach such high speeds on any carrier.

This is an amazing, impressive device. Folks always ask about it when they see the screen, particularly when I set it down next to any other another phone. However, the reason I have a smartphone is to better organize my life. Native calendar alarm issues & lack of an indicator light should be a consideration as the downloadable options may or may not perform consistently.
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70 of 76 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2011
I was a little apprehensive when I picked this phone up, knowing that the Galaxy Nexus would be announced and coming out soon, but I'm really happy I went with the GS2. The phone feels amazing to hold, it's really light, and the display is incredible. I don't get into the iPhone/Android wars, but finally I have a phone that doesn't get written off as junk by my friends once they've taken a look at the phone and played around with it.

- Very light, but feels solidly built
- Amazing screen
- Very fast web browsing performance
- Good battery life (I turn off data while on WiFi and at the end of the work day I still have about 75% battery left)
- Doesn't feel bulky in my pocket
- Call quality is good
- Camera is great and has a very fast shutter
- Large screen makes typing MUCH easier with the software keyboard

- T-Mobile installs tons of extra apps that are junk (I use LaucherPro and hide them)
- No word yet on if/when it will receive Ice Cream Sandwich update
- There's an LED on the front, but can't see how to enable it for notifications

Overall it's a great phone and I'm sure I'll be happy with it for the next year or two. I was weary of giving up a physical keyboard, but having a large screen really makes typing easy.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 2011
I was very apprehensive about giving up my iPhone 3GS for a non iOS device. After a lot of back and forth I finally decided that I should try a phone that actually utilizes the 4g network I was paying for. The best way to describe this phone is as a Jailbroken iPhone. It has all the great things (memory killing, app killing, file organizing, etc) without every having to void your warranty. The first thing I would recommend is to root your phone and install a custom rom (ex. BeastMod II). The ROMS delete the horrible T-mobile bloatware, speed up everything and extend your battery life by at least 2 fold (heavy use lasts about 2 days). The size is perfect, the gorilla glass is awesome!
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2011
I got mine about 2 weeks ago, shortly after it came out. There is nothing about this phone I would change! It's fast, it's slick, and the screen is absolutely gorgeous. It takes crystal clear pictures and makes excellent HD movies. You will be getting a boat load for the price. And T-Mobile's service is FAST, although I only use the 4G internet inside the car for the lack of a wi-fi hot-spot. Even my friends with the latest iPhones have told me this screen is a lot prettier than theirs.

If I were to complain about a single item, it would be that the HD video gets a little choppy IF you are moving the camera around too fast. This did not affect my review (still 5 stars) because it's a phone for crying out loud, not a professional HD camera!

The calls are very clear and the reception is great. The fact that I can use Skype to make calls and other apps to make video calls through the Internet is just awesome. I have talked to several friends in foreign countries through Skype and those calls were also crystal clear. It felt like the person was next door to me.

The pictures out of the 8 megapixel camera were pretty awesome! True colors and great detail. Even the front camera makes it for great video-conferencing.

This phone is quickly becoming my mistress, as I spend more time with it than with my wife!!!

I can't wait for Android 4 to be out and available from T Mobile. I heard that is going to be the icing on the cake!
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2011
Got this phone from a Tmobile store. I'm really impressed. Samsung definitely nailed this one.I now can throw my Nexus S against the wall and have no regrets afterwards.
1. The Screen is amazing: Big, beautiful bright, vibrant, very readable in direct sunlight.Very good for browsing because of the screen real estate.
2. It feels very good,solid, premium and comfortable in the hand and it's also very light
3. It's thin and fits comfortably in my pocket
4. This phone is blazing fast and smooth at everything
5. Very good call quality, I have no complaints at all, probably the best I've ever experienced
6. Skype video calls on this thing is a pleasure
7. Decent battery life that takes me through the day
8. The camera, oh, my God, the camera is simply amazing. And when you turn on the antishake feature it's almost impossible to take a blurry picture. High definition video capture and play back is amazing
9. People ask what type of phone it is and tell me it looks amazing
10. Viewing and editing PDF, word, powerpoint and excel documents on this phone is such a joy compared to smaller screen phones
11. Love the 4G speed. I don't think I can stand anything slower after tasting this one

Cons: Not found any real con yet.
I very highly recommend this phone without reservations

Edit: I've had this device for over two months or so and I feel compelled to say I have no regrets whatsoever getting it. It's by far the very best phone I've ever used.
I still have about 40 to 60ish % battery left when I go to bed at night and that's from using the phone from about 8am to 11pm (this is when I turn of the GPS and bluetooth and use wifi - make a few calls, browse the internet for probably 10 to 20minutes, read a few articles use a few apps, send a few text messages read a few emails.
Just waiting on ICS update. I hope that comes quickly.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on November 27, 2011
First of all, Heath is an idiot. The battery, even with default ROM, is not going to run out in an hour and a half. This thing has HSPA+, a super AMOLED display, WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS. IF you have ALL these on it will last longer than what that dope references. With that said, it's an Android device, battery life is a challenge. BUT if you are someone who's going to root your device and run custom ROMs you can address some of the issues with battery length. If you use your phone like I do, a full day isn't possible. Just isn't. But you can extend the effective battery life with various tweaks and tricks custom ROM's incorporate. And you can turn the display down, keep GPS and bluetooth, wifi off etc...

With that topic behind, this is a very capable phone. Extremely fast, especially if you get rid of the foul and offensive TouchWiz interface. I recommend GoLauncher or LauncherPro but ADW EX is also good. Anything is better than TW IMO.

Great display, fast Qualcomm dual core processor and decent to good GPU. All games available today are fluid. 16GB on board storage is nice with the available 32GB expansion slot. External speaker is very average, possibly sub par really but I'm listening with headphones if I want to listen to any audio. Even there you really need to tweak it with a DSP app or app based EQ.

End of the day, what makes a contemporary phone good is speed and this device has that in volume.

Better audio out of the box and a larger battery would make it 5 stars for me. And if I didn't root and run custom ROMs I'm not sure I'd keep the 4 star unless you expect default attributes. I do not and I expected the gains I got out of the root/ROM process. It's really a 4.5 star rate but I'm not giving it 5 stars and there is not 4.5 rating so 4 is what it gets.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2012
I've been fascinated with Android phones since I first discovered them, about 2 years ago. Since that time, I've owned a number of these phones, including some made by HTC, Huawei, and now Samsung. I'd have to say, I'm really impressed with this phone! The display is large & very clear, and the phone's built-in bluetooth radio is really strong, so this stays connected to my regular and stereo bluetooth headsets (Plantronics backbeat 903plus), even when I'm walking around! I love this, as I use my phone to stream my MP3 library (which I've downloaded to a 16GB microsd memory card that I put in the phone), and to stream Pandora. The music sounds AMAZING.

As for the phone, the call quality is pretty good. Note that I always use a bluetooth headset (if possible), including my Lexus's built-in bluetooth. I've found with all phones that using bluetooth somewhat lowers the call quality (callers say it sounds like I'm on a "speakerphone" or a "headset"), but overall the calls are generally pretty clear. Also, the battery life for this phone is about the longest of any Android phone I've used. I'd say the battery lasts about 14-16 hours with texting, web browsing, phone calling, and streaming mp3's/Pandora, all of which I do on a daily basis.

One minor gripe (and I think this is more of an Android issue than an issue with this phone) is that I need to reboot the phone about once a day, otherwise it sometimes behaves strangely (ie. the bluetooth turns itself off about once a day, for no apparent reason). A quick reboot and everything works fine. Note, I have downloaded a number of apps from the Android Marketplace (virtually all of them free apps). It's possible that one or more of the apps I've downloaded could be causing some sort of conflict with the phone, which may be why I need to reboot it. However, I've noticed similar things when using a laptop computer, it always seems to work better/faster after a reboot.

Anyway, to date, this is the best 4G phone available for T-Mobile. I highly recommend this phone, it's fast, clear, and simple to use!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 2011
The phone definitely has the muscle. Below are a few of the pros and the cons for having this phone and the service that comes with it.

Pros - what i think users care the most
- Better looking : t-mobile version is far better than the bulky looking at&t sII.
- Feel: Sleeky but the plasticky feeling is somewhat gone from the older versions.
- Display: Best screen out there in the market. there is a glare issue but its well compensated with the most awesome picture quality.
- Camera: high resolutions for the 8MP back camera
- Operating system: Gingerbread 2.3.5 - latest build for android phone out there right now.
- Network: WiFi Hotspot and tethering are improved from the older versions.
- Network: 4G compatible.
- Memory: Internal : 8GB. Memory card: extendable upto 32 GB which is huge for a phone. Download as much as you want!
- Usage Plan: Unlimited data, talk, text plan from tmobile at affordable rates. Very cheap when you switch over.
- Hardware: 1.5 GHz processor - The highest there is out there!!
- Built-in: Voice recognition - samsung + vlingo (ok. not that appealing though).
- Built-in: Motion recognition: Pan and zoom, slide flicks, taps and some other motion sensors make this phone fun.
- Built-in: Swype keyboard - use this once and all other keyboards will be boring.

- It comes with t-mobile network
- This may sound a bit exaggerating and t-mobile gives you good plans too, however, it is not very flexible to allow users to switch between plans as per their needs (even with contract extension). So be sure to ask which plan you are going in for.
- Network: although 90% areas the network is "present", it really depends where you are to get 4G speeds.(check 4G coverage in your area before you expect a 4G network).
- The phone should ideally show the network speeds switching between 4G ( or H which stands for HSPDA - highest), 3G, G, E(lowest). Instead it flips only between 4G and E. Well, if you see a 4G bar, you expect 4G speeds.

- As for all smartphones the battery life is definitely an issue. I make my way around by keeping another fully charged spare one handy. Spare ones come in cheap too. search for it.
- The speakers are not very loud. TO some this point may be a good point, but this is my personal opinion.

To summarize, the phone is so good, i will not need to root this even though i have paid the full price to make this baby mine. The network is definitely a work in progress but when you start browsing, using, abusing this phone, it runs super sweet. The unlimited data plan makes this all possible. The dominating screen is a head turner and a full fledged entertainment system.
With this phone, you will definitely get the "Best package" available out there.

I will look forward to the ICS upgrade but not sure if i even need it!!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2011
I consider myself a heavy user, texting, checking facebook, twitter, news, sports, etc a lot. If I'm constantly doing that over 4g with GPS, bluetooth disabled, the battery life is going to last around 6-7 hours if I'm using the lowest brightness which is still plenty bright. I always carry a car charger, and a regular charger when I'm at school. Not going into other features because other people already have. Overall I am really happy with this phone but I just wished T-mobile gave us the option to remove all of the boatware that came with the phone.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 19, 2011
I have owned many many phones in the years since I have first had a cell phone. I have had T-Mobile since day one, and I love them. I also generally love their phones. I will admit, that a few years ago, I wasn't much of a fan of Samsung, I had a few of their phones including the blast, the behold, and the gravity touch.. and I hated every single on of them. I had my gravity touch for about a month and could no longer stand it, and I purchased the Samsung Galaxy S Vibrant(I was a little worried, with the horrible past I had with Samsung), I ended up loving the phone. It was by far the best Samsung phone I had seen. I had the phone up until a few weeks ago (for almost 2 years). I just got the Samsung Galaxy S2, and Samsung sure has changed. I thought the Samsung Vibrant was probably just a one time deal for Samsung, but they sure have gotten things figured out the past few years. I have recommended the Galaxy phones to many friends, who also love theirs now. I love Samsung's touch-wiz interface with android, it makes the phone easy and fun to use, but still keeps the android feel.
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