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on July 13, 2015
Kept breaking after I received it, smh
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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 vs GS2
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.

IPHONE 4S vs GS2
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.

NEW TO ANDROID?
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'.

PEEVES
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.

T-MOBILE
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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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.

Pros
- 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

Cons
- 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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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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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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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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on December 21, 2011
Bought one of these at full price ($600, $400 net of rebate) from T-Mobile corporate store with a $200 rebate in mid Dec 2011. Used for 3 days in the Austin Texas area. Good 4G coverage and phone is very fast as a browser. Speed tests of 4G are stunning at 3-4mbps down and 1mbps up. Large display is great though beware that is uses more battery than any other aspect of the phone. Wifi calling (incoming and outgoing) without having to use an app like Skype is a great addition, though sometimes it doesn't work right (no ring though you see and incoming call, or you answer and there is no sound). SWYPE keyboard conflicts with some logins on some apps.

Beware that the stock email app does not support IMAP accounts (Gingerbread 2.3.6 and the stock email app) though Google Accounts work fine in IMAP mode. Deal killer for me since our business runs IMAP and was not willing to use a non-standard app for email purposes. Returned and after hassling with three Tmo reps finally got my old grandfathered rate plan back. While I think the price of the phone with rebate and the 2gb data-all you can eat price of $60 a month is way better than anything you can get from ATT using the Skyrocket, be darn sure this is what you want to do before leaving your grandfathered plan, and as someone else wrote, they will stick you with an $8/mo "protection plan" without telling you AND you have to agree to a $200 early termination fee (NOT PRORATED!!!) on your RATE PLAN even if you pay FULL PRICE FOR THE PHONE. This does not seem right to me and another reason I will be wary before signing anything with Tmo in the future. Tmo claims there is no rescission period for a RATE PLAN so BEWARE. I've been with them for 7 years and I'm happy with rates and service, but this experience left a VERY BAD TASTE in my mouth........

Will wait and see if they get the bugs out of this one (to support IMAP correctly) and also go back and look at the Skyrocket which is very similar phone with almost same specs. Of course Tmo is slated to have the iPhone 5 and the new Ice Cream Google phone may be better.
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on October 1, 2012
So I have this phone for 2 days now and I like it. It has big screen, very responsive. I have used iphone and blackberry before for years and this is my first android phone. Here is a quick summary:

Pros:
- More flexible, a lot of different options. More customizable than iphone.
- Phone itself is way lighter than iphone (except for iphone 5) someone might say it feels more flimsy but to me, lighter is better, I am not looking for a paperweight.
- Way bigger screen than any iphone, more real estate to work with.
- micro SD card, and replaceable battery

Cons:
- With flexibility, it becomes less initutive than iphone. Plus and minus at the same time.
- Barely barely a one-hand device, I could hardly type or swype with one hand.
- Battery apparently cannot last as long as an iphone or BB (not a professional run-for-8-hours test, just daily common usage)

However, out of my frustration with numerous mistakes made by T-Mobile, I'll advise people to buy from carriers other than T-mobile. Here is a quick summary:

- I placed the phone order with TMobile on 9/12. Got the phone on 9/18. WRONG PHONE. Called the T-Mobile support. No way to exchange in store (aren't they the same company or supposed to be the same company?), and cannot send me a new phone until I sent back the old one. They finally processed phone on 9/25 but they need to charge my card again for another $550 before the original one is pending refund (supposedly in a month). They why do I need to wait for you to get back the wrong phone if you need to charge my card again anyway?

- I did get the phone the next day, but activation is a hassle because this is a "new" sim card; instead of just one phone call, I had to call a couple of times because the first rep didn't activate the wifi calling. But the worst thing ever was that he sold me some on-the-spot discounted packages and completely messed up my rate plan.

- I spoke with the supervisor, who repeated the script several times to sympathize with me, but no real help. So I asked him to set me back at the original monthly plan. He said he did it and gave me the address to file a written complaint. But next time I check, the rate plan is still wrong.

Interestingly, I spoke with at least 5 other individuals used or are using TMobile and they just chuckled and gave me their own version of horror story.

So my experience is "Good phone, but not with T-Mobile".

Sincerely,
Herman
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on May 21, 2012
I'm a phone geek and i must say that this has to be one of my FAVORITE phones that I've ever owned! the international version of this phone came out a year ago and its still competing VERY well with the phones of today!! don't hesitate to buy because this phone is very smooth, thin, light, and everything you want in a smartphone.
PROS:
-Super Amoled Plus screen is just flat out Gorgeous!! colors are beautiful, and have me drooling when i look at the screen
-4.5 inch screen size is perfect for a phone! it fits in my hands, yet gives me a large estate to view my games, pictures, movies, etc. on
-speedy specs! dual core 1.5ghz processor is quick and 1gb of ram is plenty to keep you running multiple apps at the same time
-removable back cover with removable battery with removal micro SD slot.
-battery life is good but i toggle my data on and off when i need it to save battery.
-hardware is gorgeous! i love the slim sexy look of this phone!
-overall a very smooth interface

Cons:
-the resolution is a mere 800x480 giving it a pixel density of about 160ppi. (its not the highest resolution screen, but in my opinion it isn't noticeable and the Super Amoled Plus display makes up for the lack of resolution.
- there is a "blotchy" effect if you view black colors in the dark. Many owners have noticed that the black isn't consistent and has patches and lines that are darker. This ISNT noticeable unless your eyes have completely adjusted to the dark surrounding and you look at a black color.

overall opinion:
i would recommend this phone over the galaxy nexus, and many many other phones that are even newer than this one! its one beautiful and perfect device.
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on November 11, 2012
My first smartphone was the Samsung Galaxy Exhibit. I loved it initially (it was a lot of phone for $200). It had the same operating system as the S2 (Gingerbread) but was buggy and lacked sufficient RAM and a large enough processor to work well. With all the bloatware on T Mobile phones, the Exhibit was slow and froze a lot, and after 5 months it started acting up (random black screen, random vibrating, not connecting to networks, screen freeze ups) so I dumped it and got the Galaxy S2. So far, so good. Battery life stinks (the Juice Defender app is a must) but the phone, though large, is very light and easy to use. You can pick up a T Mobile no contract S2 at Walmart for just $300. T Mobile wants an arm and a leg for theirs ($479).

NOTE: if you buy a prepaid phone make sure and have it unlocked for a postpaid plan to ensure proper functioning! Prepaid phones on T Mobile will not roam to ensure good call quality; you will be restricted to the T Moble network only and that will be problematic. Trust me.

Let's hope it lasts more than 5 months-I truly have my doubts about Samsung after my Exhibit problems! If it fails, I'm reluctantly moving to the iPhone!
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