I always did need my space

August 7, 2011
2 mins read

THE LAST couple of days I’ve been playing with the new Samsung Galaxy SII, and you know what? It’s the categorically the first mobile phone I have enjoyed having a bit of a fiddle with.
Over the years I’ve owned a long line of cellphones, because each year I’ve been made to feel inadequate without all the latest bells and widgets. But I’ve always found them a pain and a hindrance. Each time I get a new phone, getting to grips with it and learning how to use it becomes that much easier, but that doesn’t alter the unalterable, the conclusive, and the inevitable verdict that for the most part cellphones are fiddly, unintuitive, and a chore.
I know the iPhone was supposed to change all of that, and I’m sure that for a lot of people it did. But somehow, I have resisted its charms. I’ve fiddled with the odd iPhone, and watched as friends try valiantly to try and get YouTube videos to play for me in cafes… with little success.
I’ve also tried out a bunch of the new 3G smart phones that have hit the market in the past year, all with touch screens and loads of features that allow you to do more than you could ever dream with a gadget. Almost.
But there has always been something that left me unconvinced. The bugbear is that there’s always something about the navigation that proves horribly unintuitive, meaning that I end up wasting precious time finding some feature that is needed to achieve the basic. Or there are too many steps required in order to get to your destination.
This is just a first glimpse at the new Galaxy SII. I’ll get around to a proper review, but some initial impressions:
* While the form factor is rather large in terms of dimensions, it’s also really thin, and really light, both of which are good things.
* The AMOLED screen is superb: hi-res and bright enough to sunny conditions, which is a rarity. And I’m told it’s capable of 1080p video, but have yet to test that.
* Its dual core processor means that it really is lightning fast. There’s absolutely no lag moving through menus or applications.
* Unlike earlier Samsung mobiles (I know, I owned a few) it’s really simple to navigate and find stuff. And there are a few things that really help, including a ‘back one step’ counter, a ‘back to main screen’ icon, and a pull-down menu with helpful stuff on it. I never got really lost, even though there’s heaps to explore.
* Although the battery drained in one day, I’m told that if I’m sensible and disable features like wi-fi when I don’t need them, then I can expect a very robust, long-lasting performance.
I thought it was aimed at the entertainment market, but in fact, if anything, Samsung has oriented the Galaxy SII towards the professional/corporate end of the market, and there are a lot of smart business features packed onto the phone. It could be a real Blackberry buster.
But it also works brilliantly as an internet-on-the-hoof portable entertainment zone, and I found it super simple to get my gmail, Facebook and Twitter up and running.
Of course, there aren’t as many applications as you’ll find on an iPhone, but I don’t expect that to be the case for long.
I’ll write a proper review in time, but to finish off, here’s an example of how cool the Galaxy SII is. For my first trip into town, I used the navigation application, which in an instant identified where I was. I spoke my destination address and it took me straight there, with directions. Who needs a dedicated in-car GPS unit anymore? GARY STEEL

Steel has been penning his pungent prose for 40 years for publications too numerous to mention, most of them consigned to the annals of history. He is Witchdoctor's Editor-In-Chief/Music and Film Editor. He has strong opinions and remains unrepentant. Steel's full bio can be found here


  1. I’ve owned one for a while now and the only downsides are 1. the large size (just too large to comfortably fit in jeans pocket), 2. activating on/of button forces me to grip phone on both sides and invariably then push/alter the volume button. 3. the sound quality is only ok via heahphones, speaker is a mini mono, 4. in built music player is very basic or unintuitive (where’s the random play button?), 5. battery life is only average (but I got a couple of spares for less than $20), 6. organisation of apps not quite as good as on the iphone4.

    Otherwise, its lightening fast, bright clear screen, hd 1080p vid works well, plenty enough apps on android 2.3 (google translate works a treat), good 8 megapix camera, integrates seemlessly with samsung smart tv/wireless home network, with more than adequate browsing speed, 32gb card adds plenty to the 16 gbs

    I’m keeping mine!

  2. Yep @Frankie & Beaut, I also own an SII and love it to bits – its nothing short of awesome – I sneakily got onto the Google music beta whilst in the US a whilst back and the new music player is awesome. Battery life tends to be pretty good once background data and GPS is turned off (I turn them on if I need them which is hardly ever)…

    I also love that you can press the home button twice to get Vlingo (which existed long before Siri) fired up and send emails, texts etc or even have incoming messages read aloud to you…

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