Second part

Welcome to the second part of my Android 4.0.3 update on Samsung Galaxy SII review. I review here the OS update from O2 UK and this should not be taken as objective review of the Android 4.0.3 OS itself. Please read the first part before reading the below. Now that I have been using the new OS for three weeks, I can say more about it. First of all, it does slow down the phone. Not that much, maybe up to 25%; is that bad? Not really, the phone is still fast enough. I would blame Samsung rather than Google for it, looks like Samsung has not optimised the new OS well enough, still, you get it for FREE, so why would you expect more?

  

Screen unlock

As you know from the first part of my review, you can now unlock the phone with your face. Now, while it works, it doesn’t wake the camera every time so sometimes you may need to turn the screen off and on again. The waiting time of the turning on the camera for the face recognition could be lower as well; it is just ok. The face recognition itself works pretty well though, even if you hold the phone considerably farer away than the photo taken and doesn’t much matter if it is in well-lit environment or not.

Incoming call screen

I have somehow never mentioned that, but the incoming call screen looks slightly diffent too. You particulary pick up/hang the call with a diffrent move.  I like it.

Alarm screen

The screen of when alarm comes off looks better than on the old OS. It is “nicer” to use, too. 

Stability

The new Android is stable, yes, it has frozen once or twice on me but that’s ok. I have a feeling that clutters a little bit more than before, too. In general it is very stable.

Battery life

And here is a nice surprise, as promised, the battery life is higher, how much? I dunno, maybe 10%, maybe 15%, maybe less. But the phone lives definitely longer now; well done guys!

That’s it (more and less…)

Well, that’s it guys, all that I have written in the first part stays valid. Good phone, good update. Should have been better as mentioned before, some things magically missing (i.e. extra camera features) off the original Google Android ICS and all the signs on the sky says blame Samsung. Is that means my next phone will not be Samsung Galaxy SIII? Maybe, at the end of the day, there is not much more you can put into these tiny constructions; this will be a software war now.

Bonus

As a bonus, I will mention now a few good applications worth having on your phone.  

Temple Run

It’s a fun, good looking and quite fast action game where all you need to do is…run! You turn, jump, slide, collect points and first of all survive as long as possible. Pure fun! and free

Angry Birds – Space

New Angry Birds are here, with better music, sounds and graphics. If you have liked the previous ones, it’s a must have.

Instagram

This brilliant free photo tool allows you to share your photos with the world, and, even more, you can use one of the many free filters to make them look like works of art. It works currently with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Foursquare; support for Flickr is coming soon.  

Spotify (selected countries)

If you haven’t heard of the Spotify and you are a music lover than you should go and see your local GP 😉 Spotify is basically a new way of accessing (any) music and it’s 100% legal. So how does it work? It’s pretty simple, a free Spotify will let you listen to any music for free, however, you will get to listen to ads every few songs. On top of it, there are some limits on how many songs you can listen to per month. Apart of that, you can only listen to music on the home computer. You can play and organise your own music files as well.

For a paid, premium service (in UK it’s 10GBP/month), you get access to unlimited amount of songs a month, no ads, on top of the home computer application, you can use it on Smartphones, tablets, networked home cinema systems, you name it. You also get an option to listen in a higher quality. The Spotify is currently available for these countries: Austria, Belgium, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Switzerland, USA, United Kingdom and it’s expanding fast.

The new Spotify Android app looks better than ever and works just great on Samsung Galaxy S2 phones. The application is free but you will need a paid Premium subscription to use it. Now, don’t cry just yet, you can trial it on your phone for 48h free of charge and even for a month longer afterwards.  

Voucher Cloud (UK only)

Voucher Cloud is an ingenious application allowing you to check for discounts around you. Every time you want to save some money on your meal, trip, cinema, flight, bowling and more, you can just launch this and have a look. If you are looking for a meal, it will for example tell you the distance to the nearest place i.e. Frankie & Benny’s and which on-going offers it has. It can show you a map position where it is, too. Brilliant!