My Galaxy S II Ice Cream Sandwich Review

SGSII ICS desktop

My Samsung Galaxy S II was updated to Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0.3) recently and I have been playing with it a bit. In this review, my focus is on the changes that ICS brings to the Galaxy S II.

Samsung And TouchWiz

Samsung has applied their proprietary TouchWiz interface on the Galaxy S II. As such, the interface doesn’t look much like pure ice cream sandwich. That may be a good or bad thing, depending on what side of the fence you sit on. Personally, i don’t like it. The Galaxy S II with ICS simply looks mostly like the Galaxy S II with GingerBread. Too much, in my opinion.

However, TouchWiz works well and brings enhanced usability in various ways, so from that perspective there isn’t much to complain about.

Contacts Now Separated From Phone

The Phone menu no longer has Contacts as an embedded tab. Contacts is now a separate menu/app (see above screenshot). I think that I prefer it that way.

Settings Menu

SGSII-ICS-Menu-Popup

When you hit the Menu button on the desktop, the pop-up has been changed to a vertical menu. I prefer the Gingerbread version. However, going deeper via the Settings menu, the interface has also been modified and looks really nice.

SGSII-ICS-Menu-Deeper

Screenshots

Doing a screen capture on the Galaxy S II has now been changed. Now hold Volume Down and Power buttons together, and voila!

Web Browser

I like the new interface of the browser. There’s an icon to switch between tabs and to create/delete tabs. It also provides an option to browse incognito. This supposedly lets you browse without leaving a trace of your search history or cookies.

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The browser settings include options to save a webpage for offline viewing, to force the desktop view of websites, to share the page and to print, among others. There are a few more advanced stuff deeper in the settings: you can set your preferred search engine, enable/disable Javascript, and more.

All those features aside, however, I am not liking how the new web browser renders text hyperlinks. The underline just too dark to me. beyond that, general page rendering seems okay. In all, the new browser is a huge improvement.

SGSII-ICS-Web-browser

Gmail

New Gmail app is nice! Really nice. Why does the new Gmail UI look like something lifted from Windows Phone? Take a look:
SGSII-ICS-Gmail-Inbox

SGSII-ICS-Gmail-Open

SGSII-ICS-Gmail-Compose

Camera

I earlier complained about the camera taking too long to focus, shoot, and get ready for another shot. It was just frustrating. I am pleased to say that this update has addressed the issue. The camera now works much faster then before, and I am finally able to use it without feeling frustrated.

Battery Life

I am not quite sure that I have noticed any significant battery life improvement. Some improvement may be there, but too small to be shouted about. That’s my experience.

Conclusions

The Ice Cream Sandwich update to the Samsung Galaxy S II is a nice one. Regular, non-techie users don’t miss anything significant, but geeks and techies will drool over a number of improvements.

Mister Mobility

I started blogging about mobile in 2004 as a fun way to share my passion for gadgets and mobile services. My other interests include digital media, speaking and teaching, photography, travelling, and dancing.

0 thoughts on “My Galaxy S II Ice Cream Sandwich Review

  • April 6, 2012 at 4:53 pm
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    A good Easter present for SGSII users! Nice touch for the Android OS,

  • April 7, 2012 at 9:51 pm
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    A friend just bought sgsII 3days ago and his complaints are what i would have warned him about if he had seek my advice b4 buying.He now complains of law battery& data comsuption compare to his N97.I haven’t owned android device though have had many hands on(s) and hoping to own a Galaxy Note .Any user around?

  • April 8, 2012 at 12:54 pm
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    whats the difference?? This is supposed to be another gingerbread fix. By the way seems u didn’t mention face unlock. I thought ICS came wit that.

    On my opinion the ICS fuss is not worth it

  • May 9, 2012 at 11:40 pm
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    A lot of Galaxy users I know were talking about upgrading to the Galaxy S III, but having seen it I think there’s really no “nature” to. Personally I don’t like the look of the thing but I’m sure a lot of people will disagree with me.

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