The Samsung Galaxy S II has sold over 10 million since it’s release in March of 2011 – and that isn’t even counting the US iterations of the device. The device is simply spectacular and single-handedly caused the collective knees to knock in Cupertino (that’s Apple’s headquarters if you don’t know) and they responded by unleashing their lawyers to try and change the public’s perception of this device, and ultimately Android itself. While slowing down sales in Europe for a time, the SGS2 has exploded onto the US scene with different versions for AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile. With owning Sprint’s version of the SGS2, the Samsung Epic 4G Touch, I was skeptical about how the T-Mobile version (SPH-T989) would perform given the different processor.
- 4.52-inch Super AMOLED Plus touchscreen @ 480×800
- Dual-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm APQ8060
- Adreno 220 GPU
- 1GB RAM
- 16GB internal storage, with max 32GB expandable storage
- 8 MP rear-facing and 2 MP front-facing cameras with True 1080P HD recording on the rear-facing
- Android Gingerbread 2.3.5
- 1850 mAh battery with up to 7 hrs talk-time and up to 7 days stand-by
- 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi
- Bluetooth 3.0
- GSM (850/900/1800/1900 MHz), UMTS (1700/2100 MHz), HSPA+/HSDPA+ (21.1 Mbit/s and 42.2 Mbit/s), HSUPA (5.76 Mbit/s), EDGE
- 5.11 x 2.71 x 0.37in (130 x 69 x 9mm)
Say what you want about other screens – the Super AMOLED Plus is just spectacular. The colors are vivid and bright, and there are no poor touchscreen spots. A time didn’t go by that someone didn’t comment about the screen. The size might seem huge, but in the hand it just fits. The only thing missing, in my opinion, is the System option for “Screen Mode” (like the Epic 4G Touch), allowing for different modes (Dynamic, Standard, Movie) to be selected, thus yielding a different array of vivid colors.
In order to be compatible with T-Mobile’s HSDPA+ 42Mbps network, the 1.2GHz Exynos processor was swapped with the Qualcomm 1.5GHz instead. Performance was actually similar to it’s counterpart on Sprint and AT&T (not the Skyrocket). AnTuTu scores came in at ; Quadrant scores came in on average at 3799, Linpack of 86.80 MFLOPS, and AnTuTu of 6083. For a stock ROM, without any customizations or kernel tweaks, I am very impressed.
The GPU in the T989 is an Adreno 220 as opposed to the Mali400 in the OG SGS2 and the Epic Touch 4G as a direct result of using the Snapdragon and not the Exynos SoC. With that being said, the graphics were smooth and animations were fast and consistent – I rarely saw any flicker or hesitation. Nenamark1 scores were 59.7fps, with Nenamark2 scores being 59.7fps.
One of the trademarks of the SGS2 series has been the amazing quality of the 8 MP camera and this iteration didn’t disappoint. It takes snappy photos, but has a difficult time adjusting to different light levels.
After hearing a lot of talk about the Snapdragon CPU in the T989 being prone to not only higher battery usage but also overheating problems I was skeptical about how well the battery would do. After using it pretty regularly over the past week, I can tell you I experienced nothing but great battery life, on average ~20hrs of normal usage and almost 1 1/2 days just sitting with Wi-Fi on and push notifications. And I never once felt the battery get any more hot than anything else when under heavy load.
The only difference in the design from the other SGS II’s in the US and this variation is that the T989 has rounded corners with a silver edge. Otherwise it’s virtually identical in design. It is lightweight, and very thin, with a “non-slip” design on the back battery cover making it much easier to hold onto.
Front: ear speaker at the top, along with the front-facing camera and ambient light sensor, and Menu/Home/Back/Search capacitive buttons at the bottom
Right: power button
Left: Volume Up/Down buttons
Top: headphone port
Bottom: microphone and MHL-enabled charging and PC connection port
Back: rear-facing camera and LED flash, with the speaker on the bottom
The T989 ships with Android 2.3.5 overlaid with Samsung’s TouchWiz. In my opinion, TouchWiz is not nearly as annoying or battery-guzzling as Sense from HTC, but it isn’t vanilla AOSP either. The UI is smooth, and everything flows beautifully with no hint of a hiccup anywhere. What this means, is that when ICS hits this device it will be more than capable of handling it with style. Speaking of ICS, there has been no official information given from T-Mobile identifying when this device will be getting the upgrade – but expect to see it by the 3Q of 2012.
This of course comes preloaded with the usual suspects of carrier-installed bloatware, none of which can be uninstalled without other measures, i.e. rooting, being employed. Here is the list of the bloatware which is far longer than any other carrier I have seen:
411 & More – a T-Mobile app providing everything from 411 Directory Assistance to Weather and News.
AllShare – a Samsung app which allows you to share multimedia content with DLNA-compliant devices.
Asphalt 6 – an arcade-style racing game.
Blio – an e-reader.
Bonus Apps – a T-Mobile app that installs as a widget on your homescreen to help you “discover” great free apps and services brought to you by T-Mobile.
IM – part of Samsung’s Social Hub allowing you to bring all of your IM services (Gtalk, Windows Live, Yahoo) into one place.
Lookout Mobile Security – app that provides you with services to protect against malware, theft, data backup.
Media Hub – Samsung app which brings TV Shows and Movies to your device.
More for Me – T-Mobile app that tries to connect you with great deals in your city.
My Account – T-Mobile app that lets you check your account information like balance, minutes and data usage, etc.
My Device – T-Mobile app which helps you download ringtones and wallpaper to help personalize your device.
Polaris Office – app that allows you to open, edit and create Microsoft Word documents.
Pro Apps – T-Mobile link to download “4G Pro Apps” like Dropbox, Evernote, LinkedIn, etc.
Slacker Radio – app which allows for streaming radio stations and content over the Internet.
Social Hub – Samsung app which brings all of your content that could be considered social into one place and allows you to control it in one place.
T-Mobile Mall – another T-Mobile app which allows you to find apps, content and services to add to your phone.
T-Mobile Name ID – app from T-Mobile which lets you identify unknown callers by Name, City & State.
T-Mobile TV – app from T-Mobile which brings live media and other content to your mobile device.
Tags – app for scanning information via the NFC radio included in the T989.
TeleNav GPS Navigation – for those who don’t want to use Google Navigation, you can select this app, for a nominal monthly fee.
Qik Video Chat – app for conducting live, video chat with others utilizing the Qik app.
Visual Voicemail – service from T-Mobile which downloads all your voicemail to your device so you don’t have to call to get your voicemail.
Zinio Reader – app for downloading and reading popular magazines and newspapers.
This device is a joy to play games on, mainly from it’s beautiful screen and fast processor. Games like Asphalt 6 were amazing, even if I totally sucked at playing them. I was also quite surprised that battery life didn’t seem to take too much a hit while playing some of the more graphic-intensive games.
IN THE BOX
- USB cable for charging and PC connection
- AC Adapter with USB connection
- Earbud headphones
- 1850 mAh NFC battery
This iteration of the Samsung Galaxy S II is beautiful, and while it strays from the true nature of the device (ala Qualcomm instead of Exynos processor), it achieves a great mix of form and function for the carrier it is intended for. If you’re on T-Mobile this is by far the best device currently for you to select. The only thing that was a negative for me is the amount of bloatware that comes preinstalled – it’s just too much. Everything else just spoke volumes for me in terms of what a device should be. I highly recommend this device, and it gets my first 5 Droid review.
RATING: 5 droids (out of 5)