Friday, January 13, 2012

A New Phone for the New Year!

So, I got a new phone as a graduation present from my parents before Christmas and I'm just now getting around to reviewing it. This is partly because I was waiting to have used it for a bit to get a better idea of its nature, and partly because I got sick (I'm now firmly on the mend, though).

This phone is only the third one I've ever gotten, and only the second one I've used for any appreciable length of time. I got my very first phone when I was 18, a month or two before I began college. It was a sturdy little clam-shell phone, and I kept it for the two years necessary to get an upgrade, which I did because I wanted something with a few more features (primarily the ability to transfer files between the phone and a computer and the ability to serve as a music player, but some other stuff as well). Unfortunately, I made the mistake of picking my second phone from the ones available at the store on the spot without taking time to review my options. This was (and is) contrary to my nature, which runs much more to exhaustive analysis and comparison between choices, and it soon proved to be a poor move. My new phone was even less capable than my old one (it turned out to be some sort of "simplified phone for senior citizens", which in my defense wasn't immediately obvious on the surface), and within a fortnight I'd moved back to my first phone.

That single phone lasted my entire college career to date, four and a half years, and while I'm glad to have finally updated to a smart phone I do have to admire it for serving faithfully for so long.

But a smart phone is what I got! After researching the options available to me I settled for the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket, the first iteration of the highly-lauded Galaxy S line built for AT&T's new 4th-generation network. How do I like it? Read on to find out!

My new Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket.
This is a nice phone. It's got one of the fastest mobile processors on the market (1.5 GHz dual-core) and a stunning amount of RAM (1 GB, if I recall correctly). In fact, it's more powerful than my first computer! The screen is a roomy 4.52-inch (along the diagonal) Super AMOLED Plus display, and is noticeably larger than that of an iPhone. It's not the largest screen on the market, but it's a good size -- large without being unwieldy, and it feels good in my hand. And did I mention it's bright? This thing can really put out some serious light and good contrast, even in fairly strong sunlight, and the detail and resolution is simply stunning. (I would show you pictures of it in action, but for some reason it turns out to be really tricky to get good pictures of the display, and I don't want to show the poor-quality ones I was able to get and have you think they reflect poorly on the phone itself.)

The Skyrocket runs Android version 2.3.5 "Gingerbread" with Samsung's own proprietary TouchWiz 4.0 user interface on top. Both work quite well, and while some bloatware is to be expected on pretty much any phone you buy, the stuff pre-loaded on the Skyrocket isn't too bad (and some of it can be uninstalled). The Skyrocket has also been confirmed to receive Android version 4 "Ice Cream Sandwich" sometime in the coming year, so that'll be cool.

Edit (1/14/12): One thing I forgot to mention in my initial review was battery life. Generally, more power means faster battery drain, and most phones today require frequent recharging. I've been quite pleased in that regard, as my phone manages to hold a charge for a good long while. I've left it uncharged overnight and could probably get two days' normal use out it no problem. Fully charged I should be able to get even moderately heavy use out of it for a good long day. All in all, I'm highly pleased with the battery life (and charging rate) of this thing.

General thoughts: I like this phone. I like it a lot. Part of that is probably due to the fact that it's my first smart phone and makes my previous phone look like a landline in comparison, but I do think that this phone is excellently designed all-around (and several major review sites have agreed, some going so far as to claim the Galaxy S II as "possibly the best smart phone, period" when it first came out last year). I'm sure there will be better models coming out this year, but my philosophy with this phone (as with my computer, watch, etc.) is to get something good, strong, and sturdy that will remain competitive in the years to come, and I've got a hunch I've found it in this phone. This strategy has worked with my watch (which is...around 4 years old) and my computer (almost 2 so far), and I expect this to be a phone I'll be using for years to come, seeing as I've proven highly responsible for phones (er, phone) in the past.


  1. Whoa. I used to get annoyed with having to charge my old phone every three days or so.

  2. I used to be able to do that with my old phone, but the battery life slowly degraded over the years to the point were I could get about 1-2 days of use out of it. I really didn't mind recharging it overnight, I just kept the charging cord by my bed where I kept my phone and plugged it in at night when I went to bed.

  3. It sounds great! And if it's anything like my Galaxy S, it's virtually indestructible. I lost mine in a muddy field full of sheep where it spent two days in the rain before I found it, and it still works.


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