Samstag, 21. Mai 2011

Test Update: Samsung Galaxy S with Android 2.21 Update

Nearly a year after the release of the Galaxy S, Samsung released two significant updates: Android 2.2.1 and Kies 2.0. The hopes were high already for the Android 2.2 update, but main problems like the nearly not working sync and the heavy laggs. So after all, 2.2 has been only a little update. But despite the little change in the version number, 2.2.1 has been a huge improvement. The laggs and sync problems are history, so it is time to update my rating. In the meantime, Samsung already released Android 2.3.3, but this one is not a big improvement whereas 2.2.1 is a must.

Samsung seemes to have fixed the WIFI problems, so it gets the same connection quality as my other devices, so one addtional point for the SGS On GSM, Edge and 3G it has been better anyways.
3GS: 7 - SGS: 9 (of 10)

Battery life
The battery problems I had with the SGS must have been software issues. Regarding battery life, the SGS with 2.2.1 feels like a complete different phone. It battery time is not only much better than before, it easily beats the iPhone 3GS's battery life. The charging problem is also gone. Now with 2.2.1, on my 30 minutes drive into the office, the SGS fully charges. With 2.1, I wrote that a fully charged SGS won't make it through my average business day. Now, in the evening I have more than 60% battery left with my average usage. So this is about 3 times of battery life compared to the first Android 2.2.1 firmware. Wow, this must have been a serious bug in power management. And they also fixed the issue of fast uncharging in airplane mode. When in airplane mode, the battery of the SGS will last for 4-5 days.
To make this great battery life even better, Samsung offers a 1650mAH battery as a spare part for some Galaxy phones like the Armani Edition. This one is available at eBay for about € 25,- and will add 10% of battery life to the SGS.
So the SGS, which has been one of the smartphones with the worst battery life is now one with the best. This is why I updated my rating.
3GS: 5 - SGS: 7 (of 10)

Hardware Ecosystem
The iPhone has still the largest hardware ecosystem around it. But the SGS is closing up a little, with add ons by Samsung itself like the desk stand or the external battery case (comparable to the Mophie Juice Pack. But also from 2nd sources there a lots of cases and car mounts, like the ones from Brodit which is my favorite car mount manufacturer. But there are still some hardware accessories, which are only available for the iPhone, like audio sets with iPhone adapter.
3GS: 10 - SGS: 7 (of 10)

Since Android 2.2.1, all the lags that I criticized in my former test are completely gone. And I had not a single crash since the upgrade. In head-to-head comparision, the iPhone feels slow compared to the SGS. Scrolling, swiping, everything is much quicker and more responsive on the iPhone. So the iPhone is no longer the reference in UI speed and responsiveness, this title goes to the SGS. This is why the SGS now gets 10 out of 10 points and the iPhone gets rated down to 7.
3GS: 7 - SGS: 10 (of 10)

Desktop Software
Samsungs Desktop Software Kies needed a lot of development in the last relase, and Samsung did some of the needed work. Kies 2.x now works without any problems after a simple installation, well done. And it is also available for MacOS now. So the biggest annoyances are fixed now, but iTunes is still way ahead of Kies. But at least this gives Kies an increase from 4 to 6 points.
3GS: 10 - SGS: 6 (of 10)

Since my test last year, the SGS became cheaper, whereas the iPhone prices kept high. The SGS 8 GB is down to € 320,- and you might add € 20,- for a 16GB SD card, whereas the iPhone 3GS 16GB still comes at € 560,- (which probably noone would buy, because for € 600,- one could get the iPhone 4 16GB). The iPhone 3GS 32GB comes at € 600,- , the SGS with a 32GB SD card costs about € 370,-.
So the price difference grew significant, the SGS even more gives the better value for the money. It is probably the cheapest deal to get a top end smartphone.
3GS: 4 - SGS: 8 (of 10)

Conclusion (again)
Samsung made good use of the last 6 months and erased all flaws of their software. These improvements made a huge difference and the SGS also got a lot cheaper. So if you plan to buy an Android device now, you could get one of the brand new 2011 devices, which might have some new flaws. Or you get the SGS with a very mature software at an unbeatable price. There are not much reasons to get the iPhone instead, as long as you are not an Apple fanboy or completely locked in Apples ecosystem anyway.
But Apple did not sleep, the iPhone 4 is out for about a year and iOS 5 is already annonced for next month. The iPhone 4 alone is not a big improvement over the 3GS, but mine is already waiting for it's iOS 5 update. So the 3rd round in this battle will be SGS with Android 2.3.4 vs. the the iPhone 4 with iOS 5. But for now, the SGS is the clear winner.


Battery life57
Interfaces & Memory69
Hardware Buttons56
Build Quality105
Hardware Ecosystem107

Hardware Summary6463


Storage Support74
User Interface49

Phone Application55

System Summary3541


On screen Keyboard79
Audio Player89
Video Player610
Web Browser710
Email Client88
Software Ecosystem76
Desktop Software106

Software Summary5963





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