Samsung Galaxy S2 Ice Cream Sandwich Update Review

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My Sprint Epic 4G Touch finally got the update to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich so I decided to do a quick little article detailing some of the changes that have come with it. Obviously, there are a ton of new features on ICS so I won’t cover themall here (you can read the Android 4.0 overview for the full low-down), but I will talk about a few things that the ICS changelog won’t be able to tell you:

Lock Screen: First thing you’ll notice with the update is the new lock screen. You can now swipe anywhere on the screen to unlock it (in any direction), getting a nice little animation (of a lock unlocking) in the process. You also have the ability to see the weather right there on the lock screen if you so desire. Basically, the new lock screen is eerily similar to the one on the new TouchWiz found on the SGS3 minus the water ripple effect.

Notification Bar: The notification bar has stayed mostly the same, with slight modifications here and there like the new 4G icon on the Sprint Epic 4G Touch which now shows only the download and upload arrows and not the signal strength like it used to. The only major change you’ll notice is the fact that you can enable a batter percentage icon to see exactly how much battery you have left.

Stock ICS Launcher: I’m not too sure if this is available for the other versions of the SGS2, but on the Sprint version you have an option to use the stock ICS launcher instead of the TouchWiz launcher. In other words, you can make the Epic 4G Touch look like it’s a Nexus device. All you have to do is open the Sprint ID app and choose myID instead of the Samsung one.

Multitasking Screen: To access the ICS multitasking screen, just press and hold on the capacitive home button. Simply slide an app to the left or to the right to close it out and remove it from the recent apps list. In addition to the regular old multitasking screen, the update also gives you an option to jump straight into the task manager (like before) which is a nice bonus because some apps don’t close when you flick them off.

Screenshots: I know what you’re thinking: You could already take screenshots on the SGS2. Yes, that’s true. And now, you have another way to do it. Instead of holding the home button and pressing the power button simultaneously, you can instead hold the volume down button and power button to capture a screenshot. Nothing big, but hey, if you didn’t like the old way maybe you’ll like this way better.

Redesigned Settings: Not only do the menu options (the little boxes that show up when you press the menu key) look different, looking much more refined in a long rectangular box down the center of the screen, the system settings have been redesigned as well. Nothing big here, but now you have the ability to toggle on and off your wireless controls (like Wi-Fi, GPS, 4G, etc) right from that main settings screen.

Other ICS Features: While you don’t get exactly all the new features you saw in ICS on the Galaxy Nexus (like time lapse), you do get most of them. For example, you’ll find the data usage options in the main settings and have the option to unlock your phone with your face with Face Unlock. The keyboard has been improved and overall I feel like the device performs a little smoother (especially in the browser).

Overall, the update is a good one. I mean, I can’t really complain at this point. I feel like it’s taken forever for Samsung and Sprint to roll ICS out to the SGS2 so I’m just grateful I got it. So far, the only bug I’ve really noticed is when I go into the multitasking mode sometimes the four apps on the app dock glitch and show up behind the recent applications list which makes it look funky. It doesn’t affect usability though so not a big deal. So overall, I give the update a thumbs up.

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About Author

David Rahimi is the editor-in-chief at PhoneBuff.com. Ever since he got his first smartphone, he has been obsessed with mobile technology and all that it has to offer. Other interests include business, investing, and neuroscience.

  • ThisIswhyIlikeApple

    SCREEN CAPTURE DOES NOT WORK ON GALAXY S2 BY HOLDING VOLUME DOWN AND POWER THIS IS SO FRUSTRATING!!!

    • David Rahimi

      Hmmm.. well it still works the other way by pressing and holding the power button + the home button.

  • FrustratedToo

    Yeah, the screen capture doesn’t work for me either… NEITHER ONE OF THE METHODS. Before the update, the old one worked great. Now, neither method works. And yes, I’m pushing the buttons at the same time, and no I’m not old, slow, or stupid. It really is frustrating that it works on some phones and not on others (even the same models).