Samsung Galaxy S ii Question and Feedback

Hi all.  I'm interested in some feedback from any folks how have purchased from Ting and are use the Samsung Galaxy S ii.  Two things I'm interested in:  first, with Sprint recently updating the device up to Android 4.0/IceCream Sandwich, are you seeing that update occurring on the Ting devices as well (i.e. on stock devices, not those of you who may have rooted it).  

Secondly, I saw on another thread some folks who seemed to have some challenges maintaining signal strength.  For the price pf the phone, I don't want something so basic to be an issue.  I'm curious if it is the phone, or just where those folks live.  I'm in a large suburb (70K+ people) in a top 50 metro market.  Most of my metro area and north into the 'big city' is supposed to be 4G.  The medium sized city of 198K to the south where I work and much of the commute looks to still only be 3G.  So to the question:  if you have this phone, are you encountering signal strength issues, and to add perspective, are you in a 3G or 4G area?

Thanks in advance to all who respond!

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  • The update will not be for a little bit yet. I spoke to someone from Ting some weeks back and he said that we should be getting the update a few days after Sprint customers get theirs. The conservative guess would be that since the Sprint rollout lasts until the 20th, we'll be getting it later that week. But that's for the over the air update, you can download it, but it on a MicroSD card and update it yourself which is what I did earlier today.

    As for signal strength, part of the issue is the phone itself. It seems that Samsung CDMA radios tend to be problematic. So if you live in an area without great Sprint coverage and you have this phone, then you could have issues. Though my house is not in an area with great reception and it hasn't been too much of a problem. I generally only get 1-2 bars, but it hasn't affected call quality.

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  • Peter,

    Where did you download it from? can you share the link? Thanks!

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  • I do not know where Perter downloaded the ROM from, but you need to be very careful or you could irrecoverably "hard brick" your phone, which would make it useless (except as a brick).

    There apparently is a firmware bug in some hardware that can be triggered when erasing or wiping data with ICS ROMs I saw somewhere an app that could tell you if your device had the vulnerable firmware. It is rumored that there will be a firmware fix. 

    I do not know what firmware is on Ting's phones, but I thought it would be good to post this warning.

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  • Thanks to all for the feedback so far.  I mistakenly apparently was under the assumption that the over air upgrade (for the applicable devices) would be available on the same day, not a rollout lasting a period  of time (as Peter noted to the 20th).  I guess it makes sense from a controlling network volume standpoint.  

    As for the signal strength, the I like what I've heard of the Galaxy Sii, but for the price am concerned on anything that might impair accessibility particularly on a network playing catch up.

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  • @James This video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcsfJXKv23o&feature=youtu.be) has instructions on how to update it manually and has a link to the update in the description.

    @David Despite the signal issue, I am happy with the phone. Ting apparently isn't selling the Motorola Photon right now, but if they get it back I can tell you for a fact that it gets better reception than the S2 (my friend ordered it and brought it over to my house so I saw first hand). So, if signal strength is an issue, you could look at that phone, though I recall it to be a bit more expensive (>$500). Also, don't forget that if you use someone's referral link (like mine - https://zkcjc3136.ting.com/) you get $25 off a device so if you got the white S2 that would bring it down to $410 - a pretty good deal.

    A while ago I downloaded an app that will log your phone's signal strength over a period of time. I don't really know what any of it means, but here are the results taken in a room of my house that receives the worst reception https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AvhxFaOgi2JvdFRENHZWem1odVE3amlQQmhpVDB5U0E#gid=1

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  • Thanks Peter--good info.  I didn't know what it meant either, but following some googling, a chart showing that basically, the lower the DBM, the better.  Apparently typical ranges are between -70 to -90.  Based on the chart, it would look like you get lower bars in the house.

     

    1 bar ~ -102 to -120 dBm

    2 Bars ~ -93 to -101 dBm

    3 Bars ~ -87 to -92 dBm

    4 Bars ~ -78 to -86 dBm

    5 Bars ~ -40 to -77 dBm

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  • The OTA FF18 ICS 4.0.4 update was pushed to my phone this morning!

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  • I have tried the 'checkin' method for forcing an over the air update but just dialing it on the phone dial pad but nothing happens. Will over the over the air upgrade be available globally at the same time or roll out slowly depending on your region?

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  • Eric: It's rolling out. 

    Kevin: I am super jealous. I am sitting in training sessions all day. I keep checking my phone every 30 minutes to see if I have gotten update notification. Nothing yet... 

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  • Anybody else have any luck getting ICS? The *#*#2432546#*#* on the dial pad does not force a check in with my S2 for whatever reason. Still no go so I will wait patiently for a week or two before just trying the SDcard method.

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  • @Eric The dial method doesn't work. After borrowing an SD card to upgrade my phone, I went ahead and ordered one to upgrade my wife's phone. I mean, $20 for a 32GB class 4 card is a pretty good deal so why not? So if you're that eager, getting the card is the way to go.

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  • I just ordered a Galaxy S II. I've found that it keeps losing connection via WiFi in my home. It indicates that it's connected, but internet doesn't work. I have to keep turning WiFi off and then back on again to force it to connect. I haven't had a chance to use it over 3G/4G enough to say for certain, but there was one time when it went from 4 bars to roaming when I was just sitting at a table in a restaurant. The upgrade to ICS introduced a flaw/bug in using Exchange based e-mail in the default client. You aren't able to browse to existing folders/sub-folders unless they are a sub-folder to the Inbox or one of the other canned folders. This means that I can't access a number of folders I routinely need to be able to access. I'm also a little surprised at how quickly it seems to eat through the battery even with most synch services and radios turned off or at least way down. I'm coming from an Intercept on Virgin Mobile, which is an ancient phone, but it seemed to hold its charge for much longer with the same level of use. It also takes more than 2 hours to fully charge the battery, which is much longer than I would have expected. That said, the phone is much more responsive than my old intercept, which was becoming a frustration to use, so I'm still generally positive on the purchase. It was able to achieve a GPS lock very quickly even inside my house where I wouldn't have expected to have line of site to the satellite. That may have been the phone using the tower to get an approximate position though. 

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  • @Will Raleigh:

     

    You are not the only one Will. I for one would recommend to currently stay on 3.2.6 for now with the S2. I am experiencing the exact same issues you are. Wifi stops working until I flip it off then back on again even though it states it is turned on. My battery life has been literally destroyed (not exaggerating) by upgrading to ICS. I have done everything in my power to save juice now but it seems like I am bound to a charging cable. I could easily make it through a full day with moderate to heavy use as long as I started the day out with 100% and I might be at 30% by the time I get home. I won't even make it home anymore if I use the same habits I have in the past on 3.2.6. Streaming Pandora (screen auto off in 30 seconds) will take the phone to dead in about 4-5 hours. I think something with the WIFI is seriously derfed at this point in terms of connectivity (saying connected but not) and power draw.

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  • I do not have this phone, but I had an S1 (Samsung Epic 4G). There are some free tools to help figure out what is draining the battery. On the first update to the S1, the Samsung Media Hib was added and their DRM services drained the battery. In a later (Gingerbread?) update, the photo Gallery app caused a process to hang that rotates the screen. That process caused extreme battery drain.

     

    It would be interesting to see if other people on Sprint are having these issues. The xda-developers forum may be a good source for research.

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  • @Eric How long have you had the ICS? After a week or so I think my battery life is improving but it could just be my imagination.

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  • I've had the Wifi issue which requires on/off toggle and I've yet to find a real fix that works. Some issues with the battery draining slightly faster and charging halts at 99%. The WiFi problem has been a big issue.

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  • A factory data reset seems to have taken care of the WiFi problem described above for now. Don't forget to backup your data if you try this.

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  • I will try the reset later tonight for the wifi going out even though its still on.Hopefully it will correct the problem for me as well.

     

    CPU Spy is reporting the phone is only deep sleeping 20% of the time and 50% of the time its at 200 Mhz. Battery information says Andriod OS is responsible for 56% of battery draw!? Is there a more detailed app for what might be sapping my battery like no tomorrow? In the mean time i have grabbed auto airplane mode to help my phone make it through the day on a charge but it kinda stinks as I'm no longer online with my wifi if somebody wants to google talk me to get hold of me. Maybe the hard reset will also help my battery issue who knows.

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  • Unfortunately the wifi problem still exists... Just noticed it this morning.

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  • I got tired of waiting and did the manual update to Ice Cream Sandwich last night. So far, I really like it. Aside from some additional functions, the phone seems more responsive. Snappier.

    I really like that you can switch between Samsung's GUI and pure ICS. In essence, you can actually have 2 completely different sets of phone screens and easily change from one to another using the "Spring ID" app. 

    Not noticing any issues yet. I may actually be getting better phone signal strength. The verdict is still out on battery life, but I wasn't getting very good battery life before. One difference is now I can use the built in app manager to see what apps and funstions are using the most power and kill those that are draining the phone. 

    I have been using a Galaxy S2 for a full year now. I have never had an Android phone that I still loved after a full year, and I previously had 4 Android phones. Most became sluggish and buggy by 6 months. I still love this phone and it works fantastic!!

    Peter: Thanks for the link to the instructions on YouTube. They were really easy. I was able do download, transfer, and start installation in under 10 minutes (including watching the video).The phone took another 15 minutes to do its work. Really easy. Just make sure you have the right Gingerbread build on your phone before starting. 

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