On Ting's refurbed S2 and its Jelly Bean reincarnation


Received the refurbished Samsung S2 last Friday afternoon, charged the battery, and got through to Ting's Customer Service for activation right away even though it was near their 8PM closing time. Siham was able to de-activate my HTC EVO 4G and activate the S2 with the same number in just a few minutes. (Didn't attempt it online because I needed to keep the same number).


I couldn't have determined that the S2 wasn not a brand new phone if I hadn't known it was a refurb. There wasn't a scratch or blemish to be seen, and it came wrapped, bagged, and boxed just as you'd expect for a new phone.


After a few test calls, I couldn't wait to upgrade to Android's 4.1 Jelly Bean. The 4.0x Ice Cream Sandwich OS that the S2 shipped with was a considerable jump in performance over my well-used EVO, but I knew I wanted Jelly Bean after using it for the past 8 months on my Nexus 7 tablet. I had been surprised – along with zillions of current S2 owners, I'm sure – that Samsung recently decided that the S2 would make the cut for JB. I had really wanted an S3, or a Note, but the price was prohibitive. I've never used an S3, but I can tell you that the S2 with JB is phenomenal! I can't imagine there could be that much of a performance difference between the S2 and S3 after the upgrade. The S3's screen might sport more pixels, but the S2's screen is razor sharp to my eyes. Knowing that I could upgrade to Jelly Bean is the only reason I purchased the S2, BTW. For an S2 with ICS as a terminal OS, I would just have waited until the S3 or Note dropped further in price.


That the JB upgrade wasn't OTA was a surprise...that's all I've ever known with the EVO. I had never heard of Kies software, until Friday, but soon learned that it's Samsung's Jack-of-all-Trades utility, and is especially useful for firmware upgrades via USB hookup to a PC. There was another perhaps simpler path to the upgrade mentioned on Samsung's site, but my 32-bit Win7 machine balked at the “Simple Uploader.” Kies installed without a hitch, though, and after that the JB upgrade was also smooth. Each took about 10-15 minutes.


I read a fair amount of other users' experiences before attempting the update. Many suggested a factory reset before the update, so I did that despite the fact that I had purposely not installed very much in anticipation of losing any installations during the update. This may have helped because I have experienced none of the issues, particularly relating to battery, that have bothered some upgraders. I made the mistake of forgetting that I had turned the phone off during the factory update and had an anxious moment when Kies failed to recognize the phone on first plugging it in. After turning it on all was well.


The only negative I've experienced so far is that Sprint is showing less bars than my EVO did. This isn't the greatest Sprint area. Sometimes I'm seeing only a fraction of a bar. And, yet, I've not had any missed or dropped calls so far. I have seen several comments, though, that a weakness of the S2 is an inferior 3G radio in the Sprint version.


This was a little longwinded, but I wanted to reassure anyone who might be lurking and thinking about a Ting refurbed S2, or, for that matter, any Ting refurbed phone because my experience was terrific. I'm sure many more S2s will be becoming available shortly with the imminent release of the S4. Even though I have had it for only a few days, I'm confident it's one of my best purchase decisions in recent memory. I'm calling it the Samsung S2.9.



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