Samsung Galaxy S2 Philippines Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich Upgrade, Out! Price Update, Quick Review, Screen Shots!

Samsung Galaxy S2 Android 4.0 Quick Review
by TP Contributing Writer, Patrick Valentin

Since the day Samsung announced that they've started to roll out the ICS upgrade for the Samsung Galaxy S2 in certain countries, I've been checking Kies regularly to see if the upgrade has reached Philippines.

I connected my phone randomly a while ago, and was shocked to see that a firmware upgrade was already available through Kies. For around 20-30 minutes (I guess it depends on your internet connection), Kies automatically downloaded and installed the new firmware to my phone.

The interface looks so much like the Touchwiz UI it had when it was still running Gingerbread. The applications drawer, the icons, the wallpapers, and even the camera interface didn't change. But after a few minutes of exploring the phone, I was able to see the following changes:

1. The icons at the top of the phone changed, as well as some of the icons in the notifications bar. The theme is still predominantly green, unlike the blue one in the Galaxy Nexus.

2. There were some changes in the Settings, specifically the new switch for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and the new option for Data Usage.

3. A Restart option has been added to the box that appears when holding the lock key.

4. The Task Manager is now similar to the one in the Galaxy Nexus. It's now easier and faster to close apps by just swiping those to the left or to the right.

5. The effects in unlocking the screen by swiping has also changed. The Face Unlock feature is also present, and it's actually surprisingly quick and accurate. And yeah, hello there, Jeremy Lin.

In terms of performance, it feels like nothing much has changed. The apps still load quickly, the battery life might have improved (but I haven't done any tests yet so I'm not completely sure about that), and there have been no significant lags/shutdowns so far.

The upgrade looks okay, but I have to say I'm a bit disappointed especially after having to wait for this upgrade for a couple of months now. Though I already knew that the ICS upgrade would look a lot like Gingerbread, I was still hoping that it wouldn't, and that it would actually look like the one running in the Galaxy Nexus. Good thing there's this app named 'Nova Launcher' that gives users the freedom to customize the interface (scrolling effects, grid size, homepage screens, etc.), which I have used to make my phone look like it's running ICS without the Touchwiz UI.

Still, thank you Samsung for bringing the ICS upgrade to the Philippines!

Samsung Galaxy S2 Philippines Price Update as of March 2012:

The handset is still available in gadget stores across the Philippines. Current price in malls and in online shops is around Php 23,000 to Php 26,000 depending on the outlet. Likewise, it's available as a bundled handset with various postpaid plans from Smart Communications and Globe Telecom. You can get the Samsung Galaxy S2 in two colors; Black and White -- albeit the white version is quite rare. Don't forget to look for the NTC sticker when buying your handset.

TP Contributing Writer Profile: Patrick Valentin is an Assistant Instructor I at the John Gokongwei School of Management QMIT Department of the Loyola Schools of Ateneo de Manila University.

TechPinas Smartphone Technical Specs Table (TSTST)
Name Samsung Galaxy S2 i9100
Type Slate Form Factor (Full Touchscreen)
Price Category High-End (2011 Flagship Release)
Dimensions125.3 x 66.1 x 8.5 mm
Weight 116 grams
Available Colors Black, White
Operating System Android 2.3 Gingerbread (upon release), upgradeable to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
Display 4.3" Capacitive Touchscreen, SuperAMOLED display, 16M Colors
Processor Dual-core 1.2GHz ARM Cortex-A9 proccessor, Mali-400MP GPU, Exynos 4210 chipset
Camera 8 MegaPixel camera with LED flash
Video Capture 1080p, 30 frames per second, with autofocus
Audio and Video Playback MP4/H.264/H.263 player MP3/WAV/eAAC+ player, details to follow
Ports microUSB 2.0, 3.5 mm audio jack
Connectivity 5 Ghz Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0+HS
Network 2G Network: GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 3G Network: HSPA+ (4G?)
Memory 16GB and 32GB options
Sensors Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Proximity
Battery Li-Ion 1650 mAh
Uptime TBA
Value-Added Features Gorilla Glass screen, TouchWiz UI, Readers Hub, Social Hub, Games Hub, Music Hub, Google Services Suite. For Camera: Geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection, image stabilization
Announcement February 2011
Availability Q2 2011, still available as of March 2012
Price Php 23,000 - Php 26,000 in malls

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