Gadget Gushing: Discovering a New Galaxy

My New Toy: The Galaxy SII from Samsung.

If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you’ll probably pick up that I’m an Apple/Mac fan. My home computer is an iMac, and I’ve owned a couple of models of iPhone, namely the First Gen version and the 3GS. I still own an iPod Touch 4th Generation and a First Generation iPad, and still love them to pieces. But over the weekend, I guess I stepped outside the idyllic Garden of Eden and yielded to a bit of temptation. The result, I gave myself an early Christmas gift, and now there’s a new smartphone in the house, and it’s not from the Apple Tree- it’s an Android phone, the Samsung Galaxy SII.

For the past several months I’ve been subsisting on a functional combo of my iPod Touch/iPad and a non-smartphone. But sometimes, I just want to have a minimum device load of just one, and I just feel naked with just a ‘dumb’ phone along. So when I got an opportunity to upgrade again, I looked over my choices. The iPhone 4S is just too pricey- and with an iTouch already with me, it also seems redundant. I’ve been hearing and reading a lot of great things about Samsung’s premier high-end smartphone, and this looker indeed lives up to many fans’ comments that it’s the best smartphone out there right now.

Indeed, the phone does surpass the iPhone’s latest versions in some ways. For starters, the freakin’ HUGE 4.3 inch Super AMOLED screen will dazzle you, particularly if you’ve been used all this time to smaller 3.5 inchers. Not only is the screen bigger, but the imagery conveyed on them- thanks to deeper-than-deep blacks and intense colors, simply cannot be beat. Videos run smoother than a fighting game girl’s skin, and the sounds rock hard either on the default speakers or on the included noise-cancelling earphones. It kinda is like having one of those gorgeous Samsung LCD TVs in the palm of your hand; it is utterly beautiful.

Nicely enough, even if the screen is big, the phone itself is slim and light, and the overall build is unmistakably of high quality- the form factor is minimalist and elegant, just the thing to charm an Apple fan like myself.

That said, with only 16 Gigs of onboard memory, the Galaxy SII won’t be replacing my iPod Touch or iPad as my primary media player devices, though investing in a big memory card may fix this a bit. The lack of a system for organizing shows and movies on the device, like iTunes, is also a point in Apple’s favor- the default Android video player is functional, but little else. Still, the quality of the viewing is so good, you won’t mind.

As for play, I’m already invested in the AppStore, so I will surely refrain from spending too much on the Android Market for any apps. Free games will suffice, and I don’t really want to make my Galaxy my preferred game device on the go- battery life shouldn’t be carelessly thrown about, at least until I get past my initial honeymoon-tinkering phase with the thing. Suffice to say, I’ll still be playing a lion’s share on my other devices, even if there’s a quite hilarious free Infinity Blade clone on Android.

Luckily it’s not hard for me to use Android- it does kinda remind me of my old Pocket PC days, and it is quite nice to be able to just use drag-and-drop simplicity to add files or connect to a computer other than my iTunes-locked Apple gadgets. The Touch Wiz interface is easy and smooth, although I admit it’s not quite as refined as iOS’s touch interface.

It’s not all happy-happy joy-joy though: one of the things that drove me to finally buy- the existence of a PSX Emulator on the Android- hasn’t panned out for me; I’ve yet to find a ROM that actually works. I’ll get this going eventually, but at this early goings-on, it’s pretty irritating.

Overall though I am freakin’ happy with the Galaxy- really, it’s a relatively cheaper buy compared to the much-too-overpriced iPhone 4S (at least locally) and pretty much matches it feature by feature (although I do admit SIRI is really cute), and the looks are truly to die for. I heartily recommend it, if you’re not already locked into Apple or aren’t totally sold on getting a new iPhone. For me, it’s great to finally have a Smartphone again… I feel complete again. Heheh.

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