Five things we hate about the Samsung Galaxy S II

The Galaxy S II may be the best Android smartphone on the market, but it isn't perfect

Samsung's Galaxy S II Android phone

Samsung's Galaxy S II Android phone

Here at PC World Australia we go by the motto "nothing is perfect". A great example of us putting this into practice is Samsung's Galaxy S II — a phone that is widely regarded by experts as the best Android smartphone yet, and perhaps even the best smartphone on the market, period.

Read our comprehensive Samsung Galaxy S II review, and check out our guide to the best upcoming smartphones in 2011.

Techworld Australia: Nokia N9 vs. Samsung Galaxy S 2

HTC EVO 3D vs. Samsung Galaxy S 2

Even though we think Samsung has produced the best Android smartphone ever, the Galaxy S II is not immune from criticism. It does have a brilliant screen, a fast processor and a great camera, and also offers blazing performance for almost anything you throw at it, but there are a few niggling aspects that we don't like.

After playing with the Galaxy S II for over two weeks, here are five things we hate about Samsung's latest flagship Android phone.

That flimsy battery cover

We absolutely LOVE the Galaxy S II's slim profile and light weight, but Samsung simply needs to do better with the quality of its materials. We don't consider the frame of the phone itself to be flimsy despite its plastic build, but the rear battery cover definitely detracts from the overall feel of the device.

The carbon-like finish does provide a solid grip when held, but the cover is a chore to remove, and even tougher to click back into place. In fact, the first time we had to remove it we almost broke it — such is the flimsy feel of the plastic. In comparison to the iPhone 4's all-metal body, the Galaxy S II definitely feels inferior in this regard.

Galaxy S II The Galaxy S II's battery cover feels flimsy.

A missing notification LED

Many Android phones make use of a handy notification LED that flashes when you have a missed call, an incoming text or an e-mail. Often, these can be colour coded to work with various apps — for example you can make the LED flash red when you have a missed call, and green when you have a new text message and so forth.

Samsung has not included a notification LED on the Galaxy S II, which is an annoyance, especially given that the screen doesn't automatically power on for all notifications. Sure, the message and missed call notifications on the home screen that allow you to swipe directly into call logs (for missed calls) and your inbox (for new messages) are handy, but these aren't adequate replacements for a notification LED.

No physical camera key

The Samsung Galaxy S II is one of the best camera phones we've tested, perhaps surpassed only by the exceptional Nokia N8 (which happens to be a poor smartphone on the whole). The 8-megapixel camera also doubles as a full HD 1080p video recorder, and the quality of videos produced is exceptional for a phone. It’s a shame then that Samsung has not included a physical camera button, which would make it easier to take photos and capture video. The on-screen shutter button works well enough, but the thin design of the Galaxy S II makes it hard to keep still when holding with two hands — often the first one or two seconds of videos are shaky.

Galaxy S II The lack of a physical camera button makes holding the Galaxy S II still a little tough.

Samsung TouchWIZ UI

The Samsung Galaxy S II features Samsung's TouchWIZ 4.0 UI overlay on top of the standard Android interface. Though this really comes down to personal taste, we aren't huge fans of TouchWIZ. In particular, the default lock screen is slow to slide and feels sluggish on such a top-end phone, the TouchWIZ home screens don't scroll as fast as we'd like, and the screen does not wake instantly when unlocked. You also can't automatically sort the icons in the main menu, though you can move them around manually. In addition, we found little value in the four Samsung software hubs: the social hub, readers hub, game hub and music hub. Of these, the readers hub (which integrates electronic newspapers, books and magazines) is the most useful. We prefer using separate apps to social hub (which groups social networking, e-mail and IM accounts), the music hub is a music service not yet available in Australia (but coming at a later date), and the games hub simply searches for and lists compatible games in the Android Market — hardly groundbreaking stuff.

Call quality and volume

Believe it or not, behind the Galaxy S II's dual-core processor, brilliant display and quality camera is a device that makes and receives phone calls. While call quality is above average, the Galaxy S II could use some improvement in this regard. The volume of the regular earpiece for calls needs a boost, and our callers did sometimes complain they couldn't hear us too well when we were talking softly. We found you need to speak directly into the built-in microphone at the base of the phone to get the best outgoing audio quality.

In addition, the built-in loudspeaker is relatively loud and clear for phone calls, but the speaker is located in an awkward position; placing the Galaxy S II on a flat surface covers it. The loudspeaker also distorts during audio playback at about 70 per cent volume and higher.

Keep an eye out later this week where we will discuss five things we love about the Galaxy S II — because we aren't always grumpy and negative.

What do you love and hate about the Samsung Galaxy S II? Let us know in the comments below!

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags smartphonesmobile phonesGoogle AndroidGoogle Android phonessamsung galaxy s iiSamsung Galaxy S II Android phone

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

PC World
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?