Let’s get the confession out of the way early in this guest blog. My name is Iain Murray, I am the owner of Principle Consulting, a business customer of Commsworld. I have several bits of tech supplied by Commsworld, but this blog is specifically about my Samsung Galaxy S2 smartphone, which I am totally in love with. I confess I am a bit of a technology lover, so much so that I take part in a Social Media podcast as the resident technology guy, and what I was hearing about the S3 meant I just had to have one. So I did a deal with Commsworld which included me writing this blog.
Let me tell you about my Samsung Galaxy S2 to start with, I really love this phone, I changed to it after a very long relationship with an HTC Desire Z. I loved that phone for one primary reason, it had a physical keyboard. I decided that I would move over to an on-screen keyboard because again I had heard great things about the S2. I was not disappointed; the phone was gorgeous, thin, fast and light as a feather. It also had a fantastic screen and a great camera. I have been a lover of the Android operating system for some time, I used to be Nokia cut to the core but Symbian was dying on its feet, and you could just not persuade me to go Apple for business, so Android it was. My HTC was Android, and by the time I got my S2 I was very familiar with it and liked the versatility of the interface.
Back to the S2, so I had a phone that looked and felt great, and had an operating system that I liked, but, and there is always a but. The battery life was typical of all smartphones, rubbish. I am probably not your typical smartphone user, but I am smart about the way I use them. I don’t turn on the push emails, I don’t let too many processes run in the background. I also use a battery monitor to keep a note of what it is that is eating the battery. In the case of the S2, it was the screen.
Now, you have to make a choice if you get a smartphone these days, because the S2 is pretty typical of most phones in that ilk, large screen, thin by design and very powerful. The choice you have to make is, A – get a phone which is sealed (like an iphone) and accept that you have to be constantly careful and vigilant about the battery use (or charge it at every opportunity), of B – do what I did, use it to your heart’s content and carry a couple of spare batteries around (they are tiny anyway). So that is what I did, bought batteries and cradles which charge the phone and spare batteries.
Once I got over the issue of swapping a battery every eight hours or so, I just used the phone to its full potential, and boy is it capable! I’ll list some of the things I use it for here:
- I have replaced the Samsung TouchWizz interface for SPB Shell 3D – this is a cracking interface with 3D navigation and I run 10 homescreens with various widgets like weather, email, twitter etc.
- I synchronise my Outlook email using TouchDown and this syncs my calendar, emails, contacts and tasks.
- I also sync another three email accounts using the Samsung email system, and Gmail using the Android mail system
- I use Kies to sync my music with my iTunes library
- I have Dropbox running so that when I am at home on wifi it syncs all the photo’s I have taken with the phone. I am a big user of Dropbox, I can access everything I need from it at any time.
- I use the Google Maps a fair bit, just to find things when I’m out, but also for finding phone numbers (when you search in Google Maps you often get the number with the result and can dial straight from the phone)
- I use my camera a lot, and take everything from Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pictures to family snaps and video’s, the quality of the pictures is outstanding from the 8mp camera
- I surf the web a lot, from reading news to looking for information, but I also use news aggregators of which my favourite is Taptu
- I’m a big fan of both Evernote and Microsoft OneNote and the latter I interface with using MobileNoter (which I find better than OneNote App)
- I read newspapers and magazines on my Zinio App, but the screen is not perfect for this, just a bit small, so I mostly use my Samsung Galaxy 10.1 tablet (and that’s another blog)
- I do use Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Google+ and Instagram from my phone, but I tend to limit them to mostly wifi use, otherwise they start to eat up my data plan (I run on 1gb per month, which is normally adequate). I use Starbucks a lot to get their free wifi
- I also do a lot of travelling and I have a load of travel Apps I utilise, I use the National Rail Enquiries widget, it is fantastic, I use Tripit (a must for any traveller) and I do use the Google SatNav which I turn the GPS on for, sparingly when I’m walking, but in the car I have a cradle and an in-car charger which lets me keep it plugged in while I am using it. I also use the AA Safety Camera’s APP, better safe than sorry!
- I also use Skype when I’m away from home and in a wifi area (mostly overseas) and it is great for keeping the roaming costs to a minimum
- I use SkyGo on my phone, but again I limit this to wifi, and almost only when I can plug it in at the same time, the Sky+ App is also great, you can record programmes when you are our by sending a request to your Sky+ system at home. Try TV Catchup App, which is Freeview on your phone!
- The list of Apps does go on a bit, but the ones listed above are my most frequently used. I also use Asda and Tesco Apps (for scanning items into my shopping into my home delivery), Pingit to send money to my friends, tumblr, Pocket, Lastpass (keeps all your passwords in one secure place), Weatherbug Elite App, Smartr (look this one up, it links to Outlook and aggregates contact activity, very cool), Bambuser and AudioBo for live video and audio broadcasting, Banjo (should be called nosy parker), Lapse it and Pano photography Apps, Fing for wifi detection, WhatsApp for instant messaging, Flipboard, Google Currents, Sky News App and I am following the Volvo round the world ocean race on their App and Youtube (the video is sent from the yachts as they race across oceans, it is awesome)
- One last App, Andmade Share, which means you can share anything (pictures, video’s, websites) to a multitude of locations such as Facebook, Twitter etc. with one click
So you get the picture, I pretty much use my phone to the max and the Samsung Galaxy S2 has been fantastic for this. So why do I want to upgrade? Besides the obvious (just want it need it) argument, there are a number of good reasons. The most important one is that it is Quad Core and the S2 is Dual Core, this raises the processing power from 1GHz to 1.4GHz which in real terms means a big jump. I find my S2 hangs occasionally when I am trying to do too much, I expect the S3 will improve with this processor.
There are significant enhancements to many other aspects of the phone, it has S Voice, which is the Samsung equivalent of Siri (and I can almost never see me bothering with it, I guess that remains to be seen), it also has Social Tag, which tags your friends and posts it to Social Media streams, I’m afraid this just sounds daft to me, but I will see.
It has Direct call, a feature that means if you are composing a text and you decide to phone the person, just put the phone to your ear, and it will dial them automatically. I think that if you wanted to call them in the first place you just would, but hey, what do I know? The next feature is Smart stay, which detects that you are reading something and does not dim the screen, so if you are reading a Kindle book (something I do) then it won’t dim the screen, this sounds clever, and practical, I hope it works.
There are a heap of other features, but I will keep them for the next blog, which will be released when I get my hands on the phone, potentially tomorrow!
Iain Murray owns Principle Consulting and you can find him using the following links: