Last April, in an effort to lure my wife away from the Apple ecosystem, I got her a Samsung Galaxy S2 Plus. Based on the ‘classic’ S2, it seemed like a perfectly fine mid-range Android phone. Dual core processor, 1 gigabyte of RAM, and a 4.3″ screen, all acceptable specs. But unlike the original S2, the ‘Plus’ only has 8 GB of internal storage. And Samsung has managed to make that into an absolutely terrible problem.
Here’s what they did:
- Bloatware. The phone comes with tons of extra apps and features that range from completely useless to downright awful. None of them can be removed.
- They broke the apps-to-SD function. Under Android 4.1.2, there’s no button to move apps to the SD card to save valuable internal memory.
- They fixed that, but didn’t release the fix. The only way to get Android 4.2.2, which fixes the apps-to-SD issue, is to find a ‘leaked’ ROM image and manually ‘illegally’ flash it.
Out of the box, there’s only 4 gigabytes of storage left on the device. This might seem sufficient, but it’s not. Once we had about 1.5 GB of apps installed, their caches and other files filled up the remaining storage. Android apps are getting bigger every day, and this phone simply will not hold a decent set of essential apps.
Yesterday, we dedicated a whole day trying to get the S2 Plus to behave. We installed a de-bloated custom ROM, but that somehow didn’t create more room. We then spent hours using all sorts of tools to try and improve things. Finally, we upgraded to the 4.2.2 ROM, and moved the few apps that supported it to the SD card. Eleven hours later, we had only saved a couple of megabytes.
Bottom line is that this phone can not be used as a smartphone. Yes, it’ll run all your favorite apps, but it won’t let you have them installed simultaneously. With a Nexus-style firmware (usually around 1 GB) and 7 GB of free space, this would be a much better phone. The hardware is decent, although I don’t like the ludicrously over-saturated colors it displays, but Samsung’s software really lets it down.
If you want to permanently scare people away from Android, get them this phone. Ugh.