Samsung’s Galaxy S2 Plus is a terrible phone


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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Roy | November 18, 2013 | English,Gadgets | Comments (52)
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  1. Thanks for info, few months ago I buy an used SGS 2 with 1 year warranty, So I looked up for SGS 2 Plus because it has a NFC, but now know disadvantages. Can you block/stop bloatware apps in settings from running? So you now have and using this phone? Although many of phones have preinstalled bloatware, when my warranty expires I root and delete some of them.
    Greetings ;-)..

    Comment by PATWIST — November 18, 2013 @ 9:33 pm

    • The biggest issue isn’t that the bloatware runs, it’s that in order for it to be on the phone, the ‘system area’ of the storage has to be huge. If you don’t want it to run, you can use a ROM called ‘Babba’. But you’ll still only have 4 GB of space available to you for apps, which is the real Achilles heel.

      Comment by Roy — November 18, 2013 @ 9:46 pm

    • its totally waste of money to buy this fone. showing features not matching.

      Comment by shan — January 9, 2014 @ 6:13 am

  2. Friends, Samsung galaxy s2 don’t work with the ‘older ‘ sd card, it need the snapper and faster sdhc card, they Lok similar ,that’s al, why don’t you Google around? before you ask stupid things.

    Comment by jorma sepponen — November 25, 2013 @ 1:49 pm

    • We’ve got an SDHC card in there, but the Plus simply won’t move apps to it under 4.1.2. Appears to be a firmware issue not present in the regular S2.

      Comment by Roy — November 29, 2013 @ 4:22 pm

  3. Oui , effectivement , j ai un S2 plus 9105 , avec seulement 4 Giga , est ce qu’il y a une facon facile pour deplacer les apps sur la carte SD , a part celle d’utiliser des apps qui marchent pas.
    merci pour plus d’explication

    Comment by Amine — December 3, 2013 @ 2:27 am

  4. what to buy now s2 plus or other smart phone ?

    Comment by Prosecuted — December 12, 2013 @ 10:42 am

    • If you need an Android phone, I’d recommend getting a 16 GB one, like the new Moto G 16 GB.

      Comment by Roy — December 12, 2013 @ 6:51 pm

      • I need a fast phone , is s2 plus fast ? good for gaming ?

        Comment by Prosecuted — December 14, 2013 @ 8:26 pm

        • Not by today’s standards. I think the Moto G is much faster at roughly the same price.

          Comment by Roy — December 16, 2013 @ 6:42 pm

  5. My only choice is s2 and s2 plus 😛

    Comment by Prosecuted — December 16, 2013 @ 9:44 pm

    • In which case I’d go for the S2. There’s simply nothing plus about the “plus”.

      Comment by Roy — December 17, 2013 @ 7:57 am


        Comment by just some tondom — January 29, 2014 @ 4:55 pm

        • I love great technology product, and I hate bad ones. Nothing wrong with that imho :).

          Comment by Roy — January 30, 2014 @ 11:51 am

  6. They say that after you update your samsung galaxy sII plus to version 4.2.2 the games work smooth is it thruth ?

    Comment by jivko — December 18, 2013 @ 8:18 pm

    • I have no experience with games on the Plus under either 4.1.2 nor 4.2.2.

      Comment by Roy — December 20, 2013 @ 7:35 am

    • yes .. don’t upgrade it to 4.2.2

      Comment by ahmed — January 7, 2014 @ 7:49 pm

  7. I am confused between this phone and HTC desire 500. Which one should I get? I’m a teenager so what do you recommend?

    Comment by abcd — December 28, 2013 @ 10:37 pm

    • I’d get whichever phone has the most memory. Nothing is quite as frustrating as running out of space for your apps. I’m slighly biased towards HTC as a brand, but at this price point it’s all about avoiding the phone with the worst bottlenecks. Any phone with 16 GB will be better than both.

      Comment by Roy — December 29, 2013 @ 10:31 am

  8. hey confused teenager….. i suggest you to do a deep research on aspects like does the phone support sdcard card direclty when put in phone, 2nd search is bluetooth can connect to any device regardless of brands….not universal like iphone, 3rd be sure that it supports sdcard too….means not just has an internal memory doesnt matter 4,16,32GB…….4th can you move apps to sdcard or can you download apps directly to sdcard….if there’s a card in the phone.,….. I was stupid to be crazy about games so much that i didnt even do a research for these features…and just decide a smartphone like Samsung galaxy s2 plus……and go for it…..but as you know mistakes teach lessons…….so i prefer to save you from this unpleasing issues…….. i guess i have to do a developement things like i had done in htc explorer. The same memory issue was with it and you cant move apps to sdcard………. These kind of issues were made intentionally……because if a device contains all features then how a person will move to another product of the developer………. here comes the marketing strategy……. now i smile on that thing….why samsung galaxy s2 plus has sdcard feature when it doesnt support it……..or if it has….then it means that the developer has made some complexity to get the award of free space….

    Comment by Farhan Azam — December 30, 2013 @ 4:53 pm

    • Thanks for your suggestions but i became late to read your post. all same problem is with my fone samsung S2 Plus…

      Comment by shan — January 9, 2014 @ 6:20 am

  9. Your brain is outdated and full off bloatware but you use it with only 2% storage usable of 128kB of storage ,this smartphone i smarter than you

    Comment by a984 — December 30, 2013 @ 7:00 pm

  10. hi, i have this samsung galaxy s2 plus which i bought from riyadh saudi arabia last nov 16, 2013. the phone is good. although sometimes it lags/hangs. one of my main problem is that when i install a certain game/application, when i launch it and play the game it closes. tried re installing it but still the problem persist. i downloaded most of the app from google play. i tried updating my phone to 4.2.2 via OTA but still i encounter the same problem. and the worst it the game/application i’m tying to install works on a cheaper phone with a lower specs. can i have a solution about this problem of mine. thank you

    Comment by raymund — January 2, 2014 @ 3:01 pm

    • I’m currently not using this phone, so I’m afraid I can offer no solutions.

      Comment by Roy — January 3, 2014 @ 4:24 pm

    • totally waste of money,useless fone s2 +

      Comment by shan — January 9, 2014 @ 6:16 am

  11. Any one tell what is the diffrence betwwn China Or Koriya Made Smasung Mob?????????? I think totally waste of money with this fone.

    Comment by shan — January 9, 2014 @ 6:17 am

  12. Befor making the Plane for this fone all of you must read FARHAN AZAM wriiting he is absolutely right… I am also felling duped…………………..

    Comment by shan — January 9, 2014 @ 6:24 am

  13. can i save my samsung s2 plus camera photos and videos on sd card..?

    Comment by nikki — January 13, 2014 @ 7:12 am

    • Yes, that will work.

      Comment by Roy — January 13, 2014 @ 5:41 pm

  14. The samsung galaxy s2 plus is a very good phone

    Comment by Josh — January 14, 2014 @ 2:46 pm

  15. You can download android 4.2.2 via Kies I did its working very well!

    Comment by jorim — January 15, 2014 @ 11:21 pm

  16. Hey, I have this phone. Whatever says anybody, this is an excellent phone. There are a few minor issues. But they are not big problems. Application support is great on this phone. Many issues can be solved successfully because there are so many third party apps in the play store. By installing them we can find so many solutionsfor the OS and software related problems. Thanks..

    Comment by manu — January 16, 2014 @ 9:19 am

  17. Hi
    It’s great Phone.
    I have it and Sd Card is for movie and music and wallpapers .How many apps we need ???
    Camera is the best.
    Android v4.1.2 works stunning on it.
    ………… problem is that Apk files can install only on device memory and not on external sd card…………
    or …………. Take a Screen Shot on a Galaxy S2 :Press and hold the Power button followed by the Home button ……… does’n’t work on this phone !!!
    but I believe its not perfect but with this range of price is not bad.
    thanks from Iran

    Comment by Ara — January 16, 2014 @ 8:36 pm

  18. farsi language wasn’t in phone keyboard and with google keyboard app and Etc it is solved .

    Comment by Ara — January 16, 2014 @ 8:45 pm

  19. Screenshot with above commond it works Now.

    Comment by Ara — January 17, 2014 @ 8:30 am

  20. I think this phone is alright but the plus has no differance to the original it may as we’ll be called the minus,I just updated the phone to 4.2.2 and I am looking to root it and get a custom rom. So I searched around and found that their are only 3 roms compatible with the phone! Where as the s2 has hundreds i don’t see the point in Samsung making this phone as it has fooled thousands into thinking it was a Better phone,

    Comment by Hamilton Forbes-Lane — January 19, 2014 @ 10:29 pm

  21. i sold it
    really it was terrible phone. and now playing with sony xperia !
    sony is Nice phone

    Comment by ara — February 1, 2014 @ 7:07 pm

  22. why does s2 plus not save images directly to sd card?

    Comment by ralph ferreira — February 5, 2014 @ 9:41 am

  23. Hey there Android folks!

    A diehard BlackBerry guy needs your help!

    My dad recently updated his Samsung Galaxy S2 Plus from version 4.1.2 to 4.2.2.
    He started to have some serious problems like for example signal issues, the calendar went crazy, apps were stopped for no reason etc. …
    So what I did was I did a backup and factory reset which seemed to solve 99% of the problems he experienced.

    The only thing that is still a bit buggy is the calendar. Whenever he sets an event and wants to be reminded the calendar symbol appears not once but roundabout 10-15 times on the status bar on top of the screen.

    I’d really appreciate it if somebody could help me and my dad out on this one, it really seems to drive him crazy!

    Thanks in advance!

    Comment by STEVE — February 11, 2014 @ 1:51 am

  24. I want to buy Samsung galaxy s2 at&t. the phone is so nice. but my problem is that they say the OS cant be updated to v 4.1
    am in Africa, Ghana to be precise. how true is that. please help me

    Comment by joe — February 22, 2014 @ 10:18 pm

  25. This is a terrible mobile phone. It has huge heat problem even if the device is turned off. I’m selling back this as second hand at any price. Turning this device off will not help conserving energy as it still drains it away.

    Comment by Dex — March 4, 2014 @ 6:13 am

  26. I would like to know if this CWM can be use with this update

    Comment by Ankit — March 7, 2014 @ 6:49 am

  27. Im using galaxy s2 plus jelly been. Some of HD games are not support to my phone. After installation trying to play.. players showing like a sleeping body.. (not showing graphical action) sometimes players not visible. . After reset factory.. its not fixed. . Pls help to find the problem. . & fixed the problem. . 🙁 🙁

    Comment by hamed — March 16, 2014 @ 7:05 pm

  28. This is a bad phone.not enough storage.when after playing games like most wanted and return to home phn freezez and restarts. Pls dont buy this phn

    Comment by hashan — April 17, 2014 @ 3:59 pm

  29. What phone should i get galaxy s2 or galaxy Grand Neo ?

    Comment by Prosecuted — April 24, 2014 @ 8:37 pm

    • Depends on whether you like having a big 5 inch screen I guess. But the Grand Neo clearly has better specs.

      Comment by Roy — April 27, 2014 @ 3:42 pm

  30. Ok , thanks 🙂

    Comment by Prosecuted — May 6, 2014 @ 9:26 pm

  31. How stupid. can folk be? just uppdate too 4.2.2 and you can put. your apps. on sdcard, don’t buy a smartphone if you are not smart enoght. too use it, retarded don’t simply NEED a smartphone.

    Comment by jorma sepponen — June 8, 2014 @ 1:29 pm

    • Moving apps to the SD card doesn’t really fix the problem. App caches still end up in the phone’s memory, and it still fills up quickly. Even for non-retarded people ;).

      Comment by Roy — June 11, 2014 @ 5:48 pm

  32. well i have this fone bro its so fast and never lags idk why u hate it

    Comment by MohabShady — June 25, 2014 @ 4:06 am

  33. S2 plus is nice phone .am using 4.2.2 with s5 mod.

    Comment by jason smith — August 3, 2014 @ 10:46 am

  34. The Galaxy S2 Plus is a great phone, its smooth and runs games pretty well. Here is a list of HD games that my S2 Plus I9105 runs smoothly:
    1. Shadowgun Deadzone
    2. Modern Combat 4 (MC4)
    3. GTA San Andreas
    4. Asphalt 8
    5. Fifa 14
    I have these games and more installed simultaneously. You will obviously think it is impossible since the apps can only be installed on the internal storage which is about 4 GB, but I found a way to install everything on my 32 GB external Sd card. Skeptical?? Try it your self.
    1: Upgrade to JB 4.2.2 in order to be able to have the move2sd function
    2: Root your device (jerry recovery, search it on google)
    3: Download an app called foldermount and preferably buy full version
    4. Get an Sd card (a large one if you are a gamer)

    After following all these steps, you will be amazed by the power of this phone.

    Comment by Baraa — August 6, 2014 @ 7:44 pm