Friday, May 17, 2013

Samsung Galaxy S II UK International 4.1.2 Jelly Bean Released and Impressions

After waiting months and months since Samsung first starting rolling out Jellybean in Spain, UK unlocked Galaxy S II (XEU) can now officially upgrade their phone and taste some of that Jelly Bean goodness and the latest TouchWiz Nature UX.

Like all firmware upgrade processes, make sure you take a back up of whatever you need from your phone.

Note: This update will wipe out your homescreen settings

You can update via OTA:

Or through Kies:

You'll need to update Kies before you can update your phone since Samsung just released a new version of Kies today

In the first hour, I'm regretting the upgrade. The UI looks so garish and cramped.  All your home screen configurations will be lost on the upgrade.

The new homescreen look
Lots of notifications when you first start it
The notification screen is busy
This is the last SGS2 update

Changes Noticed:
  • Updated TouchWiz Nature UX
  • Icons are now larger and more cartoony
  • Ability to change the size of text in the UI
  • Calculator no longer vibrates on key presses
  • "Flick finger" Scrolling on web pages is more sticky and less smooth like other 4.2.1 devices
  • Calendar now changed to S Planner and has a more iPhone look with browns and beige colors.  Today's agenda widget can now link to specific event rather than just pull up the date
  • Music player controls have a 90's look to them with big round 3D looking buttons that stay on the screen.  Music player no longer closes when music is paused and you hit the back button.  It needs to be closed by End in the menu.
  • New Gallery App looks and works a lot better - no more gyroscopic tilting tricks.
  • Video Player can now take screenshots of the video and provides a button to rotate the screen even if you have screen rotation turned off. Similar big buttons found on the music player are present on the video player but they are just a white silloutte
  • Kies Air is not included in the firmware.  It can be downloaded from the Google Play.
  • New Delete All button in the Mail application.
  • The notification tray is a lot busier with 33% of it consumed by toggles, sliders, and text.  Additional toggles added: Mobile data, Blocking mode, Power saving, Sync.
  • S features added: Smart Stay
  • Only Polaris Viewer 4.1 is installed.  The full Polaris Office 4.0 can be downloaded for free from Samsung Apps.
  • microSD memory path changed from /sdcard/external_sd/ to /storage/extSdCard/
  • Lose the ability to add shortcuts to the home screen
Battery life doesn't seem to have been impacted in any negative or positive way.

Correction: Battery life is dramatically improved.  The SGS2 uses up 1% every 3 hours on standby (WiFi off, very sparse phone usage, data off, Bluetooth off, not roaming) with Jelly Bean.  That's compared to 1% every 1 hour with Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS).  That's 1 full day (24 hours) for only 8% battery.

Some more screenshots:

I'm really liking this firmware after using it as a daily driver for a few days.  I haven't had any crashing problems.  Everything from GPS, camera, WiFi, making/taking calls, and Bluetooth all work.  Jelly Bean is a very drastic change compared to Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) but really well worth the upgrade.  So if you're still on Gingerbread or ICS, I encourage you to upgrade to Jelly Bean.

*12/15/2013 Update on the battery life:
I get 5 days of standby on 50% of the battery.  Then I turned on WiFi and Simpsons Tapped Out and now I'm down to ~15%.


Ciara Eckhorst Berthelot said...

Hi, just wanted to ask how you are going with the update now?
I loved mine at first but now its become a huge drain on my battery. Have tried changing battery and its not that, and have also followed samsungs advice and performed a factory reset. Even without any apps installed its draining unbelievabley fast- in the last hour it has fallen by 15%! Thats with some light web browsing. The battery drain did get faster after turning wifi on, losing a percent every 2 mins! Without wifi, every 5 mins...

Eric said...

hi Ciara, my SGS2 still holds a charge very well and doesn't exhibit any of the problems you've mentioned. Have you tried doing a full battery discharge then recharging it until full?

Anonymous said...

Hi Eric,
I found your blog very useful in terms of ICS & jellybean performance.I have some doubt about battery life with both ICS & JB.Please tell us how much is your screen on time with both versions?
As I am getting 3.5-4 hrs screen on time on JB with 10% brightness,2G network and wifi on.
Is it stable or I need to change my battery as it is 2 years old now.Please share your views.

With Regards,

Eric said...

@Mandy - with screen on, WiFi turned on, and actively playing Simpsons Tapped Out, I don't get better than your 3.5 hours. WiFi and screen sucks the battery pretty quickly on the SGS2. Even GSMArena quoted web browsing life of 4.4 hours.

So your SGS2 is working as expected. I would toggle wifi off when you're not using it so it doesn't keep searching.

Anonymous said...

@Eric- thanx 4 reply,I was about to buy a new battery but now will stick with my old one.

Maddy :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Eric,
consider my new update of battery life for our beloved phone S2

Maddy :)

Eric said...

@Mandy I just updated my post with a screenshot of my battery life. If you're heavy on the phone, the battery drains fast

Anonymous said...

Hi Eric,
Don't compare your battery life playing a game.Here is my review on sammy os.If you play a game that means your cpu frequencies
is getting high and battery drains like 1.5/2 min per percent =2.5-3 hr avg screen on time.
Video playing 3.5/4 min per percent
You tube 3/3.5 min per percent
E book reading 4.5/5 min per percent.
Web Browsing 3/3.5 min per percent
Voice calls 3/3.5 min per percent
If you complete battery cycle that means you can easily get 4-5 hrs avg screen on time without playing games.Your mobile stand by time is really very good.Please compare your statics with mine and let me know the exact results.

Maddy :)