Samsung Galaxy S II Mugen 3200mAh Battery Review

A few months ago, I had reviewed the Mugen Battery for the Samsung Galaxy S and the HTC Desire Z. I was thoroughly impressed by the batteries, and have been recommending them ever since to my friends. When the Samsung Galaxy S II was launched in India, it was all but natural for me to go and get the latest and the best Android smartphone around.

The Galaxy S II really does not have any serious drawbacks, and is SLIM, SEXY and FAST! I had no major issues with the battery life of the Galaxy S II, but I was eagerly waiting for the folks behind Mugen to release the extended batteries for the SGS2. It was just a matter of time before Mugen released two new extended batteries for the Galaxy S II, with a capacity of 1700mAh and 3200mAh respectively. I was pretty disappointed with the 1700mAh battery since it only offered a 50mAh boost in the capacity compared to the stock battery. The performance difference between the stock and the Mugen 1700mAh battery was going to be barely noticeable.

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It was pretty much logical that the 3200mAh battery was going to offer stellar performance since it offered nearly double the capacity of the stock battery. The only real drawback of this extended battery is that it requires an extended backcover, and adds noticeable thickness to the phone. My main purpose of this review was to find out whether the extra bulge added by the extended battery is manageable or not. When I reviewed the Mugen extended battery for the HTC Desire Z, the extra thickness and weight added to an already thick and heavy phone, making things tough. It was quite a task to manage such a thick and heavy Desire Z.

So after using the Mugen 3200mAh battery for the Samsung Galaxy S II for nearly 3 to 4 weeks, here are my thoughts about it.

Performance

I have absolutely no doubt in my mind about the performance of the Mugen 3200mAh battery. The battery may add noticeable thickness to the phone, but its well worth a trade-off. After switching to the Mugen battery, I started playing more games, watching more videos and listening to music on my Samsung Galaxy S II, without the fear of the phone’s battery lasting me only a day. In fact, even after a day of extremely heavy usage, the phone still has enough battery left to last me at least another 12 hours of light usage.

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On stock battery
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On Mugen 3200mAh battery

Yes, I am using a leaked Android 2.3.4 firmware along with a custom kernel on my SGS2, which definitely has brought about a noticeable improvement in battery life. Make no mistake about the performance of the Mugen 3200mAh battery for the Galaxy S II. It will in no way disappoint you.

Thickness vs. Performance

While the Mugen 3200mAh battery does improve the battery life, it also adds noticeable thickness to the phone. Thankfully, the Samsung Galaxy S II is one of the slimmest (8.49mm) Android handsets around, and even after installing the 3200mAh, it remains fairly portable. This is, unlike other thick handsets, like the HTC Thunderbolt, where using an extended battery makes the already thick phone, a brick!

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Now, the main question which most Mugen buyers ask themselves before buying their battery Is the improvement in battery life worth a trade-off for a thick phone? According to me, yes it is! The improvement in battery life thanks to the Mugen battery is tremendous, and is just too good to miss. For me, the extra bulk added by the battery is manageable, and I don’t have any issues in using the Mugen battery on a day-to-day basis. The bulk does make the beautiful SGS2 look ugly though.

Until there is some significant advancement in the world of battery technology, Mugen extended batteries are your and your phones’ best friend!

Interested readers can buy Mugen batteries for their handset from here.

HTC Thunderbolt Android 2.3 Gingebread Update Rolling Out Now

HTC have finally rolling out the Android 2.3 Gingerbread update for Verizon’s first-ever 4G LTE phone the Thunderbolt. The update comes nearly 3 months after its promised date. Well, better late than never HTC?

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Apart from the usual Gingerbread goodies, the update also fixes some bugs including the highly-dreaded data connectivity 3G/4G toggle issue. There is also a new updated Rosie launcher, with refreshed icons and colors. The update also installs the latest version of Google Talk with video chatting capabilities, but early reports suggest that it does not work properly. Oh, and the update bumps the Android version to 2.3.5.

Below is official change-log for the update :

Enhancements:

+ Download Manager App:
New App to manage all of your downloads from web browsing, email attachments and other apps.

+ App and Power Management Details:
Under Manage Applications, a new Runningtab displays a list of active applications and the storage and memory being used by each. Power efficiency mode option has also been added under Settings > Power.

+ New Desktop User Interface:
New widgets, icons and screens with refreshed colors.

+ Dock Icons:
Static Phone, App Launcher and Contacts icons are replaced within a customizable dock. Three swappable icons and the App Launcher icon are fixed to the Dock at the bottom of all home screen panels for easy and instant access.

Additional device features:
+ Alarm notifications will no longer appear while in Emergency Mode.
+ Improved data connectivity.
+ Improved audio quality while using Bluetooth ®.
+ Decreased wait time when saving audio attachments.
+ V CAST Tones now comes preloaded.
+ New Google Books app.
+ Enhanced UI for data roaming.
+ SMS messages send to correct recipient.
+ Reduced Force Close errors while using TuneWiki.
+ Reduced Force Close errors when using the front camera.
+ Audio on BT Car Kit no longer reroutes to phone when receiving a SMS message.

The update is being rolled out via OTA, and Thunderbolt owners can grab the update by going to Settings->About Phone, and selecting the Software Update option.

LG Optimus EX Announced In South Korea

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Last week, we posted the leaked press shots and specs of LG’s upcoming device. Now, LG has officially announced the new LG Optimus EX smartphone. This handset is powered by the powerful 1.2 GHz Tegra 2 dual-core processor. It runs on the latest Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) Operating System. This device will be exclusively available for SK Telecom customers in South Korea.

LG Optimus EX features a 4 inch WVGA display, sporting a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels, 1.2 GHz dual-core Tegra 2 processor, Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) OS, 5 megapixel rear camera with full HD (1080p) video recording and playback, 0.3 megapixel front-facing camera for video calls, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, 1 GB RAM, 8 GB ROM, microSD card slot, 32 GB expandable memory, 3G Connectivity, micro USB 5-pin connector, 3.5mm audio jack, micro HDMI connector, Bluetooth 3.0, Android Market, Mobile TV, DivX support, GPS with A-GPS and a 1500 mAh battery.

This handset will be available in 2 color schemes – black and silver as well as white and gold. The price and release date of this handset has not been announced yet. LG Optimus EX is most likely to be released next month in other Asian and European countries.

Android 2.3.4 Update Rolling Out For 2011 Range Of Xperia Handsets

Sony Ericsson has officially announced that it has started rolling out a new software update for its 2011 range of Xperia branded handsets. In fact, the roll out of the update started last week itself.

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The new software update brings Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread to all Xperia handsets, along with some other enhancements. For Xperia phones with a front camera, Sony Ericsson has included the latest version of Google Talk, with video chatting capabilities. The Facebook Inside Xperia feature has also been enhanced with features like app sharing, liking an app etc.

The update also brings 3D sweep panorama functionality to the handsets. Post the software update, Xperia owners would also be able to use their phone as a mobile-PC by connecting USB peripherals via the Sony Ericsson LiveDock. Other features which Xperia owners can enjoy post the update include swipe like text-input, and ability to take screenshots.

The update also enables 720p HD recording on the Xperia Play. Surprisingly, the official change-log from Sony Ericsson does not state anything about this feature. At the moment, the update is being rolled out in the Nordic countries only. The 2011 range of Xperia handsets include Arc, Neo, Ray and the Play.

T-Mobile Announces The HTC Amaze 4G Smartphone

T-Mobile recently announced its newest smartphone, the HTC Amaze 4G. This handset was earlier known as the HTC Ruby smartphone. It runs on the Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) Operating System and it comes with some amazing features such as a 4.3 inch display, 1.5 Ghz dual-core processor, 4G connectivity and much more. The HTC Amaze 4G allows you to capture high quality photos and share it with your friends or send it to Facebook, Picasa or Flickr at 4G speeds.

These new products unlock the full potential of our faster 4G network and deliver the best experience yet for watching video, surfing the Web, and creating and sharing content on the go,said Cole Brodman, chief marketing officer, T-Mobile USA. A 4G connection delivers a much improved experience, which entices consumers to do more with the devices they carry. Smartphone buyers are increasingly looking for built-in 4G capability, and we’re offering what we believe is the best 4G product portfolio in the industry.

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HTC Amaze 4G features a 4.3 inch qHD Super LCD touch-screen display, sporting a resolution of 540 x 960 pixels, 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 dual-core processor, Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) OS, HTC Sense 3.0 user interface, 8 megapixel camera with auto face detect and dual flash, Zero shutter lag, SmartShot, Face Detection and shake Detection, full HD (1080p) video recording and playback, 2 megapixel front-facing camera for video calls and so on.

Other features include a 3.5mm headphone jack, Music player, FM radio, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, 4G Connectivity, DLNA capable, HDMI mirroring, Stereo Bluetooth A2DP support, HTC Watch, HTC Sync, Slacker Radio, Audio DSP with SRS Surround Sound, Zinio, Wi-Fi HotSpot, full HTML web browser, T-Mobile TV, support for Adobe Flash, T-Mobile Video Chat, 16 GB internal memory, microSD card slot, 32 GB expandable memory and a 1730 mAh lithium ion battery.

This handset allows you to access more than 250,000 apps and games from the Android Market. The HTC Amaze 4G will be available for $259.99 after a $50 mail-in-rebate and a two year service agreement. You can purchase this device online from October 10, followed by T-Mobile retail stores starting October 12.

HTC Explorer To Launch On September 29 In India?

Last week we posted the leaked press shots and specs of the HTC’s upcoming budget smartphone, the HTC Explorer. This handset was earlier known as the HTC Pico. According to the guys at BGR, HTC Explorer will be announced at an event in New Delhi on September 29. The global announcement will be made by the company’s newly appointed president of global sales and marketing, Jason Mackenzie.

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HTC Explorer is expected to come with a 3.2 inch HVGA display, sporting a resolution of 320 x 480 pixels, 600 MHz processor, Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) OS, HTC Sense 3.5 UI, Wi-Fi 801.11 b/g/n, 3G Connectivity, 5 mega pixel rear camera, VGA front-facing camera, 384 MB RAM, 512 MB ROM, microSD card slot, 32 GB expandable memory, Bluetooth 3.0 and a 1230 mAh battery.

HTC Explorer a mid-range smartphone, which is specially targeted at budget-minded customers. The price of this device is expected to be around Rs.15000 ($300). This handset will compete with other budget Android phones such as HTC Wildfire S, Samsung Galaxy Ace and Motorola Defy in the Indian market. Are you planning to buy this device? Let us know your views in the comments section below.

Huawei Honor Announced; Comes With A 1.4 Ghz Processor

huawei honorHuawei is not known for manufacturing high-end Android smartphones, but the company is well-known for launching budget Android phones. Huawei recently announced its most-powerful smartphone, the Huawei Honor. This handset runs on the latest Android 2.3.5 (Gingerbread) Operating System and it comes with an exclusive Huawei user interface with a dynamic weather widget.

“Huawei Honor encapsulates the Huawei brand it features simple-to-use, advanced technology that allows people to share and connect easily. Honor provides a package of features that elevates the smartphone user experience, including an ultra-long battery life, so critical to the performance of smartphones but yet is often downplayed,” said Victor Xu, chief marketing officer of Huawei Device.

Huawei Honor features a 4 inch FWVGA capacitive touch screen display, 1.4 Ghz processor, Android 2.3.5 (Gingerbread) OS, Huawei user-interface, 8 megapixels auto focus camera, 2 megapixel front-facing camera for video calls, 3G HSPA+, WiFi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP, FM radio, Micro USB 2.0 port, 512 MB RAM, 4GB ROM, microSD card slot, 32 GB expandable memory, Assisted GPS support, DLNA-certified, G-sensor, proximity sensor, light sensor and a 1900 mAh battery.

Huawei Honor will be available for purchase in Asia-Pacific, China, Russia and the Middle East from Q4 of 2011. The price of this device is still a mystery.

Samsung Galaxy S II HD LTE Touting A 720p HD Screen Announced

Along with the Samsung Galaxy S II LTE, Sammy also announced the Galaxy S II HD LTE. The HD LTE is similar to the S II LTE, except for the screen. The S II HD LTE is the first Android phone to sport a massive 4.65-inch screen with a 720p (1280×720) HD resolution. This makes the S II HD LTE the first Android phone to have a eye-busting PPI of 316. As its name suggests, the S II HD LTE also supports the blazing-fast LTE network.

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Like the S II LTE, the S II HD LTE is also powered by a blazing fast 1.5GHz dual-core Exynos processor, and packs 1GB of RAM along with 16GB of internal storage capacity. The usual connectivity features like GPS with A-GPS, Bluetooth 3.0+HS, Wi-Fi b/g/n, FM Radio, a microSD card slot, MHL port, NFC along with a bunch of sensors like Gyroscope, Ambient Light Sensor and Accelerometer etc.

The handset runs on Android 2.3 Gingerbread, with TouchWIZ 4.0 on top of it. Like the S II LTE, the HD LTE is also powered by a 1850mAh battery. The Galaxy S II HD LTE will be available under all the three Korean networks SK Telecom, KT Telecom and LG U+. Sammy did not mention anything about the pricing or the availability of the device.

Samsung Galaxy S II LTE Announced; Features A 1.5GHz Dual-Core Processor

Samsung has announced two new handsets in its home-market, the Galaxy S II LTE and the Galaxy S II HD LTE. As the name suggests, both the handsets will support the blazing fast 4G LTE network.

Samsung Galaxy S II LTE Image

The S II LTE is a slightly upgraded model of the European version of the Galaxy S II, with a faster 1.5GHz dual-core Exynos processor. The handset also has a bigger 4.5-inch screen with WVGA (480×800) resolution. Compared to the original S II, the S II LTE has gained some thickness (8.49mm vs. 9.5mm) along with LTE connectivity.

The handset also sports the usual Wi-Fi b/g/n, GPS with A-GPS, 3.5mm audio jack, FM Radio, MHL port, NFC, Bluetooth 3.0+HS, and a bunch of sensors to go along with it. There is also 16GB of on-board storage, along with a microSD card slot. At the back of this LTE capable handset is an 8MP camera with an LED flash, with a 2MP camera in the front.

The handset runs on Android 2.3 Gingerbread, with TouchWIZ 4.0 UI on top of it. A beefy 1850mAh battery powers the handset. The Galaxy S II LTE will be available in Korea under the SK Telecom network. The press release from Sammy does not mention anything about the release date of the handset though.

Samsung Galaxy S II Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread Firmware Leaks

It was just a few of days ago, that Samsung started rolling out the Android 2.3.4 update for its best selling smartphone, and the hottest Android phone on the planet, the Galaxy S II.   While officially, Samsung is rolling out the Android 2.3.4 firmware update, unofficially the Android 2.3.5 firmware for the Galaxy S II has leaked online.

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The leaked Android 2.3.5 for the Galaxy S II does bring some new changes, and also improves the performance of an already fast phone. Users over at XDA forums who flashed the leaked firmware ((KI3) are reporting Quadrant scores in the range of 3900 to 4100. One notable change in the new firmware is that Samsung has replaced the bounce animation at the end of a list, with a   blue over scroll glow effect.

Sadly, the leaked firmware still lacks the latest version of Google Talk with video chatting capabilities. Samsung has also removed the USB Host APIs in this firmware, rendering apps like DSLR Controller useless. The USB Host APIs are also missing from the official Android 2.3.4 firmware.

Galaxy S II owners who are interested in flashing this leaked firmware on their handset, can head over to this thread at XDA forums for the required instructions and files.