I have a Galaxy S II. I absolutely love it. It is a top grade, gorgeous device.
Those things I don’t love, however, can be traced back to Samsung’s infatuation with all things Apple.
A lack of a notification light, for instance. This makes a 10 out of 10 device a 9 out of 10, in my opinion. I have absolutely no doubt that when Samsung rationalized this decision they looked to the iPhone as their model: It doesn’t have one, so better without, right? Not even close. It makes it a major nuisance knowing if there are notifications pending, reducing the utility and value of the device.
The Galaxy S II also lacks a trackball of any sort. This makes editing text a PITA as you try to move the cursor around awkwardly by poking at positions on the screen. Track “balls” (preferrably optical) also help for on the go phone use, allowing you to scroll
emails, etc, with the phone in one hand.
The iPhone succeeds despite these deficiencies, not because of them.
Even iOS’ rubber-band scrolling (where it lets you exceed the bounds of a list but then bounces back) makes an appearance on the GS II, as it does on HTC’s Sense. Why? I would argue that this is not an intuitive interface element, and is deficient compared to Gingerbread’s stock behavior.
Please stop copying the iPhone, Samsung. You don’t need to, and when you do it makes your products worse. And just to get this in the wild to avoid the inevitable patents, start thinking up better input techniques. I would like a small touch sensor on the back of the device, for instance (hold your device and you can immediately imagine hundreds of uses). The possibilities are endless. Don’t wait for Apple to prove that it can be done.
Update 2011-09-17- Samsung has a simply incredible manufacturing process: They seem to make a million variations of everything, specifically targeting niches, carriers, and industries (amply disproving the garbage “make one that is not quite right for everyone and that will be the best” mantra). For the Sprint variation of the Galaxy S II they did away with the large, rectangular iPhone button and went for the four capacitive buttons,
added a notification light, among other not-like-an-iPhone changes. The result is a much better device. Hopefully they learn from this.