Samsung Galaxy S2
Samsung Galaxy S2 Samsung

The Samsung Galaxy S2 smartphone, a leading challenger to Apple's iPhone, has received the eagerly awaited Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update.

With the release of the Galaxy S3 expected within months, many Samsung fans feel the ICS update for the S2 has come late. But it's still better late than never as with this update S2 can finish its run improved before making room for the S3.

Though criticisms about the TouchWiz UI are running high, check out the five new features that you will find in your old S2 that now runs on the updated Android OS.

  • Homescreen - Keep Swiping Around

As CNET has noted, you can enjoy an endless carousel of homescreens with the updated S2. Earlier, swiping around homescreens used to end as soon as you reached the seventh screen. But now the screens are linked, and will take you back to the first screen once you reach the seventh and vice versa.

The icons also come in a list instead of a grid on the homescreen. The clock comes with a minor makeover with different hour indicators, and the settings icon is a rack with sliders on it.

  • Screen Lock

The new lockscreen is one interesting update. The first thing that you will notice after the ICS update is a text saying, Swipe screen to unlock.

The S2 now sports a lockscreen feature where you just need to touch any part of the screen. A circle appears around it and you just need to move your finger out of that circle to unlock the phone.

The new lockscreen lets you select display options between weather info and clock on the lockscreen and you can position them as you wish.

  • Chrome

One of the biggest reasons to update the OS of your device is Google's Chrome browser, which adds some fancy yet coveted features to your S2. Despite its beta moniker, Chrome is fast and scrolls and loads any Web page at a good speed.

The browser can also sync with the Chrome on your PC to give you access to the open tabs and search history on your desktop and on your phone at the same time.

Chrome supports incognito tabs and lets you access them with a simple swipe.

  • New Security Feature - Face Unlock

If you are walking or busy cooking in the kitchen, use thos cool feature face unlock instead of the usual screen. Though the Face Lock feature does not provide sound security to your phone, the quick method of unlocking your phone is handy at times when you are occupied with something else.

All you have to do is just look at it and the device, which already has your photo saved in it, will confirm the same by the front-facing camera and will be unlocked in a jiffy.

For more security-conscious users, the ICS can also fully encrypt the phone and its SD card.

  • Settings, Notifications and Other Changes

The newly updated S2 has various menus and options, which are reorganized and simplified. Some features such as a handy slider to quickly toggle Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on and off have been added at the very top of the settings menu. Therefore, the hassle of drilling down into multiple menus to perform a simple switch can be avoided now.

Another major change is that the notifications tray on the updated S2 ICS adds the sideways swipe-to-dismiss gesture that lets you just hold a notification with your finger and swipe it off the screen. This way, you can dismiss that particular notification from the list, while leaving other important reminders in place.

That is quite an improvement over the Clear All button.

Other ICS updates include better graphics performance, better battery life, better sound in videos and SNS integration into the phonebook.