Ever since it was launched, the Samung Galaxy S had a strong following among smartphone users, becoming one of the best selling Android phones available thanks to its powerful hardware and feature set, but, as its usually the case with any device, there's still room for some improvement, the Android community managing to release a fix that can offer up to a threefold increase in speed.
If you are a Galaxy S user then you must have noted by now that, although your phone packs a fast 1GHz Samsung Hummingbird processor, it will occasionally pause for a few fractions of a second, or even seconds, making it feel sluggish and unresponsive.
This usually happens when the phone has to access its internal memory since the RFS file system used by Samsung doesn't come with any sort of buffered write support, therefore it blocks when it has to handle multiple write requests.
Fortunately, there's an easy fix for this problem that involves creating an ext2 buffer in the phone's internal memory, where it will store all the write requests, enabling data to be written in much bigger chunks, so you won't have to wait every time the phone decides it has to write something in its memory.
Although this sounds like a really complicated affair, is actually a lot easier then it sounds, a special app being available in the Google Market so all that you have to do is follow a few quick steps in order to unlock your Galaxy S' performance.
Before we start all of this, I would probably have to mention this fix also works on all those carrier specific Galaxy S models such as the Epic 4G, Captivate or Vibrant.
But, first thing's first, in order to prove the performance increase brought by this fix I had to get some benchmarking programs installed so I turned over to the Google
Market and started searching for different utilities that could show the speed gain brought by this fix.
After some browsing I settled in for three different benchmarks, Quadrant, Android Benchmark and 0xBenchmark, the former being behind all those claims saying this lag fix will bring a three fold increase in speed on the Galaxy S.
Let's pause for a second and take a look at this results, the tested handset scoring just a bit higher then the standard Galaxy S in the Quadrant bench, but is still way behind the Droid X and the FroYo running (Android 2.2) Nexus One.
Applying this patch should improve this score substantially, as all the reports available online seem to say, but I have take the liberty of adding two more benchmarks to the list in order to see if this is indeed the case or is just some some sort of best case scenario that is limited to Quadrant.
Before we get started I have to warn you that in order for this fix to be applied the phone must be rooted and some of the internal storage space used for installing apps will be used to create a write buffer by the patch.
I really don't think this will be much of a problem since the Galaxy S comes with a generous 2GB internal memory for installing your apps, and, if that isn't enough, the FroYo update, that is bound to get released this fall, will also enable users to store applications on the SD card.
Phone rooting is also included in this tutorial so you don't have to worry if your Galaxy S doesn't have superuser permissions at this time. Pre-requisites
Although the very first versions of this lag fix had a really long list of pre-requisites things have now changed and all you need now in order to get started is an Samsung Galaxy S phone, the RyanZA's One Click Lag fix app that can be downloaded from the Android market and some space available in the internal phone storage, so go ahead and install RyanZA's app on your phone.
A backup is also a good idea, since there is a chance this fix will restore your phone to its factory state, meaning you will lose all your installed apps, settings, contacts, basically everything that is placed on your phone's internal storage.
I can't say this happened to me when I applied the patch, but is better to be safe then sorry.
If you don't have a backup tool installed, I recommend trying the MyBackup program, available in the Android Market as a 30 day trial version, more then enough for our purposes.
But let's go back to storage space, since this is the most important prerequisite for this fix to work.
In order to check this head on over to Settings, SD Card and phone storage and scroll all the way down to Internal phone storage, where you can check the space available.
The fix will also check this for you, but I recommend taking a look for yourself to see if you can get started with this patch.
I recommend a 512MB cache, although there are some users that report going as low as 256MB won't affect your results, so make sure that you have at least this much space available.
Now that you got all the apps that are required, lets get down to the actual process.
I will assume that you are familiar with installing apps on your Android smartphone so I will skip explaining this and head right over to the actual steps involved in applying the fix.Step 1 – Backup your phone data and apps.
As I said before this part is optional since, in my experience, applying the fix will not remove any of your data, but I will recommend that you do this all the same since I don't want to be held responsible for losing the data stored on your phone.
If you have opted for MyBackup then select Backup, choose Applications first and, when prompted where to save this backup, choose SD card.
This will create a file containing all your installed apps and place it on the phone's SD memory card.
Of course, that you can also choose to backup the data online, but this will take more time.
After backing up you applications do the same for your data, this time choose Data when prompted what to backup.
If you opted for some other backup utility then follow the steps described in the documentation that comes with the program.Step 2 – Get root access
By now you should have RyanZA's One Click Lag fix app installed, so open this app.
From the Menu available, choose Root Device 2.1 as this will start the procedure needed to root your phone
(this will also add the busybox application).
Don't worry if it takes some time since it performs quite a few checks in order to see if everything is working as its supposed to and that no errors are encountered during this process.
After this is finished, you will be asked to start your phone is restore mode, so do this by switching off your handset and turning it on again by pressing together the Power button + Volume Up + Home Key.
Once your phone has started don't be worried by the lackluster interface
encountered, since this is normal, navigate to the update.zip file via the volume up, volume down keys and select it by pressing the Home key.
After this is applied your phone will automatically reset itself so lets head on over to the next step.Step 3 – Install the Ext2 Tool on your device
After the Galaxy S has started, don't worry if that takes more time then usual, head on over to the menu and open the One Click Lag fix app again.
This time we need to install the ext2 tool on your device so choose Install EXT2 Tools from the menu available and then press the Fire It Up button.
After the tools are installed, it should take just a few seconds, you should get started with the next step.Step 4 – Checking for available space
If you have followed the directions then you already know if enough free space to enable this patch is available, but another check doesn't hurt so go ahead and see what this tool tells you.
If everything is OK then you are all set to get down to the main order of business, applying the no lag fix.Step 5 – The OneClickLagFix
In order to apply the fix head on over to your phone's menu and start the One Click Lag fix app again.
Now click the OneClickLagFix button, choose the size of the ext2 partition that is going to be created by moving the slider right or left.
I recommend using a 512MB partition (or something along that line since getting that slider right where you want it can prove to be a serious challenge) since going above that won't give you much of a performance increase.
Now hit the Fire It Up button and let the phone do its business.
I recommend to leave it alone on the desk so you don't touch any buttons by accident.
If, however, the return key is hit, the process should still be running in the background, so re-entering the app and clicking the OneClickLagFix button should get you back in the middle of the action.
Once it starts applying the patch all the tasks running in the background will be closed and the phone will enter Airplane Mode.Step 6 - Enjoy a much smoother UI
If everything worked as it was supposed to then you should get a much more responsive phone, although a restart can be required in some cases (it wasn't the case with my Galaxy S).Is this worth all the trouble?
Well, I have been using the phone with the patch applyed for about four days and I can tell you this did indeed increase the responsiveness of the phone, apps load a lot quicker and all that stuttering that went on before the fix is gone, although once a day I still get a two or three second lag, but the overall experience is really positive.
However this is my own personal and very subjective experience so, if you remember, I also installed a bunch of benchmarking applications to see what do they think about my improved phone and they all seem to agree.
This patch does indeed bring a increase in performance, although this only affects the file system since all the other results remained pretty much unchanged apart from the Quadrant bench that returns a performance rating for the whole system, making it hard to see where this much improved score comes from.
But the other benchmarks seem to nail the culprit, this being of course the file system's low performance.
I mean, just take a look at the File Systems results returned by Android Benchmark and all becomes pretty clear.
I know it is pretty hard to believe those numbers, but I ran all the benchmarks three times in order to get valid results, although only one screenshot is provided for every bench, so I am pretty much sure this results are accurate.
Taking into account the results that I got as well as my personal experience with this phone I can't help it but recommend you to try this fix for yourself since this will make your Galaxy S a whole lot faster more then making up for those 512MB or so that you lose in the process.
So, end of it all, I have to congratulate the Android community for showing us what an truly open operating system can do for us all, while also pointing the finger at Samsung since releasing a phone with such a performance bug and not providing a fix for it seems like an unacceptable behaviour.
Now, I can't wait for Android 2.2 to come to the Galaxy S since running this fix plus FroYo seems like the sweetest thing possible.