The Galaxy S2 is the kind of sequel we like, with its dual-core processor, a super-skinny design, and gorgeous 4.3-inch screen
Editor's Review of the Galaxy S2
The Samsung Galaxy S was an award-winning smartphone, and sold in its millions to Android fans worldwide. However, Samsung hopes that in spite of itself, its latest Galaxy S2 flagship can go and do one better, picking up the crown from its best-selling brother. Certainly on paper the Galaxy S2 has everything, but can this dual-core powerhouse live up to the hype?
Design & Build
The first thing you'll notice about this handset is its size. The Samsung Galaxy S2 is mind-blowingly thin, its dimensions of 125.3 x 66 x 8.5mm making it skinnier than Apple's iPhone 4 and the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc. This is matched by its lightness, as despite its tech-filled chassis, it weighs in at just a shade over 100g.
Unsurprisingly, the Galaxy S II looks great too, and has strayed from being an iPhone 3GS look-a-like to something more original. It's glossy black frontage feels reminiscent of the Samsung Omnia 7, yet has obviously been influenced by its older brother with its physical home key and angular stylings. Our only gripe is that its textured plastic battery cover, although comfortable to hold, lacks the high-end appeal of an aluminium coated HTC high-ender, and fails to show the handset to its full potential. Also, when removing it feels worryingly flimsy, and we were almost frightened to pop it back on.
Asides from its super skinny chassis and dashing good looks, the other thing you'll notice when you first pick up the Galaxy S2 is its 4.3-inches of Super AMOLED goodness. While its WVGA 800 x 400 pixel resolution sounds a bit last-gen compared to today's qHD screens, we'd go as far as to saying that it's one of the best displays we've ever seen - when not covered in fingerprints, that is. In fact, the screen is so brilliant and vivid that we had to reduce the brightness to a very low level to avoid being dazzledWhile we're not sure what the "Plus" in Super AMOLED Plus really means, compared to the display of the original Galaxy S it's much more impressive.
Besides its vivid colours and excellent viewing angles, the S2's touchscreen is extremely responsive. We didn't experience a hint of lag during testing, even when pushing it to its limits with multiple apps and WiFi usage.
When it was first unwrapped at January's CES, we were pretty hyped up about the handset's 1GHz dual-core processor. To keep the Galaxy S II up to date, Samsung bumped this up to a sizzling 1.2GHz, matching the speeds of the HTC Sensation. Having played with HTC's dual-core debut we'd even got as far as saying the Galaxy S II's quicker, after coping seamlessly with everything we threw at it.
OS & Interface
Adding more heft to the S2's already weighty spec sheet is its Android 2.3.3 OS, the newest and whizziest verion of Google's homegrown platform. This arrives dressed in TouchWiz 4.0, a huge bump up from the "3.0" UI found on the original Galaxy S.
Although we've always preferred HTC's Sense UI, Samsung's new-and-improved Android skin could just sway us with its customizable homescreens, re-jigged onscreen QWERTY and most importantly, Samsung Hubs. We've always been a fan of HTC FriendStream, but Samsung's Social Hub does an excellent job of showing off your Tweets, Facebook updates and incoming messages from multiple accounts. There's also a Games Hub included for downloading AMOLED-optimized apps, Samsung's iTunes-like Music hub, and Books Hub for reading books and magazines on the go.
That's not all that comes pre-loaded on this feature-packed blower. Within its iPhone style app list you'll find BBC iPlayer (which works seamlessly), an a bunch of business applications for Word, Excel and PowerPoint editing, and all the usual Google-branded goodies (Gmail, Talk, Search).
Another neat feature of TouchWiz 4.0 is its all-new multitouch gestures, which although not necessary, while make your friends go "Ooh". These include the ability to zoom in and out by resting two fingers on the screen and moving the handset back and forth, while moving the smartphone from side-to-side will re-arrange your widgets. Although a nice show-off features and a bit of a novelty, we found the gestures ultimately pointless, and often frustrating and niggly to execute.
Multimedia & Storage
The Samsung Galaxy S2 boasts an 8 megapixel rear-facing camera, complete with LED flash and a multitude of trickery. While it's by no means on par with the Xperia Arc, this high-resolution sensor certainly won't disappoint. Daylight shots came out extremely sharp and full of detail, although its flash struggled to keep up in low light conditions.
Video on the other hand excelled our expectations, even compared to Sony's Exmor R sensor. Thanks to its twin cores, the Galaxy S2 effortlessly captures 1080p HD video, and despite the erratic autofocus, footage was extremely smooth.
The music player on the Samsung Galaxy range has always been pretty impressive, and the the Samsung Galaxy S2's effort is certainly no exception. Besides looking great, you'll find 5.1 virual surround sound, Smart Playlists, and music control widget in the notification bar for easily toggling tracks.
The Internet browser on the Galaxy S II isn't too different from your average Android offering, the only obvious different being its super-fast loading times. Asides from the handset's dual-core chips, there's also HSDPA and WiFi connectivity onboard, promising to cope with up to 21Mbps download speeds. It's not just fast, as even the meatiest of web pages render clear on the WVGA screen, and multitouch gestures worked seamlessly.
As you would expect from a Gingerbread smartphone, there's also native Adobe Flash video support. Without a doubt, the Samsung Galaxy S II coped with Flash better than any phone we'd seen before, and showed no signs of lagging or poor performance.
Being such a powerful, feature-crammed device, we were surprised by the handset's long-lasting battery. Under the hood, there's a 1650mAh juice-box, which thanks to the AMOLED screen, doesn't drain as quickly as on standard smartphones. Unlike the iPhone and Desire HD, the Galaxy S2 should last you a good 48 hours.
As you may have guessed, we loved the Galaxy S2. Samsung has without a doubt triumphed again, be it with the handset's whizzy internals or its lavish AMOLED screen. Samsung can well and truly lay rest to those comments that its smartphones are little more than iPhone imitators, having set its own bar for smartphones to come. Say hello to the best-selling phone of 2011.
If you want a phone that randomly rings someone in the early hours of the morning, takes numerous photos of the inside of your pocket and has a battery malfunction on a monthly basis,this is the phone for you. If not , get an iPhone!!!
my s ll must be a dud the screen wont open all the way can ring out but not in untill about 30 seconds late the phone is so slow at doing anything it just started happening telstra wants me to leave it so they can send it away to be fixed
I have always been a massive fan of samsung phones. I was looking at new phones and decided to try the Sony Ericsson for a change. I can safely say I soon sold that phone on Ebay an got myself the samsung galaxy s2. The camera is fantastic
The phone looks great, its thinner, lighter, faster than the original and the screen is amazing! I don't know how samsung can fit so much technology into such a thin phone!!
I've always been an Apple fan, and was previously using the iPhone 3GS. I never thought I'd get an Android smartphone, but after reading reviews for the Samsung GS2 I thought I'd give it a go rather than waiting around for the iPhone 5.
The first thing I noticed was the handsets design, and it seems like Samsung have taken the design of the iPhone 4 and improved it. It's a shame it's not made from aluminum, but it feels extremely comfortable to hold in the hand. It's mind-blowing how thin it is!
The software and UI is excellent too. Although it took a while for me to adjust to the Android layout and Samsung's TouchWiz UI - one I had, I preferred it to iOS. This is no doubt helped by the dual-core processor, because loading apps seems to happen in an instant.
As a big gamer, this I where I really noticed the speed of the Galaxy S2. The screen seems to respond before I've even touched it, and it puts the iPhone to shame in terms of graphics and speed. My only complaint would be the apps on offer from Samsung, which aren't great.
Another of my favourite features is the 8 megapixel camera on the S2. I usually carry a digital camera around me as the iPhone 3GS isn't that great at taking pictures. However, the S2 is much much better, and takes extremely clear and detailed photo, along with HD video.
I would definitely recommend this phone - even to iPhone users. I dont think I'd ever go back to using an Apple phone after using the Galaxy S2. Well done, Samsung!
Most feedback I've seen about the Galaxy S II is that it's "too expensive" or "overpriced". If this is what you think I urge you to try this phone. I got it the day it came out and it puts EVERY other phone to shame!!
i am so surprised by the sgs2. i was stuck between this and the optimus 2x but was told that the s2 is much faster with a better screen. they were right as its the best phone i have ever had!! i've never been a fan of samsungs touch wiz but it looks great on the amoled+ display and is great for things like facebook and email! my only compliant is that i wish it had a 12mp camera like the nokia n8 but its still a good camera. would definitely recommend this phone, much better than anything else available!
I bought this phone on Tuesday from O2, and I still can't get my head around how thin it is!
Compared to my girlfriend's iPhone, the Galaxy S II seems so much thinner and lighter, although the 4.3 inch screen is too wide for her hands and she struggled to reach the button controls!
I'm also amazed by the handsets display. I was using the HTC Wildfire before, and the display of the Galaxy S II looks 10 times brighter. The live wallpapers look amazing too. I never really knew what dual-core meant before I bought this phone either - but it's definitely lightening fast!
I like pretty much everything about this phone but I'd also recommend it to people looking for a great camera and good battery life.
My only criticism is the the handsets plastic casing but I suppose this is what keeps it so light! Amazing phone!
the samsung s2 is the best phone available at the moment, and i've been waiting to get it for 4 months now! the display is amazing, best i have ever seen. i've played on the originaly galaxy s2 and its much faster - everything is instant, even when playing with three or four apps. i was most impressed with the handsets battery life. i was playing on it for about 3 days constantly until i had to charge it! this phone is excellent, a definite must buy!
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Samsung Galaxy S II Specifications
125.3mm x 66.1mm x 8.5mm
Full capacitive touch screen
Type: Super AMOLED Plus
Size: 4.27 inches
Resolution: 480 x 800
Interface: TouchWiz 4.0 UI
External: microSD up to 32GB
CPU: 1.2GHz Dual core
A-GPS with maps
Up to 21 Mbps download speed
Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11 b/g/n
Audio: 3.5mm stereo jack
Data: Standard microUSB
GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
A2DP for wireless stereo headsets
8.0 megapixel camera
Auto Focus and LED Flash
1080p Video Recording
At 30 fps
Front facing camera with video calling
Battery Capacity: 1650 mAh
Talk Time: 1100 minutes
Standby Time: 710 hours
Radio: FM with RDS
Audio supported formats
Playback: MP3, AAC, eAAC+, AAC+
Video supported formats
Playback: MP4, H.263, H.264, DivX
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