Samsung Galaxy S2

Samsung Galaxy S2

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

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Editor's Review of the Galaxy S2

Reviewed by on 5th May 2011
Home Screen

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.

Galaxy S2 Hubs

Galaxy S2 Hubs

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).

Galaxy S2 Widgets

Galaxy S2 Widgets

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.

Everything Else

Multitasking

Multitasking

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.

Conclusion

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.

Review model provided by Clove

Video Review


User Reviews

Based on an average user rating
Reviewed on 10th August 2013
by Fed up , Bristol

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!!!

Reviewed on 10th March 2012
by gary , sydney

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

Reviewed on 13th October 2011
by Michelle , Hull

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

Reviewed on 1st June 2011
by jay8783 , uk

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!!

Reviewed on 27th May 2011
by Brian Geoghan , London

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!

Reviewed on 27th May 2011
by Ian P , Woolwich

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!!

Reviewed on 24th May 2011
by nino , london

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!

Reviewed on 22nd May 2011
by Jay , Mrkt Harborough

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!

Reviewed on 21st May 2011
by steven o , harrogate

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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Find out more about the Samsung Galaxy S2 at samsung.com



Samsung Galaxy S2 News

White Samsung Galaxy S2 lands at T-Mobile, unlimited internet included

By on September 7th, 2011
White Samsung Galaxy S2 lands at T-Mobile, unlimited internet included

Just one day after Vodafone launched it, the white Samsung Galaxy S2 has landed at T-Mobile. The fuchsia-coloured network is selling the pearly-white smartphone from £35.75, with no upfront charge for the best-selling handset. This tariff also includes a generous 900 minutes, 500 texts and unlimited mobile data – which is currently available on all T-Mobile […]

Read more

White Samsung Galaxy S2 hits pre-order, coming in August

By on July 27th, 2011
White Samsung Galaxy S2 hits pre-order, coming in August

Just as it did with last year’s flagship, Samsung will be releasing the Galaxy S2 in a pearly-white flavour. Unlike the original Samsung Galaxy S, the Galaxy S2 variant (right) will come complete with a white-coloured front, which’ll no doubt be coupled with an equally frosty back-panel. That’s not even the best bit, as UK retailer […]

Read more

White Samsung Galaxy S2 heading to Vodafone

By on August 1st, 2011
White Samsung Galaxy S2 heading to Vodafone

Vodafone has revealed that it’ll be stocking the white Samsung Galaxy S2, ahead of the handset’s early-September release. Speaking to SoMobile, a Voda representative said that: “Yes, we will be getting the white Galaxy S2.” We’re still awaiting details on the handset’s pricing, although it’s likely to fetch the same as its darker-hued sibling. If […]

Read more

White Samsung Galaxy S2 heading to Three

By on July 29th, 2011
White Samsung Galaxy S2 heading to Three

Three will be offering the white Samsung Galaxy S2 from September, according to our friends at CoolSmartphone. Currently at Three, you can grab Samsung’s Galaxy S2 for free from just £30 per month on a 2-year contract, including 500 minutes, 5000 texts and 1GB data. The handset’s also available on pay as you go with the network, […]

Read more

White Samsung Galaxy S2 heading to Orange

By on August 10th, 2011
White Samsung Galaxy S2 heading to Orange

Orange will also be carrying the white Samsung Galaxy S2, having added the smartphone to its ‘Coming Soon’ page. There’s not yet any word on its pricing or release date, but it’s likely to go on sale next month. We can also expect it to fetch the same as its darker hued sibling, which means […]

Read more

White Samsung Galaxy S2 coming to O2, too

By on August 2nd, 2011
White Samsung Galaxy S2 coming to O2, too

It looks like the white Samsung Galaxy S2 will get a clean sweep of the UK networks, as O2 has confirmed it will be offering the smartphone. Speaking to SoMobile, an O2 representative confirmed that the network will be “selling the S2 in white later this year”. We’re still awaiting confirmation on its pricing and […]

Read more
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Samsung Galaxy S II Specifications

Samsung Galaxy S2

Size

125.3mm x 66.1mm x 8.5mm

Weight

116 grams

Display

Full capacitive touch screen

Type: Super AMOLED Plus

Gorilla Glass

Size: 4.27 inches

Resolution: 480 x 800

Input

Keyboard: On-screen

Operating System

Android 2.3

Interface: TouchWiz 4.0 UI


Storage

Storage

Internal: 16GB

External: microSD up to 32GB

Miscellaneous

CPU: 1.2GHz Dual core

A-GPS with maps

Internet

Internet

Data Speed

Up to 21 Mbps download speed

Data Protocols

3G, HSDPA

Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11 b/g/n

Connectivity

Connectivity

Audio: 3.5mm stereo jack

Data: Standard microUSB

Quad Band

GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900

Bluetooth

Bluetooth

Bluetooth 3

A2DP for wireless stereo headsets

Camera

Camera

8.0 megapixel camera

Auto Focus and LED Flash

1080p Video Recording

At 30 fps

Front facing camera with video calling

Social

Social

Social Networking Features

Twitter and Facebook Widgets

Email Access

Power

Power

Battery Capacity: 1650 mAh

Talk Time: 1100 minutes

Standby Time: 710 hours

Multimedia

Multimedia

Radio: FM with RDS

Audio supported formats

Playback: MP3, AAC, eAAC+, AAC+

Recording: Supported

Video supported formats

Playback: MP4, H.263, H.264, DivX

Recording: Supported



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