The first Galaxy S had a lot of things going for it – it was slim, responsive, and was packed to the brim with all the latest tech goodies that the Korean manufacturer could stuff into it. It’s probably an understatement to say then, that the Galaxy S II has its work cut out for it. Thankfully the Samsung Galaxy S II manages to surpass the original in almost every way.
The Galaxy S II is the latest in the line of Samsung’s superphones, and since it’s Sammy’s current flagship model, it’s packed to the brim with everything you’d expect – a fantastically bright and crisp 4.3-inch super AMOLED screen, a dual-core 1.2GHz ARM Cortex-A9 processor and the latest build of Android, Gingerbread 2.3.
The Galaxy S II is undeniably slim, and measures in at 8.5mm at its thinnest point. There’s a 3.5mm phone jack on top and USB/charger input at the bottom.
There’s also an 8-megapixel camera on the back.
The speakers are located on the small bump on near the bottom of the device. Unlike its competitors, the Galaxy S II only uses two touch sensitive buttons at the bottom of the screen.
Physical buttons are slim pickings – there’s the power button on the right and the volume rocker on the left, with a home button being the sole, physical key in the front of the device.
The overall build quality of the Galaxy S II is good, and though it’s mostly made out of plastic, we’re fairly certain it’ll stand up to abuse well. The Galaxy S II is extremely light, and only slightly tips the scales at around 116 grams. The design is simple, yet elegant, and the rounded corners plus the slightly textured back of the device mean that you’ll always have a comfortable and positive grip on it.
One of the best things going for the Galaxy S II is its screen. It’s seriously one of the best, if not THE best displays we’ve seen on a smartphone so far this year. The super AMOLED screen is nice and bright, has excellent colors, viewing angles and so on and so forth. The blacks are amazing on the screen, and everything you do with it – from watching movies and videos – feels so much better than viewing it on a regular LCD screen. One thing though – AMOLED screens tend to suffer when exposed to direct sunlight, kind of like a vampire (no, not the one that shimmers). The Galaxy S II doesn’t suffer as badly compared to other AMOLED devices, but it’s still something to keep in mind.
Like most other manufacturers, Samsung’s tweaked the stock Android interface and injected their own improvements by way of their TouchWiz UI.
I especially liked the fact that four of the most important widgets – Phone, Contacts, Messaging and Apps – are always accessible even while going through the seven different (and customizable) homescreens. As with anything Android, you can customize the screens depending on what you want.
Performance-wise, the Galaxy S II did not disappoint. It trudged through Quadrant Standard like a champ, scoring an impressive 3259 points. To put that in perspective, the HTC Sensation we reviewed a couple of weeks back (which also had a dual-core 1.2GHz processor) scored 2212.
It was pretty much the same story for AnTuTu, with the Galaxy S II scoring extremely high, nabbing about 5249. It was weird though that it didn’t reach the highest benchmark score on AnTuTu (which was about 5600) even though it was set by the same unit, the Galaxy S II.
Battery life was excellent, and it managed to last more than a day on a single charge. Usually battery life is the my main complaint when it comes to reviewing smartphones, with most devices not lasting the night if not plugged in to the socket. The Galaxy S II managed to stay on even when I forgot to charge it of the night, which speaks volumes about the screen’s power efficiency.
It’s hard to find fault in the Galaxy S II, but there is one thing that really bothered me about it. The back cover on the device is extremely flimsy – it’s less than a millimeter thick, and judging from the condition of the cover when the unit got to us, it’s a bit prone to damage.
But don’t let that little detail stop you from trying out the Samsung Galaxy S II. It’s possibly one of the fastest smartphones, if not THE fastest smartphone out in the market today. It’s also one of the slimmest around, and brings both style and technology in a beautiful package that fits in the palm of your hand.
Super AMOLED screen
Back cover is flimsy, prone to damage
It was a tall order, but the Samsung Galaxy S II managed to surpass the original in every way. Definetely a must buy.
- Operating System
- Android 2.3, TouchWiz UI
- Dual-core 1.2GHz ARM Cortex-A9 proccessor, Mali-400MP GPU
- LCD size
- 4.3 inch, Super AMOLED Plus capacitive touchscreen
- Physical Dimensions
- 125.3 x 66.1 x 8.5mm
- 116 grams
- GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900, HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100