Review: Samsung Galaxy S II


16 Jun 2011

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Can the Samsung Galaxy S II build on the legacy of its much-loved predecessor?

Look and feel

One of the first things I noticed about the Samsung Galaxy S II when I picked it up was just how light it is. It weighs only 119g and is incredibly slim, at 8.49mm thick.

This is pretty impressive, considering the spec of the phone. The Galaxy S II boasts a vivid Super AMOLED Plus display, with a strong contrast in colours. Along with this, it features strong Gorilla Glass, protecting the screen from damage. It’s one of the best displays I’ve seen on an Android device.

The front of the phone is covered with this glass, and the back is made from a textured plastic to help with the grip on the device.

Along with this, the Galaxy S II includes a 1.2 GHz dual core processor to provide faster speeds for gaming, multitasking and web use. The processor proved to be powerful – even with about nine apps open, it was still responsive and quick. 3D gaming ran smoothly, too.

I tried Game Loft’s Dungeon Hunter and it worked well, both loading and operating quickly, though the back of the phone felt a bit hot while playing it.

UI

The Galaxy S II runs on Android 2.3 with the latest version of Samsung’s overlay on top – Touch Wiz 4.0. Apart from a new coat of paint, the UI has some nice touches that really add to the usability of the phone.

There are some new gesture controls for navigation. On the home screen, if you hold down on an app and move your phone left or right, it switches home screens for you to move the app to.

There’s also a control where, if you tilt the phone to you or away from you, you can zoom in and out of a page, an alternative control to “pinch to zoom.”

You can double tap the phone to bring it to voice control for driving and can also dismiss a phone call by touching the screen and turning over the phone.

There are also hubs for reading, gaming, social networking and music, which integrates these experiences.

Media

The Galaxy S II has numerous wireless solutions for sharing and streaming content. Kies 2.0 lets the phone sync with a computer using Wi-Fi for backup, subscribing to content and sharing multimedia. You simply enter the address given to you on your browser to help share and sort out information.

AllShare is back, to let the smartphone link with a DLNA-compatible TV, audio system and laptop wirelessly to stream media.

Along with sporting a beautiful Super AMOLED Plus screen, the phone can play back videos in full HD, making it a useful device for watching videos.

Camera

The Galaxy S II offers an 8-megapixel camera at the back and a 2-megapixel camera at the front, slightly higher spec than many heavyweight phones. Colours are vibrant and crisp, and the camera copes quite well in different lighting conditions.

The phone offers a lot of different camera settings. You can adjust the shutter speed, metering and exposure value. There are also more straightforward settings, such as anti blur, changing the shooting mode depending on shooting conditions (such as a panoramic shot or an action shot) or changing the shooting mode depending on the lighting of the area.

Overall

The Samsung Galaxy S II is a worthy successor to the Galaxy S, which was already one of the top smartphones on the market. On the outside, it’s stylish and portable, offering beautiful visuals to your smartphone experience. On the inside, it’s a true powerhouse, capable of handling all heavy duty activities.

Add in media features, such as its sharp camera and wireless sharing, and this phone becomes one of the most compelling Android smartphones available today.

The Samsung Galaxy S II is available on all mobile networks.

Watch a video review of the Samsung Galaxy S II here:

Reviewed – Samsung Galaxy S II