Construction, Design, Size & Materials
The Samsung Galaxy S II feels very similar in hand to it’s baby brother, the Samsung Galaxy S. With it’s 4.3″ display though, it is a bit larger but still easy to hold. One of the improvements I enjoyed on the Galaxy S II was the carbon design back cover which gives you plenty of grip on this large phone so that it won’t fall out of your hand, and it feels good too.
The Galaxy S II comes in even thinner and lighter than the Galaxy S at 8.5mm thick and 116g in weight. Luckily, this drop in weight and thickness does not avert from the solid feel of the Galaxy S II.
The front of the Samsung Galaxy S II is the same as it’s baby brother with a push button for home, a soft touch menu button on the left and a back button on the right. In the top left corner of the Galaxy S II, there is also a front facing camera for video calls and self-portraits which is 2mp, decent for a front-facing camera.
The left hand side of the Samsung Galaxy S II contains the volume rocker button.
The right hand side of the Samsung Galaxy S II has the power button, which I quite like because it is within easier reach of your thumb.
At the bottom of the Galaxy S II, Samsung decided to move the MicroUSB port there … a move I definitely agree with as it was akward to have the port at the top of the phone as with the Galaxy S.
The back of the phone houses an LED Torch as well as the Samsung’s 8MP Camera. As mentioned, the back of the phone as that funky Carbon style cover which grips extremely well. When taking the cover it, it does feel super flimsy and and I thought it would snap the next time I take it off, but it seems Samsung thought of this and built the back cover out of a very strong, flexible type of plastic. See this link for more info: Don’t worry about ripping the battery door off of the samsung galaxy s II, it won’t break.
The display on Samsung Galaxy S II was amazing, as can be expected from Samsung’s high range phones. Using a Super AMOLED Plus display, the whites appear whiter and the blacks appear blacker (No, this is not an advert for OMO washing powder). In fact, the black is so good that I struggled to tell the difference between the edge of the screen and the actual black plastic cover of the phone.
The display is large at 4.3″ with a standard resolution of 480×800. The large screen makes everything easier to see and is great for people who would normally struggle to see a smaller screen such as a 3.2″ or 3.7″. Reading eBooks on the Samsung’s large screen is splendid … or even watching a movie or youtube on the go.
However you look at it though, the Galaxy S II’s screen will not disappoint. The only thing would be if you are a person with small hands, it will take some getting used to, to hold it, but it won’t fall out of your hand thanks to the grippy back cover.
User Interface & Included Software
Samsung have included an updated version of their TouchWiz UI user interface, specifically TouchWiz UI 4.0.
As with the previous TouchWiz UI interface, operating the Samsung feels smooth and the App menu system looks good.
A cool piece of included software I enjoyed was Samsung Voice Talk. What this software essentially does is listen to your voice commands. So you could click the button and say something along the lines of “Text Johny Walker What are you doing later” and the Samsung will open your text messaging app, create a new message, search for a contact named Johny Walker and if it finds that contact, it will add him to the send to area. It will then fill the text area with the words “What are you doing later”. You can then press the send button to get the message out to dear old Johny (Yes, that was the first name that popped into my head … I like a good drink every now and again).
As you can see in the image below though, the software also supports various other uses, most importantly being Car Mode to assist in using your phone if necessary while driving. There are a host of commands you can tell the Samsung Galaxy SII to perform, but you need to get yourself a Samsung Galaxy SII to discover those.
Camera – Image Quality
The camera quality on the Samsung Galaxy SII was excellent with a vibrant picture being taken by the 8MP sensor. The Galaxy SII also includes a built-in flash, a vast improvement on the design of the Samsung Galaxy S which didn’t have a flash … something which is so often looked over by manufacturers which is unusual as a flash is vital. Luckily, this time Samsung didn’t look over this factor.
The Samsung also has the ability to shoot 1080p video, and while I didn’t get the chance to look at the video on my LCD TV, on the phone itself, the video quality was simply brilliant.
Overall I was nicely impressed with the Samsung’s camera.
The battery life on the Samsung Galaxy SII was average, if not slightly under the average life of a battery. It lasted long enough to give me use of the Galaxy for the whole day, but definitely needed recharging in the evening. I would hazard a guess that the Dual Core processor, although great for performance, was the hindering factor on the battery itself.
Samsung has a habit of blowing me away with the performance of their high end devices. The 1.2Ghz Dual Core processor was able to chew up and spit out everything I could throw at it without any hiccups at all.
Just take a look at these benchmarks to see what the device is capable of:
Linpack scored a hefty 44.52 MFLOPS, a very decent number for a phone that has not been rooted. To put this into some perspective, I loved the performance of the original Samsung Galaxy S … and back then, it scored what now seems like a meesly 8.049 MFLOPS. This essentially means that the new Samsung Galaxy SII is 5.5x more powerful than the original Samsung Galaxy S.
Neocore was also impressed with the performance of the Samsung Galaxy SII, giving it a beautiful 3D score of 59.7 Frames Per Second.
The only thing that remains to be seen with the Galaxy SII’s performance, is whether or not it has similar bugs to the Galaxy S with the “com.android” issue many people faced which would lead to the phone crashing … I’m holding thumbs that Samsung has sorted this out, and on the plus side, I didn’t encounter any bugs when I played with the review unit.
Samsung’s competitors in this market include the HTC Desire HD, HTC Sensation and LG Optimus Black, so it does have some decent competition to play against, but I don’t think Samsung should have any issues in terms of this. I do believe, at the end of the day it will boil down to price, brand preference and playing on the devices themselves at the various retailers.
I can tell you I would love to get my hands on one of these permanently … it’s good to have a phone that doesn’t care how much you want to do on it, it just lets you do it with no performance hinderances.
I loved the Samsung Galaxy SII, and back in the day I loved the Samsung Galaxy S … so it seems Samsung is definitely doing something right when it comes to their high end devices because they’re devices are awesome.
If you are in the market for a new phone and are going onto one of the higher end contracts or have the cash to lay out, I would definitely tell you to get a Samsung Galaxy SII.
At the time of writing, the Samsung Galaxy SII was available on the following contracts:
Vodacom Business Call – R 279 p/m
Vodacom Everyday Offpeak 120 – R 319 p/m
MTN Anytime 350 – R 469 p/m
MTN Anytime 500 – R589 p/m
MTN Anytime 750 – R829 p/m
Virgin Mobile Classic Phone Contract 300 – R320 p/m
Cell C Activechat 220 – R509 p/m
Ease of use: 5/5
|Phone Processor||Dual-core 1.2GHz ARM Cortex-A9 proccessor, Mali-400MP GPU, Exynos chipset|
|Operating System||Android 2.3|
|Internal Memory||1 GB|
|Internal Storage||16GB / 32GB - Model Dependant|
|External Storage||microSD, up to 32GB|
|Dimensions||125.3 x 66.1 x 8.5 mm|
|Battery Size||1650 mAh|
|Screen Type||Super AMOLED|
|Screen Size||4.3 inches|
|Touch Screen Type||Capacitive|
|Screen Resolution||480 x 800 pixels|
|Main Camera||8 Megapixels|
|Video Quality||1080p HD - 30fps|
|Video Call Camera||Yes - 2MP|
|GPS||Yes - With A-GPS Support|
- Gorilla Glass display