The Samsung Galaxy S2 builds on its older brothers success and with one swift glance at the spec sheet, we knew to expect big things from the Korean firms latest offering.
The reaction in the Dialaphone office when the Samsung Galaxy S2 landed on our desks wasn’t fantastic. It’s a lot bigger than the original Galaxy S, which didn’t go down well with some child-handed members of the team. The S2 is still a sexy number though and is far from chunky coming in at a mere 8.5mm, it’s light too, tipping the scales at 116 grams.
The Samsung Galaxy S2 has a far more luxurious feel to it than its predecessor, gone is the rounded silhouette of the Galaxy S, instead it’s been swapped with sharp edges and rectangular bodywork. The central home button has made it’s return and is handily sandwiched between two touch-sensitive keys.
Despite looking good from the front, we found the back panel a bit cheap. The flimsy textured battery cover was difficult to lift off and when you finally succeeded, we were more concerned about snapping the thing in half than concentrating on the task in hand, which was to check out the SIM and microSD slots. It’s not something we’d like to do often so we’d recommend you stick enough memory in it the first time round. Although we understand why Samsung went with the super-thin packaging, we’d have preferred something a little more robust.
However, flipping it over and the Super AMOLED Plus touchscreen instantly won us back over. Colours are extremely vivid and the picture quality takes crystal clear to a whole new level – if you’re into your vision, you’ll find yourself in heaven here. The screen comes with Gorilla Glass protection so scratches and cracks won’t be a problem, and sunlight legibility has improved tenfold when compared to previous Galaxy editions.
Power and Operating System
The Samsung Galaxy S2 runs on Android 2.3 Gingerbread and is joined by Samsung’s TouchWiz user interface. Navigation is simple and you’re presented with the customary homescreens, which you can fill up with all manner of widgets and shortcuts. Samsung hubs feature in both the menu and as widgets, and while we like the concept of the Games, Music and Readers hubs, where you download all sorts of entertainment content directly to your handset, the Social Hub can be a bit over the top by throwing all your social networking bits, call reminders and messages into one place. Again, Samsung Apps shows up which has the odd reasonable app here and there, but the majority of your app needs will be covered by the Android Market.
One thing that got our goat with the original Galaxy S was that it took a little while to boot up. That’s no longer a problem on the Galaxy S2, mainly thanks to the 1.2GHz dual-core processor that it’s got going on underneath the hood. Even the simplest of tasks like flicking through the homescreens and loading up apps are done in lightning quick time but the dual-core processor really gets to show us what it’s made of when it comes to browsing.
Internet: That 4.3 inch display is great for a lot of things and surfing the web is one of them. The Galaxy S2 is fired up for a fantastic internet experience with Adobe Flash 10.1 support and the dual-core processor deals with all matter of Flash ads, pictures and text with ease. Pages render really quickly and they look amazing too thanks to the high-quality screen the S2 has been blessed with. One quirky feature Samsung has incorporated within the browser is a new gyroscope zoom function. By placing both thumbs over the display, you can zoom in and out of web pages by tilting the handset and the reaction is instant. It’s not a hugely necessary feature but we still couldn’t stop playing with it!
Of course, the Samsung Galaxy S2 has both 3G and Wi-Fi capabilities and can also be used as a Wi-Fi hotspot.
Camera: The Galaxy S2 has a 2 megapixel front-facing camera and a rear 8 megapixel snapper. While the front-facing peeper can obviously be used for video calling (and you don’t need to install a third-party app to use this feature either), the rear camera offers loads of different shoot options to really enhance your shots including blink-detection, anti-shake and geotagging. It also has an LED flash, autofocus and can shoot video in both 720p and 1080p. On the subject of videos, the Galaxy S2 is also capable of playing back media in 1080p too.
Other tech specs:
- Music player: Supports MP3, WAV, eAAC+, AC3 and FLAC files
- Video player: Supports MP4, DivX, XviD, WMV, H.263 and H.264 files
- Optional NFC support
- 16GB/32GB internal storage
- 1GB RAM
- MicroSD card slot that can support cards up to 32GB
- 3.5mm headphone jack
The few negatives that we found with the Galaxy S2 are only minor points in the grand scheme of things. Yes, we weren’t too keen on the design and we’re not blown away by TouchWiz but overall, Samsung has done a fantastic job at ironing out the flaws that we experienced with the Galaxy S.
Samsung really has hit the nail on the head with this one and managed to produce a flagship handset that is very hard to pick fault with. As dual-core smartphones go so far, the Samsung Galaxy S2 gets our vote.