Samsung Galaxy S II Review (GT-I9100)
One of the well known Android phones, is the Galaxy S. Samsung has beaten the other companies with this phone. However that phone was launched in June 2010 it seems that his successor has arrived. We from Samfirmware got 2 of the Galaxy SII to our disposal.
This is the second phone with a dualcore processor. It is the S5PV10 Exynos 4210 baked in the own kitchen from Samsung. And like we told you it runs at 1.2 Ghz and combines 2 ARM Cortex A9-cores, and for the grafical part is it stacked with a Mali-400 MP GPU.
As for the screen the Galaxy SII is it just a little bit bigger then the Galaxy S the difference is 0.3 inch, for our dutch readers it is 0.75 mm, but even with this big screen it is flat as hell. It is almost the thinnest phone on earth. Only the NEC Medias N-04C wich is 7.7 mm thick is thinner As for the Galaxy SII it is 8.49 mm thick.There are all sorts of new things on this phone, way to much to name them all in this review. So i made one wich tells you the new things globally. Here in Holland it costs 599 Euros wich is alot. It is even more expensive the the LG Optimus 2X.
|Processor||Samsung S5PV10 Exynos 4210|
|Processor speed||1,2 Ghz|
|Operating System||Android 2.3 (Gingerbread, with TouchWiz UI 4.0)|
|External SD||32 GB|
|Internal SD||16 or 32 GB|
|Size||125,3 x 66,1 x 8,49 mm (LxBxD)|
|Weight||116 g (Battery included)|
|Screen||4,3 inch, Capacitive Super AMOLED Plus|
|Screen Resolution||480 x 800 pixels|
|Wi-Fi||IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n, DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct en Wi-Fi Hotspot|
|Connectivity (wired)||Micro USB-port (v2.0, MHL), 3,5 mm audio jack,|
|Camera||8 Megapixel and Frontfacing 2 Megapixels|
|Audio||Build in Mic and speaker, 3,5 mm audio jack, Yamaha MC1N2 Soundchip|
|Speakingtime||1100 minutes on 2G, 520 minutes on 3G|
|Standbytime||610 Hours on 2G, 610 hours on 3G|
Packaging and Design
The Galaxy S II comes with a little black box, funny fact as the phone grew the box got smaller.
On the front we see in silver letters ‘Samsung Galaxy S II 1,2 Ghz’ and on the leftside we see the same thing.
At the back we see a few of the specifications like that it is a dual- core phone of course.
You can see that the phone is capable of shooting videos in 1080p and you can see that there are 2 camera’s.
A other thing we noticed was the bluetooth 3.0 wich is much quicker and more reliable than his predecessor.
When we op the box we find the manuals , a in- ear headset, extra rubbers for the headset, a Usb- cable and the adapter.
The thing we miss is HDMI cable or a MHL cable.
When you take it out of the box and you can see it for the first time you can really see how thin it is. When you pop in the battery you can feel how lightweight it really is. However you can feel how thin and lightweight it is, the build quality is of high standards. It doesn’t feel cheap like the first Galaxy S. At first sight you notice how big it really is, this is because its 4.3 Samoled Plus screen.
When we take a look at the front of the phone you can see at the upperleftside the first of 2 camera’s wich is a 2 megapixels. Also at the upperside you can see the speaker for the phonecalls wich is the same as the first Galaxy S. At the lowerside of the front we only see a squared home button. At each side of the home button are the back button and menu button, they are the same as the first Galaxy S, and can only be seen when the backlight is on.
At the back we see the second camera wich supports 8 Megapixels and can shoot 1080p movies. At the rightside of the camera we finally see a LED flash. On the lower rightside we see the speaker. On the leftside we see a little hole for a wristband, here we also find the volumerocker. On the rightside we find the power on and off button.
At the top of the phone we only see the 3.5 mm audio-jack, and at the bottom of the phone we see the Micro-Usb port.
If we remove the plastic back of the phoen we see a big battery with a capaccity of 1650mAh. At the top of this battery there is place for a MicroSD-card which only can be reached by removing the battery. The Sim-card can be reached without removing the battery. We think this had to be switched as for the Sim-card you don’t swap to often.
To put back the plastic backcover is a thing u have to get used to, it is not that easy to do. First you have to put the lower side in place then the rest of the back will follow. As it is of plastic back this time it doesn’t feel cheap at all. This is because of the finish Samsung used, the only thing about this finish is you get sweatty hands.
The screen is just like the one of the Galaxy S a Samoledscreen only this time it is the Plus version of it. This time Samsung stays true to its own Super Amoledscreens they even managed to make it better.This is becuase the Samoled Plusscreens have a other subpixel strategy. That is why everything is more sharp and colorful. Samsung says that this screen is better then many of you have at home as your television, with a reactiontime of 0,01 milliseconds it is fast as hell.
This screen supports Gorilla Glass which is known for it’s superior quality for moblie screens. Just like the Galaxy S this time you will get fingerprints all over the place. As for all phone have this problem but in a little bit of sunlight it can be annoying.
The Galaxy S II runs Android 2.3.3 also called Gingerbread. As you know Samsung calles his own skin Touchwiz. This phone runs the latest Touchwiz version Touchwiz 4.0. As for the homescreen we think it is all a little bit to busy. This is becuase of the many colours Samsung used to show off the Samoled Plusscreen. Samsung developed a few handy widgets and the are 7 homescreen usable as for the standard the are 5. If you are going to use them al that is the question. The pinch to zoom function is here as well for homescreen selection.
The nice part of the widgets is the resizing abbilty this is a nice feature with a big screen. The most important widget here in Holland is the MMM widget wich stands for Mobile Movies, Music & Media-widget. This widget gives u a quick acces to the newest Youtube videos and acces to most downloaded music and ringtones. Here we also see headlines of our newssite in Holland Nu.nl and we see the tweets from famous Dutchpeople.
The lockscreen of the Galaxy S II looks nice but in daily use it is not so handy. You have to look at it like the glass lockscreen from the Galaxy S. The use is the same, and with the Galaxy S we didn’t like it either. But it is not that of a problem, the only thing is this lockscreen you have to swipe gently to a side.
If you don’t do this gently the screen pops right back to its original place, this doesn’t look nice at all.
Samsung puts a new program called ”KIES Air” on the Galaxy S II. Thanks to KIES air you can connect your phone with your PC over WIFI. Now you can send numbers, pictures everthing like you do normally with KIES. So everything is safe with this application. The application works fine and is very handy if you want to keep some things safe.
Samsung put also some smart features on the Galaxy S II. You can find that under Settings…”Motion” is the name. HTC use this also on his smartphones.
Samsung put also some smart stuff on his Galaxy S II.With ”turn off” you can stop ringing your phone.You do this to put your phone with the screen towards the table. And with “tilt” you can zoom in or out.”Tilt” works very nice when you are within the browser…
Your phone feels a lot faster. If you want to go to a next page you can use “panning”.”Panning” works the same as ”Tilt” you only use one finger and move your phone to the Right or left.
To activate Voice talk Samsung create with “Double tap” a other smart thing. You just tap the phone on the Top and he will go to Voice talk.
If you want you can use all motion things they are located within settings. But there is also a option to deactivate them.
Samsung put also a video maker and photo editor on the Galaxy S II. With the Video maker you can make your own movie and you can add sounds or pictures to it. There are not a lot of effects but it is nice to play around with. With the Picture editor you can add effect to your pictureyou made. It is really funny to do but a not so needed option.
The other programs and applications are standard Android. Its not that special to talk about Samsung created a good smartphone. Tanks to TouchWizz 4.0 you can always use your phone horizontally. Only the thing is the Menu is still vertical. The new Touch-Wizz is really a better than the previous one.
The camera of the Galaxy SII is very good. We like the Full HD camcorder option inside of the Galaxy S II. We also like the place of the camera on the back of the Galaxy S II. It’s more of a bussines look thanks to this. Before we go the movies and pictures we like to show you some settings of the camera. Because the settings are normal Android basic its not that special. We keep everything for our movies and pictures in NORMAL mode. See here some Camera settings.
The full HD camera option of this phone is really amazing for a phone like this. Specially for this feature we went to Barcelona! We made some pictures with the Galaxy S II camera at the Formule 1 and FC Barcelona stadium. We also made some movies at the formule 1 because of its sound! Both movies are shot on full HD. See here the Full HD movies at the formule 1. Just keep in mind how hard a formula 1 car sound normally is! The microfoon couldn’t handle all things but we are happy with the result! The screen is absulutly amazing it needs a little more firmwares updates but the colors are fine.
Like we allready told you we also made some pictures at the forumle 1 and FC Barcelona stadium. Because we dind’t have a other phone with us we couldn’t compare any pictures. But later is this review we will compare pictures of the Galaxy S II with the Wave 723 and Omnia 7.
So please keep on reading!
See here the pictures shot by the Galaxy SII.
To make a nice comparerison with the 3 phones we are using the same resolutions.
We compare pictures with the next devices: Galaxy S II / Omnia 7 / Wave 723.
|Galaxy S II / 3.2 Megapixel||Omnia 7 / 3.2 Megapixel||Wave 723 / 3.2 Megapixel|
|FULL ZOOM||FULL ZOOM||FULL ZOOM|
|DARK with flash||DARK with flash||Dark with flash|
|DARK FULL ZOOM||DARK FULL ZOOM||DARK FULL ZOOM|
The conclusion is simple the best colors and depth is for the Galaxy S II.The colors are real and very sharp. What we really miss is the shutterbutton. If we compare the pictures with the Omnia 7 we see that they are fine too. The thing is you can’t make a nice photo with one hand on the galaxy sII. This is because you have to put one on the screen to make a picture. When you put one the screen you are losing picture quality.
If we compare that with the omnia 7 we really like that a lot more! Its sad why Samsung did not choose for a shutterbutton. We think it should be a lot nicer if you have both! Hopefully Samsung will use a shutter button on the Galaxy S III.
We didn’t test the front camera the reason is simple it is not special to us. The 2 megapixel camera is OK. But no one will use this because Video calling is very expensive. Also when we compare the 2 with the 8 on the back you will forget this camera vey fast! The only thing what is nice about this camera is the self portred option. But we think people will ask other people to make a picture with the back of the Galaxy S II.
Samsung Hubs and other apps
With this phone Samsung released some new Hubs which are worth telling you about.
We allready knew the Social Hub that could be found on some other devices from Samsung.
We can’t think of our phones without games this is big business for years.Within the Gaming Hub people can find the so called Premium games. The section For Free is allready been filled with games nicely. In the Premium game section we like to see more games. But this is because many games are for Tegra 2 and not for our Exynos processor. The games are not that expensive and their is free trail version so you know what you are buying. Quick downloading from this hub wont be the thing, because most games are 200 Mb big.
The Music Hub is a digital musicshop that you can compare with I-Tunes, this Hub was made with the collaboration of 7digital. The songs are in Holland 1 euro a piece.
When you open the Reader Hub you will see a bookcase .You see the 3 sections News , books and Magazines. The books are links to the actual thing your looking for and the bookcase will always look like this. Beware of this feature it is not for free you will get a 7 day trail after that you will have to pay.
Like we told you befor the Social Hub is allready known. Here you can add your Twitter , Facebook, Msn and Gmail account. Every update you will get and gets stored at one place within this Hub wich is really handy off course.
Through Samsung DIVE it is possible for Galaxy S II users to control their phone from a distance. This is for when it is stolen or if you have lost this phone. It is possible to read the Gps status to see where the phone is at. But this is only possible when the Gps was on when it was stolen or when you lost it. This feature was also available with the Galaxy S and the Samsung Wave.
With Dive it is possible to lock your phone from any distance, or you can wipe your phone or just let it ring.
In the beginning we were sceptical about dual-core phones, but they are doing a great job by now. Just like the LG Optimus 2X Speed the Galaxy S II feels blazinly fast. The Galaxy SII will do everything you ask of him without any lag. We can open a heavy flashsite and listen to music and if you want to compose a email while you are all doing, this it is possible!! Thats how good this Dual-core phone is!
About calling with this phone what it was made for, we can be short the sound is crystal clear even as the reception of the phone.
Ok the battery well this is a thing we want to talk about. We got our Galaxy S II with firmware KE2 and it was burning battery’s like jetfuel. Than we updated it to KE7 and now all is fine, this is with moderate use. Unfortunatly smartphone battery’s now a days aren’t made for days of pleasure with your phone, but they have a ton of features so we take that for granted.
If this is the first time you use the swype keyboard it will take time to get used too, if you can’t get used to it there is a standerad QWERTY keyboard aswell. If you get used to swype you will be able to send messages blazinly fast. So our advice is try to get used to it.
A nice feature we can find within the browser, if you put 2 fingers on the screen and you tilt your phone to the front or the back you get the same effect as pinch to zoom within the browser. It is not so precise as the pinch to zoom function but is a nice feature to show off. Samsung explains this feature nicely when there is a app that uses this function with a nice little popup.
Then the GPS story, well we all know about the problems with the first Galaxy S. This phones GPS rocks!! It is spot on and locks sattelites very fast. We also tested it with sygic Aura let me tell you guys. I can go anywhere in this world without losing the way. This time we can rely on our phones!
A other nice feature is Voice Talk, this function is nice when you drive in your car or have cold hands( remember the commercial?). This function can be started by pressing on the Voice Talk icon . Well that is the start of it, the next thing is really funny. You are going to talk to your Galaxy by saying : “Hi Galaxy”. Then you phone responds by saying: “What would you like to do”. Now you can say :”Send text to … or Navigate to… or Play music.There are other features to like save a memo or checking your schedule. This feature is powered by Vlingo so for English talking people only. We from Samfirmware love this feature.
Now something about the benchmarks as you can see with Smartbench 2011 only the Optimus scores a little bit better on the gaming aspect. All other benchmarks the Galaxy S II scores great results. We can talk for ages about benchmarks but with pictures it is more clear so see below our benchmarks.
|Linpack||Smartbench 2011||Quadrant Standard|
|Caffeine Mark||Caffeine Mark||Caffeine Mark|
The Samsung Galaxy S II is the best phone on the market these days. They choose the right time to launch this Beast, because the succes of the Galaxy S is wearing off by now.
Thanks to the coming of dual-core processors to the mobile market, we are going to a new era of mobile phoning and Samsung has raised the bar once again. As you can see in our benchmarks the Galaxy S II has only one enemy the LG Optimus 2x Speed.
Touchwiz 4.0 which Samsung put over Android Gingerbread has his Pro’s and Con’s , however the Con’s are more of a grafical point of view. Gingerbread in its own form is just a little bit stylisher and looks a little bit more polished. As we know of the Galaxy S Touchwiz has his own handy things like swiping left or right in Contacs to send a message or to call that person. So Touchwiz is a nice thing to have eventually.
All in all the Galaxy S II is the best phone on the market these days, because it is blazinly fast. It has a really good Camera and a Superior screen with his Super Amoled Plus screen. As we said before the Galaxy S II has to many new things to explain them all so we took just a few things of it.
On more thing to tell you guys, if you are a audiophile like me this phone will let you down. It does not have the superior Soundchip from Wolfson but a Yamaha MC1N2. Which is not as good as the Wolfson one. So that is a shame!! We of Samfirmware think if you want to make THE BEST OF THE BEST use only the best. And Samsung missed a point on the total score with this flaw…( If you can call it that because if you’re not a Audiophile then it will sound just good)
If you want a new Android phone and you want speed and a really nice Design and a beautiful screen this is the phone you want .. Go buy the Galaxy SII !!
Overall score : 9
Pro’s and Con’s
• Really good benchmarks and feels blazin fast.
• The 4.3 Samoled Plusscreen with his beautiful colors.
• TouchWiz 4.0 wich some nice new features.
• No shutterbutton.
• No Wolfson Soundchip.
Created by SamFirmware Staff.
Pictures by Omnia 7.