The Samsung Galaxy S did have some features whose functionalities were poor, and of course the phone had the lag issue. However, when Samsung launched the Samsung Galaxy S 2 at MWC this year, expectations from its fans grew higher and they were quite thrilled about the launch. Fans hoped that the new device would bring in the required changes with additional features. And Samsung never disappointed its aficionados.
The Samsung Galaxy S II has a beautiful display with elegant looks and thin design. Powered by Android OS and dual-core processor along with a 1GB RAM and an awesome 8MP camera, the smartphone has certainly ousted its competitors.
The Galaxy S2 is an excellent phone and so is Motorola’s DROID and Apple’s iPhone 4S. The Samsung Galaxy S 2 is a worthy upgrade to the original Samsung Galaxy S. However, this doesn’t separate the smartphone from the other high-end Android smartphone. But, does it have enough features to compete Apple’s iPhone? Or is it one the best phones from Samsung? Well, let’s find out by digging more in depth of the Samsung Galaxy S II and comparing it the iPhone 4S.
Features and Specs of Samsung Galaxy S II
Samsung Galaxy S 2
- 4.27-inch Super-AMOLED+ screen with WVGA (800×480) resolution
- 1.2GHz Dual-core Exynos 4210 processor
- ARM-Mali 400 GPU
- 1GB RAM, 16GB/32GB on-board storage
- 8MP camera with Auto-Focus, LED Flash
- 2MP Front Facing Camera
- Dual-band Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0 HS, Wi-Fi Direct
- HSDPA/HSUPA, USB O-T-G, MHL port, Accelerometer
- Gyroscope, GPS with A-GPS, Proximity Sensor
Samsung Galaxy S 2 – Design and Display
One of the best features of the Samsung Galaxy S II is its display. The phone has a huge bright 4.3″ screen, which evokes these two words – “Absofreakinlutely awesome!” It has a screen resolution of 480×800 at 218 ppi with a and improved WVGA Super AMOLED Plus (0.37 megapixel) display which delivers better perceived resolution than the Samsung Galaxy S which has the Super AMOLED display. The reason why I recommend any other phone over the Samsung Galaxy S II in terms of display is of course is because of its much bigger display which has eye-popping colors and contrast ratios.
Design wise, the Galaxy 2 has dimensions of 125.3 x 66.1 x 8.5 mm which is bigger in comparison to the iPhone 4S dimensions of 115.2 x 58.6 x 9.3 mm. The Samsung Galaxy S II was one of the slimmest smartphones, mostly 8.49 mm thick, except for two small bulges which take the total thickness of the phone to 9.91 mm. In terms of weight, the Galaxy S2 is extremely light and weighs in at 113 gms, while the iPhone 4s weighs over 138 gms.
The touch screen is pretty neat and responsive. The smartphone offers several virtual keyboards, including Android, Samsung, and Swype. It also enables users to easily navigate through the menus. Along with that, the smartphone also support motion gestures with which you can mute the phone by simply flipping it, or enlarge (zoom) a picture or the browser by tilting two fingers on the screen. You can also perform tasks such as composing and sending a text message, making a call, and play music.
There are four touch buttons which you will find below the screen – menu, home, back, and search. On the top of the device you will find a 3.5mm headphone hack while at the bottom it features a Micro-USB port. On the left side, there’s volume controller ad a power/lock button on the right.
Apart from the phone’s outer layer being constructed with plastic, like the original Samsung Galaxy S 2, the handset still feels a lot better when held in hand. The back cover of the phone has been re-designed to make it pleasant to hold and is scratch proof as well. However, the back cover is very thin, but isn’t easily breakable even if you twist it.
Samsung Galaxy S 2 – User Interface
The Samsung Galaxy S II runs on Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread with Samsung’s latest TouchWiz 4.0 user interface on it that is claimed to be “more refined and polished,” which basically means that it has a more intuitive user interface. Certainly the TouchWiz 4.0 has a few improved features along with some carryovers from previous versions of TouchWiz.
By default, it has seven home screens including notification pull-down menu has icons for easily turning on Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, flight mode, and screen rotation. However, users can customize these home screens that lets you move through various panels to add or remove icons and widgets. The Galaxy S II responsiveness with the Exynos processor and ARM Mali-400 GPU is very snappy. And like I said, the phone has got several virtual keyboards and has slightly larger space between keys, making it easier to type, though.
The TouchWiz 4.0 UI brings in the ability to easily adjust the screen brightness by simply swiping your fingers across the status bar. It also comes with some useful add-ons like and integrated task manager that displays all your active applications, downloaded apps with the option to uninstall, RAM status, and system storage.
Samsung Galaxy S 2 – Hardware
The iPhone 4S received a processor upgrade, which is an A5 ducal-core chip clocked in at 800MHz, and Apple claims that its performance is much faster when it comes to launching of apps and performing other heavy tasks. However, the Samsung Galaxy S II has a 1.2GHz Dual-core Exynos 4210 processor, which is even faster than the A5. Well, this not only increases the performance of the phone, but also wouldn’t freeze while running multiple apps. It is also said that the Exynos processor is faster than the NVIDIA Tegra 2.
The phone has 1GB of RAM and 16/32 GB flash memory. Apart from the phone being powered by a dual core processor, the Samsung Galaxy S II also has the capability of recording video at 1080p. It is one of the first devices to offer a Mobile High-definition Link (MHL), which allows up to 1080p uncompressed video output with HDMI while charging the device at the same time.
The Exynos 4210 uses ARM’s Mali-400 MP GPU. This graphics GPU, supplied by ARM, is a move away from the PowerVR GPU of the Samsung Galaxy S. The Exyon 4210 supports ARM’s Media Processing Engine or “NEON” instructions to give high performance advantage in critical situation such as accelerated decoding for many multimedia codecs and formats.
The Galaxy S2 features the Yamaha audio hardware. However, the original Samsung Galaxy S used Wolfson’s WM8994 DAC, which is “said” to be better than the Yahama audio by some reviewers and online forum users.
The Samsung Galaxy S II is one of the earliest Android powered smartphones to support NFC (Near Field Communication). Samsung has also included Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) for sending high-definition uncompressed 1080p video and audio from a mobile device. However, the main feature, or rather a speciality of the MHL is that it allows the device’s battery to be charged while at the same time playing back multimedia content.
The Android powered Samsung Galaxy S II has a micro USB port that supports USB On-The-Go (USB OTG), which allows the phone to act as a “host” device, just like the way your desktop computer works. However, this cannot be used to connect USB keyboard, USB mice, or USB game pads.
There is a 3.5 mm TRRS headset jack placed on the top of the device. Alongside, the device has a BCM4330 combo chip which integrates 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0 + HS and FM radio.
Samsung Galaxy S 2 – Camera
The phone’s camera is one of the biggest and best upgrades from the Galaxy S. The original Galaxy S featured a 5 megapixel camera while the Samsung Galaxy S II has been featured with an 8 megapixel camera with Auto-Focus, and an LED flash, allowing you to take clear, accurate, sharper images.
The Samsung Galaxy S II has a more stylish camera UI, with plenty of shooting modes, scenes, and effects that you can apply to your photos and videos. However, the time between capturing pictures is very short. The phone can record videos in full high-definition 1080p at 30 frames per second.
The device has a front facing 2 megapixel cameras for video calling, taking photos as well as general video recording, with a maximum resolution of VGA (640×480).
Samsung Galaxy S 2 – Price
The Samsung Galaxy S II is priced very much same as compared to the iPhone 4S – which is available at $199, $299 and $399 with two-year contract for 16GB, 32 GB and 64 GB models respectively.
With AT&T, the Samsung Galaxy S II starts at $199.99, while T-Mobile has it for $299.99. Sprint is carrying it for $199.99. However, you can buy an unlocked version of the Samsung Galaxy S II (Wi-Fi) from Amazon for $499.