I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous to try out the Galaxy S II. The original Galaxy S series of phones had tons of problems when it came to speed, gps performance, user-interface, software updates, etc. So the question that must be asked: Has Samsung learned from the mistakes made with the original Galaxy S phones? Read the review below to find out!
- Samsung Galaxy S II
- Earbud Headphones (high quality!)
- Micro-USB cable
- USB-to-Wall Charger
- $10 for Samsung Media Hub
The T-Mobile varient of the Samsung Galaxy S II is definitely the most different of the bunch in terms of both appearance and guts.
- 4.52-inch Super AMOLED plus display
- 1.5GHz Dual-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 processor
- Half functional GPS (read GPS Performance below)
- NFC Chip (YES! Mobile payments ftw)
- 1850mAH battery
- 8MP camera with 1080p recording, 2MP front facing
- Bluetooth 3.0
- 802.11 b/g/n Wifi
- 1GB RAM
- 16GB Internal Storage (supports external microSD cards up to 32gb)
In terms of appearance the T-Mobile Galaxy S II is a little more like the Sprint version, rather than the international and AT&T versions. It features an all plastic, light design and depending on personal preference this could be a good or bad thing. To be a little more specific the Galaxy S II is 0.37 x 5.11 x 2.71 inches and weighs about 4.77 ounces. When you look at the Galaxy S II, it’s beautiful… It’s definitely one of the sexiest Android phones I’ve ever seen. Sure by appearance it’s nice, but feel is a different story; it’s made of plastic, so the Galaxy S II feels INCREDIBLY cheap, it’s better than the feeling of the previous generation, but not by much.
Samsung is generally known for having the best displays as far as Android phones are concerned! Well this definitely holds true for the Galaxy S II, my only real complaint is that they decided to stick with the same resolution as the previous generation Galaxy S despite the fact that the size is much larger, so it almost feels like a SLIGHT downgrade when looking at the S II screen in comparison the one on the Nexus S for example.
Now GPS performance is a category I needed to add. On the original Galaxy S phones, there was one specific problem that drove all users insane! This feature was the GPS, this annoyed me a lot, because when I bought the Samsung Galaxy S Vibrant, I bought it to replace my iPhone, the main reason for that was because of the Google Navigation, and of course the GPS in the Samsung phones were the worst in the market, it’ll work maybe 40% of the time, and during that 40% of the time, there is a high chance that it’ll lose you during the trip.
Well the GPS in this phone has improved, but not by much! The GPS now probably works maybe 70% of the time. It still takes a long time to connect, and in comparison to other Android phones (like the HTC and motorola branded phones) it is pathetic. The accuracy is horrible, the connect time is horrible, the battery life with GPS is horrible, etc.
Typically I prefer vanilla Android but I have to say, the skin and custom apps on the Galaxy S II are great! This phone, like many others, has a skin on top of Android, this phone uses Samsung’s new Touchwiz 4.0! Believe it or not, Touchwiz 4.0 is actually pretty nice. It’s definitely a beautiful launcher, and it has several custom apps and widgets.
The old Touchwiz looks very similar, the only real difference is that they changed up the look of the widgets and made sure it uses less resources than the previous did.
A good rule of thumb is that if you’re a fan of iPhone user interface but you don’t like Apple (or you aren’t able to switch to a carrier that supports the iPhone) than this phone is for you! They both share a very similar UI, and they both have great media options. If you however prefer the Android look and don’t like the general look of iOS, then you might want to consider a different phone (or just install Launcher Pro).
The camera in this Android device is fantastic! I have to say, I’ve seen better cameras in mobile devices, but it’s definitely not a bad camera. I’d still take this camera over a separate point and shoot any day.
When it comes to video, the only real problem that I see is that there is no stabilization so you’ll notice slightly shaky video since the device is so light.
Check out the video below for a sample (don’t forget to set the video to 1080p for the full effect):
When it comes to performance, I have to say, Samsung has made a huge improvement! This is definitely one of the snappiest Android phones in the market!
Touchwiz is no longer a resource hog so you’ll notice hardly any lag when using this interface, and for people who prefer simplicity in phones, this launcher is for you!
The Samsung Media Hub also works incredibly well, personally I don’t ever see a time where I’d want to rent a movie on their Media Hub store, but it’s good to know that I have the option.
Honestly, the only real performance issue you’ll come across is the GPS.