The Galaxy S II is extremely lightweight and sleek, inspite of its very powerful configuration. Phones such as the Samsung Google Nexus S, the HTC Incredible S and the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc seemed sleek thus far, but this one just raises the bar.
The 4.3-inch display is accompanied by two touch-based keys, for menu and return. There is a hardware button for home, but what’s missing is the traditional search button, common on most Android phones. The rear panel has the 8MP camera, with an LED flash. Below the battery bay cover is a tiny speaker. You will need to grow a fingernail to be able to open this battery cover though - which is disappointing, because you spend 30 grand and have to pry open your phone the same way you would on a cheap, Chinese model.
We would have loved to see an HTC Incredible-esque rubberized back panel, or something with a metal finish, but looking at it from Samsung’s perspective, keeping the weight down was a priority.
This is the second phone after the LG Optimus 2X to get the goodness of a dual-core processor. The ARM Cortex A9 (1.2 GHz dual-core processor) is teamed up with the Orion chipset and Mali 400MP GPU. Android 2.3.3 is preloaded, along with Samsung’s Touch Wiz 4.0 UI.
Besides this, Samsung has preloaded the Galaxy S II with quite a few useful apps: Game Hub, Social Hub, Readers HUB, a full-fledged office suite – Polaris Office, a file explorer/manager and a rejigged task manager.
Its performance is absolutely stunning. The interface is silky smooth, applications open up in flash and even with multiple apps open in the background, the phone doesn’t slow down.
To see how good the gaming performance is, we downloaded GTRacing HD from the Game Hub app. Once the download was done, it was a delight to play this game. Loading times were much less than what we have seen on other devices and the game-play was silky smooth. The frames did not stutter, even after half an hour of continuous racing!
Just to be sire, we ran the Quadrant benchmark on the Galaxy S II, and the results surprised us quite a bit. While we knew that this phone had a considerable advantage over its rivals, we didn’t expect humiliation!. Check out the image at the bottom to see what we are talking about. And all this was on the stock Android 2.3.3 Rom installed by Samsung, with the usual Touch Wiz UI etc.
The 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus display (480×800 pixels) is an absolute delight. Switch it on and the first thing that grabs your attention is the vivid colours jumping out at you. In most cases, setting thye brightness at about 30 to 40 per cent is more than enough, indoors as well as in sunlight. Indoors, even at 0 per cent brightness, the display offers excellent visibility.
Coming to the interface, the first thing you’ll notice is the lockscreen. You can swipe in any direction to unlock the screen. If you get any calls or messages when the screen is locked, there will be a distinct notification. “What’s new?” you ask? If you receive an SMS, and click on the notification on the lock screen, you’ll be taken straight to the message. The same goes for missed calls.
Call quality is superb; during our test, the person on the other end remarked that the voice clarity was exceptional. The earpiece volume is loud and clear, even at 50 per cent, so there’s no need to push it any further.
The 8MP camera does a very good job, both with pictures and videos, and the ability to record 1080p HD videos is a huge value-add.
The battery life is quite surprising and lasted about two days.
What Samsung has managed to package together is a dual-core processor, an excellent 4.3-inch display and a brilliant camera, while managing to keep it unbelievably slim and light. While the plasticky feel is a bit of a disappointment, the performance will simply blow you away. This phone will be a reference point for future dual-core Android phones, at least for a little while.
Network: Quadband GSM+3G;
Processor: ARM Cortex A9 1.2 GHz with Orion chipset and Mali 400MP GPU;
Display: 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus with 480 x 800 resolutions;
Memory; 16 GB internal+ up to 32 GB microSD card;
Camera: *MP, 1080p (30fps) video;
OS: Android 2.3.3 with Touch Wiz 4.0 UI;
Battery: 1650 mAh
Price: Rs 32,890