REVIEW: Samsung Galaxy S II


With this week’s announcement that the Samsung Galaxy S II  smartphone will be launching in the United States in September, it’s a good time to take a look back at the gadget and see if it’s worth a tech savvy entrepreneur’s time.

Hardware and Features

The Galaxy S II is designed to be one of the higher-end smartphones on the market and is directly marketed as an alternative to the iPhone 4 – as a result, it has some fairly impressive hardware.

The device is powered by a 1.2 Ghz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM and a 4.3 inch Super AMOLED screen. It also features an eight megapixel camera with a flash, capable of recording videos at HD 1080p.

The device is only 8.49mm thick, and comes powered with the Gingerbread version of the Android operating system. It stores up to 16GB in on-board memory, although SD cards allow further storage of up to 32GB.

It also features a gyroscope sensor, an accelerometer, WiFi, a WiFi hotspot feature, microUSB port, stereo FM radio and video output capability. Hardware bought outside of Australia also features NFC technology.

Samsung Galaxy S II

What’s the consensus?

Reviewers have praised the intuitive user interface of the Galaxy S II, particularly the large screen which allows a lot more flexibility in how users can navigate apps. But particularly, TechRadar has emphasised how the powerful hardware makes the UI much easier to get around.

“Be it pinching the screen to call up the exploded view of all your home screens, pulling up an application or simply scrolling through reams of photos, the Galaxy S2 is capable of matching it all. We're not usually blown away by a phone's response, but we literally couldn't beat the S2, even after we opened all the applications on the menu.”

It also praised the software, noting the folder system and homescreen as two noteworthy features.

PC World said the gadget itself is thinner than the iPhone 4, and noted the Super AMOLED screen as a knock out feature.

“It's one of the best screens we've seen on a smartphone to date, producing vivid colours, superb viewing angles and rich brightness. Sunlight legibility is also superb; on full brightness, the Galaxy S II's screen can easily be seen in strong direct sunlight.”

“These attributes combined with the large 4.3 inch size mean the Galaxy S II is the perfect smartphone for video playback.”

While it did note that some images can appear over-saturated PC World also praised the software and some nice minor features, including the ability to call a person by swiping left on their contact listing.

Reviewers have praised battery life, with PC Authority noting that it had 60% charge left after 24 hours of use.

Engadget in particular noted the lock screen, saying that although it didn’t show as much as some other phones, it does have some “awesome functionality”.

“Missed calls and unread messages become little tabs on the side of your locked GSII, which you may swipe into view and thereby unlock the phone straight into the message or call that needs your attention. It's slick, as fast as everything else on this speedster of a phone, and it adds real utility to your day-to-day use.”

There are some caveats. Boy Genius Report noted that the custom Android interface does have its disadvantages, such as the keyboard, while a few others have mourned the oversight of a dedicated shutter button.

Who’s it for?

The Samsung Galaxy S II is a powerful device. It’s built as an alternative to the iPhone 4 and by all accounts performs on most levels. If users can get past the custom user interface and the slightly larger screen, they won’t be disappointed.

This article was original published in SmartCompany on September 1. Republished with permission.