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Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T Review

Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T 9

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There are the strong, and then there are the strongest, but AT&T’s Samsung Galaxy S II is in a whole entire league of its own over others on the carrier’s lineup with its ridiculous speed. Truly showcasing why it’s probably the fastest Android smartphone around, its 1.2GHz dual-core Samsung Exynos processor just blazes through the competition with its flawless execution. Naturally, it’s able to exhibit fluid movements when navigating the homescreen, but even after activating a graphically intensive live wallpaper, it’s still able to maintain its feverish rate – and in fact, it’s very reluctant in minutely displaying any hint of slowdown or lag. Needless to say, its 1GB of RAM also contributes in making the handset by far the fastest thing we’ve had the privilege of using of late. Trust us, you’ll be equally as astounded in witnessing how speedy this handset really is.

Even though it’s running Samsung’s TouchWiz UI on top of Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread, it’s worth noting that this version of TouchWiz appears to be handicapped – meaning, it omits many of the TouchWiz widgets that we find on Sprint's Samsung Epic 4G Touch. You’d think that the experience would be uniform, but sadly enough, it’s indeed apparent that AT&T’s version is missing out on some things. Despite that, personalization is still aplenty with the usual assortment of stock Android widgets, wallpapers, and shortcuts available to us, which can be supplemented by a quick trip to the Android Market. And besides flicking our way to get to a specific homescreen panel, we adore the nice touches found with leap view and the slider bar.

The Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T runs TouchWiz UI on top of Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread - Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T Review
The Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T runs TouchWiz UI on top of Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread - Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T Review
The Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T runs TouchWiz UI on top of Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread - Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T Review
The Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T runs TouchWiz UI on top of Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread - Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T Review
The Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T runs TouchWiz UI on top of Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread - Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T Review
The Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T runs TouchWiz UI on top of Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread - Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T Review
The Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T runs TouchWiz UI on top of Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread - Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T Review
The Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T runs TouchWiz UI on top of Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread - Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T Review

The Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T runs TouchWiz UI on top of Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread


Getting into the app panel, icons are arranged in the familiar grid-like formation we’re normally accustomed to seeing, but we’re treated to some acute organizational aspects since there are options for adding folders and pages to better adjust the layout.

The app panel - Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T Review
The app panel - Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T Review
The app panel - Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T Review

The app panel



Functionality:

Showing yet another level of refinement in the platform experience, AT&T’s Galaxy S II incorporates some useful motion-based controls that offer another way of interacting with the phone. Specifically, they include things like tilting it to zoom in & out of pictures in the gallery or the web browser, panning between the homescreen by moving the phone either in a left or right direction, turning over the phone to its back during an incoming phone call to mute it, and double tapping the phone to prepare it for voice commands. Sure they’re cool at first, but some are more practical than others.

Just like previous TouchWiz handset, AT&T’s Samsung Galaxy S II doesn’t deviate as it presents us with the normal set of core organizer apps. Obviously, there’s nothing new with the layouts and functionality found with the calculator, calendar, and clocks apps. And just like before, there’s a nifty Mini Diary app that makes the process of indexing entries such a joy seeing that we’re allowed to attach text, our location, and a photo to them.

Calculator - Organizer apps of the Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T - Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T Review
Calendar - Organizer apps of the Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T - Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T Review
Organizer apps of the Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T - Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T Review
Organizer apps of the Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T - Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T Review

Calculator

Calendar

  
Clock app - Organizer apps of the Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T - Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T Review
Organizer apps of the Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T - Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T Review
Organizer apps of the Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T - Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T Review
Mini Diary app - Organizer apps of the Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T - Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T Review

Clock app

  

Mini Diary app

Organizer apps of the Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T


Primarily thanks to its wealthy real estate, typing up messages on the AT&T Samsung Galaxy S II is such a breeze with its three available keyboards – these include the stock, Samsung TouchWiz, and the Swype keyboards. Not only are we presented with ample size buttons, our rate of input is steadfast thanks to its ubiquitous responsiveness in accurately registering our presses.

Keyboards - Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T Review
Keyboards - Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T Review
Keyboards - Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T Review
Stock Android - Keyboards - Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T Review
Samsung TouchWiz - Keyboards - Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T Review
Swype - Keyboards - Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T Review

Stock Android

Samsung TouchWiz

Swype

Keyboards


Whether it’s the Samsung Mail app or Gmail one, the emailing experience is nothing out of the ordinary as it presents us with the normal features we’d come to expect and see. Much like everything before it, setup is a hassle-free experience since it only requires our email addresses and passwords to automatically set up properly.

Email - Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T Review
Email - Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T Review
Email - Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T Review

Email



65 Comments
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posted on 27 Sep 2011, 06:44 1

1. nyamo (Posts: 274; Member since: 19 Mar 2011)


i thought the ATT version was supposed to have an NFC chip? did something change a long the way?

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 08:41

6. vette21man (Posts: 351; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)


Seconded, does it have NFC? What other abilities does it have out of the box rather than Google wallet in the UK?

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 14:40 2

24. baldilocks (Posts: 753; Member since: 14 Dec 2008)


Didn't you see the 'Near Field Communication' that was printed on the battery??

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 07:00 4

2. GJanee (Posts: 214; Member since: 29 Jun 2011)


"...with the WVGA resolution of the handset, it’s beginning to show its age when we’re finding ourselves zooming in to properly view text within the web browser."

ohh cmooon. this is ridiculous. who could see a single pixelation (especially at texts) on a 4,3" 480x800 samoplus display? browsers don't even let you zoom in that much. :D and WVGA is a con? this is just pure casuistry.
STILL this statement could well be true in case of pictures. but text? fonts? meh...

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 08:52 2

9. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


i think they were commenting more on the inability to read small text, not the ability to zoom in on text so big it looks pixelated.


i cant read that small anyways, so doesnt bother me. :)

posted on 08 Oct 2011, 00:13

69. NeXoS (Posts: 288; Member since: 03 May 2011)


I have a QHD screen and even though it's higher res, I'd rather have a lower res SAMOLED+.

All things being equal, I'd take SAMOLED+ over 300+ppi any day. 300+ppi sounds nice on paper, but it's just a spec and in the real world, most people aren't holding the phone 2 inches from their faces.

But, the Nexus Prime gives us both!

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 08:56 4

11. vette21man (Posts: 351; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)


I stand by PhoneArena on this one. Witnessing web browsing on qHD and Retina displays, WVGA is definitely lagging (especially on a large 4.3" display).

I also think that your argument should be reversed. Text is annoying when it's fuzzy. Ever watch the news in standard definition with the ticker scrolling across the screen? Much easier to read on an HDTV.

Some would say photos are equally important to view in high-resolution. In general, it makes sense to leave the WVGA resolution as a con. In fact, I would be interested if the Exynos/graphics processor would exhibit equal performance if the resolution was upped to qHD.

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 09:58 3

14. WirelessCon (Posts: 311; Member since: 11 May 2010)


I have yet to see a qHD screen that is as vibrant or more vibrant than the WVGA on the Infuse. Pixelization on text is just as evident on qHD.

qHD is a waste of time. 720p is the next step that matters. Then 1080p, which is overkill, but tech- geeks love overkill.

1080p color e-ink with optional LED backlight. BRING IT ON!

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 10:51 3

19. vette21man (Posts: 351; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)


What you list as "vibrant" is actually color saturation, which is really a debatable pro/con. Some people prefer more natural looking colors, some prefer the pop of saturated colors.

When I see WVGA on a 4.3" screen next to a Retina or 4.3" qHD display I see a world of difference in pixel density and text readability on the same web page. Not sure if you have done this type of comparison before.

720p will be awesome and just about overkill. Agreed 1080p will be overkill, and marketers will plaster the FULL HD marking all over ads.

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 20:03 1

30. taz89 (Posts: 2014; Member since: 03 May 2011)


screen resolution is great and is better than qhd pentile...and to be honest do many people read on the web when its fully zoomed out?most people zoom in using text wrap...

posted on 07 Oct 2011, 13:41

66. vette21man (Posts: 351; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)


In either case, it sounds like your argument is saying, "It's good ENOUGH," which is another way of saying it's lagging. It's still a con.

posted on 10 Nov 2011, 03:42

82. beefalo (Posts: 16; Member since: 10 Nov 2011)


uhh have you actually used an iOS device with the retina display?? it makes a huge difference when reading text. don't get me wrong, colors etc look amazing on super amoled plus, but high res and high PPI is key for readability on phones.
i literally brought up the main phone arena page on a 3.5" iPhone 4s and a 4.3" focus s(super amoled plus). Fully zoomed out i could just read the text on the iPhone 4s, yet it was too blurry on the focus s. This alone proves that the retina display was not a gimmick, and it serves more of a purpose than just getting rid of jaggies. It truly hits the limit of what the human eye can make out on the screen, anymore resolution would not have made the text anymore readable IMO because at that point it would be too small for my eyes.
if you are just looking at pics and video, i think the colors and contrast on the super amoled plus will be better. but if you are looking at text or browsing the web, you will realize that a bigger screen does not mean easier reading. at 4.3" i think you would need around a 1280x720 screen to again hit the mark where you are seeing as much detail as the human eye can handle(obviously using the same resolution as the retina will give you just as clear text, but with a bigger screen your eye could see even more detail given more resolution) this is one reason i am very interested in the htc rezound!

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 08:14 1

3. rwolf1984 (Posts: 532; Member since: 06 Jun 2009)


Disappointed that AT&T handicapped TouchWiz...I'Ve played with the Epic Touch and it's the screen, the thin form factor, cameras, the gestures, the speed and the UI widgets etc that differentiate this device from the other android devices. I am debating on ordering the international Galaxy S II or checking out the next iPhone...the Captivate turned out to be a major disappointment...ready for a new phone.

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 08:14 3

4. henrickrw (Posts: 408; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)


Dear Phonearena. Definetly all your reviews on the GS2 will be 9 because you don't have a choice. This handset is very cool & it's the best on the market. I own the international version and I'm very happy with my purchase.

i just wonder which grade you will give to the IPhone 5?

posted on 07 Oct 2011, 23:13 2

68. NeXoS (Posts: 288; Member since: 03 May 2011)


Dear iPhoneArena, you guys are real app holes.

Flimsy cover? Nice choice of words there guys, it's actually highly flexible and will not break when you remove it, it's made to flex:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErXqnQKs-tA

Also, the WVGA Super AMOLED Plus looks better than the Retina$$ display any day!

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 08:32 3

5. qdz (unregistered)


Why not try out what everyone who has owned a Samsung android device wants to know about...the GPS!

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 19:44 2

28. iDroidx650 (Posts: 79; Member since: 26 May 2010)


it works fine

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 08:51 1

8. rex0422 (Posts: 30; Member since: 12 Aug 2011)


I am not the biggest fan of the design, but I have the international version and it is pretty darn fast, despite its design, you know, is only THIN and LIGHT. Also, the ridiculous WVGA display on 4.3-inch device NOW!? Samsung should knock their heads against the wall! THEY NEED TO WAKE UP! I love the speed, I really do, but something like the HTC Sensation and LG Optimus 2x (T-Mobile G2X) are better, in my opinion.

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 08:53 2

10. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


so, what exactly gets a 9.5 or a 10? you say this thing is the best power, camera, performance, beauty, ect ect..

what exactly is a 10? if the iphone5 scores higher, im calling foul.

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 09:04 3

12. vette21man (Posts: 351; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)


My interpretation of their review:
- TouchWiz stinks: -0.5
- WVGA is lagging: -0.5

Maybe TOGETHER those cons equal -.5, but not sure it should be knocked a whole point. This GSII may not be a perfect 10, but man it's close...I think 9.5 is more appropriate.

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 20:04 4

31. taz89 (Posts: 2014; Member since: 03 May 2011)


touch wiz is a matter of opininion but how does it handicap this phone...it adds more features to it...

posted on 14 Oct 2011, 11:22

73. jroc74 (Posts: 6015; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


I'm one of they few ppl that like the different custom UI's.

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 09:52 1

13. WirelessCon (Posts: 311; Member since: 11 May 2010)


Call quality is one reason to keep it below 10. After all, this is a phone we're talking about.

This phone sounds great, but it's not enough of an improvement from the Infuse to get me excited.

The Infuse is really nice and it doesn't have Gingerbread yet. What will Gingerbread enhance on the Infuse?

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 10:45 2

17. vette21man (Posts: 351; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)


Agreed about the call quality. All phones (smart or not) should have perfect call quality.

Sounds like a lot of improvements over the Infuse. Better camera, dual-core processor, perfect screen size (not too big), gingerbread out of the box, NFC (maybe?). That's just off the top of my head. IMHO, the Infuse was a release to keep AT&T customers salivating in anticipation for the GSII.

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 10:25

15. WM6.5Sucks (Posts: 42; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)


can anyone explain the reason why hspa+ is slower on AT&T than t-mobile? Is it because there's more coverage on AT&T therefore speeds are slower?

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 10:46 1

18. networkdood (Posts: 6330; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


2 factors:
1. Phone software
2. Network capability in area

So, if the phone is capable of only 14.4, then there you go.
I know T-Mo has phone capable of more, and that they are upgrading the network to HSPA+48. AT&T upgrades slowly, thus the reason why they want to buy T-MO.

This phone is HSDPA 21 Mbit/s. Most of the network is probably a step behind.

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 10:42

16. networkdood (Posts: 6330; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


Who cares about a handicapped TouchWiz....just root the phone and go grab TouchWiz over at XDA. Call Quality rating has to be questioned....every phone is tested only in Philly. I have an SGSI in California and its call quality is outstanding, so I can only imagine that the SGS2 call quality will be fine. Seems like an excellent phone. Do you wait for Samsung to produce an SGS phone with a 3D screen, and a higher rez front facing camera, or take this one? Must suck to be an INFUSE user, and then see this phone out on the market only a few short months later.

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 10:57

20. Forsaken77 (Posts: 553; Member since: 09 Jun 2011)


I find this review to be very contradictory. The phone is dogged, then says it's top-notch.
I was looking forward to this phone for months and now this review makes me feel like the phone is sub-par on many levels. Like the processor is the only upgrade from the Captivate. Think I'm gonna call my AT&T store and tell them to forget it. :(

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 15:58

25. BrockSamson (unregistered)


Agreed.

posted on 14 Oct 2011, 11:34

75. jroc74 (Posts: 6015; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


Compared to the GS1, the GS2 would be a better choice for a few reasons:

Exynos processor
Samsung fixed the file system, lag issue
GPS
Battery life (?)
Better screen
More ram
Front camera

Reading what I typed...looks to be more than a few reasons, I initially was only gonna put 2...lol

The GPS and lag due to the file system might didnt effect everyone but it effected enough ppl that they were legitimate problems. The screen, GPS and lag issue alone makes it worth upgrading from the Captivate.

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Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T

Samsung Galaxy S II AT&T

OS: Android 2.3.6 2.3.4
view full specs
Display4.3 inches, 480 x 800 pixels (217 ppi) Super AMOLED Plus
Camera8 megapixels
Hardware
Samsung Exynos, Dual-core, 1200 MHz, Exnyos C210 processor
1 GB RAM
Size4.96 x 2.60 x 0.35 inches
(126 x 66 x 9 mm)
4.30 oz  (122 g)
Battery1650 mAh, 8 hours talk time

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