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Samsung Galaxy S II Plus Review

Posted: , by Nick T.

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Samsung Galaxy S II Plus Review
Introduction:

We still remember how excited we were when Samsung announced the Galaxy S II back in 2011. It stood out in many ways ahead of its Android-powered competitors – with hardware performance to put many of its rivals to shame and a body so slim that it was considered the world's thinnest handset for a short while.

Now it's 2013 and the company's former flagship is back in the form of a refreshed model – a reincarnation, if you will, known as the Samsung Galaxy S II Plus. On a hardware level, it comes with specs that make it very similar to the older variant, meaning that it isn't quite suitable for the high-end category anymore, but it is shaping up as a decent mid-range device.

There's a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus display gracing its front, an 8-megapixel camera on its back, while a dual-core processor runs the whole show. Seems promising on paper, but our in-depth review will truly show whether Samsung's new offering is worth your time or not. Let's fire it up!

Samsung Galaxy S II Plus Review
Samsung Galaxy S II Plus Review
In the box:

  • Wall charger
  • Micro USB cable
  • Wired stereo headset with additional silicon tips
  • Quick start guide

Samsung Galaxy S II Plus Unboxing:




Design:

Instead of the curvy lines and rounded corners that Samsung's recent Androids are associated with, the Galaxy S II Plus exhibits a rectangular design, which it has adopted from the highly-acclaimed-yet-aging Galaxy S II. In fact, if it wasn't for the glossy paint job that the new model has been treated to, one would have a really hard time telling the two devices apart since their shape is practically identical.

But despite the obvious contradiction with the maker's current design principles, we don't really have anything against the appearance of the Samsung Galaxy S II Plus. The smartphone is both as slim and light as the mid-rangers it will be competing against, and a single thumb is enough to operate it efficiently once you get accustomed to its proportions. Besides, the Hyperglaze-inspired finish looks quite appealing, regardless of whether you pick its blue or white variant. There's one downside to it, however, namely that fingerprints tend to stick to the handset's shiny surface rather easily, but at least they are relatively easy to get rid of.

The Samsung Galaxy S II Plus is both slim and light - Samsung Galaxy S II Plus Review
The Samsung Galaxy S II Plus is both slim and light - Samsung Galaxy S II Plus Review
The Samsung Galaxy S II Plus is both slim and light - Samsung Galaxy S II Plus Review

The Samsung Galaxy S II Plus is both slim and light


Samsung GALAXY S II Plus
4.93 x 2.6 x 0.33 inches
125.3 x 66.1 x 8.5 mm
4.27 oz (121 g)

Samsung GALAXY S II Plus

Samsung Galaxy S III
5.38 x 2.78 x 0.34 inches
136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6 mm
4.69 oz (133 g)

Samsung Galaxy S III

Sony Xperia S
5.04 x 2.52 x 0.42 inches
128 x 64 x 10.6 mm
5.08 oz (144 g)

Sony Xperia S

HTC One S
5.15 x 2.56 x 0.31 inches
130.9 x 65 x 7.8 mm
4.22 oz (120 g)

HTC One S

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page.

Samsung Galaxy S II Plus Review
Android keys - Samsung Galaxy S II Plus Review
Front camera - Samsung Galaxy S II Plus Review
 

Android keys

Front camera


There's an excellent set of physical buttons present on the Samsung Galaxy S II Plus – all of them are well exposed and click nicely when pressed. The volume rocker is on the left side of the device while the lock key is on the right side so that both can be easily reached by lefties and right-handed folks alike.

The sides of the Samsung Galaxy S II Plus - Samsung Galaxy S II Plus Review
The sides of the Samsung Galaxy S II Plus - Samsung Galaxy S II Plus Review
The sides of the Samsung Galaxy S II Plus - Samsung Galaxy S II Plus Review
The sides of the Samsung Galaxy S II Plus - Samsung Galaxy S II Plus Review
The sides of the Samsung Galaxy S II Plus - Samsung Galaxy S II Plus Review
The sides of the Samsung Galaxy S II Plus - Samsung Galaxy S II Plus Review

The sides of the Samsung Galaxy S II Plus



Display:

No matter how we look at it, the 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus panel on the Samsung Galaxy S II Plus can't impress us with its 480 by 800 pixels of resolution. Not that it's too big of an issue, but at 216ppi, letters and graphics are slightly pixelized around the edges while the paragraphs of text in web pages are unreadable unless you zoom in.

What we do like about the smartphone's display, on the other hand, is that it has deep blacks and very wide viewing angles – all traits that make AMOLED panels so outstanding. Its colors are lush and saturated slightly above neutral levels, but not to the exaggerated extent that was typical for AMOLEDs of 2 years ago. SAs a result, photos and videos that are displayed can be very pleasing to the eye. We do wish, however, that the screen had a higher brightness output as using it outdoors can be a challenge in some cases.


39 Comments
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posted on 16 Apr 2013, 09:26 12

1. lee480 (Posts: 176; Member since: 24 Sep 2012)


Xperia L is a better choice.

posted on 16 Apr 2013, 10:29 3

9. toondewachter (Posts: 52; Member since: 24 Jan 2012)


I will never buy any Xperia unless Sony starts using decent scratch resistant glass on top of their screens with an oleophobic layer instead of that plastic sheet of crap that is supposed to protect the screen.

posted on 16 Apr 2013, 11:10 4

10. toondewachter (Posts: 52; Member since: 24 Jan 2012)


Apparantly some people don't believe me (why else would you vote down my comment?) so here is some proof:

youtube.com/watch?v=4GzYnDnZDRg&feature=youtube_gd​ata_player

without oleophobic layer, the glass (not the plastic sheet) catches fingerprints you can't get rid of anymore... Suit yourselves!

posted on 16 Apr 2013, 11:16 5

11. toondewachter (Posts: 52; Member since: 24 Jan 2012)


Let's say the Xperia T is a better choice then, can be had for €350 too.

posted on 17 Apr 2013, 07:10

24. mercorp (Posts: 969; Member since: 28 Jan 2012)


Why?
Sexier design,faster krait processor,and more bang for your buck.

posted on 16 Apr 2013, 09:29 9

2. Captain_Doug (Posts: 753; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)


This really doesn't impress me. The OG S2 is just as good or better in almost every category and already has a great developer following. The S2 plus is Samsungs way of saying, "we really can get away with anything".

posted on 16 Apr 2013, 09:33 7

3. thelegend6657 (unregistered)


I agree , just get an OG GS2 and cyanogenmod it and it performs almost as good as a Galaxy Crap 3

posted on 16 Apr 2013, 14:38 3

15. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 3012; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)


Galaxy SIII 'Minus' should've been a better name fit for this.

posted on 16 Apr 2013, 09:36 1

4. procopiojose (Posts: 132; Member since: 26 Oct 2012)


samsung is giving options.. doorknob...

if you cant afford the latest devices, you have this for a fraction of the price..

posted on 16 Apr 2013, 09:45 3

5. Captain_Doug (Posts: 753; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)


Except they already have more than enough mid range options... I understand choice and options, that's why I choose Android. However, flooding the market and selling this phone as an S2 plus is insulting. You can buy an original S2 for $250-300 on ebay brand new with no contract. I doubt that the S2 plus will be sold at a competitive price.

posted on 16 Apr 2013, 10:23 1

7. toondewachter (Posts: 52; Member since: 24 Jan 2012)


At a fraction of the price? LOL! €350 is the price for it in Belgium. I have been able to find a brand new Galaxy S3 for €379... Some great options Sammy is giving here. Looks like you don't look that smart anymore, hé?

posted on 16 Apr 2013, 09:57 7

6. shadez10 (Posts: 403; Member since: 15 Jan 2012)


I really dont get it why they call it the s2 plus when its really not an upgrde from the original s2 when in fact its a little bit downgraded...

posted on 16 Apr 2013, 10:27 6

8. toondewachter (Posts: 52; Member since: 24 Jan 2012)


Phonearena, come on! A couple of days ago you reviewed the HTC First and gave it a 7.5 because of the performance that is not top notch...
Now you're scoring this overpriced two year old repacked thing the same whereas it scores only half the points in Quadrant and Antutu? Saying it is an OK performing mid-range phone?

Where is your objectivity? Your scoring system fails big time!

posted on 17 Apr 2013, 01:37 1

18. XperiaPrince (Posts: 108; Member since: 25 Dec 2012)


PA Loves Samsung and Especially APPLE!

posted on 16 Apr 2013, 14:18

14. xvasek (Posts: 7; Member since: 26 Mar 2013)


Will be possible make some camera comparison - Galaxy SII Plus vs Galaxy S4?
I would like to see the qualitative progress (in time)

Thank you very much

posted on 16 Apr 2013, 16:16

16. renjithr712 (Posts: 2; Member since: 10 Oct 2012)


If it was atleast QHD resolution and the battery would have been a bit bigger, then it would have been the best mid-ranger. Those who couldn't buy S2 due to its price point can try this one.

posted on 17 Apr 2013, 02:26

19. TheBitterTruth (unregistered)


Sad. I cant afford it still :(

posted on 17 Apr 2013, 02:27

20. panda123 (Posts: 27; Member since: 18 Jan 2013)


Where I live... this phone costs about $100 less than an S2 so I grabbed it right away to replace my old (no longer working) phone... and I can really say that it's a really great bang-for-buck.

posted on 17 Apr 2013, 02:28

21. panda123 (Posts: 27; Member since: 18 Jan 2013)


For who are wondering.. it cost me exactly $262

posted on 17 Apr 2013, 02:36

22. TheBitterTruth (unregistered)


Does it has scratch resistant glass?

posted on 17 Apr 2013, 06:21

23. thelegend6657 (unregistered)


should have

posted on 17 Apr 2013, 09:43

25. KingKai (Posts: 9; Member since: 08 Apr 2013)


this phone needs a different name

posted on 17 Apr 2013, 17:58

26. baraheemo (Posts: 14; Member since: 21 Nov 2011)


I bought one before 3 days , the device has some problems on the software i think .
it made a restart 3 times in the three days
i am so disappointed .

posted on 18 Apr 2013, 02:41

27. itsdeepak4u2000 (Posts: 2662; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)


Shame on you Samsung, this device should have come up with upgraded features but you just sucks. Its should be named as S II Minus :X

posted on 18 Apr 2013, 12:48

28. Talish (Posts: 2; Member since: 18 Apr 2013)


I really hate this phone.Sold after hardly using 2 days. Let me list the reason for which I incurred loss of $25 on this set by reselling.
1. It does support flash so that you can not install Adobe Flash Player in it which is necessary to support various games i.e. Subway Surfers etc. Moreover, online TV channels need flash player as well to play on phone.
2. It hanged on the very first day while I was on call and ends up restarting the phone.
3. Touch sensation is no way near the low-budgeted HTC phones.
4. Camera result is ordinary, you find iphone 3GS 3.15MP result quite better than that of S2 plus.

Hope it would guide you positively.

posted on 18 Apr 2013, 13:12

29. panda123 (Posts: 27; Member since: 18 Jan 2013)


I can conclude three possiblities for your situation... Either you have been paid by HTC, or you've accidentally bought a Galaxy Pocket, or you were scammed hardcore and bought a chinese phone. I will respond to your points as per my experience with the phone for more than a week now...
1. You can install Flash player, you can play any game... Your info is so false it makes no sense.
2. Never hang on me... in more than a week, and I install lots and lots of apps and use the phone heavily.
3. Lol... Makes no sense
4. SGS2+ camera is equal to SGS3's.

posted on 19 Apr 2013, 03:32

30. Talish (Posts: 2; Member since: 18 Apr 2013)


Mr.Panda..If you citing your experience bona fide then I may be scammed. Please go to play store and try installing adobe flash player and do install subway surfers and let me know whether or not your phone playing it properly

posted on 19 Apr 2013, 06:04

31. panda123 (Posts: 27; Member since: 18 Jan 2013)


Adoble flash has been removed from the play store since the release of 4.1 Jellybean, you must sideload it... Plus (pun intended), Adobe flash player has nothing to do with subway surfer. Subway surfer worked perfectly before and after I installed flash player. No bugs whatsoever.

posted on 21 Apr 2013, 00:40

32. Abhisheknallur (Posts: 1; Member since: 21 Apr 2013)


Hey I guys I am planning to buy a mid range smartphone I have confusion with S2 or S2+ or xperia SP. Which smartphone would you guys suggest for gaming purpose? and for overall performance?

Thanks in advance!!!

posted on 21 Apr 2013, 07:56

33. baraheemo (Posts: 14; Member since: 21 Nov 2011)


s2 with ice cream sanwish dont buy s2+ with the jelly bean

posted on 21 Apr 2013, 09:30

34. panda123 (Posts: 27; Member since: 18 Jan 2013)


Xperia SP definitely... Unless you want a cheaper phone then S2+

posted on 30 Apr 2013, 00:59

35. gsmfastest (Posts: 3; Member since: 30 Apr 2013)


glaxy s2 i user personaly its very good mobile specialy for email cammra result is very fine and very slim also new update of jalibeen is very reliable br gsmfastest.com

posted on 03 May 2013, 09:13 1

36. charming (Posts: 4; Member since: 28 Apr 2013)


i am going to buy this

posted on 04 May 2013, 16:33

37. baraheemo (Posts: 14; Member since: 21 Nov 2011)


I have already one but i advice you to buy s3

posted on 04 May 2013, 16:34

38. baraheemo (Posts: 14; Member since: 21 Nov 2011)


I have already one but i advice you to buy s3

posted on 12 May 2013, 02:13

39. MrMohsin10 (Posts: 2; Member since: 12 May 2013)


Hey people, I'm thinking of buying this phone. The things I prefer in phones is a good big display, an eye catching design and the most most important, Extreeeeme gaming performance!
I'm more than satisfied with its display and design and all...
But I'm worried about the gaming angle. I've seen videos and have read comments about the Videocore IV GPU of the device giving it a hard time in gaming :(
Is this so? I've seen Modern Combat 4 with some minor bugs in the visuals, is this the same with some other games too? How many games are buggy on this device and what can I expect with gaming on this device? Do the newly released high end games like Real Boxing, Real racing 3, etc, work good on this device? The framerates and all...

(Please no suggestions of high budgeted devices because I have a limited budget...
My range is around 250-300$)

posted on 12 May 2013, 10:07

40. toondewachter (Posts: 52; Member since: 24 Jan 2012)


Well, to be honest, if gaming is really important to you, I doubt this is the device you are looking for. I don't know where you are living, but since you're giving price range in dollars: why don't you buy the Nexus 4? It is in that price range and will satisfy your needs.

posted on 12 May 2013, 11:38

41. MrMohsin10 (Posts: 2; Member since: 12 May 2013)


I quoted the price in dollars just to be on the same page with most of the people out there!
I live in Pakistan though...
And nexus 4 is much expensive than the s2 plus here :-(
I myself also wanted the nexus 4 but sadly, it's out of range for me :'(
Can you suggest me some other phones having the best gaming potential in the s2 plus' price range...

posted on 12 May 2013, 16:30

42. toondewachter (Posts: 52; Member since: 24 Jan 2012)


It is very hard to recommend something if I don't know what's available in your region and at what cost. I live in Belgium and we have a similar situation here: no cheap Nexus 4...

Here the HTC One S and the Xperia T can be bought for around €350 which is roughly the same price as the S2 Plus. But it features a much better chipset. You could look out for those.

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Display4.3 inches, 480 x 800 pixels (217 ppi) Super AMOLED Plus
Camera8 megapixels
Hardware
Broadcom BCM28155, Dual core, 1200 MHz, ARM Cortex-A9 processor
1024 MB RAM
Size4.93 x 2.60 x 0.33 inches
(125.3 x 66.1 x 8.5 mm)
4.27 oz  (121 g)
Battery1650 mAh, 16 hours talk time

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