Samsung Galaxy S II Review
Synthetic benchmarking aside, browsing with our Galaxy S II felt very snappy and smooth. The browser here has taken a trick out of Apple's Safari book, as it stops rendering the page when you do pinch-to-zoom or double-tap, to ensure fluid execution, and resumes when you lift your fingers off.
Also, this display, at 4.3”, could use a bit more resolution. Despite ditching the PenTile matrix, when you have a page zoomed out, some fine details are lost, especially if it’s text, but if you have the habit of trying to discern text in that position, we don’t want to be your eye doctor anyway. If it’s a thing that takes away from your sleep at night, just wait for the dual-core HTC Sensation 4G, or get the Motorola ATRIX 4G, with their qHD screen resolution, or get the king of display resolution iPhone 4, if you are not the Android type.
There is a very slight lag when scrolling, the screen starts following your finger a split second after movement, and you can't pan around the page, while you are doing pinch-to-zoom, like on the iPhone 4, or the new Sony Ericsson Android handsets. These are actually our only remarks towards the browser on the Samsung Galaxy S II, and they are not a necessity by any measure - the sheer pleasure of reading or watching a video on this screen gets to us every time we use it.
The Samsung Galaxy S II is loaded with connectivity options – 21Mbps 4G HSPA+, 3G, A-GPS, high-speed Bluetooth 3.0, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, MHL, FM Radio, you name it. The Bluetooth 3.0+HS and Wi-Fi Direct options are great to have, but you will see the improved transfer speeds only to compatible devices, so better get your girlfriend a Galaxy S II as well, if you want to be truly happy together.
Thankfully, the GPS fix issues that plagued the Galaxy S are corrected now - we managed to pinpoint our location for the usual 2-3 minutes on first boot, and afterwards it was picking up satellites much faster. Also, in some regions where the NFC infrastructure is more developed, the phone will ship with an NFC chip enabled, but we had the UK version, which doesn’t seem to have any NFC-connected app, or a hint this chip exists inside.
The Samsung Galaxy S II is one of the first mobile devices (the rest being of HTC's newest crop) to sport the new Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) port. The idea is to have one port for both microUSB duties, and HDMI-out for 1080p video. MHL-ready HDTVs and other gear will only start shipping this year, though, and only then you will be able to charge your phone, while mirroring its screen on the TV. There is an MHL-to-HDMI adapter accessory for the Samsung Galaxy S II, if you want to take advantage of 1080p video output from the phone to your non-MHL HDTV, but it won't charge the phone at the same time. There is also another accessory, an USB-on-the-go adapter cable, that goes into the MHL port, and at the other end you can plug in things like an USB flash drive for streaming movies from there, or copying files to and from the Galaxy S II, without the need of a computer.
The options to access the phone's content have increased in the Galaxy S II, compared to the Galaxy S. Kies Air, that was released by Samsung earlier this year, now comes standard in TuchWiz 4.0, allowing you to access your phone from your computer, if you are on the same Wi-Fi network. Just type the IP address visible on the phone's screen in the browser, and you are presented with a tidy interface linking to all content on your phone – contacts, pictures, videos, text messages, and so on. You can copy files to and from the Galaxy S II this way, send a text message or email, and even play music and videos that are in the phone, on your computer.
The AllShare app for streaming multimedia to DLNA-enabled TVs or other gear works great, but skips some frames with Full HD videos, when we streamed them to our Windows 7 PC, and we had the same issue with the DLNA app on the LG Optimus 2X, so it’s not the phone. Probably if we were on a Wireless N connection, performance would be better. We tried streaming a movie with subtitles, but we were warned that the DLNA-enabled gear has to be of Samsung make for the subtitles to show.
We'd be remiss not to mention the four Hubs Samsung is supplying with the Galaxy S II. The Social Hub that integrates all your messaging and social networking updates we've met before, and we also have Music, Readers and Games Hubs.
They all have easy to navigate interfaces, and searching for music, books, games or magazines is a snap, while the options to show you what's hot in each category is pretty helpful. The Games Hub seems predominantly occupied by Gameloft titles in the Premium section, probably since those are not listed in Android Market. Most polished is the Readers Hub, which gives you access to millions of books, newspapers and magazines, with seven free magazine issues of your choosing, and a universe of free classic books.
1. touness69 (unregistered) posted on 03 May 2011, 11:38 46
What ?? the iPhone 4 has 9.5 and this one 9 ?
R U SERIOUS
This is by far the best handset to date it even deserved an unprecendeted 10/10
How can say "Motion sensor-powered gestures could see more practical usage" when no other phone have motion controls ??
Phonearena = definitely biased to the bone
12. AndroidTroll posted on 03 May 2011, 12:24 25
I thought the same thing. Iphone 4 should not even be mentioned as a recommendation in this review because it is way out of it's league compared to the Galaxy S 2! I swear PA gets paid every time they recommend iphone.
This is a very nice phone that should get a 9.7. I like all of the photo and video options like panarama and video editing to satisfy the shutter bug in me. I will still be getting the Evo 3D but this is a close second. I like that the Evo 3D has a qHD display and the new htc sense has some cool features. Plus I just can't trust Samsung with software updates anymore... Although I must credit them for possibly learning their lesson since it has gingerbread and an unlocked bootloader.
99. Lucas777 posted on 04 May 2011, 21:23 6
hey u guys are stupid... phone arena isnt gonna go back to every review and make it lower as the years pass... when the ip4 came out there was nothing to beat it... simple as that... this phone is coming out and the sensation, evo 3d, and thrill beat it... technically not one of these phones is in the US market, so they are all future phones... but how can you expect them to give this a perfect score when there are already better phones?
108. vishu9 posted on 05 May 2011, 01:38 7
u say there are better phones? The ones u mentioned are in the making still and without a release date. And by any freaking way a review is not done by comparing it with other similar phones its purely done by the one phone-in-hand's performance.Period.
and going by wat u said that iphone4 got 9.5 coz there was nothing that could beat it when it came out..the same can be said about the GS2.there really is no phone out there that can beat it.
I'm not against iphone getting 9.5, its great but giving this one a 9 when it truly is unbeatable is far fetched
109. vishu9 posted on 05 May 2011, 01:44 5
and why is it that in every page that mentions Apple u are defending it vociferously and calling other people 'Stupid' ...are you getting paid too? (jk) That would make you Stupid!
144. zoulou (unregistered) posted on 10 May 2011, 10:14 1
Sorry but there is NO better phone than the SGS2 at least hardware wise. Even in the future planned phones, nothing comes CLOSE.
Maybe in 4 month...
Rarely a phone is such a gap with the competition.
Certainly, the IP4, while it has its merits, was not. And also has antenna issues - and still does.
110. FarooqPasha posted on 05 May 2011, 02:03 5
I wonder how stupid the reviewer is. He is mentioning iphone 4 as the alternate. Shame on you PhoneArena. Shame on you.
Engadget is much more better than you if its iFanSite than you
116. vishu9 posted on 05 May 2011, 02:31 7
180. Gesh75 posted on 01 Sep 2011, 16:27 3
Common if there is one of the worst phone review sites it's engadget, and their the biggest apple suck ups i've ever come across so have disagree with you there.
34. calamazoo (unregistered) posted on 03 May 2011, 13:56 2
LG Optimus 2X and the LG Black have motion controlled gestures, and they seem way more useful than what Samsung has done here - the tilting one is plain dumb, and the panning stuff - meh. From what i saw in the Optimus Black review, you hold a button on the side and tilt up or down to zoom in the website - and here you need two hands for them, very silly
43. KingK (unregistered) posted on 03 May 2011, 16:27 4
This phone is just on par with the competition. Nothing special.
Too many kids over excited over nothing.
Brings nothing new to the table.
Quadrant scores are exaggerated by 2.3 and low resolution and they've been all over the place. Yet this phone still has lags.
By the time it comes out all over the world, it will be close to yesterdays news.
Not to mention the compatibility issues with the CPU that will come later, can't play tegra 2 games, mali is weak.
Only real ok thing about it is the 1080p recording and the screen.
Its a good thing but it blows nothing out of the water like everyone is drooling at it. Maybe its 4.7% better at best.
52. touness69 (unregistered) posted on 03 May 2011, 17:44 4
Lags ? Exynos weaker than Tegra 2 ?? on par with the competition ?! You obviously have no idea what you are talking about, just stfu and good bye.
59. cheetah2k posted on 03 May 2011, 19:00 3
@ touness69 - The Tegra II is faster clock for clock. The only reason Samsung overclocked the Exynos at 1.2Ghz is that it wasn't competitive at 1.0Ghz.
And yes, the handset still lags. Go have a play with one you fuckknuckle
71. Jeez (unregistered) posted on 04 May 2011, 02:10 2
I'm sorry, did the SGS2 make some baby of yours look like antique? You seem very deperate to rationalize away its leadership.
128. cheetah2k posted on 05 May 2011, 21:52 1
My Motorola Atrix still got a 9.5
79. lacp (unregistered) posted on 04 May 2011, 09:51 0
Mali it isn't weak. It's much stronger than Tegra 2 GPU. Five times because Nvidia Tegra 2 it has the same performance than PowerVR SGX540.
80. rayjones09 posted on 04 May 2011, 10:25 1
I actually must concur. Though I favor this handset, with all that power, this should be the smoothest handset around. Period. As is evident, however, it is not. And to be honest, the improvements it does bring are relatively marginal. The only ones who would truly appreciate its improvements are those who like to tweak and work their phone to death. This is a great phone, yet, the greatest thing to me is the screen. Everything else is simply cool to have.
57. remixfa posted on 03 May 2011, 18:22 6
Hey PA, stick to reccommending phones that are out.. and in the same class.
That would limit you to... oooh... hmmm.. maybe an LG G2x.
"Hey, instead of this fully loaded ferrari enzo.. how about.. last years BMW.. or waiting till 2014, i hear there will be new cars out then"
Reccomending you wait to check out phones that arent out yet is rediculous. Why not just tell people to wait till the Galaxy 4 super duper mega amoled hologram phone is out?
60. chinakidoliver.iab posted on 03 May 2011, 19:02 0
it has 9 and a half but that phone is beast
61. Mario (unregistered) posted on 03 May 2011, 19:39 18
How can you give iPhone4 9,5/10?
- Sensor problems,
- Anetnna problems,
- No way to customize the handset after own needs and wishes! Stoneage?
- No types of widgets
- No way to get contacts on the homescreen
- No Flash
- No wireles sync
- Notification system that is bullshit compare to Android
- You can only sync the iPhone with ONE pc/mac
- Social Clients buildt in where?
- Only 3,5" IPS screen
And so on..
Do you call this a 9,5/10 product?
10 - A perfect product
9 - Nearly perfect, but...
8 - Great product with few flaws
7 - Solid product with some minor issues
6 - Decent, but not as good as it could be
5 - Fair; not great, but not horrible
4 - Okay, but we can't recommend it
3 - Very few redeeming qualities
2 - Almost no redeeming qualities
1 - Pure crap
So is really iPhone4 even an 8!?
73. leoking3 (unregistered) posted on 04 May 2011, 02:24 2
They are PAID by the ishit company to compare everything to that user-friendly failure of a phone. Wake up people at PA!!! It has resolution? On a 3.5 display? Does it play a decent movie? Without buying a bullshit app? Jesus, when are you gonna wake up and stand up for yourselves?! I know we all work for money, but....wtf???
It doesnt even have delivery reports for sms!!!! Jesus!
94. captainqtp posted on 04 May 2011, 14:58 2
I don't like Apple, I don't use Apple, but Phone Arena reviews the phones when they come to market.
Considering when the Iphone 4 hit, it was a top of the line device. I think the retina display is still king of the PPI measurements. Not only that, it had (arguably still has) the better application store on release.
Also, despite whatever specs pissing match you want to get into in comparing a phone released today to a phone released last summer, it is still remarkably snappy. I believe it warranted a 9.5.
Again, I'd never buy one, because I don't like Apple's closed ecosystem philosophy. I'd constantly feel trapped. That said, many people don't have a problem with Apple's approach.
179. Troll Police (unregistered) posted on 30 Jul 2011, 15:21 1
You want to see some Apple bias? Go to Engadget
5. sak96 posted on 03 May 2011, 11:53 11
Phonearena dnt dlt ma accnt or cmmnt plzz, I m saying the truth why did u gav iphone 9.5, this device should get 10/10. its the best phone in the market now. I hav iphone4 and this phone in ma hands now so i m saying it
98. Lucas777 posted on 04 May 2011, 21:21 0
well buddy when the iphone came iout it was best... when this phone comes out it wont be best... (sensation, evo 3d, ad thrill are better)
101. scruffle (unregistered) posted on 04 May 2011, 21:53 8
3D phones are gay.
Galaxy s2 is king
102. Comatose (unregistered) posted on 04 May 2011, 22:15 4
Have you ever played with the Thrill evo 3d or sensation? Admittedly the new htc sense 3.0 does look mouthwatering ,it is highly graphic intensive and hence manages to waste some of the raw power of the sensation and evo 3d .
Also i am not really a fan of the evo 3d as i think 3d in phones are pretty unnecessary and mostly a gimmick , atleast in present times.
The sensation is the only true rival to this phone , but it is hard to determine if it is better or not until we see some reviews.
157. Allday28 posted on 19 May 2011, 18:58 3
I hate to break it to you but the ssgs2 is already blowing the doors off the over rated evo 3D and will continue to do so....
6. scruffle (unregistered) posted on 03 May 2011, 12:01 10
This review is bogus.
This has to be the greatest phone to date and it receives only a 9???
It almost seems as if phonearena was just digging to find cons on this phone.
the cons listed are stupid and rediculous.
81. rayjones09 posted on 04 May 2011, 10:28 3
Did you read the entire review? I'm quite sure if you did, you wouldn't call the entire thing bogus off of a simple rating.
7. Hallucinator posted on 03 May 2011, 12:03 2
Sak96, you need to learn english. Scruffle, don't call something/someone ridiculous if you can't spell it correctly.
33. sak96 posted on 03 May 2011, 13:50 5
dudd, i think u dont use social netwrks so u r blaming me, hey its jst fast typing
8. doubler86 posted on 03 May 2011, 12:04 10
Yep a 9 is really to low there is no phone that has been announced to even compete with this phone. At minimum it should be a 9.5 and I would rate it a 10. I would get the Samsung Galaxy S II in a second if it came to Verizon in the US. Considering that the iPhone 4 when it came out already had the better EVO to contend with shortly after, this phone really doesn't have any competition as the best smart phone out right now. The EVO 3D is number 2 and that's not going to be out for at least 2 months. The downsides of this phone really don't bring it down, in rating. This phone deserves a better rating.
14. AndroidTroll posted on 03 May 2011, 12:37 3
Check your facts. The original evo came out 3 weeks before iphone 4. Also, it's quite likely the Evo 3D will be released next month, although no one knows for sure... IMO the evo 3D is better because of the qHD glasses free 3D display, sense 3.0, and it's not made of plastic and by Samsung who doesn't give a damn about it's existing users. The Evo 3D just brings more innovation and reliability to the table. Thumbs up if you agree with me or thumbs up if you agree with doubler86 :-)
28. doubler86 posted on 03 May 2011, 13:09 8
lol nice thumbs up both ways. I'm telling you right now if comes out next month, it's looking like late June at best. The Evo 3D may have a qHD screen but that matters very little when comparing to the Samsung screen. Super AMOLED Plus has proven to look amazing in comparison to HTC screens. When you look at the Samsung Charge and the HTC Thunderbolt, its just no comparison. The brighter look and clean text is amazing. While the text might be sharper on the Evo 3D of course because of the qHD, Samsung won't really look bad in comparison. As for the 3D display, there is a reason why the 3DS has sold incredibly less than nintendo thought it would, 3D glasses free technology needs to be angeled just right and gives people headaches more than making people say wow. Not to mention that it generally doesn't make the screen look as crisp when comparing to the same screen shot in 2D. So why would you care about having a qHD screen clarity just to lose it to 3D? Im pretty neutral when it comes to Touch Wiz 4 and Sense 3, I like both interfaces and they each have really good points. I think Touch WIz 4 though has a sense of simplicity that the average person will like more however. I'm not going to disagree with the past samsung phones being a bust with upgrades and backing cause well that would be dumb lol. In the end innovation is good but I'd say I'd prefer having a thinner lighter phone without the 3D. As is 3D is getting less and less popular. Keep trolling, as long as it's with Android
72. AndroidTroll posted on 04 May 2011, 02:13 1
You make valid points. However, if you don't like 3D, just turn it off, no big deal. It's still fun to have the option. And the main reason the 3DS is off to a slow start is because there are no good games for it yet.True, touch wiz is simple, but it doesn't add as much functionality to the stock Android OS as sense does. And on the first Galaxy S it created a lot of lag. I am sure they have fixed many of those issues as the new touch wiz is a hell of a lot better than the last.
What I am most interested in is to see these two beasts in a fair benchmark test. As of yet, the Evo 3D's tests were pre release so they are way low as it is not optimized yet. Just wait a couple weeks and we will see some mind blowing scores that will hopefully best the Galaxy S2. Although I must hand it to samsung for the original Galaxy S for making the most powerful chipset at the time. It wasn't until recently that an htc phone bested it with the 2nd gen snapdragon as seen in the Desire HD and ThunderBolt. But this third gen chipset will be quite impressive...
lol I stopped trolling a while back because it's just not nice.
56. remixfa posted on 03 May 2011, 18:18 4
well, as long as you want to read text as small as possible, then QHD is a better screen. For EVERYTHING else, Super Amoled+ is the king of the hill from color, brightness, power usage, and everything else.
The whole "samsung hates its customers" thing is crap. They updated the phone and last i checked there werent too many HTC phones running gingerbread. GalaxyS is already recieving that update.
Bottom line is this phone does deserve a better rating. A 9 for a near perfect "future proof" phone.. and yet somehow they find a way to reccommend an iphone4 multiple times in the review.
Really.. the iphone4 isnt even in the same class as this phone its puney 3.5 inch screen with low end hummingbird chipset (yes thats right, not even the full featured hummingbird found in the SGS1, ibots), lower quality camera, calling issues, and more cant compare..
it has NOTHING on the SGS2 other than a shiney apple logo. Hell, even the app store is about to get over taken by android, so they wont have that to yack about either.
Anything less than a 9.5 is CRAP. Its insainly hard to get a perfect 10, but is there really a more deserving phone? NOPE.
158. Allday28 posted on 19 May 2011, 19:01 2
LMAO!!! Did you really say that the evo 3D was better because it has 3D!!?? I knew it wasnt gonna be long before some nerd said that.. LOL!!! Sorry BUT THE GALAXY S2 IS ALREADY A BETTER PHONE!
159. Allday28 posted on 19 May 2011, 19:04 1
Did you really just say the evo 3D is better cause it has 3D!!?? LMFOA!!! I knew it wasnt gonna be long before some nerd was gonna say that. SOrry to bust your ass but the ssgs2 is a beast and the evo 3D is gonna be #2 behind this phone like it or not buddy!!
160. Allday28 posted on 19 May 2011, 19:06 1
But I do like HTC phones better but man this thing is a F!@#$%Y^ beast boi!!
175. davinci1993 posted on 02 Jul 2011, 23:29 1
Yeah, even the T-Mobile G2 got a 9! This is the best smartphone till date with specs to shame a computer and they mention some stupid cons!
9. scruffle (unregistered) posted on 03 May 2011, 12:06 4
13. json405 (unregistered) posted on 03 May 2011, 12:33 4
Yeah, the Cons do not merit a point deduction for this phone. I say a fair assessment would be 9.5 or above. If there was a con regarding battery life or call quality, then I think a 9 would be appropriate. However, the cons listed aren't even real cons for day to day use.
15. vishak (unregistered) posted on 03 May 2011, 12:38 6
WHERE IS THE VIDEO REVIEW PHONEARENA !!!!!
16. pratham (unregistered) posted on 03 May 2011, 12:42 2
xperia ARC is best now.....sexy & smart ......with gr8 bravia ing. + xmor camera .....thump up....se
17. phonefreak (unregistered) posted on 03 May 2011, 12:43 8
I bet the person who posted this review must be a fan of iphone, because all he talks about are the cons of GS II. In my opinion this phone is a real iphone-killer. I just love this phone n I m really upset the kind of review phonearena has posted.
18. bucky posted on 03 May 2011, 12:45 5
i think its a fair review. I think the confusion comes with the timing of the review. The bar has definitely been raised recently with the atrix and lg 2x phones. Great phone with the exception of the cheap samsung plastic and for my tastes, screen size.
Well done samsung. Now just keep word on those updates!
19. eren (unregistered) posted on 03 May 2011, 12:46 6
lol..."Design could be a bit more differentiating"...design is subjective so i cant see any con here...
"Automatic screen brightness adjustments are not smooth"...and where are they? what exactly is smooth adjustment...?
"Motion sensor-powered gestures could see more practical usage"...even more lol...do you want to control whole point with motion sensor gestures? its horrible even for gaming and browsing and i never used it on any phone...
this is highest end mobile with zero competitors just now so i dont see any reasons to give it 9.5 like to that iPhone last year...
37. calamazoo (unregistered) posted on 03 May 2011, 14:35 0
think Engadget mentioned that the screen just skips stages when going darker or lighter. i had a laptop once and the light sensor did the same thing - constantly jumping between one stage to another, it was pretty annoying so i taped it up with scotch tape and never looked back :-)
20. rtimi (unregistered) posted on 03 May 2011, 12:47 5
Nice one phonearena, you have found a way to doug Samsung once again. I was hoping as I read along to become a fan once again of your websites but now I know you are truly biased about android and Samsung. How does an outdated, non future proof phone beat this phone. hint for you, it's not all about the app store.
82. rayjones09 posted on 04 May 2011, 10:35 2
If you Android fans didn't make these superfluous comparisons to the iPhone, you all wouldn't be whining right now. I have never seen people complain over a 9/10!!! Complaining about a .5 difference! I could argue that the Omnia 7 should deserve a 10 or some other device. My annoying whines will be seen yet ignored. Omnia 7 got a 8.5/10. iPhone 4 got a 9.5/10. The Omnia 7 is my favorite phone. SHould I whine and cry? NO! I'm still alive and will have work to do. I think a phone's SUBJECTIVE rating is the last thing I need to worry about. How old are you people???
135. rayjones09 posted on 07 May 2011, 01:26 0
Lol, thanks for answering my question.
112. vishu9 posted on 05 May 2011, 02:12 1
"its not all about the app store"......true that!! Well said!
21. mr_roundtree (unregistered) posted on 03 May 2011, 12:51 5
"The Samsung Galaxy S II records video in the .3GP format - we’d rather have .MP4 files..."
Are you sure about this? All other reviewers say GS2 records video in .mp4 format, not .3gp
22. phonefreak (unregistered) posted on 03 May 2011, 12:51 1
Now that's call an comment well done @rtimi.
23. wtf (unregistered) posted on 03 May 2011, 12:54 6
Laughed my ass off at the cons. Seriously, PA?