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!

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.


Samsung GALAXY S II Plus

Samsung GALAXY S II Plus

Dimensions

4.93 x 2.6 x 0.33 inches

125.3 x 66.1 x 8.5 mm

Weight

4.27 oz (121 g)

Samsung Galaxy S III

Samsung Galaxy S III

Dimensions

5.38 x 2.78 x 0.34 inches

136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6 mm

Weight

4.69 oz (133 g)

Sony Xperia S

Sony Xperia S

Dimensions

5.04 x 2.52 x 0.42 inches

128 x 64 x 10.6 mm

Weight

5.08 oz (144 g)

HTC One S

HTC One S

Dimensions

5.15 x 2.56 x 0.31 inches

130.9 x 65 x 7.8 mm

Weight

4.22 oz (120 g)

Samsung GALAXY S II Plus

Samsung GALAXY S II Plus

Dimensions

4.93 x 2.6 x 0.33 inches

125.3 x 66.1 x 8.5 mm

Weight

4.27 oz (121 g)

Samsung Galaxy S III

Samsung Galaxy S III

Dimensions

5.38 x 2.78 x 0.34 inches

136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6 mm

Weight

4.69 oz (133 g)

Sony Xperia S

Sony Xperia S

Dimensions

5.04 x 2.52 x 0.42 inches

128 x 64 x 10.6 mm

Weight

5.08 oz (144 g)

HTC One S

HTC One S

Dimensions

5.15 x 2.56 x 0.31 inches

130.9 x 65 x 7.8 mm

Weight

4.22 oz (120 g)

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



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.



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.


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39 Comments

39. MrMohsin10

Posts: 2; Member since: May 12, 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$)

40. toondewachter

Posts: 54; Member since: Jan 24, 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.

41. MrMohsin10

Posts: 2; Member since: May 12, 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...

42. toondewachter

Posts: 54; Member since: Jan 24, 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.

36. charming

Posts: 6; Member since: Apr 28, 2013

i am going to buy this

37. baraheemo

Posts: 15; Member since: Nov 21, 2011

I have already one but i advice you to buy s3

38. baraheemo

Posts: 15; Member since: Nov 21, 2011

I have already one but i advice you to buy s3

35. gsmfastest

Posts: 3; Member since: Apr 30, 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

32. Abhisheknallur

Posts: 1; Member since: Apr 21, 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!!!

33. baraheemo

Posts: 15; Member since: Nov 21, 2011

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

34. panda123

Posts: 27; Member since: Jan 18, 2013

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

28. Talish

Posts: 2; Member since: Apr 18, 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.

29. panda123

Posts: 27; Member since: Jan 18, 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.

30. Talish

Posts: 2; Member since: Apr 18, 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

31. panda123

Posts: 27; Member since: Jan 18, 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.

27. itsdeepak4u2000

Posts: 3718; Member since: Nov 03, 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

26. baraheemo

Posts: 15; Member since: Nov 21, 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 .

25. KingKai

Posts: 9; Member since: Apr 08, 2013

this phone needs a different name

22. TheBitterTruth unregistered

Does it has scratch resistant glass?

23. thelegend6657 unregistered

should have

20. panda123

Posts: 27; Member since: Jan 18, 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.

21. panda123

Posts: 27; Member since: Jan 18, 2013

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

19. TheBitterTruth unregistered

Sad. I cant afford it still :(

16. renjithr712

Posts: 3; Member since: Oct 10, 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.

14. xvasek

Posts: 7; Member since: Mar 26, 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

8. toondewachter

Posts: 54; Member since: Jan 24, 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!

18. XperiaPrince

Posts: 108; Member since: Dec 25, 2012

PA Loves Samsung and Especially APPLE!

6. shadez10

Posts: 427; Member since: Jan 15, 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...

2. Captain_Doug

Posts: 1037; Member since: Feb 10, 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".

3. thelegend6657 unregistered

I agree , just get an OG GS2 and cyanogenmod it and it performs almost as good as a Galaxy Crap 3
GALAXY S II Plus
  • Display 4.3 inches
    800 x 480 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP (Single camera)
    2 MP front
  • Hardware Broadcom BCM28155, 1GB RAM
  • Storage 8GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 1650 mAh
  • OS Android 4.1.2
    Samsung TouchWiz UI

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