Internet, Connectivity and Software:

The Android 2.3 Gingerbread browser on the Samsung Galaxy S II gets a good speed boost from the dual-core Exynos chipset. We observed the same thing with Tegra 2-based phones, since now the second core can keep rendering the page, while the first one executes one script or another, thus speeding up page loading times quite a bit, with all the JavaScript and Adobe Flash elements to boot, which is confirmed by our benchmark tests as well.

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

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

Posts: 359; Member since: Mar 05, 2011

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

Posts: 2137; Member since: Jan 06, 2011

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

Posts: 252; Member since: Mar 03, 2011

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

Posts: 252; Member since: Mar 03, 2011

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

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

Posts: 1; Member since: May 05, 2011

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

Posts: 252; Member since: Mar 03, 2011

absolutely Engadget=IN iPhonearena=OUT

180. Gesh75

Posts: 1; Member since: Sep 01, 2011

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

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

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

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

Posts: 2254; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

@ 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

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

Posts: 2254; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

My Motorola Atrix still got a 9.5 BWAHAHAHAHAH!!

79. lacp unregistered

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

Posts: 149; Member since: Dec 16, 2010

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

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

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

Posts: 75; Member since: Dec 07, 2010

it has 9 and a half but that phone is beast

61. Mario unregistered

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? ratings: 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

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, It doesnt even have delivery reports for sms!!!! Jesus!

94. captainqtp

Posts: 16; Member since: Jun 25, 2010

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.

174. davinci1993

Posts: 2; Member since: Jul 02, 2011

Right on, my friend!

179. Troll Police unregistered

You want to see some Apple bias? Go to Engadget

5. sak96

Posts: 4; Member since: Apr 12, 2011

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

Posts: 2137; Member since: Jan 06, 2011

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

3D phones are gay. Galaxy s2 is king

102. Comatose unregistered

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

Posts: 337; Member since: Nov 19, 2010

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

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.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

Galaxy S II
  • Display 4.3" 480 x 800 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 2 MP front
  • Processor Samsung Exynos 4 Dual, Dual-core, 1200 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDHC
  • Battery 1650 mAh(9.00h 3G talk time)

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