Camera and Multimedia:

The camera interface, that serves the 8MP shooter with LED flash, has been rehashed with a more minimalistic and transparent menu,  and is now swiftly alternating between landscape and portrait mode. A helpful feature is the ability to manually place shortcut icons to the functions you use most in the five slots on the left of the screen.

There is one very notable difference in camera capabilities, of course, the 1080p video option. Both stills and video exhibit very good amounts of detail outdoor, accurate color representation, and sharp focus. The image colors even appear slightly bland, meaning that the pictures and video taken with the Samsung Galaxy S II will look much more luscious on the Super AMOLED Plus display, than on your computer's LCD monitor. Shot-to-shot times are very short if you turn the preview function off, thanks to the all but missing shutter lag.

The indoor photos came out quite detailed as well, the 8MP sensor's low light sensitivity is very good, and doesn’t drown the image in noise, or smear it with noise-suppression algorithms. The LED flash does well, if you are fairly close to the subject, and, given that the Samsung Galaxy S lacked one, it is a welcome addition to the photographic capabilities of the Galaxy S II. Not to mention the wide-angle lens – we thought the LG Optimus 2X catches a lot of frame, when we did the comparison with the iPhone 4, but the Samsung Galaxy S II manages to cram even more scenery in the image, sacrificing for some barrel distortion at the sides, which is a common issue with wide angle lenses.

The wide viewing angle of the lens helps a lot when using the Panorama or Action shot modes, which stitch together scenery with static or moving objects. The anti-shake mode actually makes a difference when your grip is less than steady, but don’t bother with the white balance settings, the results are more akin to applying an artificial effect like Sepia to the photo, than help your shot on a cloudy day, for example.

The Full HD 1080p video is one the best we've seen from a phone, largely due to the fluid 30fps it's captured with, and the good amount of detail. Granted, we've only seen retail 1080p samples from the LG Optimus 2X for now, which shoots with 24fps. The Samsung Galaxy S II records in .MP4 format, and you'll be able to record about an hour and a half of Full HD 1080p video to the user-available internal memory.

Samsung Galaxy S II Sample Video 1:

Samsung Galaxy S II Sample Video 2:

Samsung Galaxy S II Indoor Sample Video:

The Samsung Galaxy S II records stereo audio in the video clips, thanks to the dual mics. The sole speaker on the back is actually loud and clear above average, although we've heard better, like on Sony Ericsson’s Android handsets, for instance. There is a number of equalizer presets and sound effects in the music player, as well as mock 5.1 channel surround sound that does make some difference in headset mode.

Some audiophiles might be miffed that the Wolfson DAC in the Samsung Galaxy S, which produced some of the best sound heard from a mobile phone, has been replaced with a Yamaha audio processor in the Galaxy S II. We still don't know for sure what version of the Yamaha DAC we have in there, though. The phone supports the lossless FLAC audio format, just like the Galaxy S.

Video playback goes all the way to 1080p without stuttering in most formats. When you add the brilliant Super AMOLED Plus 4.3” display with dedicated movie mode, nothing beats watching video on the Samsung Galaxy S II in the mobile phone universe.

The phone has hardwired codecs, supporting the DivX/Xvid format. The Matroska .MKV container, in which a lot of the 1080p videos are wrapped, is no problemo as well - the Samsung Galaxy S II eats 1080p .MKV files for breakfast. Besides the general Movie mode, you can set screen brightness, and even color warmth from the video player itself. The outdoor visibility mode that is present in the camera interface finds a place here too, and scorches your retinas by bumping up the image intensity, if you need to watch a clip in bright sunlight.

As any self-respecting expensive smartphone these days, the Samsung Galaxy S II comes with its own photo and video editors for some on-the-fly reality improvement. The photo editor comes with tons of utilities, which will let you remove the hair from your nose on close-up shots, or apply cool laughing-mirror effects to your ex’s photos. You can even do warping in it, so no complaints, plenty of functions for an app that comes bundled with the phone.

The video editing app is called, ahem, Video maker, and lets you trim and split the clips on your device, apply various effects like Sharpen to them, or mix and match with pictures and music. It’s actually the same app that was released for the Samsung Galaxy S earlier this year, since the only video it recognized for editing automatically, was the HD 720p sample we shot for comparison purposes, you can't edit 1080p video.

And the last things we want to mention about the video capabilities of the Samsung Galaxy S II is that you can use the digital zoom while recording HD 720p video, but not in Full HD 1080p mode, and it is activated by the volume rocker. Also, there is no manual, touch-to-focus option while filming, but the phone does a pretty good job at quickly adjusting continuous autofocus, when needed.

Samsung Galaxy S II Sample Video - 720p with digital zoom:

Samsung Galaxy S II Sample Video - continuous autofocus demo:



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: 2256; 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: 2256; 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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