The Samsung Galaxy S II is a line of phones that first were available globally in May of this year. These lines of phones were made into three variants for the U.S. carriers and have been released in the September-October time frame. The Sprint version is the Epic 4G Touch, while the T-Mobile and AT&T versions being called Galaxy S II.
This review covers the AT&T Samsung Galaxy S II, which was launched October 2nd, 2011 for $200 on contract.
The low down
- Slate form factor, no physical keyboard
- 4.3” Super AMOLED Plus
- HSPA+ (AT&T Branded as 4G)
- 1.2 GHz Dual-core Processor (Samsung Exynos)
- 8 MP back camera with LED flash, 2 MP front facing camera
- Android Gingerbread (2.3.4) with Touch Wiz 4.0
- NFC (currently not enabled through software)
Stuff you can do
- KiesAir (Use phone via your computer if on same WiFi, PC Sync)
- Browse the web, make phone calls, send text and media messages (basic phone stuffz)
- Put phone display on TV using HDMI included adapter
- Watch Flash video in the browser
- Install Amazon app store (including previously bought apps, free app of the day)
- Easily adjust home screen setup using updated TouchWiz interface
- Integrate some social updates and streams through the Samsung Social Hub
- Watch/buy various media content through preloaded apps: Samsung Media Hub, AT&T Live TV. They will cost you money though.
Stuff you can’t do
- Utilize the built in NFC chip. You probably won’t use this anyways, but it is a way to use your phone instead of credit cards.
- Use HDMI mini output that a lot of larger smartphones have. Must use adapter included with power plugged in.
- Get notified of messages without turning on the screen. For whatever reason, there are no LED notification lights included on the phone.
- Watch HBO Go. For some reason the app on this phone would only play audio and no video. As someone in one forum said, maybe HBO reinvented radio!
- Watch movies on the screen while set on its kickstand. There is no kickstand.
This phone is very thin (8.89 mm) and is very light (4.3 ounces), which is a bit surprising for the size of device that it is.
The screen quality is amazing and performed very well in all lighting conditions after adjusting brightness. This made my HTC Incredible with a AMOLED display look pretty dull and dim. The screen made for easy viewing of ESPN College Gameday while I was at a tailgate. You can use the AT&T Live TV app on the phone, but will be charged after the 7 day free trial.
Man, the user interface was responsive. I never felt it lag and it would always keep up with my demands. The dual-core processor will meet most people’s demands. The HSPA+ data speeds are marketed as 4G on AT&T, or as increased back-haul. You will notice better surfing and streaming on this device than a 3G phone but it is not on the same level as Verizon LTE phones, T-Mobile HSPA+, or even future AT&T LTE phones.
The camera works pretty good for a phone. Touch to focus is impended on the camera so you can choose where in the frame to focus. It has a single LED flash on the rear camera. The front camera is 2MP, which is a better quality than most other front facing cameras out on the market.
There is a security issue with the phone where the lock screen can be bypassed if there is a delay to lockout. You should set this to immediately until a fix can be found.
This phone has the best display that I have ever seen, though I do wish it had some sort of kickstand so I could use it to play YouTube videos at parties. Come on Samsung, show off that Super AMOLED Plus! The phone being light and thin made it very enjoyable, even at 4.3” of pocket real estate. Consider this phone with the hardware in mind, the fact that it runs Android Gingerbread and determine if this is the right device for you.
I hope that I made this review a tad more brief than previous ones. If you feel I have left anything out, please leave a comment below.
Samsung has made the Samsung Galaxy S II available to me for a period of time to evaluate the device. The views in this review remain my own.