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Samsung Galaxy S2 review

Dual-core power, beautiful screen - the Galaxy S II is the kind of sequel we like

And so we come to the end of our epic Samsung Galaxy S2 review – and we know some of you might have jumped straight here to see what we think.

However, if you're considering purchasing this phone, we recommend you take a look through our review, as there's a lot to cover in the new phone and we wouldn't want you to miss anything now, would we?

But if you're after a one-word summary of the Samsung Galaxy S2: awesome. We've were waiting for a phone to set a benchmark among the dual-core breed, and we found it in the Samsung Galaxy S2.

We liked

*Clears throat* We liked nigh-on EVERYTHING on the Samsung Galaxy S2. It's rare we get to evangelise a handset so much – in fact we haven't managed to do so since we opened the box on the HTC Desire and realised a slick experience could live outside the iPhone.

But with the Samsung Galaxy S2, things have been ratcheted up a notch. The Super AMOLED plus screen, with improved sub-pixel density, is a joy to behold, and the 4.3-inch screen size is made palatable for smaller hands thanks to the ridiculously thin dimensions.

The lightning fast reaction time of the phone was amazing too – of course, it falls behind the likes of the S3 and LG Optimus 4X with their fancy-pants quad-core processors, but it's not leagues behind - think Bowser vs Toad trying to accelerate in Mario Kart and you get the picture. Unless you've never played Mario Kart. In which case: it's a little bit slower.

The pre-loaded applications, including the task manager and Polaris Office Suite, are for the most part excellent additions, and the sheer range of connectivity made the Galaxy S2 a fully-fledged phone out of the box.

Kies Air, Wi-Fi Direct, USB on the go – this phone is indeed future proofed, and while we couldn't tax the handset with any properly hardcore games, everything we threw at it worked like a charm.

In short, simply being able to open Google Maps and have your location in under a second is the kind of thing we love to be able to do, and the Samsung Galaxy S2 is the only handset we know that does it this well.

While it's not an out and out positive point, the battery power of the Galaxy S2 was more than useful in every day use. It's not going to blow your mind, but smartphones today have to be very careful they don't drain before you get home, and provided you don't spend most of your waking hours playing with the phone, it will do just fine.

We disliked

There's not much we didn't like if we're honest, which is testament to the constant evolution of Samsung's phones.

The keyboard is a little ropey, and the unlocking mechanism (swiping the screen to move it out of the way) looked a little cheap and nasty at times.

The plastic construction might reduce the weight, but it still feels a bit inexpensive when people will be looking for the ultimate phone design for the price.

The video recording can be a little patchy at Full HD, with the focus going in and out a bit at times.

We're still perplexed about why Samsung Apps is still an option here – avoid it and go to Google Play instead.

Final verdict

You only need to look at the disparity between the things we liked and things we didn't to see what this phone is all about – and if we're honest, some of those dislikes wouldn't have made it into most phone reviews, but we didn't want it to look ridiculous.

The Samsung Galaxy S2 is a phone we're excited to whip out in a pub and show off to our friends – it's the ultimate media mobile, the next generation in web browsing thanks to slick Flash integration, a very good replacement for a pocket camcorder and, goshdarnit, it makes calls pretty well too.

If you're at the higher end of phone contracts already, we insist you must check this phone out. If you're more of a budget user, you might want to get the Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 (which is essentially an S2 Mini) but steer clear of any friends who have the full S2 – you'll be green with envy in no time.

The Samsung Galaxy S2 not only set a new bar for smartphones; it smashed the bar, recreated it in its own image and put it out of reach of the competition. It's not the best phone on the market any more, but it's still gosh-darned good.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported32 GB
Built-in Memory16 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyHSPA+, EDGE, GPRS, HSDPA, HSUPA
SAR Value0.34 W/kg
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationNo
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyGalaxy
Cellular Generation3.5G
Cellular Network SupportedWCDMA 850, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100, GSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900
Rear Camera Resolution8 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
ColourBlack
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameSamsung
Battery Talk Time18.30 Hour
Product ModelS II
Screen Size10.8 cm (4.3")
Screen Resolution800 x 480
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)116 g
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityRoHS, WEEE
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Processor ManufacturerARM
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 3.0
Operating System VersionAndroid 2.3 Gingerbread
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Height125.3 mm
Width66.1 mm
Depth8.5 mm
Radio TunerYes
Battery Standby Time710 Hour
ManufacturerSamsung
Product NameGalaxy S II Smartphone
Package TypeRetail
Processor Speed1.20 GHz
Processor TypeCortex
Product LineGalaxy
Screen TypeOLED
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Proximity Sensor, Gyro Sensor, Digital Compass
Manufacturer Part NumberGT-I9100LKAXEU
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.samsung.com/uk/
Marketing Information

Prepare yourself for Samsung's Galaxy S II, the world's thinnest smartphone. Using the latest Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system, the Galaxy S II brings together the 1.2GHz Dual Core Application Processor for unmatched performance and a brilliant 4.3" Super AMOLED Plus display. Featuring a lightweight and beautifully thin design (8.49mm), and advanced HSPA + connectivity, it represents the next generation in smartphone technology.

Package Contents
  • Galaxy S II Smartphone
  • Battery
  • Travel adapter (charger)
  • Quick start guide
Limited Warranty2 Year