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Samsung Galaxy S2 review

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

Our Verdict

We have to drop the score of this phone as it's simply ageing now and is bettered by the S3 - but rest assured, with ICS it's still a stunning phone.

Product features

  • Built-in Memory : 16 GB
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 8 Megapixel
  • Battery Talk Time : 18.30 Hour
  • Screen Resolution : 800 x 480

View full specification

For

  • Super-fast reaction times
  • Slim design
  • Ridiculously clear screen
  • Clear call quality
  • 1080p video recording

Against

  • Flimsy back cover
  • Poor keyboard layout
  • Samsung Apps portal

With a dual-core phone, you'd expect a plethora of messaging options, and once again we're not disappointed with the Samsung Galaxy S2.

Samsung Galaxy S2 review

We'll list the options we've got just to show you: POP/IMAP email, Gmail, Exchange, Google Talk, MSN Messenger, SMS, Text, Twitter and Facebook. OK, so the last two are only available by adding the apps, but still – it's an easy step to get them on there.

The reason we've included them on there is that Samsung's Social Hub gives you access to all the above. Should you receive a message from any of the listed options, it will appear in this application with a little notification icon, making it very easy to respond and keep up to date.

We've always shied away from the poor integration of Samsung's Social Hub in the past, as it's often been just a place to send Facebook and Twitter updates – but this one is actually useful and really works as an integrated hub.

Samsung Galaxy S2 review

You can still use it as a place to see your integrated Facebook and Twitter feeds, but it's so messy in terms of interface that unless you only have a few friends and people you follow, it's not much use.

The email client is much improved over the previous iteration of the Galaxy S2 - with Android 4.0 ICS comes greater power. This means no more terrible updating of the messages when you need them, and push options now come through on time.

Also, there's now an easy way to select multiple messages thanks to selectable boxes next to each email, meaning you can manage your messages with much greater aplomb. Well done, Samsung.

On both the text and email clients, we're treated to a dual window view when holding the Galaxy S2 in landscape – it works very well if you're searching for a message and is really cool to show off, but probably more use in email than text messaging.

Samsung Galaxy S2 review

The keyboard on the Samsung Galaxy S2 is a middling effort – we're not talking in terms of accuracy, as it's actually pretty good on that front, but in terms of actual use it's slightly frustrating.

Thankfully, Samsung has removed the voice input key, which did lie to just to the left of the keyboard, as part of the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update, but we would have liked to see it replaced with a comma button, which is clearly going to be used far more.

Samsung Galaxy S2 review

The keyboard is also rather poorly spaced – we can't count the amount of times we accidentally hit the full stop key instead, and the autocorrect can be a little schizophrenic at times when deciding what word you're actually after.

Swype is included by default though, enabling those who like it to slide around the keyboard writing letters. Swype has divided opinion here at Casa del TechRadar, as some people feel it really adds speed, and others think it is just too inaccurate. If you're into it, the large keys make it a joy to use.

Samsung Galaxy S2 review

If you really can't stand the Samsung keyboard, and don't fancy voice or Sywpe, then head on over to Google Play.

There are a number of different keyboards on offer - so free, others paid - with our personal favourite being Swiftkey X.

The keyboard in landscape is nice to use too, with the slimmer chassis making it easy to hit all the keys. If you've got word suggestions running it can be a problem though, as the suggested options will mask the text, which seems like something of a design oversight.

Again, we're giving the Samsung Galaxy S2 a big tick for its messaging capabilities – there's a plethora of options here, and it's very easy indeed to stay connected through pretty much any method you can think of.

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
Operating System VersionAndroid 2.3 Gingerbread
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
RealtoneYes
Radio Tuner TypeFM
Call FeaturesCaller ID
Height125.3 mm
Width66.1 mm
Depth8.5 mm
Radio TunerYes
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