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Samsung Galaxy S2 review

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

The Samsung Galaxy S2 has an 8MP sensor with single LED flash and a multitude of shooting options.

We're used to a heritage from Samsung phones in the photography department – remember the ill-fated Pixon 12, anyone? – and this has filtered down 'normal' phones to offer a stable and impressive camera experience.

Samsung galaxy s2 review

We're not talking anything near the quality levels offered by the massive 41MP Nokia N808 PureView, HTC One X or iPhone 4S – some of the best camera phones on the market at the moment – but it's not bad, and now comes complete with panorama mode with Ice Cream Sandwich.

Samsung Galaxy S2 review

What we like here is the way that Samsung has nailed down the features users actually want from their camera phone – a device that enables you to take a photo every once in a while, and make it a decent one when you do.

We've knocked together some spiffing camera tips in a little video for you here, so see what you think:

The camera application fires up in just over a second (sadly there's no physical shutter button, so we recommend putting the application on your home screen) and is ready to take pictures instantly.

Shutter speed is now slow compared to the competition (amazing to think it was super speedy a year ago), with around three to four seconds between shots at maximum resolution if you're taking a few in quick succession. This has nothing to do with picture size, as the processor can handle all of them easily; it's the autofocus that's a little tardy.

Samsung Galaxy S2 review

There's no option to turn it off either, so something like the Sony Xperia S is a much better option if you're after a snappy shutter.

However, the shutter speed will be adequate for most, and the range of shooting modes on offer will make up for it too.

Samsung Galaxy S2 review

Outdoor visibility mode is a godsend – basically it's Samsung turning up the contrast to silly levels on your screen so it can burn through direct sunlight. The quality is much poorer, but at least you can see what you're snapping, and it's a real boon for outdoor shots.

The shooting modes are a mixed bag – action mode doesn't do what you think it will, instead creating a collage of lots of frames from a moving scene. Beauty and Panorama mode are OK too, but the options to Cartoon-ify a scene seem a bit pointless indeed.

Samsung Galaxy S2 review

Of more use are the macro modes, exposure alteration and the automatic metering, which help actually make the photo look better by bringing up the correct colours and brightness.

Blink detection and smile shot both work well though, with the former picking up a couple of family portraits where people ruined them with shut eyes and the latter firing when a smile was seen – although most of the time you'll be able to see that and push the shutter yourself.

If there are certain modes and features you regularly use, you can pin these to the left hand bar on the camera app, with the Galaxy S2 allowing you to add 4 of your favourite options. Just hold down on an icon, or in a blank space - and a menu will pop up allowing you to drag and drop the features you want.

A word of warning: if you turn on the anti-shake capabilities of the Samsung Galaxy S2, then be prepared for a few attempts at getting it to focus. Your pictures might be less blurry, but will take longer to shoot in some cases.

Samsung galaxy s2 review

A normal, well-lit scene picks out nearly all the detail at a quick shutter speed.

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Samsung galaxy s2 review

Dark scenes with no flash suffer quite badly.

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Samsung galaxy s2 review

This Harry Potter-loving fool is well captured with the flash, however, and from quite a distance.

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Samsung galaxy s2 review

Long shots manage to maintain detail well.

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Samsung galaxy s2 review

The 4x zoom does get a bit noisy, but the pictures are still perfectly usable.

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Samsung galaxy s2 review

We can confirm that none of these are mobile phone unicorns.

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Samsung galaxy s2 review

The macro mode is impressive, with the user having to get very close indeed for the auto focus not to work.

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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