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Samsung Galaxy S2 review

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

Asking whether media is important to the Samsung Galaxy S2 is like asking rhubarb whether it's into custard – the two are meant to be together.

Samsung Galaxy S2 review

What's impressive is the phone is still a very, very capable media player for its new low cost, with a still-great screen and a video player that's impossible to fault.

From the huge screen that's perfect for watching movies to the sheer range of getting stuff onto your handset (check out the Connectivity section of this review to find out all about the different version of Kies) we were blown away by what we think is the erstwhile king of media phones.

The Samsung Galaxy S2 is also adept at Bluetooth streaming – using our Jabra Clipper accessory we were able to easily go wire-free when out and about, and there was no hint of judder in the audio, thanks to Bluetooth 3.0.

There's 12GB of internal memory for media supplied, and the microSD cards in the box appear to start at 4GB, but that will vary by network or supplier of the phone.

Music

The music player on the Samsung Galaxy range has always been pretty impressive, with 5.1 virtual surround sound making it easy to improve the quality of the tunes you're listening to.

Samsung Galaxy S2 review

The quality is above average sonically, and you'll find a number of reasons to like the music player here. The simple ability of having a music control widget in the notification bar means you can easily switch between tracks no matter where you are in the phone.

An equaliser is offered from within the application too, and this can be used with a number of presets or a custom setup instead. We particularly liked the Auto setting here, as it actually did improve the quality of a tune when turned off and on.

Smart Playlists are also on offer here, enabling users to see the songs they've just added or listen to the most – come back to this function after a few days of listening and you'll be happy to see all your old favourites in one place.

MP3, WAV, WMA, Flac and eAAC+ files are all supported here, so there's not going to be much you can chuck at the phone that won't come screaming into your ears.

Video

The video player on the Samsung Galaxy S2 gets its own little application this time around, and it's an easy to use system indeed. The screen is so clear it feels like it could cut your eyeballs, and though some movies came out a little orange, it's easy to tweak such problems in the settings menu.

Watching video on the Samsung Galaxy S2 is a decent experience thanks to the larger screen and lighter frame – it's easy to hold in the hand and offers great viewing angles thanks to that Super AMOLED plus screen.

Samsung Galaxy S2 review

If you're into watching videos in the bright sunshine, Samsung has thought of that on the Galaxy S2 as well. Simply turn on the outdoor brightness and the screen will lower the quality but increase the contrast so you can see what's going on. It won't look as pretty, but you'll at least be able to see the action.

The range of file types supported is impressive too: MP4, M4V, Xvid, DivX, AVI, 3GP – in fact, not once did we get the dreaded 'file type not supported' error message. You can even choose the video aspect ratio, which is a key ingredient if you're using different types of file, as too often we were forced to watch widescreen movies in 4:3 ratio when we shouldn't have had to on other phones.

FM Radio

Samsung Galaxy S2 review

The FM radio is worth noting, as it's highly sensitive and works pretty well in normal use – which is more than we can say for most FM radios on handsets.

It supports RDS so you can see which station you're listening to, but we could only make this feature fire when we tuned into BBC stations or Smooth FM – and if Smooth can't do it, then we don't want it as a feature.

The UI is cool too, with the large central knob making it easy to jump from frequency to frequency – the only downside is we were unable to record radio from within the application, something Samsung usually loves to be able to do on its phones.

AllShare

AllShare is Samsung's DLNA client that lets you stream media from your phone to a PC or TV (or vice versa if you want).

We've tried this before on the Samsung Wave, but this time things are different – you can browse your PC's hard drive and simply select a film or music file to listen to. If you're on your way out, simply download it over the Wi-Fi connection and you'll be able to take it with you in a few seconds.

The fact this now works is a real boon, and something you should definitely check out if you're just thinking about throwing files from a computer to the Galaxy S2.

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