The Prodigal Successor
The Samsung Galaxy S II is the successor to the very popular Samsung Galaxy S. The phone supports a 4.27 inch Super AMOLED Plus touchscreen that makes visual experience a delightful one.
Despite such huge specs, the phone boasts of a slim waistline and is just 8.5 mm thick. It also comes with a 2.0-megapixel secondary camera for video calling that is placed on the top right of the screen. There is just a single hardware key below the screen that gives access to home on a single press, two quick taps activate the voice controls and a long press on the home key gives access to the task switcher and manager.
There are two capacitive keys on either side of the phone for menu as well as back. Long pressing the menu key also gives access to Google search. The phone has a smartly patterned backpanel that comes in handy for grip. There is a volume rocker on the spine along with a 3.5 mm jack at the top, micro USB port at the bottom and a power key on the right. The phone is smarter, sleeker and lighter but its all plastic body that might give you a plasticky feeling.
Wizard of Touch
Samsung Galaxy SII is the first dual core processor mobile phone from Samsung and the only other phone with dual core CPU is the LG Optimus 2X. The S II runs on Android 2.3 operating system and its user interface is complimented by TouchWiz 4.0. The home screen comes with seven screen panels that can be reduced but not increased. You can customise them with widgets, folders, shortcuts, etc. Pinching on the homescreen brings all the seven panels on a single plane. You can use the phone’s motion sensor to tap on the icon and then pan the screen background left or right to place that icon. The menu is spread across three panels and you can edit the menu by adding folders or additional panels to it. You can touch the screen with two fingers and then move the phone forward or backward to zoom in or out of a picture, web page and a few more. QWERTY keyboard offers a convenient input option. The notification bar stays at the top and comes with connectivity toggles for Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, etc.
The Samsung Galaxy S II comes with two Cortex A9 processors clocked at 1.2 GHz speed. For graphics, it comes with a Mali 400 MP GPU and to top all this, there is 1 GB RAM to give you the high performance that you expect in this device. The S II fared better in every aspect of its speed and performance when compared to other dual core devices. However, it was just while playing Dungeon Defenders did it lag a bit.The phonebook of the S II comes with social networking integration and you can create quick contacts that too come with swipe gestures for calls and messaging. Voice dialing on the device has been developed in collaboration with Vlingo, making it better than the standard Android app. The device supports all possible clients along with Microsoft Exchange. In the landscape mode, the screen gets divided into two parts and one can preview the mails in one half. The Polaris Office suite lets you create as well as edit office files on the phone and the IM app comes with pre-loaded settings for GTalk, Yahoo! Messenger and Windows Live Messenger. There is no change in the browser interface and it easily plays HD flash videos. You can open multiple tabs and use multitouch. There is a Social Hub as seen in previous devices that combines your SMS, SNS and Email communications into one window. Then there is a Readers Hub for book enthusiast and a Gaming Hub that offers both social and premium games. There is a Music Hub too but it is currently not available in India. Kies Air is a new app that enables you to manage your phone through a browser interface via a WiFi connection. The phone is capable of giving HSDPA speeds of up to 21 Mbps and HSUPA speeds of up to 5.76 Mbps. One gets a GPS lock pretty quickly but there is only Google Maps for navigation.
The 8.0-megapixel autofocus snapper of the S II is among the most feature rich Droid cameras in the market. ISO, White balance, exposure value and colour effects can be adjusted. You can use autofocus, face detection or macro while taking pictures. It comes with shake control and various scene modes. The flash works well in low light conditions. Shooting modes include smile shot, beauty shot, panorama, action and cartoon shot. The pictures can be geo-tagged too. The camcorder is capable of capturing 1080p videos and the quality of videos is delightfully crisp. Same can be said for the still photographs. The music player comes with equaliser presets including custom. Sound effects and 5.1 channel can be used when the headphones are plugged in but only one works at a time. The sound quality through the headphones is exceptional and good through loudspeaker. The video player is capable of playing 1080p videos. The phone comes with a 1650 mAh battery and one full charge survived just about a day with extensive Internet, music and gaming.