Samsung Galaxy S2: Screen
The highlight of S2 is the 4.3-inch 800×480 screen, which incorporates Super AMOLED Plus technology. Colours are eye popping and blues and greens literally jump out of the screen at you. Off-angle viewing is excellent too – the first phone we’ve seen to match the iPhone 4.
A larger screen sizes means that the phone is bulky, but it’s a joy for movies. When playing back our test HD movie clips, detail is sharp and action smooth. We found that whites aren’t as pure or bright as those on the iPhone 4, although blacks seem darker and colours are bolder and warmer. It handles action smoothly too.
Samsung Galaxy S2: Android
Running Android 2.3.3 (Gingerbread), you get seven homescreens customisable with widgets and shortcuts. Swipe down to quickly activate WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS and Auto Rotation settings. Phone, Contact, Messaging and Application settings along the bottom are static when you are browsing the homescreens. Like other Android phones, press down to customise with Shortcuts, Folders, Wallpaper and numerous Samsung widgets.
Samsung Galaxy S2: Camera
Samsung has boosted the camera resolution from 5-megapixels to 8-megapixels, instead of a dedicated shutter; you tap the virtual shutter, which is fairly quick if not quite as nippy as the offering on the iPhone 4.
There are plenty of manual controls. Adjust the ISO from 100-800, choose from five white balance settings and choose between three metering settings. Samsung has also included Smile Shot, Beauty, Action, Cartoon and Panorama scene modes. Alongside auto focus, Macro mode captures sharp shots to around 10cm and there’s an effective Face Detection mode.
Samsung Galaxy S2: Processor
The Galaxy S2 has a 1.2GHz dual-core processor. In use the phone feels incredibly quick – one of the fastest smartphones we’ve used, whether you’re browsing a web page or swapping between applications it never feels slow. During our tests it loads web pages over WiFi quicker than the iPhone 4 – loading a content-rich website like T3.com in just 15 seconds.
Samsung Galaxy S2: Build
Pick up the phone and the first thing you notice is how light it is – it’s just 116g. Measuring 8.49mm, it’s incredibly slim in comparison to 9.9mm for the original Galaxy S; 9.3mm for the Apple iPhone 4 and 8.7mm for the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc.
While the Galaxy S2 will certainly fit into the tightest jeans pocket, the compromise is build quality – the body just feels cheap and uninspiring. Things don’t improve when you remove the wafer thin back to insert a sim – we’d be seriously worried about snapping it.
Samsung Galaxy S2: Music
Music Hub lets you browse and buy tracks from 7Digital, downloading directly to your phone, expect to pay around 99p. It’s very well laid out with Featured, Genres, My Music and My page icons along the top.
Confusingly there’s also a Music Player, the interface is very similar, although can create playlists here. We’ve no complaints about the sound quality, when you plug some headphones into the 3.5mm jack, and here you can access nine Equalizer modes and some Sound Effects, including the useful Bass enhancement and Wide.
Samsung Galaxy S2: Other features,
Samsung’s included motion controls. Hold an app down then move the phone left or right to scroll through the homescreens and reposition it. Elsewhere hold two fingers on the screen and move towards you and away from you to zoom in and out. We’re not sure how useful these are – to us they felt awkward, but maybe with more time with the phone you will become more familiar with them.
Samsung Galaxy S2: Battery
With WiFi on, maximum brightness, moderate browsing, some video and photos we got into our second day. One of the most useful features is Task Manager, where you can view and kill active applications and clear the RAM, and you can enable Power Saving Mode to cut in when the power gets to 50%