The Samsung Galaxy S2 Review
One of the Smartest Smart Phones to hit our country, The Samsung Galaxy S2 has gathered a lot of public attention. But, does it stand up to the challenge put out by Day-to-Day Smart-Phone use? Lets Find Out!
BUILD QUALITY, HARDWARE & DESIGN
The Galaxy S2 has a nice design, a sleek body and extra tough glass. But the build quality of the phone may not be up to the mark. The device features a total plastic construction that defies all laws of mobile phone existence. At just 8.5mm thick the device boasts an extremely slim profile. The back panel/cover is a flimsy piece of plastic that is fidgety to remove and put back on and also rattles when the phone is shaken.
The screen on the other hand is extremely tough, it also resists scratches and impacts without a question in mind. Overall, the build is solid, the plastics don’t bend easily and are not cheap to look at either. But are not nearly enough when you compare it with what you pay for the device.
In terms of hardware the two major things working for the Indian version of the Samsung Galaxy S2 are
- Super Amoled Plus Screen – 480 x 800 px – 4.3 inches
- 1.2 GHZ dual core processor
The performances of these two major hardware components can be seen from the get go, and are attracting people towards the GS2. There is also 1 GB of RAM, giving an effective 853MB for usage (we really don’t know why only 853 is there totally). There is no NFC on the Indian Samsung Galaxy S2, and why would you need it anyway? The 8 MP rear camera with full HD video recording, a 2 MP front camera, 1650mah battery. You can also check out the full Spec Sheet Here
CAMERA AND MULTIMEDIA
The Camera on the S2 is brilliant; the screen viewfinder makes it even better. The colors are projected to the screen as-is, and are captured beautifully with the 8MP lens. The camera is fast to focus and has great exposure values. Tap to focus lets you select you subject and one click capture brings you an experience that’s hard to replicate. The camera app is also packed with a long list of settings and effects you can tweak and play around with. Shooting modes, scene modes, effects, image size, exposure values, white balance, noise reduction and anti shake to name a few.
Macro mode is exceptionally great as it can capture close-ups with great detail. There is also a timer, ISO settings, Metering selection, blink detection and geo-tagging. The S2 has a fully loaded camera app and a great camera lens to go with it. Overall performance of the camera is easily notable and can replace your point and shoot camera for day-to-day use. The flash is bright and has a great field of coverage.
Video capture at 1080p is smooth and without frame drops, although you can notice the autofocus on the camera struggle during the video recording output. Videos are clean and the microphone picks up sound just great. Video is so good in fact we actually shot an unboxing video on full HD with the Samsung Galaxy S2 – Check it HERE
Sounds from the speaker are actually louder than we expected. Audio quality is clear and speech notions can be understood easily. Why we emphasize on speech is because you will be watching a lot of videos and movies on the STUNNING AMOLED PLUS display. It is the best possible display from Samsung to date. With amazing depths of color and a great resolution (480 x 800) the display is very vivid. Colors are bold and there is no washout even at greater viewing angles. Some may argue that the colors on the screen are not what they appear to be, and the AMOLED screen gives a heightened look to a normal display/video.
The included earphones are not a great match with the S2, the bass on the earphones is poor, watching movies or listening to music. If you enjoy good depth, you wont enjoy the included earphones. The placement of the main speaker can also be bothersome, especially when you hold the device in landscape to watch videos or play games. You will find your fingers covering up the main speaker for a total loss of sound.
PHONE AND MESSAGING
Nice large dialer, good speaker, strong mic and excellent network performance make the Galaxy S2 a great phone aswell. We tested the phone capability over extended periods of use and failed to get one reason to complain about the device. It was pure performance for the phone through out.
The Keyboard on the GS2 is well spaced out in portrait and is very responsive during those long messaging sessions. You also have a huge list of settings that you can modify to make the keyboard a complete unit for you. From auto text to auto replace, modifiers and word learning, the keyboard is simply intelligent. You can also switch to the included Swype keyboard for a faster input experience. In Landscape, typing is fast and efficient and the keys are wide enough to compile long emails without breaking a sweat.
DATA & INTERNET
Getting a smartphone like this? Expect to get a 3G data plan if you don’t already have one. This phone turns you into an “on the go data monster”. With the constant need to feed information into the device the unit comes ready to handle all sorts of online activity, from social feeds directly on your homescreen to business mails in a secret box. You get the latest news, weather information and stock prices without ever needing to install an app or setup the device. 3G / HSDPA performance is somewhat good, we found that the device would drop the connection to the server and would require a restart of the data service from the settings app. We have never faced a similar issue with any other Android device an it appears to be a glitch in the software somewhere. Another thing to note, is that when the device is in this suspended data connection mode, the back of the phone starts to heat up incredibly fast which leads to an equally fast battery drain.
Wi-Fi Hotspot, also acts up (due to the network error we presume) and you will find your self constantly struggling with the error messages on the portable hotspot window.
If you haven’t read the section above we suggest you go ahead and read it. The battery life is largely affected by data mismanagement.
|Values||2G||3G||3G with Error|
|Talk Time||upto 7 Hours||4.5 hours||1 hour|
|Standby time||36 Hours||24 hours||6 Hours|
|Web Browsing||8-9 hours||4-5 hours||–|
|Video Streaming||4 Hours||2 Hours||–|
|Music Streaming||14 hours||6 hours||–|
Wi-Fi Values stand more or less the same with 2G data
We though we would include this section just to clarify a lot of questions. While the device is perfectly capable of running high graphic games, you will not find us showing you videos of any such games for one simple reason. They don’t work on the device. Most games like Fast 5, NFS shift Asphalt, Assassins creed, Settlers crash on start up and some don’t show visuals. This is possibly a software -hardware integration glitch and perhaps the games are not designed to run on dual core smart phones. Other games like Angry Birds -All, Gun Brothers and our new favorite Age of the Zombies work perfect and without any issues.
The Samsung Galaxy S2 is India’s second phone to boast a dual core processor, and after our previous let down, we a happy to say that Samsung has managed to utilize the dual core- Android combo perfectly and has made it possible for the end user to enjoy the total experience. The phone is not only fast and responsive it is a super performer. All visuals play smooth, graphics and renders are fast all of this with tons of ram to spare. The Galaxy S2 also uses Android suspend multitasking which enables you to pause your ongoing app in real time and switch to another app, and then come back to the previous app without loosing data, or in our case lives.
There is the heating issue that is causing battery loss but we believe its due to the data glitch and can be resolved by switching data modes, or turning on data as and when required (which can be troublesome, but is a quick fix until Samsung can fix it). If you haven’t already seen the benchmarks, check them out here.
The Samsung Galaxy S2 is highest spec’d phone available in India through official channels, its thin and light, its got a beautifully vivid display and a dual core processor that’s on steroids. The Galaxy S2 is ready to perform from the get-go and looks good doing it. Yes its got a flimsy looking build and some overheating issues. But why do we feel okay looking past those? Possibly because poor build usually leads to a damaged display, but in this case the gorilla glass wont let that happen. As far as the battery drain- data error issue, Samsung is already working on pushing an update that will fix these issues.
[xrr rating=4.25/5 label=”We Rate The Galaxy S 2 : ” imageset=shiny_yellow_star display_as=fraction_stars]
US$ 700 /-
REVIEW VIDEO PART I
REVIEW VIDEO PART II