Samsung Galaxy S II – The Ferrari of Mobile Devices

Got my grubby hands on a new toy 2 weeks back! It’s the new Samsung Galaxy S2!

GALAXY S II Lifestyle Image (18)

I have been an Android fan for sometime, and at one point of my life I owned 2 Androids simultaneously (HTC Desire courtesy of the Maxis10 program). My Nexus One was my favourite for a while before I switched phones as I love playing around with new models & different OS platforms.

HTC Desire & Nexus One

The Samsung Galaxy S II is the latest “Oh-my-gawd ” gadget to hit the world. My unit was on loan from Samsung Malaysia for 2 weeks, enabling me to get first hand experience “owning” this device touted as “the handset that that set new standards for the high-end Android range” (quoted from Phone Arena).

So, is the phone as good as it’s hype?

Let us start with the innards of the phone:

The Dual-core 1.2Ghz ARM Cortex-A9 processor packs lots of dynamite power for such a small device. Combine that with a Mali 400MP GPU Orion chipset for graphics, it’s one of the most powerful handheld device in the market currently.
The specifications make it more powerful than a netbook. With its introduction to the market, the netbook will eventually become obsolete. The con to too much power is, it drains battery at a faster rate.
Sometimes having too much power is useless if the software cannot make use of the power and that’s what exactly happened with the Android Gingerbread OS. On first impressions, it lagged and I was wondering how can such a powerful machine lag, after subsequent investigations, it became apparent the issue was not with the hardware but the OS.


Verdict: Whatever points earned by the hardware are negated by the OS. Battery lasts roughly 1 day. Pros 1 : 1 Cons

Exterior – Body

It is much wider and slimmer than its predecessor.  With dimensions of 125.3 x 66.1 x 8.5 mm and a weight of 116g, it provides a wider view. Though the body felt a little flimsy, I dropped it once and the impact did not do any damage to the body though the phone shutdown and had to be reset by removing the battery.


Verdict: Do not judge by its flimsy body, it is as strong as the old nokia devices that could kill ppl though I do not recommend trying it. Pros 2 : 1 Cons

Exterior – Display

The best part of the phone!
Super AMOLED plus capacitive touchscreen with 16M colors! Even my laptop doesn’t have that! Couple that with a 480 x 800 pixels and 4.3 inches display, you have an HD ready video device!  Who needs handheld DVD players etc. I am so tempted to give 2 points just for this feature but let’s not be biased *cheeky grin and adds 2 points to pros*.The touch screen features have not changed much from the previous device and still supports multi-touch.
Now, for every pro, there is always a con.
With the glossy Gorilla Glass display, you practically cannot see anything when you are outside under the sun as it reflects all the light. A good thing to add to the device would be something similar to what they have on Nokia E71 where the display actually sparkles when under extreme lights hence giving you a better view.

A little bird told me that the AMOLED is a practically unbreakable screen!


Explains why I dropped the phone and yet no damage to the screen! Have a look at this amazing video:

Verdict: Wide display, wonderful colors and HD screen, that’s 3 points! Cons, reflective surface makes it near impossible to view under sunlight. Pros 5 : 2 Cons

Exterior – Controls

One thing I did not like about the phone was the lack of exterior controls for various functions such as taking pictures, controlling music etc. The only controls available are for volume control and locking the phone.
For example, for me to skip a track while driving, I need to unlock the screen and control from there whereas on my blackberry, I can just press a button on the body and track skipped.

Verdict: Bring back external controls. Pros 5 : 3 Cons

Functionality – Camera

One of the highlights of the phone! 8MP, 3264 x 2448 pixels, autofocus, LED flash, lots of preset functions, geo-tagging, face and smile detection, image stabilization, HD video recording with 1080p @ 30fps! Who needs to lug around bulky digicams!! IT has a secondary camera on the front with 2MP resolution!

Below are some sample pictures.



Night Shot.




Panorama. (I loveeee this shot!!)


Verdict: The qualities of pictures speak for themselves! Being a photographer-wannabe myself, I am very very impressed with the sensor! Pros 6 : 3 cons

Functionality – Sound

Now this is 1 department that I was not planning to test and just happened to hook up the phone to my friend’s car BOSE audio system. What I heard blew my mind away!!!! My favourite song – J.LO’s “On the Floor” sounded so much better than what I had heard in the clubs!

Verdict: 10 times better sound than what I had heard on iPhone 4! Pros 7 : 3 Cons


Best phone in the market yet though with some minor imperfections. Then again it’s the imperfections that gives Samsung (or the mobile phone manufacturers for that matter) room for improvement.

Final Score: Pros 7 : 3 Cons. It’s a BUY! :P

This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. Ciki

    wow! i need to get one.. the camera is superb huh;)

    1. rebeccasaw

      If you like Android, this is good! And touchscreen, great video taking capabilities.. everything!

  2. Isaac Tan

    nice review Rebecca, this is one of the latest must have gadget on the market now. Im still hoping they can fully utilize the dual core processor. The biggest turn off would be the lag. Still, I expect throngs of people heading to buy this gadget when its launched.

    1. Rebecca

      Everyone is clamouring for this phone already!
      Yea, based on the other reviews frm bloggers etc, the dual core processor been pretty snappy!

  3. AR

    Awesome! I want one already….didn’t know the camera was that good…

  4. Jack Lee

    Errr… for the sound part…. it was probably the BOSE system that was doing the trick! Lol!

    1. munak

      I differ on that lol cos an iPhone and a blackerry on the same BOSE system was just normal

  5. ANDi

    thank you for your personal somewhat insightful review. the S2 has just been released here in Singapura today (24/June/11)
    are there 2 versions of it? ( 3G & Wifi only)
    been eyeing this for a long long replace the S1 me using now.
    ANDROiD…or nothing!

    1. Rebecca

      Oh! *high 5* !! Atr Android fan!
      I’m not sure abt Samsung having 2 versions, as we only have one here!

  6. Jess

    wow camera damn look like that !!!!

  7. Biopolymath

    Good hardware! What apps are available to pack more punch into this gadget? Anything more than social networking?

    1. munak

      lots of photo editing apps, app that support microsoft office documents, app to unzip files etc, as long as the app is on android marketplace. Best is the exchange server email support, hassle free and extremely easy!

  8. ANDi

    went to JB earlier today…its retailing slightly above its abt S$988..should i get it now or err…get it now???.. :unsure:

  9. Kevin

    Thanks for letting me play around with the review unit XD. Awesome camera!!!

    Even if the OS is a bit of a letdown, there’s always software updates, hopefully there’ll be a fix in the works to fully utilize this pocket monster.

    Gotta budget for this phone.

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