The Android Phone That Gives Steve Jobs Nightmares

June 30, 2011

For a too long a time, the world has been singing praises for the iPhone, but the praise in the orchard has lately been muffled by the rising sun coming from Android land.  The iPhone 4 blew many – if not all –  smartphones away when it arrived, with so many rivals aspiring to take its place–often barely scratching the surface.

But, the time for the iPhone’s real rival has come.  The Samsung Galaxy S II has arrived, through which Almighty Android will raise its mighty hand against the evil fruit.  The Samsung Galaxy S II not only outguns the iPhone 4–it will also be a worthy opponent of the iPhone 4’s successor, the iPhone 5.

It’s not wise to defeat opponents by striking them in all of their weak spots.  There’s no real glory or victory in that.  The Samsung Galaxy S II must be able to stand on the merit of its own strengths.  And, right here, in this post, you will find a quick view of the strengths of this gorgeous piece of Android tech.

Design, sound, and display

While many were quick to point out that the first Galaxy S was very similar to the iPhone 3GS, and considering Apple’s ongoing lawsuit against Samsung, the Galaxy S II is an entirely different beast. With its elegant design and small bump at the back, the smartphone fits perfectly in the hand.

Another feature highlight that other manufacturers are also implementing is the convenience of SIM card replacement without having to remove the battery.  However, the battery will have to get out of the way for you to reach the Samsung Galaxy S II’s microSD slot.

Many felt crestfallen at the 480×800 screen resolution of the Samsung Galaxy S II since many other high-end Android smartphones currently sport qHD-compatible screens at a much higher resolution of 540×960.  But, the Samsung Galaxy S II’s Super AMOLED Plus touchscreen smoothens everyone’s flustered feathers.  You just have to literally see how the Galaxy S II’s display dances and prances vividly and brilliantly even in broad daylight.  That’s the “plus” of Super AMOLED Plus in the Samsung Galaxy S II.  Besides, the screen resolution size hardly matters much in this context because numerous Android apps are not yet compatible with qHD.

The Samsung Galaxy S II did away with several physical buttons–including a dedicated camera button on the side.  To some, it is a relief.  To others, it is an annoyance.  But, without the physical button for search functions, for instance, the Galaxy S II has less clutter, cleaner aesthetics, and a clearer aspect in the hand.

A small back opening serves as the outlet for high-quality sound–and at a reasonable volume at that, minus disturbing vibrations and/or interference.  Orienting the Galaxy S II in landscape, however, can block the small opening, resulting in slightly muffled sound.  But, that is very small matter.  Just keep your fingers away from the opening when you hold the device in landscape mode.

Hardware capabilities

Scoring over 3200 points in the Quadrant benchmark test, the Samsung Galaxy S II is currently the most powerful smartphone in the world. Hardware-wise, with its 1.2 GHz dual-core ARM A9 processor, Mali 400MP GPU, 1 GB RAM, 16 GB storage capacity, and an extra 32 GB max on microSD, it’s an absolute beast of a phone.  Samsung is also said to be releasing another version with 32 GB internal capacity, thus bringing overall space up to 64 GB. This record-breaking monstrosity ensures all applications, Internet browsing with flash, and 1080p HD video playback will be done at eye-popping speed. Simply put, the Samsung Galaxy S II is the most responsive smartphone we have ever used, and can handle absolutely everything you throw at it.

Operating system and app support

While making perfect use of the Android 2.3 Gingerbread and the Samsung TouchWiz 4.0 interface, the Galaxy S II–for better or for worse–does not yet bring with it any applications that are dual-core optimized.
While Samsung’s handset does run Market apps at incredible speeds, most of the processing power is cannot be used due to the lack of applications optimized for it, but this will change soon.  That’s one way to look at it–as “wasted” processing power.  The other end of the stick says it’s dormant and latent processing power, because dual-core-optimized Market apps are coming, and when they do, they are going to run smoothly on the Samsung Galaxy S II.

Perhaps dual-core processors have reached the smartphone market a bit earlier than expected, or perhaps it may simply be the case of not enough programmer interest in the technology yet. As it stands, the only version of Android to take advantage of dual-core processing is Android 3.0 Honeycomb. Although the Galaxy S II sold 1 million units in under a month in South Korea, some time may yet pass before the beast has apps worthy of its specifications, and this will likely be realized when Google releases Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, which we know to be designed with dual-core processing in mind.

In terms of operating system and apps support, the Samsung Galaxy S II is clearly ahead of its time.  Whether that’s a plus point or a minus point, I leave it up to you, but in our eyes, devices built with as much future proofing as possible are always good.

Connectivity

Boasting 4G speeds of over 21 Mbps, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n support, GPS, microUSB, 3.5-mm audio jack, Bluetooth 3.0, Wi-Fi hotspot support, and DLNA, the Samsung Galaxy S II sets the stage for interconnectivity with peripherals.  The lack of a full-sized HDMI port may be seen as a downside, but DLNA provides for wireless HD video streaming and optional adapters for the microUSB MHL port can easily wire up the Galaxy S II to HD displays.  Nevertheless, with amazing bandwidth rates and its over-the-top CPU and RAM, the smartphone makes Internet browsing faster than any other device on the market, with media-heavy sites with Flash running without a flinch or stutter. Surrpisingly, it even runs faster than most tablets or netbooks.

Cameras

With an 8.1-MP rear-facing camera (with LED flash and autofocus) and a 2-MP frontal camera (compared to the HTC Sensation’s 0.3 and the LG Optimus’ 1.3), the Galaxy S II’s camera is perfect for capturing high-quality, full-HD (1080p) videos, as well as visually stunning photographs, while the  frontal camera ensures a superb video chat standard. In our time with it, it captured marvelous quality 1080p video, and did a fantastic job of capturing low light night shots too.

Battery power

The Samsung Galaxy S II has top-of-the-line hardware (especially the processor), so you can expect its components to guzzle up battery power fast, right?  Amazingly, its 1650-mAh battery can last up to approximately 10 hours with all graphical enhancements turned on and with power management turned off. Turning on power management and selectively choosing only the necessary graphical enhancements lengthens the battery life significantly.  On standby or with non-continuous light to moderate usage, the battery lasts up to a day.  Still, for heavy users, or for serious multi-taskers, it would be wise to have a charger handy. Remember, you have an incredibly powerful device in your pocket and it requires a lot of battery power if used to its full potential.

Conclusion

The Samsung Galaxy S II raises the bar significantly with its long list of technological treats that will certainly enamor many consumers for a long time to come.  Some will expectedly turn away from it because of its battery power limitations, but this is unlikely to sour its already enormously positive reception.  Aside from this latter potential source of disappointment, the Samsung Galaxy S II is exactly what it is– raw power, beautifully hidden under a stylish design–and should be appreciated as such. With its industry-leading, eye-popping Super AMOLED Plus display–which has to be seen to be believed–it’s incredible responsiveness, HD-capable 1080p camera, and its long laundry list of delightfully modern techno treats, it’s currently the best Android superphone on the market. Plus, we know that the device has been released with an unlocked bootloader, and Samsung was kind enough (smart) to send a few over to the Cynanogen team with instruction to begin modding and making custom ROMs. This will likely result in a ton of improvements made, further adding to its potential in the near future.

Also, consider this: this superphone boasts performance 500% superior to its younger sibling, the original Samsung Galaxy S. Not bad for one year, right? Any thoughts on the Samsung Galaxy S II? Thanks for reading our hands on review of the Samsung Galaxy S II.

Comments

  • mikej

    It’s OK, but being made of plastic it’s hardly ‘Sensation’-nal!

    • Anonymous

      It’s whats inside and what it can do.

  • Julio

    This is a great phone – I just wish they would spend a bit more on external design. An HTC Sensation exterior with Galaxy S II internals and screen – now THAT would be one killer device!!

    We live in hope that either HTC or Samsung will deliver such a device. Sigh.

    • Anonymous

      That would be a great device. Holding an HTC in my hand feels like a quality product.
      But on AT&T in Cleveland, HTC is not good and it bums me out.

  • Dav

    Is that a joke ?
    - The 4.3″ screen shows less information than the iPhone 3.5″ screen or the Atrix 4″ screen, but it “hardly matters” to you ?
    - What about the screens psychedelic colors ? What about the fact that with custom ROMs with white menus, AMOLED shows awful performances and battery life ?
    - “the battery lasts up to a day”, and that’s not a problem to you ? 2 of the 3 main competitors (iPhone and Atrix) easily double that, having much more information on their screen and comparable power !

    The only reason why SGSII can beat iPhone is its release date and the massive Samsung marketing.

    PS : sorry for my English, I’m French.

    • Pax

      You are wrong. As an ex owner of Storm, Nexus1, Vibrant, iPhone 3GS and 4, none come close to GSII. I received mine today, and it is awesome. You have to see it to believe it. Dont be a biased reader, not suprised though, as French people often critisize and make rude comments.

      • Dav

        Please don’t be a stupid racist. French people can appreciate good products and do constructive comments. All I’m saying is :
        - Atrix, Sensation, Evo 3D and iPhone show more information on the screen
        - Atrix, Sensation, Evo 3D and iPhone can be used in a very sunny environment
        - Atrix, Sensation, Evo 3D and iPhone colors are real
        - Atrix and iPhone battery life is better
        - Atrix has more software value-added
        - iPhone is still more beautiful, more “high-end”

        SGSII is a good product, but it is NOT the best Android-smartphone, it is NOT the iPhone-killer, even if it will be the most sold non-iPhone smartphone in 2011.

        • Nat

          I am sorry. But you really are showing your intelligence when you refer to the French as a race. Discriminating a group of people from their country of origin is not racism, its only racism when you discriminate a group of people based on their race.

          • Dav

            I’m sorry, but just SAYING that there are different human races IS racism. From a racist point of view, discriminating people from their country is xenophobia, but it is just to be comfortable with its own racism (“French people often critisize and make rude comments”, is putting all French people in a bag with a label “bastards” on it, don’t you think it is racism ???).

            And to conclude : can’t you just focus on what I say instead of who I am ???

            Now, seeing how welcoming people are on this blog, I just say good bye, and enjoy your crappy Galaxy S 2 while I enjoy my future-proof Atrix !

        • Anonymous

          - iPhone is still more beautiful, more “high-end”
          that what you iFag want is “art” and a “fashion accessory”
          what makes it high-end? too expensive and no features?

        • Anonymous

          “- Atrix, Sensation, Evo 3D and iPhone show more information on the screen” When I pull up the keyboard on the iPhone 3G I CANT SEE THE SCREEN. Man, you are french.

    • Anonymous

      Your a french dumbass.
      hey, could you tell me what you payed for your sd card and…oh, you dont have one
      hey, could you show me what live wallpaper you….oh, you cant
      hey, check out the video trailer on ….oh, your screen is to small and crappy
      hey, check out the video on ….oh, you dont have flash
      hey, what shortcuts do you have on…oh, you cant
      hey, whats the best widgets you have on…oh, you cant
      hey, text someone with the great voice rec…oh, you cant
      hey, matbe the S2 beats the iPhone because it’s way better
      hey, sell your iPhone on ebay and buy a brain you supid french fucking dumbass

    • Anonymous

      The ONLY reason the iPhone got off the gound was $2 billion in massive marketing.
      If LG would have had massive marketing on the Prada, their would be no iPhone.
      Man you are french

  • mike

    What about heat? Some posters at other sites are complaining about excessive heat transmitted through the case during charging and gaming sessions.

    Also, IMO the Apple v Samsung fight is about this phone. Not just because it may resemble an iPhone 4, but I believe the specs, etc of the GS2 are what Apple was shooting for. Hence, the delay with intro to the largest market!

    This will be the first time that Apple will release a new device that won’t revolutionize the market! They will be playing catch-up!

  • kerbero9

    Steve Jobs understands what makes a product great. It’s not about the specs…it’s about the user experience and the ecosystem.

    Apple designs their hardware and software around the user experience. It just works. Can’t say that about Android.

    There is no doubt that the Android Market is way behind in the quantity and quality of the offerings. Yeah sure the App Store launched first and had a head start…but only a 3 month head start! You can’t tell me the current Market is 3 months behind the App Store.

    You can’t go out and buy a better user experience or ecosystem and stuff it a phone case. More cores and higher resolution screens certainly don’t equate to a better experience. You said it yourself ” Besides, the screen resolution size hardly matters much in this context because numerous Android apps are not yet compatible with qHD.”

    Steve Jobs knows this and is sleeping just fine tonight.

    • Jon Garrett

      Android Market is way behind?

      As of May, 2011 Google announced the Android Market had 200,000 apps, whereas the Apple App Store had 381,062. In terms of growth, the Android market added 28,000 new apps in April 2011, whereas Apple added 11,000 new apps. Distimo forecasted that the number of Android apps would surpass Apple apps before the end of July 2011, whereas Germany-based research2guidance forecasted Android apps to surpass Apple apps in August 2011 at 425,000 apps.

      • Anonymous

        Great post. The market is growing every day. it’s common sense, Android has 44% of the market and growing as well as the Android market. App store will be beat like the iPhone.

      • nomipk3

        It is the end of August…carry on dreaming. lol

    • Pax

      Yaay….

    • Tregush

      You are wrong on so many levels its just not worth my effort in pointing out your pure stupidity which lies within this post, so my message to you is, go stick that iPhone back up your ass and go back in the goddamn corner because Steve Jobs was such a bitch to file a law suite against Samsung to NOT sell the phone on the U.S. I really don’t know how else you’d interpret this action other than Steve Jobs is afraid… very afraid. I hope you open your eyes and realize the iPhone is a dying breed, with petty updates and a new hardware update every year… Apple doesn’t stand a chance

      • Anonymous

        Well said!! And also the iPad is a fad and will go with the iPhone

    • Anonymous

      Steve Jobs knows this and is sleeping just fine tonight. ? he copies everything and everybody and pawns it off as his own (LG Prada) I have a 3G with no video camera. I just checked out Android 3 months ago and was pissed that I didnt find it last year. the iPhone is crap and your an iFag. your not smart enough to have an Android. So put on your raspberry beret, while sipping your java mocha cappuccino and talking on your “fashion accessory” with no features

    • Anonymous

      Apple copied the iPod from Kane Kramer, copied the MacOS “dock” from Acorn computers, Was sued by Burst.com and settled for the technology used in the iPod and iTunes, copied the iPhone from LG Prada, NeoNode, and Samsung F700, copied parts of iOS (like swipe to unlock etc) from NeoNode, Sued by Nokia and settled for patents related to GSM and UMTS standards as well as 802.11 WiFi technologies, Sued by Cisco and settled for using the “iPhone” name, copied the Finder icon from a Picasso painting titled “Two Characters”, copied the App Store from Jailbreak/Cydia, Sued by Personal Audio and lost for patents related to playlist implementation on the iPod. Apple was ordered to pay Personal Audio $8 million. Was sued by Mirror Worlds and lost for patents related to Cover Flow, Time Machine, and Spotlight features found in Mac OS X and iOS. Apple was ordered to pay $625.5 million to Mirror Worlds. And copied Android features that include Notifications, Wireless syncing, Tabbed browsing, New split keyboard, Open apps from the lock screen, and Over the air updates. Steve sleeps good at night?

  • QuantumJohn

    A handset is more than a good display and fast processor. I used to own an iPhone4 and now I own an HTC evo. The hardware and I can tell you that by far software is much better integrated in the ios side than the android side. Plus most of the handset makers are at least one and maybe even two versions behind the latest update. And finally, although android has support for many languages most handset makers choose to only support English and Spanish (in US at least) leaving the growing number of non_spanish speaking bilanguals in the cold.

  • Phenom

    Nightmares!? Do you really think apple is scared because android finally has a phone that can rival the iPhone4 a YEAR after it’s release? Congrats guys!!!!!
    -____- smh….

    • Jon Garrett

      Its not about which phone is prettier. its about market share. apple used to be first now Android is first. apple is statistically tied with RIM (apple 26% RIM 25.7%) and soon WinPho will take 2nd place knocking apple down to 3rd place.

      you’re narrow minded if you think none of this matters……if history repeats itself. Android will do to iOS what Microsoft Windows did to Apple OS.

      • Criminal Type

        I don’t have a dog in this fight, but RIM is damn near dead.

        Android needs to clarify what “Android” really means. I’ve played with a bunch of Android phones during the past few weeks and the experience varies widely. I don’t get it. Sounds like Ice Cream Sandwich will rectify most of this problem, but Android, at least in my mind, is a confusing array of ideas, philosophies, presentations, etc.

        I believe WP7 with Mango will be really good.

      • Anonymous

        You took the words right out of my mouth! The iPhone will be owned by mac users only. Android is at 44% and growing and the S2 will make it better real soon. seems like all the people wanting an S2 have iPhones including me. My 3G with ios $ is slow, laggy, buggy and locks up when im on the web to long (10 min)

    • 5starsM

      Hum… do you remember how crappy and buggy was the first iphone? I had the iphone 1, 3g, 3gs, and i tried the 4 and now i’m on the htc desire HD. Let’s be clear, i had a bad experience with the iphones up to the 3gs. Iphone 4, is a good one, though. So give some more time to android phones, and i’m sure than it will compete against iphones. Plus, they are many iphones killers for me already in the market.

      Now let’s come back on android phones vs Iphone. I’m not saying that android is better than iOs, nor that iOs is better, but i just want to mention something: many manufacturers are making android phones vs just apple for iOs. It is clearly normal that android phones will have more parts of the market than Iphones. and well it is a good thing for apple, because they stand up strong against many others.
      Last thing, i’ll not get into technical discussion, I dont have enough knowledge for that, but for me, choosing between iphones and android is a matter of preferences. If someone is looking for a phone who is really simple to use, feels smooth they will probably go for iphone, but if someone is looking for more, performance, diversity, it will choose android phones. When i was using iphones, i was looking for simplicity; now that I’m using a lot my phone for work and stuff i switch to an android phone + and android tab

    • nomipk3

      Well said

  • Phenom

    Did I say ANYTHING about who’s phone is prettier? Nooo….also if apple shit out 100 phones across all networks I’d be a different story in terms of market share but thats not apples approach. Windows phone passing iOS? Laughable. With the iPhone 5 coming out I don’t think that’s gonna happen bud. I know u don’t believe that either bc then u guys would be scared of windows phone and there would be 10 articles a day about how much better android is than windows phone… But it’s all about bashing iPhone so that confirms that this site is scared of iOS not windows

    • Anonymous

      This artical is about the S2 so what are you doing hear? Are you afraid of Android? yes you are, and you being hear proves it. “Im scared of ios because it has no features” and the ones they finally brought to ios5 are copied from Android. dumbass
      “Android sucks, thats why Apple is stealing all their features” total dumbass
      your not smart enough to have an Android. So put on your raspberry beret, while sipping your java mocha cappuccino and talking on your “fashion accessory” with no features iFag

      • nomipk3

        The way you are talking here is showing your mentality very well: You sound rude, without any manners and above a ll someone who is extremely jealous of iphone/ios. Cheer up man…Android or Ios is not everything in life.

  • Phenom

    The many thumbs down I get must mean I’m making points that are frustrating you fanboys…I guess I shouldn’t have my own opinion? Lol. Criminal type makes another good point. Some of the android powered phones truly suck but some are good. A potential android adopter could be very confused on what phone is decent. This is where apple makes it real easy, you know what your getting and what your getting is the best! :)

    That last scentence was to see how many thumbs down I get!

    • Anonymous

      your getting thumbs down because everyone can see your an iFag

    • nomipk3

      I agree. Android is a total mess to be frank.

  • Nomipk3

    Hello Guys,

    I have used the iphone 4 for a year and was very impressed by the galaxy s2 after reading and watching reviews on it. I have used 3 of them for a couple of weeks each and below are my impressions about Galaxy s2:

    1. I found the build quality of the phone extremely cheap both in looks and feel but on the other hand it is impressively light which I really like about it. Volume button feels below ordinary and when really used it it is even worse.

    2. Charging the battery is a night mare, it takes 3 hours to fully charge the battery and if you use the phone while on charge, it keeps losing the charge that means even longer time for charging. The battery will drain quickly even you keep the display brightness below 50% without auto brightness on. If you use it on auto brightness or really low brightness then the battery does well; but in my opinion there is no point in keeping the brightness extremely low if you want to enjoy the diplay, so the battery and the display are totally out of proprtion.

    3. I was really impressed by the speed of the phone. Internet, youtube and other functions are performed with great speed apart from some minor lags eg it takes quite a while to delete multiple email and sms threads.

    4. I was surprised to see that my iphone 4 still made better pictures and videos, now that is very disappointing.

    5. In my personal view what really lets this phone down is android os and android market. I agree with the fact that android is more flexible and customiseable but it does not have what you call class and is quite poor on aesthetic grounds apart from some better functions than the iphone such as the live wallpapers, notifications and wireless data sync. It really lacks the silky touch and effeciency of the iphone. Apps and games on android market are ages behind apple in terms of graphics and functionality, no denying that there are some really good ones too.

    I have come to the conclusion that yet another great device fails to beat the iphone 4 comprehensively and I fail to switch away from the iphone 4 although I have given it three tries to switch to galaxy s2.

    Regards

    • Anonymous

      Dude, we all know your an iFag. you can come out now.

      • SamsungIsJunky

        Dude Every Body Knows That Android Phone is Made From Low Quality Materials And Droid Is Junk And Stolen Os From Apple ios + You KnowThat Iphone Is Better If Galaxy Speed Was 20 Ghz I Aint Buy It Cuz Its Junk Junk Junk Iphone Feels Like Luxury In Your Hands Lol Iphone Is the Best Selling Phone Number 1 And Apple Became the Largest Phone Company in just 4 Years Lol Even its better Than Nokia The oldest phone Company !

  • Anonymous

    S2 is my next phone, i cant wait to take a hammer to my 3G

  • Anonymous

    The S2 is kicking the shit out of the iPhone all over the world Bahahahahaha