Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket review: Aiming for the stars

GSMArena team, 17 November 2011.
Pages: 12345678Ľ

Introduction

We have the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket all set on the launch pad. Announced together with the HTC Vivid, the smartphone is among the first LTE enabled devices, compatible with AT&Tís all new LTE network. The smartphone is certainly a welcome addition to the U. S. Samsung Galaxy S II lineup, as LTE was the only connectivity flavor missing in the lineup so far.

If you find the device looks somewhat familiar, there is a good reason for it. The Skyrocket is almost 100% identical to the T-Mobile Galaxy S II, which we came to like quite a lot. The handset has the same size and uses the same hardware, save for two major differences. First, the Skyrocket does not have NFC connectivity out of the box, even though it is capable of it. The second is much easier to notice Ė it is the LTE radio on board.

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Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket official photos

While the Galaxy S II purists might scoff at the presence of the Qualcomm-made CPU on board (the Exynos is still the fastest dual-core silicon we have seen), we must point out that it is the reason why the smartphone is capable of working on 4G networks. As always, you will find the rest of the Skyrocketís key features below.

Key Features

  • Quad-band GSM and dual-band 3G support
  • 21 Mbps HSDPA and 5.76 HSUPA support
  • LTE network connectivity
  • 4.52" 16M-color Super AMOLED Plus capacitive touchscreen of WVGA (480 x 800 pixel) resolution
  • Android OS v2.3.5 with TouchWiz 4 launcher
  • 1.5 GHz Scorpion dual-core CPU, Adreno 220 GPU, Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 chipset, 1GB of RAM
  • 8 MP wide-angle lens autofocus camera with LED flash, face, smile and blink detection
  • 1080p HD video recording at 30fps
  • Hot swappable SIM and microSD cards
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n support
  • GPS with A-GPS connectivity; Digital compass
  • 16GB internal storage, microSD slot
  • Accelerometer, gyroscope and proximity sensor
  • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Charging MHL microUSB port and TV-out (1080p) support
  • Stereo Bluetooth v3.0
  • Great audio quality
  • Slim waistline at only 9.5mm and low weight (130g)
  • 2MP secondary video-call camera
  • Full Flash support and GPU-acceleration for the web browser permit 1080p flash video playback
  • Document editor
  • File manager comes preinstalled
  • The richest video format support we have seen

Main disadvantages

  • No dedicated camera key
  • No NFC support out of the box (a future update should address this issue)
  • WVGA screen resolution is not on par with the rest of the competition in this class

As you can probably notice above, the phone has more than one can possibly need in terms of sheer specs. The only major letdown we can think of is the WVGA resolution of the Skyrocketís screen. At a time when HD screens begin to pop up with increasing frequency, we do believe that an Android flagship should be offering more than 800x480 pixels of resolution. The Super AMOLED Plus unit of the Skyrocket however, still trounces most of the competition with superior contrast and viewing angles.

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Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket live shots

Traditionally, we are now going to kick things off with an unboxing and a hardware inspection of the Galaxy S II Skyrocket.

Editorial: You might notice that this review is shorter than usual and doesn't include all of our proprietary tests. The reason is it has been prepared and written far away from our office and test lab. The Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket is a US-only phone, so it will probably never get to the shores of the Old Continent. Still, we think we've captured the essence of the phone in the same precise, informative and detailed way that's become our trademark. Enjoy the good read!

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