Samsung Galaxy S II for AT&T review: A legend reborn

Stefan Vazharov, 2 October 2011.
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Introduction

Today, we have the AT&T Samsung Galaxy S II at the start line. Out of the U.S. trio of power- droids, it comes closest to the original, having kept its slim line and measurements, while changing its face in a subtle fashion.

Since its launch a few months back, the Samsung Galaxy S II has become the performance benchmark for an Android smartphone. The I9100 achieved this by trouncing every competitor in terms of specs, performance, and style, and prompted us to call it the “brightest star” in our review back in May. The title we gave it has been well justified since then, as the phone recently reached 10 million units sold.

Samsung Galaxy S II ATT&T Samsung Galaxy S II ATT&T Samsung Galaxy S II ATT&T Samsung Galaxy S II ATT&T
Samsung Galaxy S II official photos

The specs of the AT&T Galaxy S II are identical to the I9100, promising us the same mind-blowing performance. The Super AMOLED Plus screen is yet to be bettered by the competition, and so is the Exynos chipset of the droid.

With the bar set so high already, it is time to see if the AT&T Galaxy S II will live up to the high expectations set by its I9100 DNA.

Key features

  • Quad-band GSM and quad-band 3G support
  • 21 Mbps HSDPA and 5.76 Mbps HSUPA support
  • 4.3" 16M-color Super AMOLED Plus capacitive touchscreen of WVGA (480 x 800 pixel) resolution
  • Android OS v2.3.4 with TouchWiz 4 launcher
  • 1.2 GHz dual-core Cortex-A9 CPU, Mali-400MP GPU, Exynos 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
  • 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
  • Extremely slim waistline at only 8.9mm and low weight (122g)
  • 2MP secondary video-call camera
  • Full Flash support and GPU-acceleration for the web browser permit 1080p flash video playback
  • NFC support (optional, not without a software update)
  • Document editor
  • File manager comes preinstalled
  • The richest video format support we have seen

Main disadvantages

  • All-plastic body
  • No dedicated camera key
  • Super slim body has poor grip when taking pictures
  • Non-hot-swappable microSD card

As you can probably notice in this section, with the AT&T Galaxy S II, Samsung has stuck with the philosophy that things should not be changed, unless they can be made better. In the case of the hardware, there has been no necessity to do so.

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The Samsung Galaxy S II for AT&T live shots

Don’t be surprised if this review sounds somewhat familiar to you. Like we mentioned above, the Galaxy S II for AT&T is almost an identical copy of the I9100, save for the button arrangement at the front of the device. Following now, is the hardware inspection of the droid.

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 for AT&T 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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