Samsung Galaxy S II T-Mobile review: A dragon's heir

GSMArena team, 11 October 2011.
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Introduction

The T-Mobile version of Samsung Galaxy S II is has taken a sharp departure from its GSM siblings. Compared to the original I9100, the droid has grown in size considerably. Its face has changed as well, putting it in line with the U.S. lineup of Samsung smartphones.

We are yet to see a better Android smartphone than the original Samsung Galaxy S II this year. The device took the Android community by storm with a combination of slim looks, powerful hardware, and mind-blowing performance. The AT&T version of the powerful droid kept the winning formula almost intact and will surely contribute significantly to the 10 million units of Galaxy S II that have been sold already. The T-Mobile version brings some different features to the mix, which differentiates it a lot from its siblings.

Samsung Galaxy S II T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S II T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S II T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S II T-Mobile
Samsung Galaxy S II for T-Mobile official photos

A brief look at the spec sheet of the T-Mobile Galaxy S II will make you raise an eyebrow. Samsung has replaced the monstrously fast Exynos chipset with a new one, made by Qualcomm. The Snapdragon S3 chipset has two cores, clocked at 1.5GHz. The GPU is Adreno 220. The changes in the chipset allow the Galaxy S II for T-Mobile to reach network speeds of up to 42Mbps. Not too shabby then, we think. The gorgeous Super AMOLED Plus screen has also grown to the massive 4.52” in size, promising even more candy than the rest of the Galaxy S II lineup.

So, has the Samsung Galaxy S II for T-Mobile stuck to its pedigree of droid powerhouses, or has its new chipset softened it up? Read on to find out. As always, we’ll kick it off with the key features.

Key Features

  • Quad-band GSM and dual-band 3G support
  • 42 Mbps HSDPA and 5.76 Mbps HSUPA support
  • 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 9.4mm and low weight (135g)
  • 2MP secondary video-call camera
  • Full Flash support and GPU-acceleration for the web browser permit 1080p flash video playback
  • Functional NFC support out of the box
  • Document editor
  • File manager comes preinstalled
  • Incredibly rich video format playback support

Main disadvantages

  • No dedicated camera key
  • Slim body has poor grip when taking pictures
  • No FM radio

Logically, the new chipset is the big question mark in the Samsung Galaxy S II for T-Mobile. The bigger screen is a welcome addition to the feature set, along with the freshened up design. The rest of the droid comes straight from the I9100 parts bin.

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Samsung Galaxy S II for T-Mobile live shots

All in all, there are enough changes in the smartphone to get us seriously curious about its performance. We will continue with unboxing and a hardware inspection.

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 T-Mobile 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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