Samsung Galaxy S II Plus review: Golden oldie

GSMArena team, 31 January 2013.
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The usual accessory pack

Samsung hasn't outdone itself when it comes to the accessories of the Galaxy S II Plus, including the usual set of accessories. The retail package includes the standard microUSB cable, the AC charger (with its own cable, which we find handy), and a pair of stereo headphones.

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The basic retail package of the Galaxy S II Plus

Samsung I9105 Galaxy S II Plus 360-degree spin

Basically, the Galaxy S II Plus has a new coat of paint on what's virtually the same body as the original, including the assertively slim profile we're quite fond of. Measuring 125.3 x 66.1 x 8.5mm, the Plus doesn't have the smallest footprint in the 4.3" league, but it's a slim handset that's pretty comfortable to handle and easy to pocket. The NFC version is a tad thicker at 8.9mm, but it's still perfectly manageable.

Going Plus has caused the Galaxy S II to gain some weight though. The I9105 tips the scales at 121g, compared to 116g for the classic I9100 version, but that kind of difference is nearly impossible to feel even if you have both in hand.

Design and build quality

The Samsung Galaxy S II Plus design is a pretty strong reference to its standing in the pecking order. You get the Galaxy S II design with the Galaxy S III finish and the result is surprisingly good. Yet, we were quite fond of the rough textured battery cover of the original. And while looks are strictly a matter of personal preference, the grip and the fingerprint-resistance are not.

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The Galaxy S II Plus next to the Galaxy S II and the Galaxy S III

The Galaxy S II Plus back gets covered in smudges head-to-toe in no time and feels pretty slippery, compared to the grippy and fingerprint-proof back of the I9100. In fact, if we were to redesign the Galaxy S II, we'd only replace the silver frame around the screen, which is showing the worst signs of wear, particularly if you are not too careful with the handset.

Samsung, however, felt this is the only element worth keeping. The color is new, so let's hope the finish is more durable now too.

Controls and handling

The controls on the Samsung Galaxy S II Plus haven't been altered at all. Below the screen we find the same three keys as on the original Galaxy S II - the capacitive Menu and Back buttons either side of a hardware Home key.

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The three-button combo below the screen

The keys are well sized and spaced to allow comfortable use and the capacitive touch technology makes sure the transition between them and the screen is seamless.

Above the display we have the earpiece, as well as the proximity sensor. There's an ambient light sensor too to control automatic brightness. There's a 2 megapixel front facing camera as well, which can do video-calls.

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The usual array of sensors and the front-facing camera surround the earpiece

The 3.5mm headphone jack is at the top of the phone. Next to it, a secondary microphone enables active noise cancellation and stereo recording in videos.

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The top is where the secondary microphone and the audio jack are located

At the bottom are the microUSB port and the mouthpiece. The microUSB port supports MHL, enabling HD video out (up to 1080p) and multi-channel audio output.

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The primary microphone keeps the MHL-enabled microUSB port company

On the left side of the Samsung I9105 Galaxy S II Plus we find the volume rocker and the lanyard eyelet, while the power/lock key is symmetrically placed across on the right. There's no dedicated shutter key though.

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The power key is on the right, while the volume rocker is on the left

The 8 megapixel camera lens and the single LED flash share a metal-framed plate at the back. The loudspeaker grille is the other thing of note here, in the bottom left corner.

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The 8 megapixel camera is the star backstage

Due to the new finish, the battery cover is a hair thicker this time. It covers almost the entire phone's back and is a bit hard to remove but the flipside is it fits tightly in place, no squeaks and wobble.

Underneath the battery cover we find the microSD card slot, the SIM compartment and the 1650 mAh battery. It's the same unit powering the original Galaxy S II. The microSD card is unfortunately non hot-swappable, as Galaxy SII owners should very well know.

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Taking a peak under the hood

As we mentioned, the Galaxy S II Plus comes with the very same battery as its older brother. However, with a more power-efficient processor and a more recent build of Android, the Galaxy S II Plus managed to score the impressive endurance rating of 50 hours. Find out more details on how we test the phone's battery life over here.

Samsung Galaxy S II Plus battery life test results

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