Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II review: Brightest star

GSMArena team, 13 May 2011.

Introduction

It looks like the point where it all ends. A galaxy outgrowing its own limits. An explosion of energy and speed. An overdose of smartphone power. A phone that makes you love the smell of Android in the morning.


Samsung Galaxy S II official photos

The likes of Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II make it easy to get carried away. But wait a minute. There’s nothing quite like the Galaxy II. The brightest stars on the smartphone scene have graced our homepage, but this one is trying to eclipse them all. The Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II is in no mood to share – the spoils or the spotlight.


Samsung Galaxy S II official photos

With a spec sheet like that, it’s a beast of a droid. Even in today’s viciously competitive market, the Galaxy S II has so many firsts to be proud of. Samsung’s very own Exynos chipset, the unmatched Super AMOLED Plus screen and the ultra-slim body only begin to tell the story.

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 v2.3.3 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 and n support
  • GPS with A-GPS connectivity; Digital compass
  • 16/32GB internal storage, microSD slot
  • Accelerometer, gyroscope and proximity sensor
  • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Charging MHL microUSB port with USB host and TV-out (1080p) support
  • Stereo Bluetooth v3.0
  • FM radio with RDS
  • Great audio quality
  • Extremely slim waistline at only 8.5mm and low weight (116g)
  • 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

With manufacturers busy making facelifts and sequels to get our hard-earned cash, we are often wondering if an upgrade is worth it. Well this time, it takes but a glance at the specs to tell that the answer is yes.

You’ve got a problem with the PenTile matrix of the original Galaxy S – the Galaxy S II is here to fix that. Or was it the laggy RFS file system bothering you? Well, be our gest and enjoy it the EXT4 way. The GPS issues or the lack of flash for the camera too much for you to handle – they’ve got it all fixed here.

Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II
The Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II at ours

But fixes are just the beginning and they come to show that Samsung has listened to the customers. The key selling points of the Galaxy S II will most certainly be the impressive 1080p video recording, better still photos and, probably most important of all, the new Exynos chipset that powers the whole thing.

You get an extra core, higher clock speed and the new Mali-400 GPU that’s supposed to blow everything we know out of the water. Not to mention the sweet gig of RAM to make sure that multitasking is a walk in the park for the Galaxy S II.

Update, 28.07.11: We've added an overview of Samsung Dive.

As long as everything works as promised, there’s no doubt users will be delighted with this one. But let’s find out – the Samsung Galaxy S II is back after the break for a proper hardware inspection.

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