Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II review: Brightest star

GSMArena team, 13 May 2011.

All-in-one phonebook

Samsung have moved a few things around but the phonebook is pretty much the same as it was in the original Galaxy S. It has a wide range of features and practically unlimited storage capacity.

One odd thing we noticed is that the Samsung Galaxy S II cannot display SIM contacts – there’s simply no setting for that. You can import/export contacts to/from the SIM card but you can’t display them alongside the phone memory entries.

There are options to filter contacts that have phone numbers, show/hide some of the groups you’ve created (including groups from social networks) and change the sorting (by first or last name).

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The Galaxy S II phonebook

The phonebook keeps the Quick contacts feature, which lets you tap the contact photo for a popup menu with shortcuts to call, text, or email. The Samsung-specific swiping gesture is here too – swipe a contact right to make a call and left to compose a message.

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Quick contacts come with Android 2.2 • Swiping is a really neat gesture for calling or sending a message

There are many info fields that you can assign to each contact, but it still remains perfectly organized. You have all the types listed (numbers, email addresses, etc) and there's a plus sign on the right – tapping it adds another item of that type. Pressing the minus sign under it deletes the unneeded field.

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Editing a contact’s details

Of course, the real flexibility of the phonebook becomes apparent when you sign into your social networks. After syncing, the phonebook will automatically merge contacts (you can do it manually too), so that the contact details are pulled from the social networks too.

The contact info screen is tabbed. The first two tabs are pretty standard – one displays the person’s contact information the other keeps call and message history. The third and fourth tabs handle the social stuff – status updates and the contact’s online galleries.

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Viewing a contact’s details – check out the SNS integration

Telephony is great, voice commands are easy

The Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II had great in-call quality and the sound was crisp and loud. Reception was good and we didn’t suffer dropped calls though in areas of very poor coverage the sound would break up.

The dialer and call log have been integrated into the phonebook, each with a separate tab. Smart Dial is available and works like a charm – it searches names and numbers simultaneously. Only one contact is shown (with contact photo) and you can tap the down arrow to view the rest (the number above the arrow indicates how many contacts have matched your query).

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Smart dial works like a charm

Voice dialing is also available – a double tap on the Home key activates voice commands. All you need to say is “Hi Galaxy” and speak your command (e.g. “text Dexter”). Or “play ” and off it goes. It takes a second to launch voice commands but the coolness factor makes it well worth it.

It’s worth noting that this is a third-party app and not the standard Google service – it’s better than what regular Android’s have.

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The voice command app is quite neat

The dialer also offers quick shortcuts for making a video call or sending a message instead.

Thanks to the proximity sensor, your screen will automatically turn off during a call. The available options during a call include taking a note, using the keypad, muting, holding the call or adding another call to this conversation.

Curiously, we managed to hot-swap the SIM card – it’s easily removable once you pop the back (unlike the microSD card, however strange that is) and all we had to do was switch Flight mode on and off. After that, the Galaxy S II was ready to make calls with the new SIM, on a different carrier.

The call log is the tab next to the dial pad. It displays all the dialed, received and missed calls in one list sorting your call history by contacts.

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Call history

We also ran our traditional loudspeaker test on the I9100 Galaxy S II. It snatched a Good mark, meaning missed calls will be rare but it will happen from time to time in noisy environments. More info on our loudspeaker test as well as other results can be found here.

Speakerphone testVoice, dBPink noise/ Music, dBRinging phone, dBOverall score
Samsung I9000 Galaxy S66.6 65.966.6Below Average
LG Optimus 2X65.7 60.067.7Below Average
Motorola MILESTONE 266.563.674.9Average
LG Optimus 766.666.775.7Good
Sony Ericsson XPERIA Arc66.166.378.0Good
HTC Incredible S66.566.176.7Good
Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II70.066.675.7Good
Nokia N875.866.282.7Very Good
HTC Gratia73.273.683.5Excellent
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