Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II review: Brightest star

GSMArena team, 13 May 2011.

Image and video editors

You also get an image editor and a video editor preinstalled. The image editor handles the basics like image rotation, cropping (no resize though) and adjusting brightness/saturation/contrast. You can also make selections (using a smart tool similar to the Quick selection tool in Photoshop). It’s not nearly as accurate as the Photoshop tool though.

You can apply effects too but the one feature that caught our eye was Context fill – similar to Photoshop’s Context-aware fill tool but, again, not nearly as accurate.

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The photo editor thinks it’s Photoshop

The video editor lets you arrange multiple clips (or photos) and music on a timeline and create a new movie to share. There are several presets, which change the look and feel of the final cut.

It’s pretty basic but you can trim videos, split them, change the transition between scenes, apply effects and a few other tricks to turn you into a pocket Spielberg.

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Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II
Video editors is fun and capable

TouchWiz music player

The Samsung Galaxy S II uses the standard TouchWiz music player. We guess it’s reserved for the Galaxy S lineup. Samsung has enabled equalizer presets (including a custom one) along with the sound-enhancing DNSe technology and 5.1 channel virtualization.

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The music player has benefited greatly from the TouchWiz UI

The nice feature that allows you to quickly look up a song on YouTube or via Google search is also here. The handset also prompts you to select whether to look up the artist, the song title or the album.

Impressive video player

The video player offers a simple list-based interface. It displays all video files stored on the phone and you can sort them by name, date, type or size. The video player also remembers the last viewed position of the video, so you can resume exactly where you left off.

The video player lets you choose between three crop modes for how the video fits the screen. There’s 5.1 channel virtualization and subtitle support. You can change font size and adjust subtitles sync (move them back or forward a few seconds) but there’s no option to manually load subtitles, they have to have the same filename as the video file to load.

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The video player has a simple interface but is quite capable

The video player had absolutely no trouble with any of the files we threw at it – starting with .WMV, through .AVI (DivX and XviD) and .MP4 to .MKV (H.264). Resolution wasn’t a problem either – the Samsung Galaxy S II played FullHD files. Large files of over 2GB worked as well.

We were also pretty impressed with the Samsung Galaxy S II battery life when playing videos. The handset endured 8 hours and 5 minutes of continuous SD video playback before its battery level reached 10% at which point the video player shut down. This is good 40 minutes longer than its single-core predecessor, despite the increase in screen size.

The second battery test was about the Galaxy S II endurance while browsing the web. The dual-core smartphone lasted for 4 hours and 22 minutes, while loading a page every 10 seconds, which is 16 minutes longer than its predecessor managed. What's more when we switched to a third-party browser (Opera Mobile) that doesn't use GPU acceleration the battery life increased to 4 hours and 59 minutes. You can see how the Galaxy compares to the other handsets we tested here

FM Radio

The Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II is equipped with an FM radio with RDS too. The interface is simple – there’s a tuning dial and you can save as many as 8 stations as favorites. You can also listen on the loudspeaker, but the headset is still needed.

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The FM radio app

Very good audio output

The Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II might have lost a mm around the waist, but it certainly hasn't lost its voice. The performance of the smartphone in our audio quality test is pretty good overall and it's really impressive in the active external amplifier part.

So when the Galaxy S I9100 has no resistance applied to its line-out it got excellent scores all over. There are really no weak points to its performance here and since its pretty loud too we are left with no other option but to give it an excellent mark.

Things aren't as impressive when you plug-in a pair of headphones. Stereo crosstalk, which increases rapidly, volume levels decrease and intermodulation distortion starts creeping in. The general result is still decent, but we've certainly seen better here.

TestFrequency responseNoise levelDynamic rangeTHDIMD + NoiseStereo crosstalk
Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II+0.04, -0.09-91.491.90.0042 0.066-89.7
Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II (headphones attached)+1.05, -0.22-90.090.20.013 0.647-49.4
Samsung I9000 Galaxy S+0.03, -0.04-90.790.60.014 0.019-90.6
Samsung I9000 Galaxy S (headphones attached)+0.40, -0.12-90.790.60.018 0.329-43.3
LG Optimus 2X+0.01, -0.03-90.190.10.011 0.016-89.2
LG Optimus 2X (headphones attached)+0.14,-0.04-89.889.90.0098 0.111-35.1
Apple iPhone 4+0.01, -0.07-90.590.60.00410.011-92.0
Apple iPhone 4 (headphones attached)+0.01, -0.07-90.490.40.00360.092-68.4
HTC Desire HD+0.09, -0.44-90.690.40.0140.517-92.6
HTC Desire HD (headphones attached)+0.09, -0.44-93.292.90.0200.728-17.9
Samsung I8700 Omnia 7+0.13 -1.14-84.485.10.017 0.266-82.5
Samsung I8700 Omnia 7 (headphones attached)+0.31 -0.33-80.581.10.016 0.311-37.7

Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II frequency response
Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II frequency response

You can learn more about the whole testing process here.

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