While the interface of the Android web browser has hardly changed, the hardware specs of the Samsung Galaxy S II for AT&T propel it to great heights of user experience. The large, sharp display with great colors makes reading a joy.
The browser supports both double tap and pinch zooming along with the new two-finger tilt zoom. There are niceties such as multiple tabs, text reflow, find on page and so on. A neat trick is to pinch zoom out beyond the minimum – that opens up the tabs view.
The powerful dual-core CPU (and probably some GPU acceleration) enables the Galaxy S II browser to play 1080p Flash video embedded on webpages. That was truly impressive stuff – a lot of netbooks would choke on something like that. You can play touch-optimized Flash games without a hitch too.
Hubs are not just for Windows Phone 7 – Samsung, at least, seems to think so. They’ve added two Hubs to their Android super phone.
The Social hub we’ve seen before – it combines you email accounts with social networking (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn) and IM accounts (Gtalk, MSN and Yahoo! Messenger) and shows all incoming messages as one list with handy shortcuts to reply, mark as favorite and so on. There’s filtering by message source too, to help manage the inflow of incoming updates.
The Media Hub lets you buy or rent movies or TV shows. Its interface is neat and intuitive, while its setup will take you no time.
The Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II comes with Quickoffice preinstalled. It’s one of the most feature rich mobile editors we’ve seen. You can view and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents and there’s a PDF viewer to boot.
The calendar has four different types of view: list, daily, weekly and monthly. Adding a new event is quick and easy, and you can also set an alarm to act as a reminder.
The list view shows a list of all the calendar entries from the recent past to the near future. It’s a very handy tool when you need to check your appointments for the next few days.
There is also a calculator aboard. It is nicely touch optimized - the buttons are big enough and easy to hit.
The Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II features a decent alarm clock application which allows a huge number of alarms to be set, each with its own start time and repeat pattern.
The Memo and Mini Diary are self-explanatory. The first app works with text only, while the Diary lets you also attach pictures.
There’s a YouTube app although it’s really irrelevant here. It cannot match the resolution the in-browser flash player can give you.
Google Maps is a standard part of the Android package and we’ve covered it many times before. It offers voice-guided navigation in certain countries and falls back to a list of instructions elsewhere. You can plan routes, search for nearby POI and go into the always cool Street View.
The latest version uses vector maps, which are very data efficient and easy to cache. The app will reroute you if you get off course, even without a data connection.
With a 1.2GHz dual-core CPU and powerful new graphics, the Galaxy S II can run every Android app designed for phones. The OS version is 2.3.4 so you won’t have any problems on that account either.
After its recent major overhaul, the Android Market has become the place to go not only for apps and media, but also books, movies, etc. Its interface is simple and intuitive. The search function at the bottom right corner will assist you in finding anything you can possibly need.
The Samsung Galaxy S II for AT&T comes with Kies Air preloaded. The app connects to the local Wi-Fi network (or it can create a Wi-Fi hotspot) and gives you a URL to type into your computer’s web browser.
From there you can manage just about anything on the phone – from contacts, messages (including composing messages), to browsing images, videos and other files straight in your desktop browser. You can grant or reject access to computers and see who’s connected to the phone at any moment.
The cool thing is you can stream music with handy playback controls. It works for videos too.
Note: You’ll need a reasonably modern browser with Java and some video plug-in (QuickTime worked for us).