The T-Mobile Galaxy S II runs Android’s latest 2.3.5 Gingerbread, dressed in Samsung’s own TouchWiz UI. The latter has proven to be quite capable and nicely looking. See it on video below.
The changes in TouchWiz 4.0, compared to its previous versions (say, if you’re coming from the Samsung Vibrant), begin at the very lock screen, which you can now remove by swiping in any direction, rather than just sideways. The cool feature where missed events (messages, calls etc) get their own unlock patterns is still here too.
The homescreen got plenty of tweaks too. You get rectangular design for the widgets and a lot of functionality. The process of adding widgets is visually enhanced too with attractive transition effects.
Editing the homescreen panes is business as usual – you pinch zoom-out to display an aggregated view of all panes, which you can then easily rearrange, delete or add.
Some of the proprietary Samsung widgets allow you to edit them directly on the homescreen. We find this feature to be really neat.
The numbered dots that identify the homescreen panels serve as a scroll bar too. A press and hold on the dots lets you scroll sideways through the resized images of the available homescreen panes in one short go rather than with several swipes.
The app launcher is improved as well. You can now create folders inside it (though given that folders are enabled on the homescreen we don’t see much use for that here). Different view types are available for you to choose.
You can rearrange the app panels within the launcher in a similar fashion as the homescreen ones. A pinch gesture lays them out in front you.
Creating folders is pretty easy stuff – in edit mode you drag the icons you want over to a blank folder icon at the bottom of the screen. Then you drag the folder to the screen on which you want it to be placed and pick a name for it.
The notification area has been slightly redesigned in TouchWiz 4, but there aren’t any major changes to functionality there.
The task manager, which Samsung has preinstalled, offers a lot of functionality. With 1GB or RAM and with the new Gingerbread policy of keeping resource-hungry background processes in check, we are not sure you will need to enter the task manager all that often, but it doesn’t hurt having it. It also comes with a handy widget which shows you the number of active applications straight on your homescreen.
The Snapdragon S3 chipset of the T-Mobile Galaxy S II is a sharp departure from the beast which the Exynos is well known to be. With two Scorpion cores, clocked at 1.5GHz, the Snapdragon surely is no slouch. It does however go a bit easier on the benchmarks than its Exynos packing siblings. We have put together several for you. See them below.
As you can see from the results above, the Samsung Galaxy S II for T-Mobile is certainly one quite capable droid. It didn’t however prove it as assertively as the I9100 and the Galaxy S II for AT&T did.
Now, we mentioned that we were left with a mixed feeling after putting the droid through the synthetic benchmarks. Its Vellamo benchmark score was the main reason for it. The Samsung Galaxy S II for T-Mobile scored higher than any device we have tried before. It beat the rest of its Galaxy S II siblings by quite a margin.
Keeping in mind that synthetic benchmarks have little to do with the way you will use your smartphone every day, we can attest that the Galaxy S II did show a miniscule amount of lag, compared to the rest of the Galaxy S II siblings. It is however, faster than anything else on the market.