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April 22, 2011

Samsung Galaxy S2 i9100 Review

Having owned over half a dozen Android smartphones in the past year, I thought I’ve seem them all. The Samsung Galaxy S II (S2 i9100) brings it up a notch — a powerful and sexy Android superphone that comes with all the bells and whistles.

The very thin frame of the Galaxy S II gives it that sexy appeal. Just like its predecessor, its mostly made out of polymer making it very light and almost unnoticeable in the pocket.

Yes, it sometimes looks like an iPhone, both in design and UI (though I’d wish the iPhone 5 would very much have an exact form factor) prompting Apple to file a lawsuit against Samsung. Still, it’s admirable that Samsung is able to pull it off and somehow retain a little bit of design signature.

The large 4.3-inch display is surrounded by a thin, dark bezel with a front-facing camera on top, a couple of sensors and earpiece beside it. At the bottom end, the usual physical home button is sandwiched by a touch panel button for Menu and Back.

On the left side is the volume rocker while the power/sleep button is on the right side. On the top end is the 3.5″ audio jack while the micro-USB port for data and power is situated at the bottom. The absence of a dedicated camera button is a little disappointing.

The bright and crisp display of the Galaxy S II is one of its best feature. Just like the first-gen Galaxy S, the AMOLED Plus display is among the best screens we’ve seen on a phone — deep contrast, vivid colors and smooth display quality. I’m not able to discern the difference between AMOLED and AMOLED Plus but I guess the benefits are all behind the scenes (like low-power consumption).

At the back panel is the huge 8MP camera and there’s a little protrusion at the bottom end (perhaps to give it a good grip) is where the audio speakers are placed. The entire back cover (for the battery compartment) has a rough mesh-type finish.

Contrary to what we’ve posted before here and the specs that we’ve gotten earlier, the Galaxy S II unit that we’re using has a slightly lower specifications. It still even has the dual-core 1.0GHz processor instead of the recent announcement that it’s going to be 1.2GHz. That’s probably due to the fact that it’s just an engineering unit and not the final release.

The battery is also rated at 6.11Wh (and a voltage rating of 3.7V), which translates to roughly 1651mAh. That gives us about a full 2 days with mostly calls and SMS with light WiFi browsing. We’re not able to test out 3G usage since I could not figure out the settings (copied the one from the old Galaxy S but that didn’t work either).

Based on the System Info App, here’s the partial internal specs of the unit we got:

CPU Frequency Range: 200MHz – 1,000MHz
SD Card Storage: 11.5 GB
Internal Storage: 1.97 GB
System Storage: 504 MB
Memory: 833 MB
System Cache: 92 MB
Sensors: 9
OS Release: 2.3.3
Resolution: 480×800 pixels
Density: 240 dpi
Refresh Rate: 60Hz

That does not include the external SD card (A2SD) slot found at the back, behind the battery, which can accommodate an additional 32GB of storage.

The Galaxy S2′s camera is among the best ones we’ve used and is at par with the likes of Nokia N8 and the iPhone 4. The camera takes great photos — images are crisp and well saturated. There’s far less blurry images since the shutter speed is quite fast. Oh, and it’s got an LED flash now, too! Would have been nice if they added a dedicated camera button. See sample shots taken below (or see full album here in raw).

What makes it better than all the other cameraphones out there is that the Galaxy S II can record up to 1080p videos (full HD!) without even breaking a sweat. It can also play the 1080p videos effortlessly, something my 11″ Macbook Air is having a hard time to do.

See sample video footages take using the Galaxy S2 (select 1080p on the dropdown menu).

The handset performs really well, thanks to the improved CPU, more generous RAM and graphics chip. Apps load faster, games run more smoothly and even web browsing is much more efficient and pleasant.

The Galaxy S II uses Samsung’s TouchWiz UI on top of Android Gingerbread. It comes with 7 panels or home screens and navigates just like the old Galaxy S. There are a number of very noticeable improvements, especially with the additional of more functional and eye-candy widgets (reminds me of HTC Sense). See video demo below:

Samsung i9100 Galaxy S II specs:
4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus @ 480×800 pixels
Gorilla Glass display
Dual-core 1.0GHz ARM Cortex-A9 proccessor
Mali-400MP GPU, Orion chipset
833MB RAM
2GB + 12GB internal storage
up to 32GB via microSD
HSDPA 21 Mbps, HSUPA 5.76 Mbps
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, DLNA, WiFi Direct, WiFi hotspot
8MP autofocus camera w/ LED Flash
Stereo FM radio with RDS
GPS with aGPS support
Bluetooth 3.0 + HS
1080p video recording
2MP front-facing camera for video calls
Li-Ion 1650mAh battery
Android 2.3 Gingerbread

I was not able to test out other integrated features such as 3G/HSDPA and WiFi-Direct due to compatibility in the settings. Samsung PR stressed that this is not the final unit which is the reason why we’ve encountered numerous system and app errors.

The Samsung Galaxy S II definitely brings new excitement to the Android smartphone line-up. The souped-up specs, dual-core processor, sexy form factor and large AMOLED screen certainly elevated the Galaxy S2 i9100 to the top of the heap.

It’s probably going to be the first dual-core Android smartphone to hit the Philippines this May (unless of course LG will beat it to the punch). Samsung is yet to release this handset in the Philippines (although I hear it’s definitely going to be this May) and we’re still guessing what the suggested price will be.

If it’s going to be anywhere near the price of the first Galaxy S (~Php32k), then it’s going to be another hot item once again. See our closer comparison between the SGS2 and the SGS here.

Update: The Samsung Galaxy S2 will have a retail price of Php29,990.

Samsung i9000 Galaxy S announced
Cherry Superion vs. Archos 70 vs. Galaxy Tab
Samsung i9100 Galaxy S II in the flesh!

216 Responses to “Samsung Galaxy S2 i9100 Review”

  1. ads says:

    it looks hot. i might get one

    • Joel
      Twitter: joel_olaveyahoo.com.ph
      says:

      This thing is crazy expensive although it looks really elegant. I would really buy one if not for the low quality of android apps. An iPhone is still the best way to go if you really want a smartphone.

    • Eingild says:

      Not an iPhone user here but I gotta agree with you. If you have a lot of choices, whether apps or games, then that is a great smartphone. But Android is not as bad as it looks. It can suffice some people’s needs and even do more for others.

    • yellowblue says:

      Have you tried comparing the performance of angry birds or cake mania in SGS and iPhone?

  2. Jam.
    Twitter: jamancheta
    says:

    Optimus 2x versus Galaxy S II. This will be a nice fight

  3. oktnxbai says:

    Excited for Nexus S2, if it will be from Samsung again. :)

  4. Herce says:

    I have been waiting for this phone! I believe a correction is needed:

    The CPU is a Tegra 2. A big disappointment. Samsung’s production of Exynos chips (the 1.2ghz ones) is short. So they announced that in some locations they will be replacing the Exynos for the Tegra.

    If this is the case for the RP, screw that. I’m getting it from somewhere that has the Exynos.

    Also, any news on whether the 32GB version will be available at launch? Samsung has only confirmed the 16GB, worldwide, at this time. I want the 32GB one and will wait but I would like to know how long a wait it will be.

    • zer0ice
      Twitter: zer0ice
      says:

      I am so in the same page as you, bro! If the local Galaxy S II is going with the Tegra 2, then I guess I’d rather wait for the 2GHz dual-core phones on the following.

      It’s ok coz I just upgraded my 9-month old Galaxy S to Gingerbread.

    • marco says:

      ano po ba pinagkaiba ng exynos sa tegra 2?

    • imitator101 says:

      Exynos – 1.2GHz dual core processor made by Samsung

      Tegra 2 – 1GHz dual core processor made by Nvidia

    • mikey says:

      Tegra 2 – Super LCD display
      Exynos – Super AMOLED Plus

      Super AMOLED Plus>Super LCD

    • iamsirhc says:

      I got an Exynos. Really responsive phone, I must say. Way better than iPhone 4. Really, I don’t get the point of buying an iPhone.

    • mikey says:

      fix your sources, S2 i9100 has Exynos, S2 i9103 has Tegra 2. they are different units, so you have the option.

  5. Herce says:

    BTW, what’s the battery life like on it? You did a review and didn’t test the battery life?

  6. Riccillego says:

    Want the specs on a 7-inch Tab!

  7. Paul says:

    > Samsung Galaxy S 2 i9100 Review

    > i9100

    Nappa: Vegeta, what does the scouter say about Samsung’s power level?

    Vegeta: It’s over NINE THOUSAND!

  8. Oni says:

    nice phone might get one if the price is not that high

  9. Benchmark says:

    If you can’t beat them SUE them! Hahahaha

    Apple would not sue those china touch pad that totally imitates their unit for they are not a close rival…since samsung is closing in…filing a law suit would delay them from going up…

    Anyway I love this phone, I’d prefer Samsung than Apple…yet for the price…will think about it…hehehehe

  10. bOkz says:

    how about the sound quality? music? calling? speakers? mic? headset?

  11. kill3rfill3r
    Twitter: killrfillr
    says:

    Optimus 2x versus Galaxy S II should be an interesting match-up. It all boils down to the price though.

  12. jm says:

    looks similar to iphone. a no no move for this device

  13. name says:

    dying for this one if that’ll be the price :D HAHAHAHAHA .. please Samsung, make it 32k .. grrr

  14. the backplating, meshg typw design, is it metal? or plastic. because i have a Samsung Captivate i bought form AT&T US and it has got a metal backplating.

    • Oni says:

      read it at Gsmarena super thin textured plastic daw yung likod sana metal n lang ginawa nila sa likod

  15. Salleh says:

    Am i the only one who likes the new touchwiz 4? UX is absolutely beautiful. Hope to buy one soon!

  16. dulfo says:

    Its a thing of beauty and that’s why Apple it suing Samsung. Samsung just make it affordable please and within the range of the first one.

  17. Bryan says:

    huwaw, parang iphone lang! no wonder apple sued samsung, lol

  18. Muckie says:

    bakit 1.0GHz lang? di ba dapat 1.2GHz?!
    don’t tell me 1.0GHz lang ang ididistribute dito sa Pilipinas. Unfair.

    Unless, hindi updated ang mismong blogger, lOl!
    In fact, there’s a inconsistency sa review, look the 4th paragraph, “large 4.2-inch display” daw, e 4.3-inch diagonal display kaya. Fail.

    Makapag-blog lang? Paki-ayos. Salamat!

    • Christian
      Twitter: theheatweb
      says:

      “It still even has the dual-core 1.0GHz processor instead of the recent announcement that it’s going to be 1.2GHz. That’s probably due to the fact that it’s just an engineering unit and not the final release.”

      “Samsung PR stressed that this is not the final unit which is the reason why we’ve encountered numerous system and app errors.”

    • Lezuric says:

      paka-reply lang? Read wiser bro.

  19. Jojo says:

    Another plasticky gadget from
    SAMSUNG..

    try it before you buy..

  20. Pro says:

    The wallapaper used on the phone during the review does that come standard with it?
    If not could you send the link please?

  21. Kyle
    Twitter: technokyletwit
    says:

    Samsung Galaxy wins specwise to almost all of the phones. The only thing lacking with Android is improved power management and it’s still not that snappy if you comapre it to WP7 and iOS

    • John says:

      acutaly, hardware acceleration yun..

      to all android users, try to go to xda forum, be sure na HINDI na ka compact view, im sure kahit SGS2, gagapang dyan..

      while yung iphone 3gs(600mhz) ay smooth, at yung wp7(first gen 1ghz processor)

  22. jv tander says:

    wow sa pilipinas ung video recording so nasa philippines na ang galaxy s2 ….

    wew im going to buy this ..
    but my galaxy s bricked and it takes alot time to fix it!!!

    … so whos going to be the first that out in market galaxy s2 or optimus 2x???

  23. JV says:

    wow sa pilipinas ung video recording so nasa philippines na ang galaxy s2 sa moa ba to ….

    wew im going to buy this ..
    but my galaxy s bricked and it takes alot time to fix it!!!

    … so whos going to be the first that out in market galaxy s2 or optimus 2x???

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Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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