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
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.

217 Comments on this Post

  1. antuchii

    I have s2 is soo cool ;)

  2. was trying to use the voice command feature of the SGS2, and noticed that if my connection was through the Cell Network it would work fine, but if it was through Wifi.. connection problems occur.. is this normal? do you guys experience the same thing? thanks!

  3. It is also provided with an 8 mega pixel blistering camera with a dual flash so I like it very much,

  4. afriecola

    i got SGS1 the the features and application is good but any idea or upgrade the batteries?coz you can’t really enjoy..speacially for wifi..battery very quick drain…

  5. butchochoi

    Im still thinking hard between an iphone4, samsung i9003, i9000, or go all-out with the S2. Hmmmm.

  6. damn.ugly hands and unkempt fingernails… could’ve cleaned them before the video review though. ugh.

  7. planning to buy this next week. i know its a very high end phone as in sobrang AWESOME nya. haha

    im reading alot of very good reviews as in a LOT. out of 100% 90% good reviews 10% negative. and mostly battery issues and umiinit? so, sobrang OA ba talaga mabilis maubos ung battery and umiinit ba talaga sya? if sobrang oa nung issue i think mag iiphone 4 nlng ako .. since this is my first time to buy smartphone ayaw ko naman ma sayang pero i doubt naman na masasayang. what i mean is ayaw kong mag sisi.

    so u guys out there that has used the phone already? worth it ? not worth it? how much na to ngaun ? im buying it this Thursday na. so thats 11.10.12 november 10 2012 update ng price pls thanks!

    • i mean november 10 2011

    • jessiej199091

      @fudge, i was in greenhills yesterday and price is 26,500 with samsung warranty. try ko pa maghanap reviews from owners of sgs2, plan ko din kasi bumili before the year ends..

    • been using this for more than a month, my 1st touchscreen and android phone. great all around phone, can almost replace a netbook but the battery issue is true. using it mostly for just surfing the net and in a full charge, i think it can only last for approx 6-8 hrs with non-stop net surfing and the lowest setting on backlight display. but i think its functionality makes up for the battery prob.

    • I’ve been using the phone for 2 weeks.
      So far I have no issues…
      Kahit may installed na ibang launcher di naglalag.
      Pag sobra gamit ng wifi at packet data mauubos talaga agad ang battery. Lahat nmn halos ng smartphone un ang issue.
      By the way, mime’s a white version.

    • Clow Reed

      ok tong galaxy s 2, walang lag, it perform well, 2days old pa lang from me but this phone impressed me so much. this is my last phone & definitely keep it. i-update ko na lang palagi to enhance the performance. all in one device na rin and magagamit ko ito sa work ko. it is up to you if you buy it or not but i recommend it. mine is a pearl white version. put another white casing & screenguard, definitely a looker na especially from ladies hehehe…
      btw, i installed games also from nintendo ds & super nintendo, astig hehehe..

  8. Maganda toh, at compare sa iPhone 4S mas matibay toh.

    Try nyo panuodin dito ang drop test ng iPhone 4S and Samsung Galaxy S2.

    Masasabi nyong high quality ang material na ginamit sa S2 kesa 4S

  9. Guys, share ko lang may available na din nito Pink version check it here :)

  10. Guys im having problems with my S2 can someone help me please..

    this is about task manager, advanced task killer… how come im having applications used even if im not using them . like gallery facebook real player and other apps. eh kaka kill selected apps and kaka clear memory ko lang then pag check ko wla pang 5 secs andun sila ulit. labo…. help please :)

  11. and one more thing bilis malowbat and UMIINIT sya sobra.

  12. fudge most android users dont advice to use advanced task killer, there’s a pre installed task manager in SG2 yun na lang gamitin mo. got my white SGS2 last Nov. 1 and im loving it so far. yung battery ko umaabot ng 2 days with minimum web browsing, few calls and games. i have juice defender ultimate installed BTW helps a lot in prolonging the battery life ;) my flatmates are all iPhone users and they envy the large screen of SGS2 hehe. what i love about the phone is that it supports multitasking at flash :)

    • ay ganon ? baka nga ibalik ko ung sakin eh. ang bilis kasi malowbat. less than 5 hrs lang ung gamit and ung ram nya pag fnfree ram ko 18 applications closed daw eh kaka on ko palang nung phone wala pa akong inoopen na application nakakaloko ung phone, hahaha .. pero guston gusto ko sya eh. nakakains lang kasi snasabing ang daming naka open na applications kahit wala. hmmmm

  13. jaiconruedas

    Since true ang multitasking ng Android syempre in background may naka open and mostly ay mga integrated social apps (like facebook) at iba pang apps na nangagailangan ng updates. Furthermore sa touchwiz kasi marami talaga unnecessary apps na nagaru run…well it can drain your battery. Pero maraming paraan para maiwasan at mas ma boost ang battery life nito. Sa akin it takes 2 days kasi. No offense meant pero mas maganda ibalik mo na lang yung iyo at mag iphone ka na lang. Palagay ko kasi di pede sayo ang android eh.

    • ay ganon? hehe gustong gusto ko sya eh. hmm kaya lang battery problem talaga eh. made in where ung sayo ? made in korea din ba ? ung sa friend ko made in vietnam eh 2 days din battery nya. hmm any tips how can i save battery? uhm nagtataka lang ako sir kasi laging may mga applications na bukas like gallery mga games na hnd ko naman nilalaro pag chneck ko ung advance task killer. un lang naman main prob. cguro lang panget ung battery na napunta sakin i just need to buy a spare bat cguro thanks anyways sir!

    • and btw sir, umiinit ba sya? ung sakin kasi nag ffacebook lang ako thru wifi umiinit sya and pag naglalaro ng mga 30 mins or more.

    • jaiconruedas

      Sir we can discuss it here . Marami mo po tutulong sa dyan to maximize the use of Galaxy S 2.

      BTW use Juice Defender for the meantime. I will help you to save the battery juice, I believe it prevent synchronization of several app which oftentimes use a lot of battery juice.

  14. fixing issues here.. tanong lang po.. bakit orion chipset ang gs2 dito sa atin sa pinas..? the worldwide says na ang totoong cpu feautures nya ay 1.2ghz dualcore processor, cortex A-9, EXYNOS chpset..! at tska po ang totoong internal size nya ay 16gb or 32gb.. with 8gb microsd cardslot included.. bakit dito sa yugatech iba ang info na nakalagay.. im so confused..

  15. inform ko lang kayo na ported na ang Samsung Galaxy S II sa Android 4.0 Ice cream sandwich. :)

    More info here:

  16. Is Galaxy S2 able to get 4g signal from globe?
    Will I get faster mobile Internet on a Galaxy S2 than Xperia Arc?

  17. 2 problems for me, 4.3 in . is not big for me, some claim it’s too big, i can’t set up google tv remote ,cause my country limitations, stupid is in it? however overall performance is outstanding.

  18. Hello Yuga! I’m planning to buy this instead of the Galaxy Note but I’m thinking whether I can use it as an ebook reader. I need your suggestions, thanks!

    • hi Noel, yes you can use the S2 as an ebook reader, Kobo reader is actually pre-installed in the phone if you have huge collection of ebooks in epub format just save it to you SD card and import them to the kobo reader :) one thing i noticed with the S2 pag thru USB ka nagcharge ang bilis talaga ma-drain nung battery pero kung sa AC ka nag-charge matagal madrain.

  19. Anyone can give me an update kung magkano na ang price ng S2? sa greenhills kaya mas mura? thanks.

  20. chester

    hmm . for me hindi ko ma cocompare ang s2 sa iphone4s when it comes to build quality , you cant compare a High Class Retina Glass front and back . to a plastic high end phone . maganda tlga sila nasa sayo na ang pag hawak . kung gagayahin mo ang drop test malamang masisira tlga yan .

    bigay ako link san maka download ng games para sa s2

  21. mga ate at kuya. san po ba kaya makakabili ng samsung galaxy s2 ng mas mura? yung tipong mga 20k-25k lang. sa greenhills po kaya? please help! :)

    • Haha ako nga din eh naghahanap. I’ve asked alot of people. Gusto ko din ng SG S2 kaso yung presyo niya. Hopefully this year eh medyo bumaba. I’m stuck here at house kaya hindi ako makacanvass ng mga prices. I’m planning to go to Baguio especially minsan they unhold their prices down. Yung Xperia arc ngayon 15,000 to 16,000 nalang sa mismong Sony Ericsson dealer sa Baguio and sana pati Galaxy S2 ganun na din. I asked one time sabi eh mga 17,000 DAW ang S2. Haha. Well lucky me if I find that new phone with that price. Balitaan mo naman ako kapag nakahanap ka na or nakabili XD Gusto ko din eh yung medyo mura lang. Hehe. Hope Greenhills eh ganun nga.

  22. Great specs, features… it depends on how u used it but i loved it except the Batt performance.

  23. How much is this?

  24. haha.. like this one… i really really like the quality and style of this one.. so loving it!!

  25. kristoffer

    hi po. may mga nakakaexperience po ba sa inyo ng signal problems with your galaxy s2 na nagcacause ng message delays. i usually have this with my galaxy s2 pag nasa 1st floor ko ng bahay namin pero hindi ko naman sya naeexperience with my previous phone na samsung galaxy mini. same network and number yun gamit ko under globe. please help or advise po. :)


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