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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
Galaxy S i9000 vs. HTC Desire vs. XPeria X10
Cherry Superion vs. Archos 70 vs. Galaxy Tab

216 Responses to “Samsung Galaxy S2 i9100 Review”

  1. Jay says:

    Hi po mga sir/ma’am,

    Tanong lang po kung saan pwede makabili mas mura s2 ngaun at kung magkanu updated price ngaun feb.
    I’m planning to buy kasi ngaun march.

    Try ko lang sana gumawa ng android application using eclipse(sdk). at eto gawin kong tester sa pag kakareview ko mabilis xa. please help po.

  2. Samantha says:

    Share ko lng din experience nmin kasau iphone4s and samsung s2 talaga ung competitive sa market sa ngayon. me and my husband actually bought two different phone sakin iphone 4s since talagang grabe ung panghatak nya sakin with regards sa Siri siri reviews, sa kanya nman samsung S2 binili nya since hes really Samsung User eversince, actually with physical appearance they are likely the same mpagkamalan mo nga na iphone ung Samsung…kaso disapointed ako sa iphone ko when it comes to camera kasi mas maganda iung mga picture quality ng samsung,..disapointed din with battery issue kasi mas more lasting ung sa Samsung. I envy my husband’s phone really got disapointed coz to think my iphone is more expensive by 5k compared to his cellphone… given chance i would swap my iphone 4s with s2… kung mag FB ako before i could play the video i have to ask permision sa Itunes unlike sa husband ko pagplay nya play agad. same thing pag magdownload n upload… =(

  3. Samantha says:

    plus ung GPS ng Samsung s2, it really work well… if ul have this phone u can really say its definitely be your last phone.,..

  4. Nong says:

    im a s2 user!!haha ..best of all the best

  5. raul says:

    The ICS update is out already for gs2 here!! FINALLY! (Nung isang araw pa actually)

    I got to try nova launcher na, hehe!

    • itachi1 says:

      just an alternative, try the apex launcher… closer ang ui nya to the stock ics launcher than nova.

  6. NormalMe says:

    Is there any Samsung branch in Batangas??.How much is the lowest price given??…Wahahah XD

  7. reus says:

    i found that the s2 has a different type such as S2 4G, Duos 1929, HD LTE, 19100, 19100G, etc… what is the best s2 that we can have here in the philippines. thanks

  8. alim says:

    ask ko lang po kapag ginagamit ko ang s2 sa portable wifi may bawas ba yunb sa load ko?

  9. lorrielyn says:

    sure??????????????? how much???

  10. ginober says:

    how much na po ang galaxy SII?

  11. Name: Momon says:

    The Black Samsung Galaxy SII retails at 18,900.
    The White Samsung Galaxy SII retails at 19,400.
    The Hot Pink Samsung Galaxy SII (not available in stores) retails at 21,100.

    This prices are not the store price… But the units are totally brand new.

    Just last 07/10/12, I bought my Samsung Galaxy SII. I totally love the phone. Its fast even its not rooted. It already comes with ICS 4.0.3.

  12. Momon says:

    jamreal18@yahoo.com

    try to google kimstore, look for the multiply account.

  13. Kei21 says:

    magkano na po ba yong S2 ngayon?

  14. momon says:

    pag sa samsung store – 23,600
    discounted nila at 22,900

  15. salman awan says:

    Hi
    Sir will u tell me the price and freight to Bahrain
    For Samsung s2 and tell me made in where Ur mobile
    And original and copy both price I want pls
    Salman

  16. Shebay says:

    I’m currently using Nokia N8 and thought of getting a new phone. I’m torn between Apple iPhone 4S & Samsung Galaxy S2. My Nokia N8 withstand my toddler’s dropping & throwing. Got yery little scratches that are not really visible unless you stare at them for a long time. Plus I love the camera, 12MP Carl Zeiss with Xenon Flash.

    With all the drop tests I’ve watched, definitely I’m not buying for Galaxy S3. I blog, take pics & vids. I go online most of the time and my N8’s batt doesn’t stand that long.

    Now I don’t know which of the two smartphones fits my needs. Is Nokia Lumia 900 competitive enough?

    Help pls. Thanks. :)

  17. geraldine says:

    how much po na po ang samsung galaxy SII

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