I’ve not been a fan of Samsung phones. Although it often is a leader in technology, I have tried a number of handsets before and it has always disappointed or been wrought with issues (battery life, ugly interface, slow processing, etc.). But the Samsung Galaxy S2 looked extremely impressive. There are two main things that sold me: 1) the 4.3” AMOLED screen and 2) the dual core processor. So I took the plunge and bought it.
With a 4.3” screen the danger always was that this would be a big, hefty phone. Far from it, the phone is extremely thin and light. I applaud Samsung for getting this design right. At first, when I got the phone, I felt it was too light, like it was too “plastic” and almost flimsy. I like a little weight to my phones, with the weight of HTC and iPhones becoming my norm. In terms of numbers, the S2 weighs just 116g versus 137 for the iPhone 4, 140g for the iPhone 4S and 147g for the HTC Sensation. When I first got the phone, I thought: “this thing is just too light, its going to break”. But I soon got used to it.
I look to use covers on my phones, plastic or rubber covers that protect the back shell and cover the buttons. So initially got a fairly strong plastic cover to protect the back. But with the S2 already so thin, the cover did not add much more to the thickness.
The button layout is fairly standard with a On/Off on the right and Volume controls on the left. The micro USB charging port is at the bottom (which for some reason to me is a design issue as too many phones have them in a strange location). I do wish there was a dedicated camera button. The home button is located on the front with two touch panel buttons (a Menu option on the left and a Return on the right).
The phone is available in White and Black but when I bought it early on, only the Black was available. All in all the S2 is a very well designed phone.
The mobile phone has become a very different device over the past few years. I use more for everything other than as a phone. In that regard, the S2 performs admirably as an Android device. All my favorite Android Apps are there and I love the ability of Android phones to quickly sync with Google and upload all my contacts, emails, calendar, notes, bookmarks, etc. The backup apps also make converting things like SMS a breeze. Samsung throws in some of their own apps as well as some included Android apps that really makes this a pretty complete device. I’m an Android fan and with the S2 updated to the latest version, there is no complaints from me – it’s outstanding.
The best part about the S2 is the dual core processor. It’s fast. I mean really fast. Turning on the phone takes less than 20 seconds before you get to the start screen. My older Android took about a minute, as does an iPhone. With this dual processor, applications are exceptionally quick and there is no issue about multi-tasking. Although Android devices are fairly similar when it comes to the operating system, the faster chip does make it seem as if the S2 is a much better device.
As a phone, the S2 was decent. It performed admirably and I didn’t experience too many dropped calls, the sound was very strong (loud enough in crowded environments), and the speaker does really well when you need it.
What really drew me to the phone though has to be the screen. If you wrap a super fast chip, with Android on a bright, amazing Super AMOLED screen, what you get is a really amazing package. The screen is superb. I like it a lot better than the iPhone which is also a great screen, mainly because its bigger. I think the iPhone is just too small now. Apple needs a revamp and unfortunately the 4S didn’t offer anything better. The S2 screen is very sharp, colors are brilliant, and with the faster chip, images get rendered faster. Taking photos, then viewing them on the device is really good, and the Internet looks a lot closer to what you would see on a desktop.
One thing that does bother me a little about the S2 is the battery life. It does drain quickly. I had a really big problem, which apparently was a problem related to the S2 as I noticed that an upgrade for the S2 was available, which among other things, improved battery performance. After applying the update, the phone did perform better, but heavy use can wear down the battery quickly. This is pretty much the norm with most smartphones these days so I can’t fault the S2 alone. As I’m near a charging point fairly often throughout a day, I don’t really have an issue with this.
The S2 also came with a very capable 8 megapixel camera which took excellent photos.
theVooner says - Function Rating
The S2 is a very good mobile handset and everything works that you want to work on a handset. The battery life is the only major shortcoming.
Overall, the S2 is probably one of the best Android phones out there, which explains its popularity and why it was the best selling handset in the months after its release. I wasn’t entirely convinced that I would go back to buying a Samsung handset as my previous experience with some of their devices was far from outstanding. But, with this stunning screen, the S2 stands far ahead of most other smartphones today and this is probably the key differentiating factor that made me go buy one. Right now, I think this is the device to beat. I would definitely recommend it as the best Android phone in the market right now. Of course, there is plenty of new phones coming out right now, and I am eager to see the new Samsung built Galaxy Nexus with an even better, and bigger screen.
theVooner says - Factor Rating
One of the best Android handsets on the market with an incredible screen and extremely light/thin. Battery life was the only limiting factor.