Samsung Galaxy S II First Impressions

Samsung Galaxy S II First Impressions
August 05 16:13 2011 Print This Article

Samsung Galaxy S II


The Samsung Galaxy S II sits at the top of the Android smartphone scene, with its Dual-core 1.2GHz ARM Cortex-A9 processor, Android OS 2.3 (Gingerbread), 4.3 inch Super AMOLED Plus capacitive touchscreen (480 x 800 pixels, 16M colors), 8MP Camera with LED flash, 3G/HSDPA, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, and much more.


With all the good things we’ve been hearing about this phone, will this beast live up to its reputation?


A bit of background


I was hoping to get into the Android scene for quite some time now, but being an iPhone 3GS user, I couldn’t find something that can possibly match the silky smooth responsive UI and the experience that the iDevice brings.


Don’t get me wrong, by no means am I an Apple fanboy. But when I got the chance to use the iPod Touch, and eventually the iPhone, I understood — they make great technology. Great, but not perfect. For one thing, who the heck likes using iTunes? Why do I have to sync 32gb of data? Why I can’t I just drag and drop one measly mp3 file into my device and listen to it? Why can’t I send a photo to my friend’s phone over bluetooth?


I got tired of all the things I couldn’t do, so I decided to try something different. Android seems to be…


The Logical Choice


Sure enough, after some quick googling, I came across the Samsung Galaxy S II. Since it’s predecessor was fairly popular, I decided to check out the reviews. Sold.


Introducing: The Samsung Galaxy S II


The first time you hold it, you’ll immediately notice is how light and thin it is. All this technology in a 8.5mm thin phone weighing a mere 116g? Sweet.


That's the power button on the right side


Although the body is made of plastic (which is probably why it’s so light), the build quality is great. The display panel is covered by Gorilla glass, which is the same material used on the iPhone 4. It’s basically a very strong tempered glass that is also scratch proof, which means you probably won’t need a screen protector.


The textured back cover is a nice touch.


There’s a 3.5mm headphone jack at the top, volume controls on the left side, a power button on the right side, and a standard micro-USB port at the bottom for charging / data transfer. The speaker is also located at the bottom rear (which can lead to the sound output being muffled, depending on the surface you place the phone on), but so far there’s no issue using the loudspeaker for calls or playing music.


A standard micro-USB port. Hooray!


It has 2 cameras, an 8 megapixel camera at the back with flash, and a 2 megapixel front-facing camera.


8MP camera, with LED flash


Looking at the main buttons at the front, there’s a physical home button at the bottom, and capacitive menu and back buttons on its left and right side respectively. These two buttons light up briefly when you’re using the phone.


a physical home button in the middle, with capacitive menu and back buttons.


The TouchWiz 4.0 UI looks great, and I wasn’t disappointed with the responsiveness. Combining a capacitive touchscreen and a dual-core processor, the touch response and silky smooth transitions was very familiar. Let’s just say you have to try it out yourself. I won’t go into the details because we all know that since the phone is running on Android you have virtually limitless options on customization. One thing I noticed is how seamless it integrated into my Google account (mail, contacts, Picasa gallery), but that’s probably standard to most Android phones.


Touchwiz UI Screens


The display is simply superb. With a 480 x 800px, 4.3 inch Super AMOLED plus display– you can’t go wrong. Whether viewing pictures, watching HD videos, or playing games, the picture quality is top-notch.


Angry birds runs like a dream

"Angry birds" runs like a dream


Final Words


With great power, comes great– power consumption. I haven’t really gauged the real battery life yet because I’m constantly playing with it, but I have feeling it’s a bit lower than most phones. Not a big issue for me since I can charge the phone regularly, but it’s something you might want to watch out for.


With these slew of features at a price point (Php 28,000+) lower than the iPhone 3GS/4, I think I just found the right phone for me.


standard camera interface with touch screen focus

default music player

default music player in landscape mode

WidgetLocker, a custom lockscreen app






Quadrant Standard benchmark

Sample camera shot













About the writer:

 J is a software/web developer, netrepreneur, PC enthusiast, and a DotA/LoL player.


UPDATE : Added a sample camera shot and Quadrant benchmark results.


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