Saturday, July 16, 2011

Samsung Galaxy SII Features and Review

The Samsung Galaxy S II is the phone Samsung deems the successor to its best smartphone so far. Ever Since Samsung Galaxy S II was announced, it had become one of the most anticipated Android Smartphone of all times. Samsung Galaxy S2 comes with the best hardware and software possible right now in the market. Samsung would appear to have a bit of a Marmite thing going on.  Some people think they’re cheap and plasticy, some people love their build quality and stylish designs.  I will declare now, I tend to side with the latter of these two types. But now with the launch of Samsung Galaxy SII, Samsung had broke all the myth. The Samsung Galaxy S2 is almost impossibly thin when you pick it up – dimensions of 125.3 x 66.1 x 8.5mm mean it's one of the thinnest smartphones on the market at the moment, It's crazy-light too – when we show you what tech is rammed under the hood, you'll be amazed that it all goes in a device that weighs only a shade over 100g (116g, to be precise).




The front of the phone is pretty sparse, with the home key the only piece of furniture on offer. This rectangular button flanks two touch-sensitive buttons – Menu and Back – so there's no room for contextual search here.


The volume keys are located on the left-hand side, and the power/lock key is on the opposite flank; both are easy enough to hit without error, and crucially the travel on the power key is softer so that it's much easier to hit when you're juggling it in the palm – compare that to its predecessor, where you could accidentally drop it trying to shut off the screen.
The 3.5mm headphone jack lives on the top of the phone, bucking the lower placement on other 4.3-inch screen phones, and the microUSB slot (which also doubles as an HDMI out port) lives on the bottom.
The only other element of note is the 8.1MP camera with single LED flash on the rear – it's slightly raised, but not so much that it disrupts the Galaxy S2 when you're placing it on a table, thanks to a rear lip to help you hold the phone.
Lets now the special features of this phone:
Hardware
The screen is 4.3 inches and Samsungs new Super AMOLED+ 800 by 480 screen, which claims to have 50% more sub-pixels than their previous screens, all protected by sturdy gorilla glass.  As with all previous Samsung screens, it’s bright, vibrant and holds up well even in the brightest of sunlight.  Under the hood you’ll find a 1.2ghz dual core processor, back up by 1gig of RAM and in my case, 16gig of storage.  There is of course still a MicroSD slot which would mean you could go up to 48gig of storage very easily.  You’d be hard pushed to find better specs on any device right now and the results are fantastic, allowing me to flow through apps and screens with no sign of any lag or delays at all.
The speaker built in is another major selling point and another place the Samsung Galaxy SII now leads the way. I don’t use the speaker for listening to music, I almost always have a better option for that, but what I do use it for is listening to podcasts and the volume and clarity the SII provides for that is really quite surprising.  (See the video in Benchmarking, which includes a speaker test.)  The original SGS and Nexus S both had pretty good speakers, far better than HTC devices, but the Galaxy SII now puts both of these to shame.  How such loud speech comes from such a small device is really quite impressive.  I listen to podcasts while making my breakfast and getting ready for work and in the past there was no way I could hear the phone if I was boiling the kettle.  I can hear the SGSII just fine.  In fact, I can pretty much hear it even when I’m showering, something which has require a plug in speaker before.  Amazing!
Camera
The camera is an 8mp autofocus lens with an LED flash, which gives great looking results in a variety of conditions. As you would expect of a top end device these days, the SGSII has a front facing camera capable of 2MP shots. With Google Talk just having been released that will allow video chat, this will perhaps be slightly more relevant than it has been in the past. Example shot taken by Samsung Galaxy SII
Software
As many manufacturers like to these days, Samsung have once again put their own interface over the Gingerbread 2.3.3 backbone of Android.  TouchWiz is probably one of the less popular interfaces, but Samsung have put a little extra effort into their latest incarnation. Samsung have also included the fantastic voice recognition software of Vlingo in the Galaxy SII. Double tap the home key and it will automatically open. Say ‘Navigate to Watford’ and Google Navigation springs into action and off you go! The only down side for me, I usually use Double press Home to open Power Strip, and I can’t see a way of turning of voice commands.

Components such as contacts and calendar are not as flashy looking as their HTC Sense counterparts, but very functional non the less.  I particularly like the week view in the calender which makes it very easy to see when all you important events are happening.
Keyboard
As with the original SGS, the SGSII comes with Swype built in. While it’s a very clever system, swiping your thumb round the letters and it working out what word you want, I had actually grown to like the speed and accuracy of the standard Gingerbread keyboard. For thumb input alone, I don’t think Swype can be beaten, but it can get frustrating if you rush your message and it’s getting words wrong, or some of the smaller words can be very similar, like ‘put’ and ‘out’. Quite often you’ll be having these mixed up.
Still, if you take the time to learn the tricks of Swype, it really is a very fasy input method.  To get to use it, just hold you thumb in a text box, select ‘Input method’ from the pop up box and select Swyp.
Battery
These days all the good smartphones are plagued with the not so good battery performance, but then it is a matter of setting your bar. I think that if your phone works fine for 24 hours after charging – including the heavy WiFi usage, calls and casual gaming then its good and that’s what I was expecting  from SGS2. Yes, it will last one full day after doing the above stuff, but don’t expect more than that.
Samsung has put-in a 1650 mAh battery and it gives a decent performance, but in the long run companies should start putting efforts in battery-tech too. While everything else in the smartphone arena is getting obsolete within six month, we are still using those old-age batteries.


WiFi: In other connectivity features, Samsung Galaxy S II comes with 802.11a/g/b/gn and WiFi Direct. WiFi Direct lets you connect to other WiFi direct devices and share connect – it works similar to Bluetooth pairing but here you can connect to multiple devices and make a group and it is much faster. Normal WiFi connectivity has been excellent with SGS II and has no break up or connectivity lags etc.
As you would expect any Android smartphone with FroYo or above, Galaxy S II also comes with WiFi Hotspot feature, which lets you share your 3G connection with other devices by making an ad-hoc WiFi network.  You can connect up to a maximum of eight devices via WiFi tethering in Samsung Galaxy S2.




Price: 
Samsung Galaxy comes in a range of Rs.30,000 USD $699.99.

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