It took awhile to get here but the US finally got the chance to experience Samsung’s top of the line smartphone the Samsung Galaxy S2. Each Galaxy S2 version for Sprint and T-Mobile have been the best that android has to offer on their network. Will it be the same for AT&T?
Hardware & Design
The AT&T Samsung Galaxy S II comes the closes to holding the original design of the international Galaxy S II. It has a 4.3 in Super AMOLED Plus display which is a joy to look at. Above the screen is a 2 megapixel front facing camera for video chat. Below the screen they removed the physical button for touch sensitive controls for men, home, back and search. The side contact very few buttons and ports with just a volume buttons and power button on each side and micro USB port on the bottom with the 3.5 MM headphone jack on top. The back of the phone has a 8 megapixel rear-facing camera with LED flash and 1080p HD video capture. The camera is one of the best in a phone on the market and you can check out our sample video and pictures below.
Internally you have a 1.2 GHz Samsung Exynos processor which is a perfect match for Touch Wiz UI keeping it a smooth experience. There is 1 GB of ram to run plenty of apps and multitask well. You get 16 GB of build-in storage which splits into 2 GB for apps, 11.5 GB for media storage and the rest used for the phone’s operating system. You can also expand the memory with a micro SD card that supports up to 32 GB. There is Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS and HSPA + 14.4 which AT&T markets as 4G data speeds but honestly the phone doesn’t even reach that high. The phone comes with a powerful hardware package while keeping it thin and light and one of the lightest smartphones in the market and build solid with its mostly plastic materials.
Software & Usability
Android 2.3 with Touch Wiz UI is the software that is running on the AT&T Galaxy S II. Much of Touch Wiz is what you have seen before but with some improvements to performance and user experience. Navigating through desktops is easier now with being able to hold down on the desktop number row and slide across between desktops to reach the one you want faster. This same feature is also used in the application tray as well which is useful for when you have a lot of apps installed. You can now resize widgets as well and a ton more widgets to choose from.
Samsung has also resigned their email app to work more like desktop e-mail. When you setup your e-mail though the client you will see all of your e-mail in a more organized and easy to read layout. When you turn the phone to landscape mode it will split the screen with your email list on the left and the current e-mail your viewing on the right side. This is especially useful for those that are use Microsoft Exchange for e-mail.
They’ve included a photo editor that gives you pretty good amount of options in manipulating photos on your device. There is also a video editor now that lets you edit HD video that you record on the phone. It has a full timeline and included preset themes to make video creation faster and easier but they will export in 720p. Playing games on it is a good experience. I tested this using NOVA 2 HD and its pretty good it’s not the fastest and load times take a bit but the games look good and they are playable. Battery life is pretty solid In my test I was able to get about 16 hours on a single charge with about 10% battery left. This is using the phone for text, 2 e-mail accounts, phone calls, streaming music and videos and doing web . For power users this should work out well for you. For moderate user you can get probably in the 20s in hours for battery life. Call quality is also excellent with clear audio from both ends of the phone call.
Before the Infuse 4G was the best android phone on AT&T. Now it’s surpassed by this super phone from Samsung. The hardware and software package is one of the best integrations with android yet. The phone really feels like a powerful phone and it a good choice for anyone that wants an alternative smartphone to the iPhone on AT&T that stacks up just as well.