Product Type: Samsung Smartphone
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Nearly a year old and still considered the best!
Samsung i9100 Galaxy S II
Member Name: dramatikbeats
Samsung i9100 Galaxy S II
Advantages: Amazingly sharp screen, good battery life, superbly quick, lightweight and slim.
Disadvantages: Music Player sound quality is mediocre when compared to the phone's strengths
My first review for an item I love, hope it's helpful!
I've been a phone geek for many years and I always strive to have the best phone out in the market so I do like to test a variety of handsets before I go out and purchase them. Out of the lot I tested, the Galaxy S2 was the winner hands down. I will reference the iPhone 4S every now and then, just because iPhone's are so popular, so it's a good place to start a comparison of features. Here is a quick list of the phone's specifications before I go in depth.
1.2 GHz Exynos processor
4.3in Super AMOLED + Screen
8MP Camera with LED Flash & Full 1080p Video Recording
2MP Front facing Camera
16GB Internal Memory (Expandable with up to 64GB MicroSD Cards)
Operating System: Android 4.0.3 With Touchwiz 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
When I first held the phone, one thing I noticed straight away was how light the phone was. How Samsung managed to make a phone as powerful as this, whilst only weighing 130 grams is beyond me. It's just heavy enough to feel comfortable in the hand. The second thing I noticed was the build quality. Now many people have actually complained about the plastic casing the phone uses, however it has also been proven that the casing is extremely strong, scratch proof and lightweight. You can watch many videos on Youtube showing drop tests between the Galaxy S2 & the iPhone 4S that show the phone working fine, with hardly a scratch, after being dropped from around 5 feet 4 or 5 times. The iPhone 4S was however normally shattered on the first or second drop.
Now the most important part in my eyes...SPEED. The phone is as fast as they come thanks to that Exynos chip running at 1.2GHz. Apps load instantly and close just as fast whilst touch-screen response remains smooth throughout the different parts of the phone's user interface. The browser loads pages instantly and is only ever halted by a slow internet connection. I got the phone for free via a contract with Three and I must say I get 4mb/s on average all day, peaking at 8mb/s in the mornings and late at night. The phone is nearly a year old and yet not many phones available today can even come close to it's performance. And yes, it plays games smoothly lol (And for those who don't mind a bit of modding, you can even load a PS2 emulator on it and play some good ol Tekken)
The camera is extremely clear, taking nice pictures in the day or night (thanks to the extremely bright LED Flash, which can also be used as a flash light). Just for comparison sakes, it is only JUST beaten by the iPhone 4S camera which is slightly sharper (Quite frankly it should be clearer, it was released five months after the Galaxy S2). The camera is also capable of recording at full 1080p for those who want to record in high definition, and unlike a few phone's that boast this same feature, the Galaxy S2 does this without any hiccups or stutters.
For the Navigation enthusiasts, the GPS was able to find my location in 4 seconds flat using Google Maps and driving around using Google Navigation is simply a breeze. Not once did my phone lose my location, and just in case you only have internet at home, you can even download your journey before you leave the house. COPilot Live can also be purchased from the Google Play Store if you would rather download the entire map of England and get directions whilst offline.
Now the most common problem with smart phones.....Battery Life. The user-replaceable battery on the Galaxy S II gives up to ten hours of heavy usage, or two days of lighter usage. According to Samsung, the Galaxy S II is capable of providing 9 hours of talk time on 3G and 18.3 hours on 2G. I found these statements from Samsung to be true, with my phone lasting a good few days when only texting (150-200 texts a day) and doing light browsing and playing the odd game here and there. So whilst the battery life isn't amazing, it is more than the average smartphone although general rule of thumb with this phone is to leave it charging overnight. I will add also that many people who report bad battery life generally have the screen brightness set way too high (THE number 1 battery drainer for smart-phones), have installed apps that are constantly using the GPS in the background (Hence why I turn mine off when not using it, this way no app can use it) and generally have too much stuff syncing constantly.
In terms of memory theres not much to say here. 1GB of ram is more than enough, which is double the amount of the iPhone 4S. Internal memory is 16GB, of which 12.7GB is for music and video files etc whilst the rest is used by the system for storing apps internally. And if thats not enough for you (It wasn't for me, I have a large music collection) you can go ahead and buy a 32GB MicroSD card for under £25 from Amazon UK, or you can splash out for a 64GB card!
Lastly, we have the music player. Straight out the box the music player will be more than enough for the average user and I do actually like the stock ear buds from Samsung. Definitely the best STOCK headphones I've ever had for a phone, and from a health standpoint, safer than the stock white earphones you receive with the iPhone 4S. Ear buds go deeper in the ear, therefore the volume level can be lowered whilst achieving the same loudness of earphones. However, for the music enthusiast, the sound quality of the music player leaves a lot to be desired. I now listen to my music using custom in ear monitors and a rock-boxed Sansa Clip Zip so for someone like me, the audio player was always going to be a problem. Many of my friends however think the music player is fine. Phone calls, whether it be through the speaker, or the provided ear buds/hands-free kit are loud and clear however.
Overall, this phone is just a beast. It set the bar for smartphone's in 2011. Held on to the title into 2012 and is only seeing a serious challenge from phone's that we can't expect to see until mid April of 2012. For anyone who doesn't need THE latest phone out, but wants a phone they can be proud to show off to their friends due to raw all round performance, then the Galaxy S2 is it. And for those who want THE latest phone out........Wait until the Galaxy S3 is announced :).
Summary: Hands down the best smartphone available right now