Our impressions with the Galaxy S II are very positive, it's much improved over the Galaxy S. Probably the most immediately appreciable change is the completely different screen and in-hand feel. Samsung's Super AMOLED Plus display does away with the PenTile grid that graced the original set of AMOLED displays, and instead uses an RGB line array just like a normal LCD. 

At the same time, Samsung is advertising response rates of below 1 ms, improved gamut, and viewing angles. From what we saw, Super AMOLED Plus was impressive, and having a 4.3" screen doesn't seem unmanageable compared to 4".  

The backside of the Galaxy S II is completely changed - thank goodness. Gone is the super-slick and scratch prone glossy plastic. In its stead is a textured surface that won't show aging nearly as much. The entire back doesn't peel up to reveal the battery, just square shaped area. During our testing and just playing with the Galaxy S II, the phone seemed to get inordinately hot, much hotter than I remember any other smartphone getting. It's also impressively thin - just 8.48 mm compared to the already super thin 9.91 of the old Galaxy S, and thinner than the iPhone 4's 9.3 mm. 

Almost all of the button placement is the same as the old Galaxy S, what's curiously different is the presence of a center home button and removal of the Android search button. It's amazing how integral the search button really is - in some contexts (namely kwaak3) it's the only way to bring up menus since it used to be a button every Android device was guaranteed to have. Whether this is something that will change in carrier-specific versions is something that remains to be seen. 

The Galaxy S II has an HSPA+ baseband with 21.1 Mbps downstream support. It's unclear whether any of the networks here at MWC have HSPA+, so although we ran speedtests, we're not sure if they're representative. 

 

The Exynos Powered Galaxy S II
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  • zorxd - Monday, February 14, 2011 - link

    the battery is a bit bigger, 1650 mAh Reply
  • fujii13 - Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - link

    Yeah but you could imagine how much bigger it could be if they left the thickness the same? Reply
  • alovell83 - Thursday, February 17, 2011 - link

    Of course we can, but for those who want a thick battery, you can get a new back and battery. The rest of us can make due with a spare battery and a thin phone, or just 1 battery. No reason to go after those who just want a big battery when you're already extremely competitive in that dept (best standby time of any Android phone last year). People who are in constant use of the device wouldn't really be greatly assisted by 1800mAh and the decreased profits that it'd give Samsung. Reply
  • GTVic - Monday, February 14, 2011 - link

    I chose a Samsung cell phone a while back and took it back when it required charging every second day (tried 3 different batteries and two phones before giving up). My previous LG and the new LG both last a week between charges. Reply
  • rcocchiararo - Monday, February 14, 2011 - link

    and you went with a dumbphone, i guess ? or do you keep your new phone untouched ? :P Reply
  • Darkstriker - Monday, April 18, 2011 - link

    Unless all other manufacturers silently upgraded the battery on their phones (rather unlikely if you ask me) Samsung already has one of the biggest batteries with 1650mAh.
    Sure making the thing 1cm thick and putting a 3000mAh would be nice for some but it would make the phone lose competitiveness in too many other areas.The SGSII will really be the best in all hardware aspects again. Battery included.
    Reply
  • TareX - Monday, February 14, 2011 - link

    Never have I been happier to be a NVIDIA fanboy... I was expecting the Orion to blast Tegra 2 out of the water.... Clearly not the case here. I was surprised by Flash performance. The reason why I'm getting a dual core is to have smooth flash in the web browser, with smooth scrolling. Clearly, a Tegra 2 is the phone to have.

    I'd like to see OMAP4 jump in the contest. I heard it has a somehow "better" or "more completely used" Cortex A9 than Tegra 2. I don't know much about it's GPU though, or how I should expect Flash to behave. I do know, though, that the Optimus 3D was ridiculously smooth in all video demos.

    I also want the final verdict on the Optimus 3D experience. Is the screen visibility handicapped when not in the 3D sweetspot, or is the 3D effect just lost (so it because a perfectly usuable 2D phone)?
    Reply
  • djgandy - Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - link

    Seems clear to me that the SGX540 is still the chip to have. The Tegra is clocked way higher, has way faster memory and holds a tiny lead.

    The main issue here of course is battery life, none of the figures matter without measuring how they affect battery life and working out some performance per watt metrics.
    Reply
  • y2kBug - Monday, February 14, 2011 - link

    The USB connector seems to be on the bottom, right? What about the headset one? No HDMI, right? Reply
  • mongo lloyd - Monday, February 14, 2011 - link

    Samsung really has the optimal button layout. I wish all Android phone manufacturers followed suit. The search button is pointless in my opinion, especially since long-pressing the menu button brings it up. But I guess Google, the search company that it is, has to have one in their own reference designs... Reply

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