Samsung Galaxy S II Smartphone Review

Introduction and Specifications

Samsung's Galaxy S II was first introduced to the world at Mobile World Congress 2011, and despite the fact that quite a few smartphones have shipped in the months between then and now, Samsung's top-tier smartphone remains a favorite across the globe. In fact, it hasn't even shipped to America yet. With a potent dual-core 1.2GHz processor, 16GB of internal storage, a full gigabyte of RAM and the latest version of Android (2.3 aka Gingerbread), it stands as a powerhouse to compete with other top tier handsets.

There aren't any gimmicks here. No 3D. No qHD display, and no extra fancy design construction. What is here, however, is a powerful smartphone with a shockingly slim body, a lightweight design, true 1080p out via the micro-USB port and a subtle Android overlay (TouchWiz 4.0). And the 4.3" Super AMOLED Plus, while WVGA, is the display to beat in terms of image quality. What's interesting is how the Galaxy S II stands out in a sea of rivals.  There's never been more competition in the Android smartphone universe, and it really takes a lot to cut through at this point.

In addition to Android 2.3, Samsung includes the latest version of its TouchWiz user interface. It's a subtle overlay that isn't nearly as intrusive as Motorola's BLUR or HTC's Sense, and fans of stock Android will likely be pleased at the minor changes that are implemented.

Make no mistake: this phone is a high-end device aimed at those willing to pay top dollar for the best in performance. As of now, this phone isn't even offered by a U.S. carrier or retailer. The only way to acquire one is to have it imported; the Latin American build (i9100) supports AT&T's 3G bands, and that's the one to grab if you want to snag one right now in unlocked form. There's a build out there for T-Mobile bands as well; you just need to take caution to purchase the one with the frequency bands that fit your carrier. NewEgg and Negri Electronics both offer the phone, but at upwards of $650, it's an investment you should think long and hard about. That said, the unlocked phone will likely have a few design cues that'll set it apart from subsidized versions that should come to U.S. carriers within the month.

We'll discuss those, as well as our opinions on the overall performance and usability, in the pages to come. For now, let's take a look at the raw specifications breakdown:

Samsung Galaxy S II Smartphone
Specifications & Features
Processor and emory
1.2 GHz ARMv7-based dual-core applications processor
16GB Internal memory
No microSD card included; supports up to 32GB

Operating System
Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) and the latest version of TouchWiz (v4.0)
HSPA+ 21Mbps/ HSUPA 5.76Mbps
EDGE/ GPRS Class 12
Quad band GSM 850/900/1800/1900
Quad band UMTS 850/900/1900/2100
Wi-Fi – 802.11 a/b/g/n
Bluetooth 3.0+HS

4.3 inch WVGA Super AMOLED Plus resolution display
Size and weight
125.3mm x 66.1mm x 8.49mm
 4 ounces

Cameras and multimedia
2 megapixel front-facing camera
8 megapixel rear-facing camera with LED flash
3.5mm stereo headset jack

Additional Features
3G Mobile Hotspot capability, supporting up to five Wi-Fi enabled devices simultaneously
Simultaneous voice and data capability

1650 mAh Lithium-ion battery
None; Unlocked versions support T-Mobile and AT&T
In-Box Content
Galaxy S II
Standard Li-Ion Battery
AC USB Charger
Getting Started Guides
Information Booklet
Wireless Recycling Envelope

$672.99 off-contract and unlocked

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