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SIM Free Samsung Galaxy S2 – an in-depth look

Tuesday 5th July 2011 by Mark Riley in Android, Buyers Guides, Mobile Accessories, Mobile Phones, Product Reviews.

Handset manufacturers can be said to release phone sequels as excuses for new models: more often than not slight spec changes seem to end up as a whole new model. The Samsung Galaxy S was a great device, but it suffered chronically from a poor file system, poor GPS, and the absence of flash for its camera. However it seems that people who have been searching for a better device to replace the Galaxy S have found it at last.

Guess Who?

The Galaxy S2 or Samsung  Galaxy i9100 not only solves these problems above, but adds a whole new arsenal of features.  This ultra-slim phone comes with an upgraded Super AMOLED Plus Capacitive Touch Screen and is based on Samsungs Exynos chipset. Powered by a 1.2GHz dual core RISC processor with a wholesome 1 GB of RAM, this handset can churn out 1080p HD video at 30fps.  It then allows you to view this video on a TV and get full surround sound through Stereo Bluetooth v3.  Add all this to the 2MP secondary camera, NFC support, GPU acceleration, 16/32 GB internal storage, and full flash support and this handset really blows its competitors out the water.  Even more impressive Samsung managed to fit all this into a 8.5mm thick device that tips the scales at just 116gms. Amazing!

SIM Free Samsung Galaxy S2

Display

The Super AMOLED Plus display is just that – super! Comparing with the Galaxy S the new organic LED display is larger by 15%, has better contrast, has more accurate colours, and increased sharpness. Saturation can be customised by the user as well: Samsung has offered 3 presets for this. In short, this is by far the best display in the smartphone market rivalled only by the retina display of the iPhone 4. Considering this, it would be wise to have a good Samsung Galaxy S2 screen protector to protect the screen from scratches and dust.

Keys and Buttons

There are 3 main keys and buttons: a capacitive menu key, a capacitive back key and a conventional button for the home key. Upon a long press the Menu key handles Google search, while the Home key shows the task switcher: voice commands are activated by clicking the home key twice. The left edge of the handset has the rocker for the volume control which doubles as the camera zoom. Sadly there is no dedicated camera shutter button.

TouchWiz 4.0 UI

The Galaxy droids cool UI just got even better thanks to TouchWiz 4.0. Unlocking the phone is now possible by swiping through to any direction. There a lot of cosmetic changes to the handset including new live wallpapers, an updated notification area and a different design for the widgets. Gesture commands are also built in with TouchWiz 4.0 – like flipping the handset over to silence a call.

Cool Voice Commands

The Galaxy S2 has voice commands but this isn’t the regular Google crop. Instead, they’ve used a 3rd party app for the feature which has become more popular than the Google service itself.

Gallery and file browser

The Galaxy S2 uses the standard Android gallery that comes built in with the OS.  The gallery automatically searches for all photos and videos on your phone and displays them. It can also be set to sync with Picasa and comes with a built-in Image editor and a Video editor to do some basic touch-ups and mixing. The video player which comes pre-installed is the standard Touchwiz video player featuring support for an impressive variety of codecs. In fact the Galaxy S2 has one of the richest video support systems, coming just second to the Nokia N900.

Imaging

The Samsung Galaxy S2 sports an 8MP auto-focus camera. It comes with an LED flash also but lacks a physical shutter button. The camera application contains an array of features from digital image stabilisation, smile detection, auto focus, scene modes, special effects and geotagging to manual controls for ISO and the metering mode. This means that when you buy a Samsung Galaxy S2 case make sure it has a cut-out for the camera.

Video

Video recording is awesome with the device easily handling full HD recording: what’s more it can capture in both 720p and 1080p. It also comes with continuous auto-focus giving you sharper and more impressive videos.

The Samsung i9100 comes pre-loaded with a great web browser – but doing your own test run is advised to suit your style of browsing. Certain other features that you ought to check out are the built-in Polaris Office package, and the memo/calendar app. The default mapping app is Google Maps as expected but if you need any other apps, just browse around the Android market.

Cons

Even though the Samsung Galaxy S2 is an impressive handset, it does have a few minor cons including: a fully Plastic body, no dedicated camera key and the microSD not being hot swappable.

The problem with these ultra-slim touch screen phones is that they’re extremely fragile. The thin body and even thinner bezel can do a bad job at absorbing shocks if the handset is dropped. However, you can protect from this with some quality Samsung i9100 accessories.

Here’s a video review of the unlocked Samsung Galaxy S2 by Engadget.

Thanks to Dilin Anand of Symbian Oasis for this Guest Blog Post

 

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