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Samsung Galaxy S2 – the BIG mama of Android devices?

This blog entry was originally posted on my EveryoneConnects.net blog – get the first in gadgets and tech updates here.

It’s good to have friends in the industry. I’m pleased to say that after it was officially launch & after a couple couple of calls… One of the most anticipated mobile android devices in year 2011 arrives in my hands… Behold… The Samsung Galaxy S2!

The specs very quickly.. taken from my last entry

  • Android 2.3 Gingerbread
  • 4.26” Super AMOLED Plus display – better colour with lower power consumption
  • Dual core 1.2 Ghz processor – great for multitasking
  • Built-in 16GB memory with MicroSD expansion slot (can accommodate up to 32GB)
  • 8 megapixel rear camera with HD recording and 2 megapixel front camera

First impression?
Square – like an iPhone, has one button at the bottom – like an iPhone, front camera – like an iPhone, curved at the corners – like an iPhone, solid – like an iPhone (okay, maybe not as steely feeling), big screen – like an iPhone… And that’s where the “like an iPhone ends…

The screen… Oh Mai Gash… The screen….
This fella has one of the best looking screens I’ve seen in any mobile device. If you’re an iPhone fan, you’d like to know that the retina display is no match to the AMOLED plus display used by Samsung. Then again, considering Samsung does manufacture many Apple device’s displays… It’s no surprise when they create something one notch better? :P

It’s like Edward Cullen…
When other devices fail, turn to darkness and turn to mush, the Galaxy S2 AMOLED plus screen is like Edward Cullen – its so bright and vibrant in all conditions that its fearless of the almighty sun!

“wow… it’s so fast it almost feels illegal” – @benjern
It’s so weird quoting myself… But hey, somebody stop me :)

Everyone wants fast cars, fast escalators, fast haircuts… And I’m sure if someone creates a drinkable steak for fast lunches, it’d make BIG business. So it’s not surprise when Samsung told the world that the S2 will come with a dual-core 1ghz processor at the last minute changed it to the speedy 1.2ghz – so that we can experience speed.

I’m no technical guru so I won’t be using some super mambo jumbo tools for tests but checkout this simple test that clearly shows the speed compared to a competing brand…

Everything in the S2 feels just so much quicker, faster, nimbler, smoother, more canggih.. You get the idea. For apple fan boys, it’s like the difference felt between the 3G and the 3GS. It’s significant.

It’s glass is made of gorilla…
Don’t panic. No animals were harmed in the creation of the S2. The brand is Gorilla Glass and that’s the kind of glass they use for the glorious screen. Super tough, super scratch resistant, super gorilla-like… Check out the vid…

What about the camera?
It’s equipped with both a 2 megapixel front facing and a rear 8 megapixel. Nowadays, manufacturers can come up with 12 megapixel cameras but if output sucks, it sucks – like the largest buffet spread in the world but all you get is mashed potatoes. Point is, quantity is not everything.

The quality? Check it… (click on any of the images to enlarge)

Macro

Night-shot

Thanks to the speedy processor, the camera enjoys super quick startup time. Pictures are nice but may be a little too saturated for some. Personally, I don’t mind them.

The camera needs to eat more ladies fingers
I was told by my wife that lady’s fingers make you more intelligent. I think that’s what the camera needs. It doesn’t automatically recognize the scene its shooting…

The automatic mode isn’t as automated as it claims. Say you’re taking a picture of a person, the face recognition feature only activates if you set it… Or if you’re taking a close up shot, you’d get blur images if you don’t turn on the macro mode etc.

Video calls REJOICE!
Thanks to the front facing camera, the Samsung Galaxy S2 is also one of the few brands that has enabled full-3G video calling in it’s line of android devices.

Unlike stooooopid Apple, you don’t have to be hooked up to FaceTime or WiFi to make video calls – just regular 3G and you’ll be able to contact any 3G video enabled phones. Of course, if you want to use good ole’ Skype for video calls, it’s completely possible too. I like.

The interface…
Apart from hardware specs and design, one of the biggest differentiation point between all android devices is software customization by the manufacturer. Some of the ones I find interesting include…

Samsung Live Panel
Allows you drag and drop widgets from apps, shortcuts etc on the home screen which many android phones do BUT Live Panel does one bit more – widget resize. Sometimes you want a widget on the screen but it takes up too much space or wish you could only see portions of it… Live Panel allows you to do that!

Readers Hub
Samsung has integrated the 3 best online services for magazines, newspapers, books…

So if you’re a Zinio fan, you’ll love it! Imagine paying for 25 bucks for a copy of MacWorld – on Zinio, it’s 60 ringgit for 1 year – 12 full issues!

Or how about getting our local newspapers delivered to your phone!

IM
In short, instant messaging… One app that takes care of a continuously growing list of messaging services…

AllShare
Using the DNLA standard, the Samsung Galaxy S2 can stream videos, pictures, audio to devices that support the standard – TVs, tablet devices, notebooks, the works!

Kies air
Now this is freaking cool. Once activated, it turns your phone into a server.

Allowing you to access / upload videos, photos, download ringtones, send text messages, update bookmarks and so much more through your PC or Mac! All you need is a web browser.

But WAIT! What if your dog tries to access your phone using another computer and accesses your sexy photos?? Firstly, you’ve been watching too many movies – your dog wouldn’t be interested in your sexy photos, secondly, the moment a computer tries to access your phone, it tells you who is coming in and it’s up to you to click “authorize”.

You can be lazier than a rock
On top of the super awesome voice actions by Google which comes with all android devices that have Android Gingerbread, Samsung has collaborated with Vlingo – a voice recognition app developer and created Voice Command for the S2. You can text, update Facebook, twitter, send an email, open apps, ‘type’ a memo and do loads more without lifting a finger!

It even has the ability to recognize it’s name – say “Hey Galaxy” and it will start listening. If you feel lazier, you can close your eyes, pretend to be a rock and command it to read out emails & text messages.

There is just too much to explore and so much to play with so I’ll stop here and let you explore the rest.

Ultimately, are there drawbacks?
So many things I like and so many cool features… BUT

Battery life…
For it’s super large display and how I usually torture phones like 4 email accounts pushed, constant wifi & 3G, bluetooth, video streaming, app downloads, online newspaper reading and more… the S2 has managed a full day from 8am and died around 10:30pm. Under normal use, I’d say it would last at least 1 1/2 days – which isn’t as good as the iPhone 4 but I’d dare say better than most android devices.

Camera…
Good quality, vivid images but I’ve said it once and I’d say it again. Feed it some lady’s fingers please.

Interface…
Although coupled with tones of cool features & software, the Galaxy S2 in my opinion still lacks a little in the area of visual aesthetics. The software is pretty, vibrant & easy to use but somehow isn’t as polished as HTC’s Sense interface… this could be a personal preference :)

So is this the BIG mama of android phones?
As of this review… The big glorious screen, packed with high-end specs, screaming processor & top that off with super cool custom apps – I’d say YES until someone shows me something better… :)

Have your say in the comments below!

2 comments

  1. IBM came out with the first full touch screen mobile phone in 1992 called IBM SIMON.
    It had all pda functions plus more and yes it was a mobile phone.
    Apple is always crying foul, why ?????

    It reminds me of a story about a thief who injured himself while breaking and entering in someone’s house then sued the occupants for his incompetence…

    Hey Apple, hows this for copying (I-BM , I-Phone).
    Lets rename iphone to icry.

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