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Samsung Galaxy S II (Samsung GT-I9100)

 Samsung Galaxy S II Available now
14th February 2011

The original Samsung Galaxy S was one of the most significant Android devices to be launched last year, and over the past year or so there have been a number of derivatives including the "pure Google" Nexus S. The follow up to the original Galaxy S is the imaginatively named Samsung Galaxy S II which follows the trend of making smartphones progressively bigger and more powerful.

The Galaxy S II is a dual core Android 2.3 smartphone with a large 4.3" "Super AMOLED Plus" display, an 8 megapixel camera on the back plus Samsung's own software enhancements to make this a somewhat different experience from plain Android devices.

In design terms, this is a big black slab of a phone that looks smart but dull at the same time. The front of the handset is dominated by the large 800 x 480 pixel panel using a new version of Samsung's AMOLED technology that they say gives a much sharper display. That's a bigger panel than the original Galaxy S, but the phone itself is only a little larger. It is a very slim device, at just 8.5mm thick at its thinnest point, and surprisingly it only weighs 116 grams.

On the back of the Galaxy S II is a prominent 8 megapixel camera with LED flash, capable of 1080p HD video recording at 30 fps, one of the highest specifications that we've seen on any phone. On the front is an ancillary 2 megapixel camera for video calling, something that was missing on earlier Android handsets. The camera supports geo-tagging, and Samsung always add useful enhancement such as smile detection to the mix.

 Samsung Galaxy S II Inside is a 1GHz dual-core Samsung application processor, (note: this has been upgraded to 1.2GHz at launch) which we guess is Samsung's new Exynos CPU coupled with a generous 1GB of RAM which should help the Galaxy S II cope with the most demanding of applications. Internal flash memory is 16GB or 32GB, with a microSD slot that can take up to 32GB on top of that. It's a quad-band GSM and quad-band UMTS device which also supports 802.11 a, b g and n WiFi. The Galaxy S II also supports HSPA+ (sometimes marketed as 4G although it isn't really) with maximum download speeds of up to 21 Mbps.. if your carrier supports it, that is.

Multimedia playback is aided by the powerful CPU, so the Galaxy S II can happily cope with full 1080p video playback in a variety of formats including DivX, XviD, VC-1 and all the usual video types. There's a 3.5mm audio socket and the Galaxy S II supports DLNA and WiFi direct but it lacks an HDMI port.

Battery size is getting increasingly important, and we're pleased to see that the Samsung Galaxy S II comes with a very large 1650 mAh cell. We don't know how much talktime that would give, but real life Android phones can burn through energy quite quickly if you use them to their fullest capabilities.

 Samsung Galaxy S II As you would expect, the Galaxy S II comes with GPS and all the usual Android goodies. Samsung have added their own "hubs" to the interface, for example the "Social Hub" integrates all your social networking functions into one screen. One unusual feature with the Galaxy S II is the inclusion of NFC technology that allows contactless payments.

Although it seems to be geared up for fun, the Galaxy S II has lots of enterprise-ready features as well, including support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, VPN capabilities, device encryption, remote management and a Cisco WebEx client.

Apparently scheduled for release in most markets in May (although some may get it earlier), the Samsung Galaxy S II will certainly be one of the most advanced smartphones that you can buy. There's no word on pricing, but we would expect the launch retail price to be over €600 with prices then settling down to €500 or so.

There's no doubt that this is an impressive piece of kit, and it goes to show that dual-core devices are likely to dominate the high-end smartphone market during 2011 as we predicted they would at the end of last year.

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Samsung Galaxy S II at a glance

Available:

May 2011

Network:

GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 +
UMTS 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100

Data:

GPRS + EDGE + UMTS (3G) + HSPA +

HPSA+ (where available) + WiFi

Screen:

4.3" 480 x 800 pixels

Camera:

8 megapixels (main)

2 megapixels (sub)

Size:

Tablet smartphone
125 x 66 x 8.5mm / 116 grams

Bluetooth:

Yes

Memory card:

MicroSD (plus 16GB or 32GB internal)

Infra-red:

No

Polyphonic:

Yes

Java:

Optional

GPS:

Yes

OS:

Android 2.3

Battery life:

Not specified (1650 mAh cell)

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