Samsung’s original Galaxy S was rightly regarded as one of 2010’s best phones, a landmark device that helped Google Android storm to the top of the smartphone charts. Now Sammy’s back with a successor, the Galaxy S2. How does it stack up? And is it really the best Android phone ever? Read our review now to find out.
No matter which way you cut it, this is Samsung’s greatest ever mobile achievement. From the wafer-thin 8.5mm body (compared to the iPhone 4’s 9.3mm) to the stunning, 4.3-inch Super AMOLED screen, this is a device that just oozes class.
And that’s before you’ve played with Android Gingerbread and Samsung’s own neat, but never intrusive customisations. If ever there was a phone to prove that Android can see off Apple, then this is it.
The aforementioned super slim frame is what really makes the Galaxy S2 stand out from its rivals. It’s impossibly thin, which really helps to offset that large screen. It never feels too big and is just about pocketable, a real achievement considering devices of a similar size can feel like bricks by comparison.
The black model we tested looks stunning, with the battery cover designed not to pick up any nasty fingerprints. That said, the plasticky bezel and edges do let the side down a touch. We can’t help but feel that aluminium would have made this phone look even better. That small quibble aside, this is a well thought out mobile. Buttons are cleverly placed and the touch sensitive buttons either side of the home key work brilliantly. This is an area where Samsung rules over HTC.
Where to begin? The 1080p Full HD video recording function is a revelation, especially as you’re framing clips on such a huge, bright screen. Moving images do suffer from some judder as they’re taken at 30 frames per second, but that’s only an issue if you’re a home movie fanatic. The Video Maker app is superb too, offering excellent, easy-to-use video editing without having to head to the Android Market and buy a dedicated add-on. It only works with 720p footage, but it’s smart design and easy sharing skills make it a winner.
The 8 megapixel camera is among the best we’ve used on a smartphone, delivering crisp and clean shots even in low light thanks to the LED flash. Chuck in personal hotspot smarts courtesy of Android Gingerbread, and you’re looking at a top-end smartphone that just can’t be beaten.
Samsung has done a good job of not letting an overly ambitious custom skin get in the way. Android Gingerbread rules the roost here, and while there are RSS and Samsung Hub options, they’re never in the way. Hubs can easily be set up by flicking across to the relevant homescreen, but those who prefer a purer Google experience can simply ignore that and delve into the well-rendered menu system.
The software has a real snap to it thanks to the dual-core processor, meaning nasty lag never occurs while scrolling through files or watching video.
Ease of use
As with all Android phones, it’s hard to fault the user experience on the Galaxy S2. It feels so assured, those soft keys next to the home button always offering you the chance to skip back a step or hit the Android menu for the app that you happen to be in. The touchscreen is brilliant and the onscreen QWERTY tip top, thanks in no small part to the screen’s size. If you want an Android phone that can do it all, look no further.
- Android 2.3 Gingerbread
- 4.3 inch, 400 x 800 capacitive , Super AMOLED touchscreen
- 8 megapixel camera, 1080p HD video recording
- 3.5mm jack Wi-Fi, HSDPA,
- 16/32GB storage and microSD expansion up to 32GB
Find out more about the Samsung Galaxy S2 here