Hands-On: Samsung Galaxy S II
Samsung announced its most advanced Galaxy smartphone yet in Barcelona today. Is this slim Android handset the stuff dreams are made of?
Samsung announced the Galaxy S II with a lot of hullaballoo at Mobile World Congress. The S II is the latest in Samsung's line of Galaxy devices, and is the most impressive one yet.
The S II is amazingly thin. It's hard to visualize exactly what 8.49mm is, but I can tell that it is about as thin as they come. Samsung used a special, new Super AMOLED Plus display that itself is thinner than previous displays at 2.4mm. It is also light as a feather. I can't recall a device that weighed as little as the S II. It'll slip into the tightest pocket.
As far as feel in the hand is concerned, its it doesn't feel all that different than some of the other Galaxy handsets out there. Because of the 4.27-inch display, it is a huge phone and very wide. It's near impossible to get your hand all the way around it. The back has a textured surface that reminds me of carbon fiber. The one bummer is that the S II still has that plastic-y feel of its Galaxy S predecessors. I would prefer it to feel more solid and seem some metal in the design somewhere rather than all the plastic that is used in the housing.
The Super AMOLED Plus display is ridiculous. It simply looks fantastic. During the event, Samsung tossed out a bunch of numbers about how much brighter, sharper, and colorful it is compare to other handsets, but none of that prepares you for how truly awesome it is. Even in blinding white light, the display dazzled with its colors, brightness and clarity. Samsung really knows how to make fantastic displays on its devices.
The rest of the S II takes a minimalistic approach. Thankfully, Samsung whittled the bezel down to almost nothing and the display fills most of the face of the phone. The power/lock key is on the right, the volume toggle is on the left, and there are just three -- not the usual four -- buttons below the display (Menu, Home, and Back).
The user interface builds on Samsung's TouchWiz software even further. The main menu looks and acts just like other Galaxy TouchWiz phones, but the home screens are slightly different. Samsung has created its own widgets to collect information on the home screen. They can be used to stick all sorts of content from the web there, including RSS feeds, weather, news, email, social networks, and so on. The design of these widgets is clean and crisp, though it is easy to clutter up the home screen if you stuff too many on there.
Despite the non-final production nature of the devices on hand, the user interface was lightning fast. I was able to jump from app to app, from screen to screen, in a jiffy. WIth a dual-core 1GHz processor under the hood, it has plenty of power to get things done.
Aside from the slightly plastic feel to the Samsung Galaxy S II, it's a truly impressive phone. Well done, Samsung.
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