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printed October 30, 2014
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Review: Samsung Galaxy S II for AT&T

Form Basics Extras Wrap-up Comments  7  

Is It Your Type? Body The Three S's  

The Galaxy S II for AT&T is slightly (and we mean slightly) smaller than its siblings, thanks to its 4.27-inch display. The others have larger, 4.5-inch displays, which in turn stretches their overall dimensions a wee bit. The AT&T S II is perfectly rectangular in shape, with gently rounded corners. It dwarfs most other phones placed next to it, but is still approachable.

 

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

How does it feel? As with many of the Samsung Galaxy S phones, it feels cheap thanks to the glossy and creaky plastics. I'm not a fan of the materials Samsung has chosen for its Galaxy devices, and the Galaxy S II makes no improvements there. It is slippery, and collects finger oils like no other device I've used in recent memory. The smooth surfaces do help it slip into pockets, assuming the pocket is large enough to accommodate it.

With 4.27-inches of Super AMOLED Plus display stretching across the face of the Galaxy S II, there's little room for anything else. Samsung did manage to place four capacitive Android keys at the very bottom edge. They all worked fine.

Other controls are kept to the bare minimum. On the left, you'll find the volume toggle in its customary place. It doesn't protrude as much as I would like, making it difficult to locate in a hurry. Travel and feedback are lackluster. The power/lock button is opposite the volume toggle on the right side. I like the power/lock key to be on the top of the phone, but Samsung sees things differently. The power/lock button also doesn't stick out quite enough, meaning your thumb has to slide along a good portion of the Galaxy S II's edge before locating it. Travel and feedback were acceptable, but just barely.

The microUSB port is tucked into the bottom edge. The 3.5mm headset jack is where I like it to be, on top.

The battery cover -- which is identical to most current Galaxy S phones -- peels off easily enough, but it’s extremely flimsy. The huge battery is accessible once the cover is removed. The SIM card can be taken out without removing the battery, but the microSD card port is buried under the battery. Usually, it's the other way around. This is unfortunate, as it makes hot-swapping the microSD card impossible.

Over all, the Galaxy S II is an impressive phone. It may lack some features (like a dedicated camera button) and takes a me-too approach to its design, but the hardware works as it should.

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