Posted by Donny Torrefranca
After an extended stint of using my back up device, iPhone 4, the only other Android device that I deemed worthy of permanently going back to is finally upon us. I’ve been fortunate enough to have owned the Galaxy S II for almost a week now and I must say, ‘This is THE iPHONE 4 Killer”
The Galaxy S II (i-9100) is Samsung’s follow up to their most recent success story, the Galaxy S I (i-9000). An amazing 8.5 mm thin, it is the thinnest smartphone in the market today. (Yes, it’s even thinner than the iPhone 4’s 9.3 mm). But don’t judge this book by its cover, it is so packed with features one must wonder how they managed to cram them all up.
The internal storage comes with either a 16 or a 32GB drive for your system and general cargo space, as well as an expandable MicroSD slot capable of additional storage of up to 32GB. Something Apple has yet to apply to their devices and we don’t see it coming anytime soon. If the compartment space does not impress you, how about a 1 GB dedicated space for RAM. A hefty space for general, daily use.
For your WiFi needs, it comes with the usual WiFi antennas A/B/G/N. It is DLNA certified for your media needs. And of course, since it is running in the Android EcoSystem, it is capable of turning itself into a WiFi Hotspot for sharing with multiple WiFi-enabled devices.
It will have your typical GSM connectivity for your carrier, however, it has an antenna connection that surprised me during my tests. Places where I was getting one (1) bar at best with my iPhone 4, I was receiving at least 3 to full bars with my Galaxy S II. For your up and downlink, you’re seeing HSDPA, 21 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps. (Latest change in naming convention calls it, “4G”, but confuse it with LTE 4G…we’re not there yet)
Not impressed yet with some of the features I’ve highlighted above?
As I mentioned it is running the latest Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) version. The one I have is running the 2.3.3 variant, with 2.3.4 just around the corner courtesy of Samsung stepping up to the plate in updating their firmwares faster than most manufacturers nowadays.
Deep within this device is the heart of it all. The CPU is running on a Dual Core 1.2 GHz ARM Cortex-A9 processor, Mali-400MP GPU, which is Samsung’s own Exynos chip. If that’s too technical for you, put it this way. If your iPhone 4 is your typical healthy person, eats healthy and goes to the gym 3 times a day, well this is his\her Personal trainer who is a tri-athlete and competes in Strongman Competitions.
On the back of the device you’ll find an 8MP rear facing camera capable of shooting 1080P resolution video at 30fps. The front facing camera is at a very respectable 2MP resolution for your video conferencing needs. The camera’s features come with Geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection, image stabilization.
As opposed to iPhone’s Retina display, Samsung has been boasting and constantly updating their AMOLED screen. Starting with the AMOLED, to Super AMOLED, to SuperAMOLED+, each change mainly focuses on improving outdoor visibility.
The SuperAMOLED+ built in to the Galaxy SII is by far the most visible screen in broad daylight. I’ve compared it with other Android devices as well as my iPhone 4 and it’s definitely an improvement. AMOLED screens are very well known for their colour contrast and sharp imaging. The picture stands out of the Gorilla Glass with little reflection. Not to be outdone, the iPhone 4’s retina display is still by far the best display in the market today. With 640 X 960 pixels at 3.5” compared to the Galaxy S II’s 480 X 800 pixels on 4.3” screen, the images just look so much sharper on regular lighting compared to ANY smartphone out there, hands down.
Aside from the iPhone’s retina display, the Galaxy S II is definitely THE BEST SMARTPHONE today. Its speed and responsiveness is the best out of any Android device and is finally BETTER than the iPhone 4. The display rendering when using pinch to zoom, or Samsung’s rendition called motion-zoom, which made its debut with this device, I experienced almost no checkerboarding at all. Not only did Samsung improve on the features seen in other devices today whether it’s Android or iOS, it also added some new features. Instantly text or call a contact from your contact list by the swipe direction, or instantly adjust the brightness level by sliding the notification bar left to right, it’s these additions that improve the usability of these SuperSmart Phones. Granted that the Galaxy SII came out long after the iPhone 4, we can only look forward to the next generation iPhone or even what other manufacturers have up their sleeves. In the end and the most important part of it all…CONSUMERS WIN.
The Galaxy S II is coming to Canada before July 19th via Bell and Virgin Mobile.
Good review but I’ve just got one question:
Why call anything an iPhone 4 killer?
iPhone 4 is dying of old age.
Anything called iPhone 4 killer is like saying Granny Killer and that’s just wrong on so many levels.
He has to say “iPhone Killer”, otherwise no one will read the review. Wow, some of the hardware specs are slightly different than a phone that came out a year ago…? Or you’re impressed that an Android device finally doesn’t lag as much as before?
The only part I agree with is competition is good. And the dual processor is nice and fast. How’s the battery life, no mention of it?
Once you have a library of iOS software built up, it makes it much less enticing to switch…but you’re focusing just on hardware here, so fair enough, although for a true iPhone Killer I think you have to include the iOS/iTunes ecosystem.
This blog probably called the PlayBook an iPad Killer…lol…have a nice day.
OddyOh, as an iOS user, I will be posting my view as I received my unit yesterday. And I will discuss battery life, ease of use, and availability of apps. Stay Tuned!
Thanks for the responses:
The iPhone fan in me takes “iPhone 4 Killer” comments as a compliment to the fact that it definitely is (or was) the best smartphone since it was released. And I called it ‘Best’ based on Hardware specs, speed, and design. Its surprising that other iPhone fans out there don’t see it that way as well.
The Android side of me however is glad to see that it has produced a device that has finally lived up to the ‘iPhone Killer’ status. Again, based on Hardware, Speed, Design.
Not all dual-core processors are made the same as there are other factors that come in to play in ‘making it work’.
The first dual-core processor smartphone released in our market was the Atrix. Even I was disappointed in it and never thought it would make it to my ‘collection’.
Both environments (iOS and Android) have advantages and disadvantages. The user-friendly iOS and the for the tech-savvy Android. 😉