Samsung Galaxy S2 review – one year on
So it’s been over a year since the Galaxy S2 was released, and in that time it’s become the bestselling Android phone in the world, selling over 20 million units and helping Samsung become the largest phone and smartphone manufacturer in the world. But perhaps more importantly it imprinted Samsung’s Galaxy S range into the minds of Mr and Ms Joe/Jane Public. No other phone apart from the iPhone is so well recognised or received such critical acclaim. But the smartphone/superphone landscape is the fasting moving sector in consumer tech, so how does this beast of yesteryear compare.
Although the resolution of the screen is of 2010, you will still be hard pressed to find a more vibrant display. It has great viewing angles customary with Super Amoleds, deep punchy colours and stupendously high contract ratios. But, with the HTC One X SLCD2 and LG’s Optimus 4x, finally Sammys indursty leading panel is starting to fall behind, or maybe the LCD panel making have upped their game. Whatever it is, Super Amoled is not the very pinnacle of display tech anymore.
This was the killer feature for the Galaxy S2, not the fact that it was miles better designed or offered better functionality than its Android brethren, but the fluidity and speed of the software. The Galaxy S2 was the first Android phone that did not lag. Anywhere. Full stop. It reached iPhone 4 levels of touch response, but included the inherent flexibility of Android, and this resonated in hearts and minds of not only the android faithful but also of the general public. But now with quad core processors and Qualcomm’s Krait core, how does Samsung’s software and its lauded Exyno’s 4210 fare. Very well in fact, the fast upgrade to Android 4.0 ICS was welcome and has improved the speed and touch response further, and when compared to HTC and the rest of the packs offerings, the Galaxy S2 still competes.
The 8.5mm Galaxy S2 set the bar in terms of svelteness in smartphones. The angular design, the gunmetal rim, protruding camera lens and hyperskin textures back cover did not break any design paradigms, however it is eminently functional, comfortable to hold in the hand and extremely hardwearing. Indeed, using the Galaxy S2 as my primary phone for a year, no major scratches were registered. However, Nokia, with its Lumia 800 and 900 have raised the bar, and the HTC with the One X raised it further, adding thinness, high screen to bezel ratio and elegant curves. The Galaxy S2 looks like a phone from 2011, but its supreme build quality makes up a little for its slightly dated look.
Samsung know how to make camera modules and they set a new bar with the Galaxy S2, with clear crisp photos, good colour reproduction, low noise. The only thing that let it down was poor indoor photo capture. Until recently only the iPhone 4S and the Nokia N8 beat out Samsung’s 2011 flagship. With the new crop of smartphones, the emphasis has been on camera software and in particular reduced shutter lag. The Galaxy S2 software does a good job but shot to shot times are nowhere near some of the newer devices, but photo quality is still in top tier of smart phones.
One year on, the Samsung Galaxy S2 is still one of the best smartphones money can buy, indeed as it has been out for a while you can pick it up for a great deal less that current top of the range devices, so adding a great value dimension. The device has aged remarkably well, the Exyno’s dual core performs very well, the screen minus the 2010 resolution is still fantastic. Battery life will easily get you through a day and the camera is still in the top tier of mobile phones. In short the Galaxy S2 is an extremely well rounded handset performing well in many key areas. In the smartphone industry, which moves at breakneck pace, to have a smartphone from 2011 that still competes with the best in 2012 is a testament to Samsung and their 20 million and counting sales reflects this fact.