Galaxy S II Micro-Review (I9100)

The Galaxy S II is my fourth day-to-day Android device,following a variety of smartphones and PDAs that came before.

I went from an HTCDream, to a Magic+, then to a Nexus One. Now, breaking a string of HTC devices, I’m onto aSamsung Galaxy S II.

phones
(my Galaxy S II has a gel case onabove, hence the silvery borders)

My satisfaction went from from miserable but tolerantwith the Dream on Cupcake, to satisfied but hoping forbetter with the Magic+, to fairly pleased with Froyoon the Nexus One, to in love with the device withGingerbread on the same, to simply in-awe,technology-is-amazing overjoyed with the Galaxy S II.

This device represents little compromise.

So to live up to the promise that this would be a micro-review,here are the pros and cons of this smartphone.

Pros

  • Excellent feel and balance in the hand, especially with a basicgel case.
  • Incredible screen – It is pure eye-candy for media. It drawsyou in.
  • Media playback superstar – It can play every single file Ithrew at it. It runs a 24Mbps, high-profile 1080p h.264 from my”prosumer” video camera flawlessly, which is incredible and isunparalleled among smartphones. No longer do you need to encode fora specific device.
  • Cameras are excellent for a smartphone, both front and rear. Itstill isn’t comparable to a decent P&S, but in a pinch it’scompetent, capturing great photos and video.
  • GPS is stellar, gaining a very accurate fix quickly.
  • Future proof (to some degree) – 16GB of internal storage (plusup to 32GB in the form of a uSDHC card), 1GB of RAM, Mali-400 GPU,and a dual-core 1.2Ghz processor ensures that Ice-Cream Sandwichwill be very comfortable.
  • Processing Power – This is a very, very fast device. Thepotential is incredible.
  • Throughput – On Rogers on HSPA+ here in the Greater TorontoArea I am seeing 4Mbps downstream, 1Mbps upstream. It isn’t LTE,but it’s faster than a lot of ADSL lines.
  • Browsing – The web browser is fully hardware accelerated and isjust a wonderful experience.
  • Battery Life – Any high-end smartphone that sees real use isgoing to need to be plugged in nightly, and this one is noexception. Whereas my Nexus One encouraged me to lay off it lest Iexpire its supply early, even with virtually endless twiddling,using HSPA+, the SII makes it through a whole day with ease. In acrunch you could pop another battery in.

Cons

  • Physical Size – While great for media, the extra size isn’tnecessary for most productivity uses and makes it less stowable.The Nexus One is too small, in my opinion, but this is perhaps toobig.
  • Pixel Density – Same resolution of my Nexus One (albeit withoutpentile), blown up significantly. A boost of resolution would bevery welcome.
  • Interface lag – It is hit or miss, but some interface elementsfeature minor stutters that I actually hadn’t seen on my Nexus Onesince Froyo. Android 2.x still isn’t fully (or even largely)hardware accelerated, so presumably Samsung didn’t implement acouple of optimizations that Google added to their namesake device.This is one of those things that is completely irrelevant to theusability or usage of the device, but just wanted to note it.
  • Flash – The Flash player must not use hardware acceleration onhere, as a device that plays ultra-high quality video flawlesssomehow runs Flash videos fairly miserably. The Flash experience isactually very similar in outcome to my (much more limited) NexusOne, where I would have expected major improvements given theprowess of this device. It’s still very welcome to have the option,but after discovering the shocking capabilities of this device, Iexpected more of the Flash experience.
  • No Notification LED – Why are devices being made without thiscritical feature?

If you can accommodate the physical size, this is an incredibledevice. There are rumors that Samsung might release a GS II withWindows Phone 7 as well which would be wonderful: Choice is good,especially when it’s on superb hardware.