I was lucky enough to get a crack at the Galaxy S II at Samsung’s recent Forum 2011 event in Delhi where a heap of new “Smart” products made the scene. The Galaxy S II, of course, was the center of attention and I have to say, it’s going to be huge. Since it’s not due to hit the shelves officially till May, here’s a quick hands on experience I can share about Samsung’s ‘biggest’ phone yet.
Unlike the HTC Desire HD, that’s also a rather large device or the Sony Ericsson Arc that’s much better looking than the both, the Galaxy S II comes off as a simple and plain looking handset. As far as the looks are concerned, it’s not one I’d call a stunner, but I soon changed my mind when the 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus display came to life. The visual experience that the S II is capable of dishing out is by far a winner in my book, so far. It’s extremely vibrant and can very easily give the Sony Mobile Bravia engine a run for its money, although I’m not too sure about Retina Display, just yet.
Visible differernce in the upgrade
What came as a pleasant surprise was the fact that the S II, considering the specs it boasts of and how large it actually is, is an extremely light device. In fact it’s lighter than its predecessor the Galaxy S and thinner – 116g (S II), 119g (S). I do wish they had refurbished the design a little to include a slightly funkier shell but at least this way it does have a slightly more professional styling.
Slimmer and lighter than predecessor
Thanks to a dual-core 1.2GHz ARM Cortex-A9 processor with an Orion chipset and running Android Gingerbread (out of the box), the Galaxy S II is a visibly faster than most of the devices out there save the iPhone 4. However, if Apple has to be worried, this just might be the handset they should be worried about. Since the Galaxy S I9000 was on hand, I got a chance to check out just how fast the processing speeds were and I have to say, the S II is quite impressive.
What I’m particularly happy about is the new look and feel of Samsung’s proprietary TouchWiz UI 4.0. It’s a much livelier UI than the previous version and has quite a few funky tricks up its proverbial sleeve. Loading Widgets onto the desktops is, so far, a more enriching functional experience as compared to, dare I say it, HTC’s Sense UI. Samsung has also incorporated a new gyro friendly method of navigating the menus – Press and hold an icon on the screen and simply tilt the handset to the left or right for scrolling. The large screen also facilitates Swyping in a slightly more comfortable setting.
I was unfortunate enough to have been unable to test a full HD video file (DivX and XviD supported) on the S II; I would have loved to see how it handled that media form. I did, however, get an opportunity to pop in a set of headphones to check out the audio and without any enhancements (EQ Presets available, didn’t see any sign of SRS enhancement on these demo devices though) the quality seemed more than satisfactory. For the avid FM radio aficionado, you’ll be good to go as well.