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Samsung’s Galaxy S II passes screen test

gadgets Updated: Aug 12, 2011 11:38 IST
Nikhil Hemrajani

After Apple’s second-generation iPad launched earlier this year with dual-core processors, it was inevitable that the technology would trickle down to mobile phones as well. Beating Apple at its own game, Samsung is among the first manufacturers in India to sport a dual-core processor in its Google Android handset, Galaxy S II.

Weighing a light 116g and 8.5mm in thickness, the Galaxy S II is big but hardly cumbersome. Its huge 4.3-inch screen sports a resolution of 800x480 pixels, but that’s hardly the best thing about it. Samsung has generously equipped the phone with a ‘Super AMOLED Plus’ screen. As opposed to conventional LCD displays, AMOLED screens offer greater colour accuracy and black levels while going easier on battery life.

Although the phone’s all-glass front may fetch it swoons, the plastic body isn’t that impressive. There’s a solitary power button on the right side and a volume rocker on the left. Towards the bottom of the screen are two touch-sensitive buttons and a regular ‘Home’ button that will take you back to the home screen whenever you press it.

The next disappointment arrives when you switch on the phone. Although this Galaxy sports Google Android Gingerbread v2.3.3, Samsung has added its own user interface layer called Touchwiz 4.0. As compared to HTC’s Sense 3.0 interface, Touchwiz doesn’t look as polished where menu animations, icons and widgets are concerned. Certain tweaks are convenient — the lock screen shows missed calls and SMSes. Pressing the Home button for over a second invokes the task manager, which displays what applications are running in the background and lets you close them to free up the phone’s 1GB memory.

Samsung has loaded a host of applications on the phone such as a file manager to access the microSD card, a voice command app and Readers’ Hub – where you can read e-books, newspapers and magazines.
The Galaxy S II packs in top-notch hardware such as an ARM 1.2GHz dual-core processor, an eight-megapixel camera, full HD 1080p video recording and 16GB of built-in memory. Connectivity includes 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0 and GPS. Additionally, you can also use the phone as a Wi-Fi router with the Portable Hotspot feature and connect to other similar devices via Wi-Fi direct.
The 8MP camera shoots clear and well-focused photos even in low light. You can choose from a variety of scene modes, include macro and face detection. Videos, too, are sharp and accurate.

What we like
1.Glorious AMOLED screen
2.Dual-core processor

What we don’t like
1.Tacky build quality
2.User interface is average

The powerful processor make using the phone a piece of cake. You won’t see any slowdowns regardless of whether you’re viewing the photo gallery, surfing the net or playing Angry Birds.|

Battery life at over 1.5 days puts the Galaxy S II at the top of its game. Unfortunately, the Galaxy S II just doesn’t feel like a premium phone. The plastic body and tacky user interface betray its Rs 30,999 price. For those migrating from a high-end HTC or Apple device, this is a step down in terms of eye-candy. But if you’re looking for firepower, this phone is brimming with it.

Rating: ***1/2