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Samsung Galaxy S2 Review Part 2: Art pits Samsung vs. Android experience

Read Part 1, Vic’s review of the Samsung Galaxy S2.

It speaks a lot about a phone when Technoodling decides to actually do a three-part review about it. But if there’s one phone that deserves this kind of attention, then the Samsung Galaxy S2 may well be it.

Vic has already covered the grounds about comparing the Samsung Galaxy S II to his trusty BlackBerry (and how it can easily be mistaken for an iPhone 4). I’ll cover the Android route. In other words, how does the Samsung Galaxy S2 stack up as an Android phone?

Galaxy S2: Memories

First of all, let me cut to the chase and say that the Samsung Galaxy S2 really is one dang good phone. And right off the bat, I’m telling you why:

It has 1GB of RAM on it. One frickin’ gig.

Most Android phones in the market today would be lucky to have 768MB of RAM (my HTC Desire just has 576MB). Veteran Android users know the pain of running out of onboard memory for running apps with. With so many tempting (and free!) apps on the Android Market, you can get download-happy and soon get the dreaded Out of Memory issue. And even when you port apps to the SD card, it still isn’t enough.

With the Samsung Galaxy S2, however, you can just keep adding app after app and it’s as if the phone never gets full. Even if you don’t move them to an SD card. That was what was most astonishing for me. And if ever there was a reason for me to get this phone, then this would be it.

Galaxy S2: The feel of things

The screen is gorgeous, but it’s nothing new to those who are by now used to AMOLED screens. And it does suffer from one of Howard’s pet peeves, namely that since the screen resolution isn’t necessarily greater, then it’s just the equivalent of a digital zoom — the pixels are larger and, therefore, the images aren’t as sharp as they’d be on a smaller screen. But this shouldn’t be an issue unless you’re a compulsive nitpicker.

The huge screen real estate (4.3 inches!) is normally an asset. Unless you have small hands, that is. If you’re used to one-hand texting on a smartphone, it can get unwieldy trying to hold this huge slab on your hands while reaching for the more distant letters. And if you’re a petite girl, then it’s really a two-hand job.

(Editor’s note: Should I rephrase those last few words?…)

The phone itself. As Vic notes, it’s frickin’ light. That could be both good and bad. It’s good because it’s a featherweight in your pocket or bag. But it’s bad in the sense that you don’t feel that heft that you’d rather expect from a thirty thousand peso phone. We often equate lightness with cheapness, and the Samsung Galaxy S2 risks treading into that territory. Especially with its flimsy plastic backing.

Now if they made the backside out of carbon fiber instead of plastic, then I won’t complain…

Galaxy S2: Performance anxieties

As Vic notes, this Samsung is a pretty fast phone. After all, it’s got a 1.2GHz dual-core ARM processor for a brain. For one thing, it has the fastest boot up time I’ve yet seen in an Android. Power it up and in just a couple of seconds it’s ready to roll!

So I think it’s time to give it a real torture test. And for that, I deferred to the Android Monster herself, Charo.

She quickly put the phone through its paces. And pretty soon the Galaxy S II actually hung. Quite a few times. The culprits were a couple of freeware games, Fruit Slice (a Fruit Ninja ripoff) and ShakyTower, which is a pretty novel balancing game.

It seems that there may be something wrong with Samsung’s graphics implementation somewhere. Because these same two games never caused an issue on the HTC Desire. But with the Galaxy S II, it hung. And quite regularly.

(Vic, you might want to try those out on your spanking new unit.)

But other than the possible hanging bug, this phone worked like a breeze.

Galaxy S2: Will I get one?

If you already have a reasonably top of the line Android phone, then you may not feel that compelled to get the Samsung Galaxy S II. However, if you are plagued by memory shortages for your apps, then I tell you, this is the phone to get. It’s blazing fast, it’s visually striking, and it’s got practically everything you’ll need from a smartphone.

And if you’re coming from a different camp, like, say, the iPhone or some other device, then the Samsung Galaxy S2 can be one of the best ways to get you to go Android. You get to experience everything that Android has to offer, and then some. Hey, it worked on Vic.

I love the Samsung Galaxy S II. But my Desire is still serving me pretty well, so the compel factor isn’t as strong. But once I start getting really impatient with my phone’s memory issues, then I may just trade up. And this phone certainly has my vote.

Samsung Galaxy S II

Local price: Between P28,000 to P31,500, depending on source

The Samsung Galaxy S2 is also exclusively being offered by Globe, and it’s free on their My SUPERSURF Plan 3799.

Pros

  • Frickin’ awesome 1GB of onboard RAM
  • Blazing speed
  • Large screen real estate
  • Incredibly light for a 4.3″ smartphone

Cons

  • Can be cumbersome for those who want one-handed operation
  • Plasticky, squishy backside
  • Samsung may need to check on their graphics engine

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We’re loving the Samsung Galaxy S2! Are you? Tell us what you think about the Galaxy S II in the Comments section below!

Art

Art

Art is a long-time editor for a number of technology publications. He is a Palanca-winning writer (he got lucky) whose day job is to try to be as serious as possible while being a management consultant and lecturer. His favorite noodles: chapchae.

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