Samsung Galaxy S II Hands-On Preview

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The night before the commencement of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona was exceptionally dynamic, and the biggest spectacle was hosted by Samsung, who presented the Galaxy S II.

Such interest for the new Samsung smartphone is not the least bit surprising — after over 10 million Galaxy S units have been sold throughout the world, it is clear that the launch of the successor of this wildly successful Android OS device is the most interesting event of this year’s MWC for many.

Samsung Galaxy S IIThanks to a number of leaks, this upcoming phone’s features have been familiar for a few days now, and I was happy to be able to try out the dual-core 4.3-inch Galaxy S II straight after the official presentation.

BUILD & DESIGN

Like its predecessor, this smartphone is exalting. It has become slightly wider and taller, but visibly slimmer — measuring 8.5 mm (0.3 inches), it is 0.2 mm thinner than the previous record holder, Sony Ericsson’s Xperia Arc, launched last month at CES in Las Vegas.

Its body is made of plastic and not metal, which makes it exceptionally light. Weighing 116 grams, it fits the hand perfectly.

What is thrilling at first glance is the Super AMOLED Plus screen, which provides significantly sharper and brighter imaging compared to the already above-average screen featured in the “old” Galaxy S.

Samsung Galaxy S IIReactions to finger touches and movements are fast and precise, which is especially evident while using the new Samsung TouchWiz 4.0 user interface, because it includes tiny elements which have to be “aimed at” with fingers.

PERFORMANCE

TouchWiz 4.0 is one of the biggest novelties the Galaxy S II has to offer. The Android OS 2.3 basic core is almost impossible to feel with this user interface modification, which is reminiscent of a type of hybrid between the HTC Sense UI and Windows Phone 7.

Desktops can be entirely customized, with an arbitrary arrangement of icons, widgets, info panels and hubs.

One of these is the “Game hub” which can run the most demanding mobile games, as it sports a dual-core processor and a quad-core GPU (graphics processing unit). This makes the Galaxy S II a serious competitor for Sony Ericcson’s XPERIA Play.

The smartphone includes a pair of new Samsung functions: Lost Phone Management and Samsung Voice Solution. The first is interesting in case the phone is stolen or if it is lost, as it enables the locaton discovery of the device via the Web. It also allows forlocking the phone and setting off an alarm. The second new function gives full control over the phone with voice — messages can be dictated before being sent using the voice recognition software.

Samsung Galaxy S II GalleryA VoIP application comes with the smartphone, as well as an ebook and magazine reader, which is very modern-looking.

AVAILABILITY

I was surprised by Samsung’s announcement that this device would be available in Europe this month, but it has not been stated when it would arrive in the States.

A full review of the Samsung Galaxy S II will be available nearer to the time that this high-end Android OS smartphone is released.

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