Samsung Galaxy S II Review: T-Mobile’s Best Android Smartphone

by Jen Edwards Reads (32,662)
Editor's Rating
9.00

TG Ratings Breakdown

    • Service, Warranty & Support
    • 9
    • Ease of Use
    • 9
    • Design
    • 8
    • Performance
    • 10
    • Value
    • 9
    • Total Score:
    • 9.00
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Overview

  • Pros

    • Large, bright display
    • Fast performance
    • Excellent voice quality
    • Very good camera
    • Good battery life
  • Cons

  • Almost too large
  • Relatively low-resolution display
  • Back cover difficult to remove

The Samsung Galaxy S II is the latest addition to T-Mobile’s lineup of Android phones. It runs Android OS 2.3.5 on a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, and has a 4.5-inch Super AMOLED Plus touchscreen, two cameras, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi wireless networking, and optional HDMI output.

It is currently available from T-Mobile for $229.95 with a new two-year service contract and a $50 mail-in rebate.

BUILD & DESIGN:

Samsung Galaxy S II from T-MobileThe Galaxy S II is a nice looking phone, but there’s really nothing to set it apart in the design department. The front is dominated by the large display of course, but the sides are silver and the rounded corners do make it comfortable to hold. The back is black and slightly textured, but not nearly as much as the Sprint version of this device, which is a marked improvement as the texture on the Sprint phone was actually painful to hold for long periods of time.

The build quality is excellent, with no obvious problems like gaps, rough spots or poor seams. The phone is well designed to focus all of the attention on that large display, though that also means that this phone is so large that it’s at the upper edge of what will comfortably fit in a pocket. It’s very light, which helps, but it does tend to stick out, especially when I sit down.

Display
The 4.52-inch Super AMOLED Plus touchscreen display is the real star of the show. It’s really bright, with rich, vivid color.

Photos and such look nice, though if you examine the screen very closely you can see a few jaggy edges here and there, especially on the home screen and the application launcher. This is because the Galaxy S II?includes a WVGA (800 x 480) display, not the qHD (960 x 540) one that most of its competitors have. It’s not something that really hurts the overall experience, and I don’t want you to get the wrong impression about this screen, because it it really nice — it just doesn’t have that extreme “wow factor” of some of the other recent devices.

Samsung Galaxy S II from T-MobileKeyboard
There’s no physical keyboard, so you’ll be typing on screen. Thankfully this phone includes the fantastic Swype technology, so you can enter text quickly and easily. The keys are large thanks to the large display, and no matter whether you’re using the standard keyboard or making things a little easier on yourself by using Swype, you won’t have any text-entry issues.

Other Buttons & Controls
The Power button is on the top right side of the device, and the Volume Up/Down buttons are on the top left side. The charge/sync port is on the bottom, while the headphone jack is on the top.

The back cover of the phone is rather difficult to get off; you have to stick your fingernail in the small slot close to the volume buttons on the left side of the phone. When you pry it off you’ll find that the SIM card slot and the microSD expansion card slot are located above the battery, not underneath it, which is nice. This means you can swap memory cards without having to shut down the smartphone.


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