- Excellent screen
- Excellent performance
- Blazing fast 4G speeds
- Great camera with good zoom feature
- Very good battery life
- Uninspired overall design
- Small, hard to find buttons
- Occasional coverage issues
Should be right at the top of the short list for AT&T customers who want an LTE 4G phone.
The Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket is one of the few smartphones available that can connect to AT&T’s 4G LTE service. It has a 4.3-inch touchscreen, and runs Android on a dual-core processor with 16GB of storage. You’ll find all of the standard features like an 8 megapixel camera with LED flash plus a front-facing 2 megapixel camera for videoconferencing, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Mobile Hotspot, and a speakerphone in a compact package.
It is currently available from AT&T for $200 with a new two-year service contract and a minimum $15 per month data plan.
If anyone is feeling a touch of deja vu, it might be because AT&T released a very similar device called simply the Samsung Galaxy S II a bit earlier. The previous model has a 4.2-inch Super AMOLED Plus screen, a slimmer shape, and no LTE support.
BUILD & DESIGN
As far as design is concerned, the Skyrocket is unfortunately another one of those “me too” devices that are currently flooding the market. The bezel that wraps around the sides of the phone is a very dark hematite gray, and everything else is black.
The device measures just under 5-inches tall, 2.6-inches wide, and just one third of an inch thick. It weighs just 4.13 ounces and is one of the lightest Android smartphones that I’ve reviewed recently. It has a relatively large footprint due to the large display, but it’s thin and light enough not to be too much of a burden whether you keep it in your pocket or in a gear bag or purse.
The back of the phone is flat black plastic, not textured in any way. Somehow it isn’t slippery though, and I didn’t have any grip issues at all, or have any problems with the phone trying to slip out of my hand.
The 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus screen is beautiful, and capable of eye-blinding brightness if that’s what you want. I had to turn it down in the phone settings for regular use, though that extreme brightness did come in handy when using the Skyrocket outside.
The WVGA (800 x 480) resolution is average for a high-end smartphone. Some devices have more pixels, but the Skyrocket uses all it has very well.
The Skyrocket isn’t equipped with a physical keyboard, so you’ll be using an on-screen virtual keyboard for all of your text-entry needs. Since the phone has a large display, the virtual keyboard has relatively large keys, and is usable even in portrait mode. It’s fine for general purposes like messaging and even memos, if you have nimble fingers and some patience.
Other Buttons & Controls
The power button is on the top right edge of the phone, and the volume up/down key is on the upper left edge. The headphone jack is on the top edge, though I prefer that it was on the bottom, close to the charge/sync port, so that the wires wouldn’t dangle awkwardly over the screen when I’m searching through my playlists.
The buttons are very sleek, streamlined, low profile, and therefore a little hard to find with your fingers. It’s not a major problem, just a small annoyance — especially when you pull your phone out of your purse or pocket and can’t tell which end is which.
There are four touch-sensitive buttons located under the display, and the microSD card slot is under an easily-removed back cover. Thankfully it isn’t under the battery, so it’s relatively accessible if you need to swap your card out for some reason.
This is Part 1 of a multi-page review. Please continue reading Part 2 to learn about this Samsung smartphone’s performance.