I have to say as an avid iPhone and iOS fan, this handset could turn me if I did not think Apple will strike back strongly.
When you pick up the handset, the first thing you notice is the elegant design and weight of the phone giving a firm and strong feel. The first Galaxy S was indeed, iPhone like (see much publicised legal action). And perhaps thats where the operational feel has been inspired from but this time round the handset seems more original. Yes, it is a touch screen and it’s hard for a touch screen device not to look alike to others at times particularly when the screen is so dominant. The form of the handset here is so simple, thin and great to hold. This should be a pointer to Apple in terms of how thin the Samsung Galaxy S 2 is.
Don’t get me wrong, this handset is not as attractive as the iPhone 4 but it is pretty damn close and in fact, you can be forgiven for believing as I do, that only Apple could better this handset which sits alongside only a couple of other Android handsets for looks.
And here is something, although the screen on the new Galaxy is 800X480 over a 4.3 inch area, it seems to perform brilliantly when compared to other similar pixel screens (see Google Nexus S for example). It is not a match for the iPhone 4 but for what it is (I do not mean that detrimentally), this is a very good screen. You can understand the use of such screen in perhaps preserving battery life in such a thin handset when the battery size would have an impact by how much juice the screen uses. And while we are on the subject of the screen, go to a stockist and check out how good videos look when played back, that alone will impress you along with the screen size which makes it more suitable for videos. Again, the screen quality does not in my mind rival the iPhone but it’s size makes all the difference and it handles the quality with disregard for most competitors.
When you use the screen, touch response is as good as you would expect from an up to date device.
Performance is stunning as the handset should be with the dual core processor which I read clocks at 1.2GHz. The reality for me was that the handset handles everything you throw at it with such speed I did feel slightly jealous that it was not an iPhone! I have not tried all Android phones but I can not possibly imagine that this can be beaten at the moment. And by the way, the Camera is awesome for a smart phone. Crisp and every bit the stated eight megapixel it claims to be.
And so on to the operating system. The handset uses the bang up to date Android 2.3 Gingerbread. Now I have only sparingly looked at Gingerbread up to now and one noticeable difference between this and the Google Nexus S is that Samsung have obviously slightly adapted the experience so for example, app menus swipe side to side in an iPhon-esque manner. In fact it feels a bit iPhoney all round! I do not mind that but Apple might!
The keyboard is okay and given my limited Android use to date, I have read in other reviews that the standard Android Keyboard (downloadable from the Android Market) is more accurate so it is worth keeping that in mind. I had few problems with the Samsung keyboard.
Samsung’s mail client looks smart but I had limited use of this on the test handset we used so I will leave you to fully decide but I can not see what I experienced letting a user down. I did however get to see the Social Hub app working, pretty neat, I like the idea of a universal Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn app (amongst others). I also see that you can integrate in Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo Messenger which is also a good feature.
There is not much to complain about with the software on the device whether it be Samsung Apps and influence or the overall Android operating system. Time will tell how Samsung will embrace any update to Android OS with this handset in the future but my Android friends tell me they have been good with the original Galaxy S handset which they have all raved about since day one.
Overall, I really can not complain too much about this handset but as always, I am weary of Android handsets and how quickly there is potential to get left behind. If I switched to an Android handset on a day to day basis, I would be tempted by this phone. It is excellent as an all round smart phone. If you want to play it safe however, you may still want to stick with a Google Nexus S for the very sake of Android updates. Otherwise you could also check out the HTC Sensation but on the face of it, the Samsung Galaxy S 2 looks like a class beater, for now.