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Samsung Galaxy S II Ц The first impression and contemplation

I do not like big words and declarations: they alienate me. Not so long ago I have had an opportunity to have a look at the Galaxy S II prototypes, but by the release date the phone has changed a bit. A lot of extra applications have been added, the TouchWiz interface has been updated to the version 4 and the system memory size now equals 1GB.

During Samsung's presentation the most of the time was spent on just one single phone Ц Galaxy S II. I would like to note that I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the presentation: for the first time in many years Samsung dropped simple facts enumeration and went for a real show with special effects, comprehensive explanation concerning the future of the phone and, most importantly, what is in this for regular users. Certain aspects were amusing and certain were just plain boring. But the general quality of the presentation was definitely high, no other manufacture, besides Apple, has shown anything quite like this in recent years. What was not common for a Samsung presentation is that there was only one Korean on the stage and only for a short time: the rest of the presentation was given by guest hosts or Europeans working for Samsung. This presentation was dynamic and different from other Samsung has given.

The level of the presentation stresses how important this phone is for Samsung. The company has actually raised the technological bar for all the gadgets to be released on the market. During the presentation I have had an opportunity to exchange a few words with the company's partners: European mobile carriers and retail representatives: all unanimously claimed that, in their opinion, this model is a bestseller and, despite the price, would be very popular. Playing the devil's advocate I kept asking why they thought so, why were they so sure? The responds were similar Ц it is not just a superficial renovation of the previous model but a phone with many aspects completely revised Ц in both software and hardware. Also many mentioned that the phone's performance is really impressive.

I do not want to go over the same thoughts again so below you find a link to the article that went out simultaneously with the phone's world announcement where I have comprehensively examined the issues of the positioning and certain functions. This article deals with the issues that were left behind.

MWC2011 Ц Samsung. No time to dissipate the energy Ц new flagship Galaxy S II and a tablet

A few readers were outraged in their comments that I have paid so little attention to the looks of the phone. Unfortunately, I am no good at discussing the tastes of other people. The Galaxy S sales have shown that many have found its design to their liking. There have not been any critical changes in the looks of S II, not a single one. The rear panel used to be glossy Ц now it is rifled and pleasant to touch and does not catch scratches. And, yes, it is plastic. Those of us who buy phones for metal panels may stop reading right now Ц they will not find the article any good.

The phone's depth as compared to Galaxy S is not really drastically different. The perception from these phones is rather similar. Those who believe that SuperAMOLED Plus screen is just a marketing trick should compare it to the picture of the regular SuperAMOLED. I am sorry for the not the best photos taken from the stand (the light was not favorable), but they can still give you the right impression: even brighter, sharper, general perception is better.

Samsung announced that the phone's graphical processor now has four cores. The company believes that it gives such a performance increment that no other phone today possesses. I will not go deeper into the details of this solution, it is not really important. I will just describe my impressions from the performance of the demo phones Ц it is light speed. Immediate transition between the desktops, a slight touch and the phone responds right away. After just an hour with Galaxy S II my HTC Desire became irritatingly slow and laggy. Who has never tasted bitter, knows not what is sweet. Galleries open so quickly that I cannot compare the performance with any other phone. Not immediately but very quickly. Later today MobileReview.com YouTube channel will be releasing a video with a demo of the interface performance that, I believe, will astound you. Unfortunately, I cannot upload the video from my hotel Ц the internet is too slow.

The shake control is taken to a whole new level: you mat shake, flip, tap the phone and every move has its own meaning. You may use it to control a lot of the phone's functions: there is a preinstalled manual on the shake control.

The phone also features the NFC technology that is used in payment systems in some countries: it allows you to pay your fees for parking or pay for your purchases in a store. Such systems will be developing and Samsung has included this feature to make the phone cutting edge.

I did not attach any importance to the fact that the phone features support for USB on the Go Ц I do not think there are a lot of people who actually use this function.

Data sync and data transfer to a PC is now possible via Wi-Fi, but the key feature here is that there is no need for any additional software. You only need to fill in your browser the URL prompted by the phone and you have access to all the data stored in it. Very convenient. Only Motorola offers a similar solution.

The lost phone control. You may remember that in late 2010 HTC presented a new version of Sense in London. One of its features was the ability to lock a lost phone, trace it or make calls from it. Samsung has gone even further. You may lock your phone from a web-page and send any message to its lock screen. You may trace the location of the phone Ц it will be displayed in your browser. You may also limit the calls, prohibit SIM switch, and listen to the conversations on it. Samsung has considered practically every possible way of reacting to the loss of the phone. This attempt might be designed to lure in corporate users. The latter have received a lot of good news like, for example, full support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync Ц an immediate access to the corporate database. There are also inbuilt means of the phone's memory encrypting, realized by a separate crypto chip to improve the general performance of the phone. Incredible: you may come across all these features separately presented in many phones, but not all together.

Undoubtedly, it is yet premature to claim that this phone will overnight become a hit among corporate clients. But a great leap forward is taken.

In the Settings menu I have come across an interesting option Ц choice of the function to be activated when the phone is placed in the dock station. I suppose the company is planning on releasing such an accessory Ц it would be very appropriate.

The Time application now features a new screen option that may also be designed for the dock station.

I will now briefly cover certain functions and applications. The camera works very fast Ц photos and videos are also saved very quickly. The settings are clear you choose between the options on the screen. In my opinion the photos look pretty good on the screen. When I will be reviewing this phone I will have to run the camera extensively to see what it can do.

The preinstalled picture editor and the video editor are very good Ц they offer a maximum functionality.

Gaming is a lot of fun, the graphics is superb, and the rendering is immediate.

The phone features the voice recognition from Vlingo Ц the phone can put down your speech. We will have to find out how it works in real life, during the presentation everything looked perfect, I believe in practice it won't be that easy.

Below you will find a lot of pictures of the phone that need not any comments.

Bottom line

I like this phone without any "buts": in technical terms it is the best phone currently on the market. It is in fact the best Android Phone: the fastest, the best screen, the best connectivity Ц UMTS, HSUPA; Wi-Fi direct, VoIP, voice recognition different from what Google offers. There is no other manufacturer capable of producing anything quite like this level of technology in the near months.

In Russia the phone will cost you about 1100$ which is a lot (in the EU about 650-700И). On the other hand, a cheaper Galaxy S will be its real alternative Ц the buyers will have an opportunity to choose. If you want the maximum functions and applications Ц you purchase the new phone, if you simply want a great value for your money Ц you go for the last year's flagship.

The history repeats itself for Samsung. The release of the first Galaxy has pushed the company in the leaders of the Android market; other manufacturers began releasing similar products. But Galaxy S II means that a lot of companies will simply not be able to compete at this technological level. It is a deadlock for them. E.g. for Sony Ericsson the development of an analog phone will cost humongous funds and will not be profitable, same for all the other companies.

You have understood that this is not a review but simply thoughts about the phone. I liked it and I am positive it will be a hit shortly. It has got all it takes to be popular. And judging by the web rage of those who cannot afford it (same story as with the first Galaxy) I am confident that the phone will be a success.

Do you want to talk about this? Please, go to our Forum and let your opinion to be known to the author and everybody else.

Eldar Murtazin (eldar@mobile-review.com)
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Translated by Robert Mugattarov (mugattarov@gmail.com)

Published — 14 February 2011

Have something to add?! Write us... eldar@mobile-review.com



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