updated 07:50 pm EDT, Tue August 30, 2011
Samsung shows AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint variants
Samsung has finally introduced the Galaxy S II variants that will be headed to US carriers AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint. Electronista had a chance to try out the new handsets that were formally unveiled today at a special event at the Samsung Experience venue in New York City. In our hands-on preview, we take a look at how the S II stacks up against its predecessor and theoretical competitors such as the iPhone 5.
Only the Sprint and AT&T adaptations were available to explore; T-Mobile chose to keep its S II locked in cases, likely due to unfinished software or other unresolved issues. Corroborating earlier rumors, a Verizon edition was nowhere to be seen.
The S II's display is one of its focal points, spreading 4.3 inches from corner to corner. Despite the large screen size, the handset is thin enough to maintain a relatively low volume that appears to be easily pocketable. Samsung's Super AMOLED Plus technology overcomes many of the drawbacks of other OLED screens, bringing vibrant colors with a crisp appearance for fine details such as small text.
Samsung chose to utilize its own dual-core processor, which runs at 1.2GHz. The phone was very fast and responsive, tending toward a fluid appearance when transitioning between various interface elements. The chip seemed to handle intensive operations very well, such as web browsing and video playback.
Although Apple has yet to formally introduce the next iPhone, most rumors suggest the company will go with a smaller screen that reaches only 3.7 inches. It is unclear if the panel will use the same iPS technology as the iPad and iPhone 4, which may give it a viewing angle advantage but without the color vibrance and impressive contrast ratio of Samsung's AMOLED screen. The next iPhone's processor specs are less certain, however the company is unlikely to fall behind the pack.
The Galaxy S II offers a variety of clear improvements over the first-generation Galaxy S variants, helping to keep the new handset as a strong competitor in the Android market. The marginal improvements make for an impressive handset, though the premier elements - a 4.3-inch screen and 1.2GHz dual-core processor - do not represent an entirely unique design. Potential customers sitting on the platform fence may still be curious to know what the iPhone 5 brings, though they will have to wait until later in the year.