Samsung Galaxy S II Evaluate

The first generation Samsung Galaxy S flagship and the myriad variations it spawned helped bring Samsung to the forefront of the Android world. It was fast, had a great display, and generally had a solid user experience.

Samsung's second time at bat, however, promises bigger and better things. The new Samsung Galaxy S II is even bigger, yet much thinner, and has a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus display and well over twice the processing power of the original.

With HSPA + data support, nifty new user interface functions and Google's Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS, the Galaxy S II sets a new high water mark that forces all other devices to stay afloat. At least for now.

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The Samsung Galaxy S II is a large device thanks to its 4.3-inch WVGA touchscreen display (800 x 480 pixels). The fact that it's only 8.5mm thick makes it a lot easier to palm than competing devices with similarly sized displays.

The display itself is a brilliant Super AMOLED Plus model that improves upon an already good range of Samsung displays. It is very easy to read in direct sunlight, offers improved sharpness compared to older Super AMOLED displays and produces colors that offer a lot of visual penetration.

The rest of the phone, which is 125.5mm x 66mm x 8.5mm (4.9 in x 2.6 in x 0.3 in) and weighs 116.3 g (4.1 ounces), looks also good. There is a hardware home button on the front, flanked by a touch-sensitive menu and the back buttons below the display, as well as a front-facing camera. The back cover wraps the Galaxy S II's 8-megapixel camera and LED flash. It's nicely textured and can be removed to reveal the 1650 mAh battery, SIM card slot, and microSD memory card slot. The phone has 16 GB of internal storage and no microSD card is included.

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On the edges of the device are the volume control, the power button, the 3.5mm headphone jack, and the uncovered micro-USB port. The design is simple and maybe somewhat Apple-inspired, but it's very workable and practical. And I love the touch screen.

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