The Galaxy S II is another smartphone running Google’s Android operating system, specifically the ‘Gingerbread’ version.
The unit we tested was on loan from three.co.uk which is offering the Galaxy S II on a £35 a month contract.
The main selling point of this model is a 4.3” touchscreen – almost an inch bigger than Apple’s iPhone – and there’s no denying it looks sumptuous with bold, vivid colours.
Although the extra screen space comes in useful for tasks such as browsing and email, there’s little sign of Samsung bothering to do much with it.
On its home screens the S II only shows the same 4 apps to a row that the iPhone and every other Android smartphone offers, they just have more space between them.
What’s the point of building a phone around a large display if you don’t do something obvious with it?
When it came to using the Galaxy S II for its primary purpose I found the larger than normal width made it too wide and uncomfortable to hold and I wouldn’t want to use it for a lengthy call.
Like many other handset manufacturers, Samsung seem incapable of not scrimping on the build quality.
The top selling phone on the market is a sandwich of precision engineered glass and steel yet the S II’s back panel is a piece of ultra-thin, flimsy plastic which just clips in place.
As with other Android phones I’ve reviewed of late, Android’s claimed ‘killer feature’ of Flash support was a hit and miss affair.
Video content on the BBC’s news site failed to load for me but Flash trailers on this site worked fine, allowing for the poor 3G signal where I was testing the handset.
If Google and Adobe can’t get to Flash to work consistently it might an idea to dial down the rhetoric – killer features only kill when they work 100%
The 8 megapixel rear camera produces great still images and allows you to capture ‘HD’ video.
The dual core processor keeps the phone zipping along nicely and if your experience of Android phones has been limited to those ultracheap giveaways you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the S II’s speed.
The speed makes this a great phone for showcasing Android and the large display will be ideal for anyone who composes a lot of emails or watches videos on the move.
As with all Android phones, operating system updates aren’t guaranteed and can be slow coming even when they do happen so alway buy based on what the handset does today, not what web chatter suggests they might do tomorrow.