Feb 15, 2011

Samsung Galaxy S II official: dual-core 1GHz CPU, 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus, coming this month

One of the worst-kept secrets of MWC this year -- the Galaxy S II -- is finally official, and we'd say it definitely lives up to its name as a proper successor to the original Galaxy S that lit the Android marketplace on fire last year. Major (and largely expected) features include a 4.27-inch 800 x 480Super AMOLED Plus display, an 8 megapixel primary camera with 1080p video capture accompanied by a 2 megapixel cam up front, Gingerbread with TouchWiz 4.0, integrated NFC support (on some versions), and a shell measuring just 8.49mm thick, making it likely the thinnest smartphone ever to roll off an assembly line -- in fact, it's over 0.2mm slimmer than the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc's thinnest point.
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We were originally told that the Galaxy S II would be using an NVIDIA Tegra 2 SOC, but have been informed that was incorrect -- the phone will indeed have a dual-core 1GHz Samsung chip, and quite possibly the Exynos. There's also 1GB of RAM.

We were able to spend a little bit of time with the Galaxy S II today, and we can conclusively say that this is one gorgeous device. It shares the Infuse 4G's aspirations as an ultra-thin Android device and arguably shares most of its industrial design elements, but interestingly, the Infuse steps down from 4.5 to 4.3 inches -- either a nod to the fact that 4.5 is too big for a mainstream smartphone, or a sign that the 4.5-inch Super AMOLED Plus component simply isn't ready yet. You totally notice how ridiculously thin the phone is as it rests in your hand, and the effect is amplified by the fact that it's got so much surface area -- the screen-to-edge ratio is off the charts. Though we still prefer the stock Android experience, TouchWiz 4.0 (as it's being called) on top of Gingerbread is clearly Samsung's most refined custom Android skin to date; a new Game Hub in ROM has potential to do battle with Sony's PlayStation Suiteand allows developers to bypass the download size limits of the Android Market, but we weren't able to test it on the preproduction unit we were given.

Owing to a lack of time and connectivity, we weren't able to put the phone through a suite of speed tests, but the entire UI felt perfect fast and smooth, a testament to the processor's chops. As at CES, we were blown away by the clarity and brightness of the Super AMOLED Plus display -- picture the already-excellent Super AMOLED technology amped up on steroids, and you'll have a good sense of what we're talking about here. All told, this seems like a great upgrade to the Galaxy S; if anything, we're a little concerned that it's going to be a smidge too big for people that were perfectly happy at the 4-inch tier, but odds are good Samsung will continue to crank out smaller devices for those folks. It'll be on the market in parts of Europe and Asia as soon as this month; no word on North America, but as always, there's little doubt Samsung has some plans in the works.

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