The Samsung Galaxy S was the best Android phone when it was first released and it really threatened iPhone’s hold on the smartphone market. Now we have seen two versions of the elder brother the Samsung Galaxy S II both from AT&T and Sprint. As if those two were not good enough already, in this review we will look at the Samsung Galaxy S II T-Mobile. So let’s look further if this phone is as good as its rivals or perhaps maybe better.
In a nutshell, the Samsung Galaxy S II T-Mobile looks almost like the Sprint Samsung Epic 4G Touch and the one way to easily differentiate it would be by the position of the front facing camera. At 5.11 x 2.71 x 0.37 inches, it is wide enough to fit its screen and also thinner than other phones like the HTC Amaze 4G or the T-Mobile G2x but with better specs. It also is light as ever with its plastic build which doesn’t show any signs of fragility. The back cover is made of rubber and is textured so you don’t get any dirt on it and at the same time it gives added grip. Just like its counterparts on AT&T and Sprint, the Samsung Galaxy S II T-Mobile also sports a 4.52 inch WVGA Super AMOLED Plus display which means you get the same old goodness with this phone too.
Moreover, at this size it is one of the biggest screens you will see on a phone for now. The left side of the phone is home for the volume rocker. Meanwhile, the power button can be found on the right and on top sits the standard audio jack. On the bottom is the micro-USB port which can be used to provide video-out functionality by using an MHL adapter. Flipping the phone reveals an 8MP auto-focus camera with LED flash and also the notches for the speaker. The mammoth 1850mAh battery sits underneath the back cover. Look underneath and you will find the slots for your SIM and microSD cards.
The CPU is where we come across one of the major differences the Samsung Galaxy S II T-Mobile has over its siblings on the other service providers. This phone is powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 CPU rather than the Exynos dual-core processor on the other two. This results in speedy operation but not as fast and smooth as the two variants of this phone as you notice some small but noticeable lag issues.
The latest version of Samsung’s TouchWiz UI comes together with the Samsung Galaxy S II T-Mobile and what makes things even better is the latest version of Android v.2.3.5 Gingerbread that it runs on. Thanks to all the latest in terms of software, we get a phone that has a much neater and organized look compared to the previous versions. As always, TouchWiz maintains the high level of customization for instance the many gesture options to navigate through the OS and gallery. Some might say it is not so practical to use some of the gestures, but we say get creative as that’s where all the fun is.
There are also some useful desktop widgets for your power management use and getting instant traffic updates. Another great thing is the customized applications list where you can create folders to either group your favorite apps in one place or to hide all the bloatware in one folder. There are some utility apps that T-Mobile has installed on this phone like 411 and More app that help you in getting info and another app called Name ID that shows some info about who’s calling you provided you pay the monthly fee of $3.99. While in terms of media apps, there is the T-Mobile TV app as well as the Kies air app. The Kies air app helps you manage and sync your media manually giving you an alternative to the Android’s media syncing options. Oik Video Chat also comes out of the box which is great. The T-Mobile Mall which comes pre-installed on the Samsung Galaxy S II T-Mobile is where you can go to get new ringtones for $2.99 each.
Between the T-Mobile and Samsung logos that are embossed in chrome is the giant 4.52 inch WVGA Super AMOLED Plus screen. This is bigger than the 4.3 inch screen that we found on the AT&T version of this phone ad it provides wide viewing angles and a great color production. However a bigger screen with the same WVGA resolution means the Samsung Galaxy S II T-Mobile has reduced pixel density. Nevertheless, it still gives some high-contrast looks and still is one of the top screens on a phone.
The Samsung Galaxy S II regardless of the service provider has proven to serve us with a great 8MP camera every time and the same applies for this phone. The camera on the Samsung Galaxy S II T-Mobile is super responsive and it also does focusing tasks quickly giving some really good photos. However, there were issues too like the narrow dynamic range of the sensor producing washed out images in well lit scenarios and also murky ones when you are shooting in the dark. The camera offers some serious customization as well in terms of exposure compensation, white balance and ISO. Clear audio recording at a rate of 29fps means the 1080p video recording on this phone is great as well.
Powered by T-Mobile, this Samsung Galaxy S II is blessed with HSPA+ connection speeds as it proves with its ability to load Flash content easily. The phone is also responsive so you can go crazy with the navigation and the phone will carry out your every crazy move. It is a global phone as it is the GSM type. The usual connectivity options like aGPS, Bluetooth 3.0 and of course Wi-Fi is available.
Call quality is obviously still important and Samsung has done a great job as you find the voicse on both ends to be clear. However there is a minor blip as the earpiece isn’t as loud as we would like it and that means talking to your friend on the Samsung Galaxy S II T-Mobile in a crowded place is going to be a little tough. The speakerphone also lets us down as it produces squeaky voices. At 1850mAh, this phone sports the highest capacity battery of the Samsung Galaxy S II line and that shows as you can go through the whole day without needing a recharge with average use and almost half a day with some seriously heavy use.
Pros and Cons
The camera on the Samsung Galaxy S II T-Mobile turns out to be a highlight with great pictures and video. It’s slim for a phone packing such good specs.
The Super AMOLED Plus display we really loved, but with the increase in size, the WVGA resolution is clearly ageing. Light lag issues at times.
The Samsung Galaxy S II T-Mobile is another great addition to the other two phones on AT&T and Sprint and it has some exceptional web browsing and camera performances. So if you are looking at getting an amazing phone and have some money to spare, here’s the phone for you.