Camera, Music, Battery, Conclusion
Samsung has a long history of making devices with strong cameras and the new Galaxy S II is just further evidence that the company knows what it's doing. The main 8 megapixel camera takes fantastic photos nearly every time, though its LED flash tends to, oddly enough, under-expose photos in low light situations. Photos have good white balance and are very sharp, and the phone focuses both quickly and accurately.
HD video fans will be pleased to know that the S II records not just great 720p HD footage, but also good 1080p HD video at 30fps. This device does the best job at mobile 1080p video that I have ever seen. With a new menu system and the great photos and videos it creates, along with a forward-facing 2 megapixel camera for video chatting, there simply is no room for complaint here.
The version of Samsung's music application found in the Galaxy S II is toned down significantly from what we've seen in some earlier devices. It is simple to use, features large album art, and is attractive without feeling overly showy. There's no coverflow like album art scrolling, but the sound is reasonable and the organization is how it should be. It's better than the stock Android music player, but perhaps not as good as the new Android Music app that started rolling out recently.
While Samsung has equipped the Galaxy S II with a larger than normal 1650mAh battery, that alone could not explain the great battery performance I've gotten out of the device. I have been routinely able to get two full days (48+ hours) out of a single charge of the S II. Yes, I've activated Samsung's power saver function, but since that doesn't kick in until 30 percent (as I set it), that wouldn't explain having 50 percent battery left after 24 hours (with Wi-Fi and push email enabled) unless Samsung were doing something else right, which it clearly is.
Samsung claims the phone is good for over 8.5 hours of 3G talk time or up to 25 days of 3G standby time.
This part of the review is easy: The Samsung Galaxy S II is the best Android smartphone available on the market today. If you can ignore a few tiny niggles like missing NFC support and some Samsung bloatware, it's darn near perfect otherwise.