Samsung Galaxy S II reviews: The best Android smartphone ever ?

The first Samsung Galaxy S II reviews just popped-up today courtesy of Samsung UK who seems to have handled review samples to UK editors this week. The verdict seems to be really positive especially Vlad’s review. According to Engadget’s editor the Galaxy S II is simply the best Android smartphone ever created.

The handset’s biggest sell point is obviously its 4.3″ Super AMOLED Plus display which I hand the opportunity to check out in Barcelona in February during the MWC11. Gone is the annoying PenTile Matrix subpixel arrangements which is no replace by a normal RGB matrix. This essentially means that the WVGA Super AMOLED Plus screen has 1,152,000 sub-pixels compared to 768,000 if it was a regular Super AMOLED panel (see my Super AMOLED vs Super AMOLED Plus hands on comparison here).  Interestingly Samsung is also allowing the user to tweak the screen’s color saturation via a setting called “Background Effect”.This is definitely a good thing given that AMOLED panels are highly color saturated most of the time.

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Samsung Galaxy S II to be available on May 1st in the UK

Samsung has just announced that the mighty Samsung Galaxy II super-phone will be available on May 1st across all carriers in the UK. This will be the i9100 version with the new 1.2Ghz Exynos 4210 SoC and Super AMOLED Plus display. You can check out my hands on video here and here and a close up of the Super AMOLED Plus screen here.  Now I just hope that the software has been improved since February (it was choppy most of the time) and that the device won’t melt after a few hours of use (the prototypes I played with were all burning hot). Full press release after the break:

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Samsung Galaxy S II gets a processor speed bump to 1.2Ghz

The Exynos 4210 powered version of the Samsung Galaxy S II (not to be confused with the Tegra 2 version) is apparently receiving a processor speed bum to 1.2ghz according to Samsung Estonia’s Facebook page. The device was initially announced with a 1Ghz Dual core CPU back in February in Barcelona and is now expected to hit the streets at the end of May or June.

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First Adreno 220 benchmarks show that it is a beast

Qualcomm’s Adreno GPU’s have always been seen as being a sub-par graphics compared to competing offerings from Imagination (PowerVR) and others like NVIDIA’s Tegra. This was essentially true with the Adreno 200 on Windows Mobile and Android mainly because of poor driver quality. Things are a bit different on Windows Phone 7 where the Adreno 200 is the only currently supported GPU, thanks to the tight integration with the OS and relatively good support provided by Microsoft. You can check out my recent Fable Coin Golf video to see that some pretty nice things can be done with it.

The Adreno 205 which is part of the MSM8X55 SoC package is a step forward in terms of performance and can be comparable in some case with the current top dog, the PowerVR SGX540 as seen in my benchmarks here. Qualcomm has also recently released new drivers for the 205 which slightly improves its performance compared to what you see in my benches (they are the ones used by Sony Ericsson in the Xperia Play).

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Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 announced: specifications and pricing

Samsung has just unveiled the Galaxy Tab 8.9 which is simply smaller version of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 announced last month at MWC. So what the big difference between the two products? Noting besides that screen size: 8.9 inch vs 10.1 inch. Everything else is essentially the same; same Tegra 2 SoC, Same 3mPix camera on the back and 2Mpix on the front etc.. The Screen has the same resolution so the Galaxy Tab 8.9 has a higher pixel density but other than that and the smaller 6000Mha battery compare to 6800Mha on the 10.1 you have the same product.

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LG Optimus Black Preview: Hands on video

One more hands preview from Mobile World Congress today. This time it’s the LG Optimus Black Android handset which feature the company’s newest 4inch WVGA IPS panel called Nova display. Under the hood you’ll find a TI OMAP 3630 SoC clocked at 1Ghz powering the whole thing. This is obviously far from the Optimus 3D’s insane hardware specifications but should be enough to run Android 2.3 without any problem. This SoC includes a PowerVRSGX530 GPU so you can expect 3D performance to be weaker than the Galaxy S and its SGX540.

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One more Samsung Galaxy S II hands on video

You may have noticed that it’s a relatively slow news weekend here (yeah I’m not feeling like posting every single bit of WP7 related rumor / chatter lately..) so I decided to dig into my Mobile World Congress stash and post a second Samsung Galaxy S II hands on video for your viewing pleasure. There’s definitely nothing amazing in there ‘just all everything that came out of MWC this year unfortunately) but if you are still craving for some Exynos 4210 action just hit the break to check it out.

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Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc Preview: Hands on video

One of most impressive and best looking Android handset on display at Mobile World congress was definitively Sony Ericsson’s Xperia Arc with its super thin design and nice 4.2 inch screen. You can check out the hardware specifications here in case you didn’t know them yet. similar to the vast majority of the high-end Android phones being released the Xperia Arc features Qualcomm’s MSM8255 SoC with the Adreno 205 GPU. The device’s main differentiating features are the Reality Display with Mobile BRAVIA® Engine (FWVGA 854×480 and LED Back-lit but looks identical in quality to an SLCD panel IMO) the 8 Mpix Exmor R CMOS sensor (maximum aperture of f/2.4), mini-HDMI port and super thin design (only 8.7mm thick). So how does it all look like in real life? After handling it for a few minutes I can safely say that the Xperia Arc is one of the nicest phones out there. It may be a tiny bit too plasticy but size of the screen really makes it feel like something unique.

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HTC Incredible S Preview: hardware specifications and hands on video

It has been well publicized that HTC’s Mobile World Congress announcements have been somewhat underwhelming in terms of hardware compared to the competition. You can read my thoughts about this in my HTC Flyer preview post and also here were I discussed the Windows Phone 7 hardware needs. Let’s start with HTC Incredible S which the spiritual successor of the original HTC Incredible released on Verizon last year. Check out the full specifications after the break:

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Sony Ericsson Xperia Play Preview: hands on video and gameplay

Wondering what’s inside Sony Ericsson’s first PlayStation Certified handset? Just check out the full software and hardware specifications here. Now let me give you my first hands on impression of the Xperia Play after playing with it for a couple of minutes earlier this week. The build quality seemed to be relatively solid but a bit too much plasticy or my taste and the two L and R trigger button on the top of the device really felt cheap because of this. The 4 inch FWVGA (854×480) screen looks really nice thought and had good viewing angles for an LCD (I’m guessing that it’s the same as on the Sony Xperia Arc (hands-on video coming soon..) and similar to the SLCD found on HTC’s latest devices (but Sony Ericsson loves to called this Bravia something.. marketing..you know..).

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Sony Ericsson Xperia Play specifications

As you probably already know by now the much anticipated PSP Phone aka the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play was officially unveiled a few days ago in Barcelona during Mobile World Congress. But what is inside the first PlayStation Certified handset? Just hit the break to check out the exhaustive list of features and hardware specifications of the device. You can then go and check out my hands on preview and video here.

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Why Windows Phone 7 doesn’t desperately need more powerful devices this year

As you have probably already noticed I was at Mobile World Congress this week so I had the opportunity to play around with some of the latest and most powerful handsets ever created. This year was obviously dominated by Google’s Android platform which took center stage at the convention with essentially every OEMs demonstrating or unveiling products running the immensely successful OS. What does it have to do with Windows Phone 7 hardware ? Well if there’s one thing that really garbed my attention it is the fact that not a single Android device I played with was as snappy and smooth as the Samsung Omnia 7 device I had in my pocket (or any iPhone model). Yes some of the devices on display were running non finalized software and probably hardware too but this has already been the case with retail devices like the Galaxy S and Desire HD which feature more powerful hardware than all the currently released WP7 devices (you can watch my 7 minutes long Galaxy S II video here).

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Qualcomm MSM8660 and Adreno 220 GPU demo

Here’s a nice video I shot yesterday at Qualcomm’s booth showing the Adreno 220 GPU in action running an OpenGL ES 2.0 demo developed by Southend interactive (on Android). The development device that you see hooked up to the HDTV via the mini-HDMI port packs Qualcomm’s MSM8660 dual-core CPU and Adreno 220 GPU that is going to be found in HP Palm’s TouchPad (under the APQ8060 name) and apparently the HTC Pyramid aka Sensation / (note that the output displayed on the TV is WVGA content upscaled to 1080P). I had a small chat with a couple of Qualcomm guys about their future SoCs and also the Windows Phone 7. I was once again told that they were working really closely with Microsoft right now on current Adreno 200 support (HLSL/ Programmable Shader support in XNA should by coming this year) and future Chassis which are being discussed and finalized right now (that’s what I got from the hints I was given). MS apparently is also wants to support higher resolution screens so newer SoCs are going to be certified. Because the of the Adreno’s close architectural similarities with the Xbox360 Xenos GPU the company can squeeze more out of it compared on Windows Phone 7 compared to Google on Android (there’s also the fact the Microsoft has total control over the API which is Direct3D Mobile).

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HTC Flyer preview: Hardware specifications and thoughts

First off, big thumbs down to HTC who only allowed those, who were able to go to the press event, to get a closer look at the HTC Flyer yesterday and even those present at the event weren’t allowed to touch it… (I had a meeting with MS at the same time so I couldn’t be present at HTC’s announcement). So everybody else was left with 3 devices running a promo video behind a glass (see video after the break). Anyway, so what is the Flyer all about? Well, I’m still trying to figure out what went through HTC’s mind here and why they decided to make this weird Android 2.4 tablet instead of going for a Tegra 2 powered Android 3.0 Honeycomb product like every other major OEM. The company definitely seems to be in so kind of identity crisis and thinks that it’s more important for them to push out their brand name with recycled hardware (HD2-HD7, Desire HD -> Incredible S, Desire S etc..) instead of pushing the hardware forward or even updating the current device with their latest software version so that we won’t have to buy exactly the same hardware (re-branded and renamed) just to have the latest version of Android and Sense. But I then remembered something: HTC has always done this back in the Windows Mobile days. Every single WinMo phone that came out after the original HTC Touch was the same frigging hardware internally and all that changed was the TouchFlo version (their last innovative product was the HTC HD2). The same is happening now with their Android devices and this is seriously starting to piss off some people. Now when you think about it, the MSM8255 that was first introduced in the Desire HD is still one of the best SoC out there so there was no real reason to change it and personally think that what Samsung and LG are doing is just overkill given that Android doesn’t seem to take any real advantage out of the crazy processing power found in their newly announced handsets.. The main problem here is that HTC is going to market those new devices as something brand new super phones when they are in fact just recycled Desire HD’ with smaller screens.

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LG Optimus Pad preview: Hands on video

The LG Optimus Pad is planned to be the second Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablet to hit the market later this year after the Motorola Xoom finally launchs at the end of this month in the US. What sets the Optimus Pad apart from its direct competition is its physical size and smaller 8.9 inch screen (15:9 aspect ratio) which was specifically designed to be easily portable with one hand. The device also packs two 5 Mpix cameras to shoot 720P 3D Stereoscopic content which can then be viewed on a 3D enabled TV through the device’s HDMI port, directly on the device screen in red/blue anaglyph mode or uploaded to YouTube’s 3D channel. Out of all of the Honeycomb tablet’s I’ve played with the LG Optimus Pad was surprisingly the snappiest and smoothest even though they were all powered by the same nVidia Tegra 2 chipset. But I’ will obviously reserve my final judgment until the final retail products are released. Check out my hands-on video after the break:

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HTC Flyer tablet announced

HTC has just introduced it’s new 7 inch Android 2.4 tablet with a pressure sensitive capacitive stylus today. The HTC Flyer definitely looks like a weird offering compared to the bunch of Tegra 2 powered Android 3.0 powerhouses that are coming out in the coming weeks. The device is powered by a single-core 1.5Ghz SoC (from Qualcomm I guess) has 1Gb of Ram, a 7inch screen with a resolution of 1024×600, 32Gb of internal storage and a new version of Sense. and will support the OnLive gaming service that HTC invested in a not long ago. I will go hands-on with it later today to see what it’s all about because so far it looks really disappointing to me. Full press release after the break:

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CDMA Windows Phone 7 phones coming out in March?


As you have probably already heard, Microsoft has outlined its Windows Phone 7 update roadmap today during MWC and announced that the forthcoming NoDo update, now scheduled to be pushed out in early March, will also include support for CDMA handset. It is now safe to assume that Verizon and Sprint will finally release their Windows Phone handsets in the weeks following the update’s release.

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Windows Phone 7 Kinect companion Rally Ball game video


Here’s the promotional video of the the Windows Phone 7 Kinect companion Rally Game that was just shown during the MWC congress keynote just an hour ago. It’s still unclear how the game actually works. Is the skeleton actually mapped on the players via the camera’s viewfinder or is the whole data being processed on the Xbox and then set to the Windows Phone 7 handset via Wifi? Just hit the break to see the action:

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Multi-Tasking and IE 9 Mobile and Twitter integration, Kinect interaction coming to Windows Phone 7 in second half of 2011

That’s right folsk! Steve Ballmer has just announced during his MWC eynote that full Multi-Tasking , IE9 Mobile with full Hardware acceleration and Twitter integration are coming to Windows Phone 7 in the Second half of 2011. That’s Mango for you! Stay tuned fro more… The Office hub is also being updated Hit the break for the full feature’s description:

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