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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Google tweaks the Nexus S Super AMOLED screen with a firmware update. Will Microsoft do this for the Omnia 7 and Focus?

Google has recently tweaked the Nexus S Super AMOLED’s color temperature to be more natural via its Android 2.3.3 OTA firmware update:

“With your new OTA complete, you may notice a slight difference in the way colors are displayed on your Nexus S. For Nexus S, we have adjusted the color temperature settings to more accurately reflect darker colors at all brightness levels. The Gingerbread UI being darker, we found that the colors were not as accurate when the device was being used at lower brightness levels. For example, some users reported that the initial color temperature was too high leading to some darker greys having a reddish tone; with the new color temperature this is no longer the case.”

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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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Super AMOLED vs Super AMOLED Plus

Here’s a small non-scientific comparison of the new Super AMOLED Plusdisplay found on the recently unveiled Samsung Galaxy S II versus the regular Super AMOLED found on the Samsung Galaxy Sand Samsung Omnia 7. I unfortunately can’t upload the full resolution images where the difference between two is more clearly visible because my server bandwidth would take a serious hit so I re-sized them a bit and did some cropping. Check them out after the break:

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Samsung Galaxy S II Preview, hardware specifications and hands on video

Let’s just start by saying that Samsung’s Unpacked Keynote was one of the most boring a useless keynote I have ever attended. Thankfully for the company the products being unveiled vast overshadowed the lackluster presentation: not a single live demo, tons and tons of useless PR talk and even more PR talk (to make things worst the whole thing start one hour late and nobody ever told the audience what was going on). But let’s forget about this and concentrated on one of the most powerful handled device ever created: The Samsung Galaxy S II. So what’s so specially about it? Well, to put it simply: the hardware hardware specifications are just insane:

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Samsung Infuse 4G with new Super AMOLED Plus 4.5 inch display unveiled

Did Samsung finally find a way around the PenTile Sub-Pixel Matrix arrangement for its AMOLED And Super AMOLED displays? Only time will tell but according to hardware specification of the newly unveiled Samsung Infuse 4G the new Super AMOLED Plus panel has 50%more sub-pixel compared to the regular Super AMOLED displays. The device sports a gigantic 4.5 inch screen and a higher clocked 1.2Ghz Hummingbird SOC (so no dual-core as seen in the rumors ).The Infuse 4G which is headed to AT&T also has an 8MP camera on the back and a front facing 1.3Mpix for video chat, runs Android 2.2 and an HSPA+ radio (no LTE in sight). More picture after the break:

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Super AMOLED color banding issue: Microsoft could partially fix it

I just did some more testing and am fairly sure now that everything is rendered at 16bit throughout the OS in Windows Phone 7 (similar to WM5/6). The picture you see above shows the image found in this news posted rendered in the Android browser on the Galaxy S (left) and IE Mobile on the Samsung Omnia 7 (right). Keep in mind that both devices have exactly the same Super AMOLED panel. What is evident here is that dithering is applied to the pictures on Android. All you have to do is move the page around on the Galaxy S to see that it’s activated (the color dithering) when the page is standing still but when you scroll or pan the images will look identical to the ones rendered on the Omnia 7 in IE Mobile. So what I did next is save this particular image and then open it in the picture’s browser where I know that dithering is applied once you start zooming in:

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LCD vs Super AMOLED on the Samsung Omnia 7 vs HTC 7 Trophy and LG Optimus 7

I’ve just shot another video of color banding issue on the Samsung Omnia 7′s Super AMOLED versus the HTC 7 Trophy and LG Optimus 7. Unfortunately videos or pictures can’t really reproduce the real experience, but believe when I tell you that the HTC 7 Trophy LCD screen has some pretty good colors compared to the other two devices (btw, they where all set to high brightness). I’m not 100% sure but the Trophy’s screen seems to be a regular TFT LCD panel and not an SLCD like previously announced (we have already seen HTC shipping both, and that sucks big time IMO. Sending reviewers like me devices with inferior screens is kinda stupid too…). Anyway, check out the video after the break:

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Super AMOLED vs LCD outdoors visibility comparison: Omnia 7 vs Optimus 7 vs HTC HD2 vs Galaxy S

Here’s  a follow up to my previous Super AMOLED vs LCD comparison (and here) this time comparing the outdoors visibility of both screen technologies on the Samsung Omnia 7 and Galaxy S for the Super AMOLED and the LG Optimus 7 and HTC HD2 for the TFT LCD. There are lots of pictures (after the break) and all where shot with the brightness set to the same settings on all devices (some are  shot with it set to auto and others to full brightness) so it’s a really an apple to apple comparison. As you will see the Super AMOLED is just a tiny bit better that the LCD on the Optimus 7 (the difference is more noticeable in real life thought) but the HD2 is just a giant mirror compare to the other devices (the HTC HD7 has exactly the same screen btw):

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Super AMOLED vs LCD on the Samsung Omnia 7 and LG Optimus 7

Here’s short video update to my previous post about the color banding issue on Super AMOLED screens. Nothing really new here but I just wanted to show you how it looks like in “motion” just in case somebody thought that I doctored the pictures I posted two days ago. The issue here is the RGBG (Red Green Blue Green) PenTile Sub-Pixel arrangement coupled with the insanely high contrast on the Samsung Super-AMOLED panel. To be perfectly clear: according to Samsung’s specs the Super-AMOLED screens are 24bit panels (don’t know about the RGB TFT LCD on the LG but I guess that’s it’s just a 18bit panel that does 24bit with dithering) but I don’t know if Windows Phone 7is being rendered in 16bit or 32bit. If it’s the former, then moving to 32bit could partially fix the problem but Samsung can also do some adjustments to diminish the issue too. video after the break:

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The problem with Super AMOLED screens: Nasty color banding

Samsung’s Super AMOLED screen panel is gorgeous, especially when displaying  Windows Phone 7′s Metro UI (with the drak theme) unfortunately there are several ugly drawbacks. First, you have to live with fuzzy text because of the PenTile Matrix Sub-pixel arrangement. Secondly, you will witness sever color banding, thanks in parts to the same PenTile Matrix (it is RGBG compared to a regular RGB lcd…) and also to the extremely vibrant and high color contrast of the screen. I took two photos to show you how ugly it can look like on the Samsung Omnia 7 vs the regular TFT LCD screen of the LG Optimus 7. This is really a problem especially for developers who now have to pay close attention to the assets they are using when building their applications. I’m not entirely sure if the OS is currently running at 32bit color depth but if I had to guess I would say that it is probably set at 16bit (could be wrong thought). Moving up to 32bit could potentially diminish the problem a bit on Samsung’s AMOLED screens. Samsung can also tweak the amplitude of the modulation of the sub-pixels to reduce the problem. One more picture after the break:

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HTC HD7 vs Samsung Omnia 7 vs HTC 7 Mozart screen comparison

The lucky gals at Engadget have just posted a three way screen comparison of the HTC HD7 vs Samsung Omnia 7 vs HTC 7 Mozart. The first thing you will notice is the perfect blacks on the Omnia 7′s Super-AMOLED compared to the HTC 7 Mozart’s SLCD panel and the Regular TFT-LCD screen of the HTC HD7. No surprise here but you will have to live with the sucky Pentile Matrix sub-pixel arrangement if you what the brightest Windows phone 7 device on the market. And just to be clear, the HTC HD7 uses exactly the same screen has on the original HTC HD2 so the colors feel kinda washed out even compared to other TFT-screens and the viewing angles are the worst of all the WP7 devices that are going on sale this week. More pictures and videos after the break:

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HTC Desire: SLCD VS AMOLED comparison

Engadget has just wrapped up an SLCD vs AMOLED screen comparison featuring the HTC Desire handset. As we have already seen earlier the difference between both screen isn’t really noticeable in regular use and the vast majority of users won’t even notice the two handsets have different panels. The AMOLED obviously “features” the famous PenTile Matrix that tends to render text in a fuzzy way but the perfect blacks tend to make up for this shortcoming in the long run. The SLCD is sharper (thanks to the regular RGB panel) but unfortunately drains the battery faster than the AMOLED. But all this stuff is kinda moot because “issue” with the HTC Desire is the damn Glass and air gap between the panel/digitizer and glass used by HTC. This renders the handset hard to use in the daylight and totaly nukes the screen’s brightness and colors.  Video and pictures after the break:

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Samsung Fascinate launching tomorrow on September 8th

Verizon is finally going to release its variant of the Samsung Galaxy S tomorrow after all the other major carriers. The Samsung Fascinate  is slightly diffferent from the other regular (and EU version) of the Galaxys by featuring a dedicated camera button and a LED flash alongside the camera. The phone will go for the usual $199 with a 2 year-contract and should really be considered by any Verizon owner looking to get a new handset given that thebig Red company probably won’t have any Windows Phone 7handset this fall and the fact that the Galaxy S is curretly the most powerfull mobile device on the market. The Fascinate will also have Bing as the default search engine instead of Google. Full Press Release after the break:
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Samsung Epic 4G user manual available for download

The hotly anticipated Samsung Epic 4G is about to hit retail in a few days (August 31th) and as it’s frequently the case the device’s user manual is already up on Samsung’s servers. You can grab it right now if you are planning to get the device next week and be familiar with the product. I just took a quick glance at the pdf and can already tell you that it doesn’t deffer much from the other Galaxy S user manuals.

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Samsung Epic 4G Review round-up

The usual suspects have posted the first round of Sprint’s Samsung Epic 4G reviews today. All three of them (Engdaget, Gizmodo, and Slashgear) have found the Epic 4G to be the best Android handset currently on the market and definitely a step up from the HTC EVO 4G available on the same carrier. One has to keep in the mind that the Epic is basically just a Samsung Galaxy S with a sliding keyboard and WiMax radio so one can concluded that Samsung keyboard-less offering (the Glaxy S,  Vibrant, Captivate, Fascinate) are also really top notch products. I’m currently using a Galaxy S and can confirm that Samsung has done an awesome job this time around and the 720P capturing mode is really good IMO (I’ll talk about it once I post my HTC Wildfire review really soon).

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HTC EVO 4G VS Samsung Epic 4G video

In an attempt to educate potential Samsung Epic 4G buyers, Sprint has shot a short video comparing the Epic 4G vs the HTC EVO 4G which is its most direct and natural competitor. The video basically enumerates all the features that Samsung’s phone has over the EVO 4G. You know…stuff like: a Super-AMOLED screen, better CPU and GPU, sliding Qwerty keyboard, DNLA, etc. I’m sure that HTC is delighted.. Check it out after the break:

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