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Summary:

AT&T’s Galaxy S II launches on Oct. 2, but a review unit just landed on my doorstep. Here are several photos and my initial impressions of Samsung’s latest and greatest Android phone designed for AT&T’s HSPA+ network. So far, I’m most impressed.

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AT&T is launching the Samsung Galaxy S II on Oct. 2 for $199 with contract, but a review unit showed up on my doorstep earlier today. I’ve just unboxed the device, which came with an optional USB to HDMI adapter, and have some first impressions as well as photos to share. If not for the back cover logo of Galaxy S II, the phone appears very much like the Samsung Infuse 4G I reviewed back in May. The dual-core processor, however, shows the difference once you power-on Samsung’s latest smartphone.

 

Some quick thoughts, in no particular order:

  • Yes, the 4.3-inch display makes for a large phone, but the device is offset by a light weight and thin profile. It’s not quite as thin as my fourth-generation iPod touch, but pretty close as shown in the image gallery.
  • I like the power button on the right side of the GS2 as opposed to a power button on the top.
  • The phone is a speed demon; I haven’t yet used an Android phone this fast. You tap the screen, and the phone reacts.
  • The Super AMOLED Plus display is brilliant and vivid. It doesn’t feel like this phone has an 800×480 display; it appears like a higher-resolution screen.
  • NFC, or near field communications, is supported, although there is no application I can find to use this short-range wireless technology. The battery has “near field communication” on the front and back, so I’m assuming the NFC component is integrated into the battery.
  • I have decent AT&T coverage in my area (four out of five bars) and a quick speed test yields reasonable results: 81 millisecond ping time, upload of 1.62 Mbps and download speeds of 4.83 Mbps.
  • A few low-light camera shots came out quite nice, and zooming in shows nice detail.
  • I don’t like the microSD card slot placement; you’ll have to remove the phone battery to insert or remove a memory card.

My gut reaction: I can see many people happy with this phone on AT&T’s network, but I’ll use it for a few days to see if there are any quirks or gotchas to look out for. I also have no idea how long the battery will last on a charge. Of course, the elephant in the room for this phone is the upcoming new iPhone from Apple; next month could prove a superb smartphone showdown between the Galaxy S II and the next iPhone.

  1. I believe the SII is the primary reason the iPhone 5 hasn’t been announced/released yet. I am impatiently waiting for iPhone 5. If its not a significant improvement over the iPhone 4, I’ll be picking up the SII. As much as I love all the significant improvements to smartphones, I think the days of huge changes is waning, giving way to smaller tweaks.

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    1. Jim, I think your last thought is dead on: most of the major advancements in smartphones have likely happened already and now we’re in an incremental improvement mode for a bit. Great comment!

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  2. Waiting for your full review, but this is probably going to be my fall-back, depending on how long it takes Apple to get those iPhones out the door.

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  3. I was elated to see this. Thanks for the rundown. I hope to see a full review soon. This phone is the deciding factor on whether we switch carriers. Is there anything comparable on the Verizon side?

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    1. I’ve heard that the droid Prime will be launching in October/ November will be the 4g Verizon variant of this phone.

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  4. I have been using the European version for about 3 months now and have enjoyed every minute of it. I actually sold my iPhone 4 after I got the GS2. Unless one is OS or brand biased, this phone will not disappoint at all.

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  5. In Israel we’re using the GsII for the last 3 months, and believe me, no cons, only pro’s, It’s really the best smartphone ever. I don’t see any reason to switch to any Iphone in the near future, including 5. as mysterious as it can be, maybe iphone six could be a worthy competitor.

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  6. Is there a way to know exactly when this phone comes with NFC or not? Any spec that we can differentiate an NFC version vs a non-NFC?

    Regards

    Benton

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