AT&T Galaxy S2 Review!

AT&T’s Galaxy S2 Android smartphone is nearly identical to the “first” international version, which I tried months ago when it first came out except the edges are bit more polished and there are four capacitative menu buttons at the bottom instead of just three.

Best Display on Market – AMOLED 4.3″ Screen

Probably the best feature about all Galaxy S2 series is its AMOLED Samsung screen that is brighter than any other smartphone display on the market and also the colors are more vibrant.  You can tell that Samsung has put some of their HDTV screens onto this smartphone and the result?  It’s absolutely stunning as you can see in the photos. (No, these photos weren’t photoshopped in any way!)  If you take other smartphones on the market and put them side by side, you will see a clear difference in how the Galaxy S2 is brighter, clearer, and more refreshing.

Even with only 800×480 resolution screen, the Galaxy S2 screen beats out the Droid Bionic and HTC Evo 3D (both ahve 960×540 resolution) by far, you only have to take one glance and you will fall in love with the S2, not the others.



Even viewing from side angles, the display stay clear and bright, something you can only expect from Samsung’s AMOLED technology.

The Galaxy S2 comes with Volume buttons on its left side and there’s a bit of contour at the bottom, helping you hold the phone with one hand in vertical position.

On the right side of the Galaxy S2, there’s a Power button, simple enough?

The front of the Galaxy S2 has a 2 megapixel camera, which has quite good results when taking photos of yourself.

AT&T HSPA+ 21.1Mbps 4G Network Connectivity

The AT&T Galaxy S2 features HSPA+ 21.1Mbps 4G network connectivity.  In real life, the HSPA+ does well at getting reliable signal.  Although the actual download speeds aren’t terribly fast (Verizon 4G LTE got 20Mbps while Sprint WiMax go 10Mbps on same test area), it does a respecting 3-4Mbps download in real life testing.

One advantage of HSPA+ is that it’s not real 4G (maybe 3G+) but does actual consume a lot less power over its real 4G competition 4G LTE and WiMax (which are energy-hoggers).

Also note that the HSPA+ 21.1Mbps on the Galaxy S2 is tad bit better technology and faster than HSPA+ 14.1Mbps found on the new iPhone 4S, marking AT&T Galaxy S2 the fastest 4G phone right now for AT&T.

Here’s a video demo showing HSPA+ in action:

Galaxy S2 1.2Ghz Dual-Core Samsung Exynos Processor

The AT&T Galaxy S2 comes with Samsung Exynos 1.2Ghz dual-core processor, same as the ones found on international Galaxy S2 and Epic 4G Touch.

This Samsung Exynos processor is probably the fastest smartphone CPU on the market right now, overclockable up to about 1.6Ghz dual-core with custom kernel/ROM.

On Quadrant benchmarking, you can expect to get easily near 3200 to 3500 on stock ROM and over 4500+ easy with custom ROMs.

Here’s a video demo of the stock Galaxy S2 on Quadrant:

For Linpack, which tests the phone’s CPU raw-processing powers, the Galaxy S2 scored 88 at its best and around 85 on average. This is probably the fastest Linpack speeds for a stock Android smartphone(as of this writing).

Here’s a video demo of the stock Galaxy S2 on Linpack:

Galaxy S2 8-Megapixel Camera

The Galaxy S2 has an 8-megapixel camera, does a helluva job of taking photos in bright light or low light plus does quite well with macrophotography.

Here’s some Galaxy S2 camera samples (you can click on photo to see original).


Here’s some close-up shots of various different things showing macrophotography:

You can easily change the focus during close-up shots using the multi-touch screen.  Below is photo of the shot glass and Heineken beer bottle with change in depth-of-field:

Here’s some more macro-shots in low-light settings:

This one is near dark with no flash:

Check out the video of macro-photography on the Galaxy S2 in action:

Also the 2-megapixel front camera does well in picking up (too many) details:

Galaxy S2 1080P 30FPS Video

The Galaxy S2 has ability to record in full 1080P 30fps (frames per second).  I’ve tested this 1080P with a Droid Bionic and the Galaxy S2 has more vibrant colors while the Droid Bionic does better with audio.

Here’s a demo 1080P 30fps video of AT&T Galaxy S2 showing you some motion in low light and also hand-held still video in bright sunlight:

Also, the Galaxy S2 is capable of multi-touch zooming if video setting is set to 720P or less, digital zooming works quite well for a smartphone.

The AT&T Galaxy S2 comes with 16GB of internal storage (which you can use 11.3GB of it while rest is reserved for system) plus you can get additional 32GB with an external microSD card slot as show in above photo.

The bottom of the AT&T Galaxy S2 features a micro-USB port for charging, syncing with your computer, and also you can get a MTP micro-USB to HDMI adapter to mirror your screen on your HDTV (which works quite well by the way for playing games).

The Galaxy S2 series have very, very good speakers, it’s one of the best I’ve tried.  Loud and crystal clear, you will never have to ask your friend to speak up even in the middle of Times Square during New Year’s. (really!)

Flawless Multi-Touch Keyboard on Galaxy S2

Another feature I absolutely love about the Galaxy S2 is the keyboard.  The keyboard is one of the most accurate I’ve tried on a smartphone.  What I also love about the keyboard is its accurate hauptic/audio feedback, which lets me type faster than on a physical QWERTY keyboard.

Here’s video of the keyboard on Galaxy S2 in action:

Easy to Remove Minimal AT&T Bloatware on Galaxy S2

Don’t like bloatware that AT&T puts on the Galaxy S2?

No worries, all AT&T bloatware can be removed easily and there’s just a couple so it will not annoy you.

Here’s a video of some of the AT&T bloatware and how to remove them (no rooting needed):

The Galaxy S2 (as of this writing) comes with Android Gingerbread 2.3.4.  Let me note that the Galaxy S2 should be even faster when Android Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 comes out (in couple weeks!).

The back of the AT&T Galaxy S2 features black, plastic matte finish, which is great for getting a grip on the phone itself, absorbs shock better upon impact, and also doesn’t cause havoc on its antennas like metal cases did for iPhone 4.

Some might prefer metal but I prefer plastic as it keeps the phone’s weight super light plus its more realistic when it comes to protecting the phone itself.

Overall, Galaxy S2 on AT&T is probably the best phone on AT&T right now and even after until Nexus Prime Galaxy Nexys comes out.  Galaxy S2 has better hardware specs, Samsung Exynos 1.2Ghz processor is superior to anything 1.5Ghz right now, it’s like 1.7-1.8Ghz equivalent to others.

On a side “note”, Galaxy Note comes with 1.4Ghz dual-core Exynos processor, that is probably the next fast phone.  That is my next phone along with Galaxy Nexus.  Gotta collect ’em all when u high on android like me.

Also see:

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Max Lee

Max Lee is the founder of Max makes Android tutorials and review videos for people who want to get high on Android over at his YouTube channel and Korean YouTube channel.