Review: Samsung Galaxy S II 4G

The Galaxy S II 4G is fast, but it's thicker and heavier than the 3G version.
Review: Samsung Galaxy S II 4G

The Samsung Galaxy S II 4G is Telstra's 4G variant of arguably the most popular Android phone on the market, the Galaxy S II.

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4G data

If you're looking at buying the Galaxy S II 4G, you'll want to know about 4G first and foremost. The answer is yes, it's fast. Telstra's LTE enablement of its Next G network runs on the LTE 1800MHz network band but "switches across" to the Next G network when 4G coverage is not available.

In a 4G coverage zone, we regularly achieved download speeds of almost 30Mbps with the Galaxy S II 4G. The presence of HSPA dual-channel technology on this phone also means 3G speeds are fast, too. We regularly managed between 13Mbps and 19Mbps which is much faster than you'll get on most other smartphones including Apple's iPhone 4S and the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, for example.

The issue with 4G is, as always, limited coverage. If you live or work in a 4G zone and use mobile Internet on your phone extensively, then you'll no doubt quickly come to love the extra bandwidth the Samsung Galaxy S II 4G is capable of. To achieve these fastest possible speeds, however, you'll need to be using the phone within five kilometres from an Australian capital city or its respective airport in Australia, or three kilometres from around 80 regional and metropolitan centres across the country. There is no doubt Telstra will continue to expand and improve its 4G coverage, but its currently working in a pretty small area.

Design and display

4G antenna aside, the Samsung Galaxy S II 4G makes a few other changes to the original Galaxy S II. It has a slightly faster 1.5GHz dual-core processor and a bigger 4.5in screen. The Galaxy S II 4G also has a slightly larger battery in order to cater for the extra juice that Telstra's LTE network will use.

The bigger battery has resulted in a phone that is thicker and slightly heavier than its non-4G counterpart. Unfortunately, the size and weight gain has taken away what most people loved about the Galaxy S II, its extremely thin design. What's left is a phone that in our opinion looks quite bland. The Galaxy Nexus can claim a stylish curved design, the HTC One X boasts a striking polycarbonate finish and the iPhone 4S' combination of aluminium and glass gives it a distinctly classy edge. By comparison, the Galaxy S II 4G simply looks like a chunky block of boring, black plastic.

Some users will appreciate the extra real estate the Galaxy S II 4G's screen offers over the original model. At 4.5in, it's 0.2in bigger diagonally than the Galaxy S II. The super AMOLED panel is bright and clear, but the 800x480 resolution has remained the same. In a year when most flagship smartphones will offer HD resolutions of 1280x720, the Galaxy S II 4G feels a little outdated.

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More about: Apple, etwork, Galaxy, Google, HTC, Navigon, Samsung, Telstra
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