Samsung Galaxy S2 review

The new Samsung Galaxy S2 is an impressive smartphone, but is it enough to tempt Julian Prokaza away from his iPhone? Read on to find out.

The screen is so brilliant that we had to reduce the brightness to a very low level to avoid being dazzled.

A thin power button on the left of the case also provides quick access to various profiles (silent, flight mode, and so on) with a long press, while a volume rocker button sits on the opposite side. The only other mechanical button is the one below the screen that performs the same Home' function as in iOS and this is flanked by backlit, touch-sensitive spots for Back' and context-sensitive Menu' functions.

A 1.2GHz dual-core ARM processor with 1GB of RAM makes the Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread' operating system run very smoothly indeed. Everything from application animations to streaming video is very fluid. In terms of raw performance, the Samsung Galaxy S II scored 2977 in the Android Quadrant Standard benchmark, which makes it over twice as fast as the Nexus One. Performance with the SunSpider benchmark was similarly impressive at 3423.3ms, making it about 1.3 times faster at processing JavaScript in the web browser than the iPhone 4 with iOS 4.3.

The stock Android user interface hasn't been too heavily modified and the Home screen still consists of the usual set of sideways-scrolling desktops'. These can contain a mix of resizable widgets for at-a-glance information, along with shortcuts to everything from apps to contacts a degree of personalisation that just isn't possible in iOS. The ability to embed background-updating feeds for email, social networking services and news sites is also a very welcome feature and again, Apple has nothing even remotely similar. Samsung has tweaked the shortcut bar that runs along the bottom of all Home desktops though, and this does looks very iOS-like with its default set of four app shortcuts.