Hands on with the Samsung Galaxy S II

MWC 2011 hasn’t quite gotten underway yet, but the big announcements are already starting to roll in (or leak out). The successor to Samsung’s popular Galaxy S line of phones has been unveiled, naturally called the Galaxy S-II. The differences are few from a quick glance, but there some nice upgrades here that make the Galaxy S-II look every bit a potential smash hit smartphone in the 2011 market. It’s bigger and sleeker, and has some hardware and software upgrades that help to shed light on some of the major advancements coming up this year in the smartphone world.

For what it’s worth, the Galaxy S-II is the thinnest smartphone to date, at 8.49 mm. The official dimensions for this phone are 125.3×66.1×8.49mm. Screen size has been enlarged to 4.3 inches, using a Super AMOLED 480×800 pixel display that creates absolutely stunning images. Just wait until you see the picture clarity that is offered by this device!

Camera functionality continues to improve, as this phone sports an 8 megapixel camera, complete with autofocus and full HD recording, and a front-facing 2 megapixel camera, which should enable video calling. Rounding out the hardware upgrades are a new 1GHz dual core processor, Bluetooth 3.0, a USB port, Wi-Fi, and support for HSPA+ wireless information connection. All of this is powered by a 1650 mAh battery.

Well, almost rounding out. A big addition here is NFC (Near Field Communication), which allows your phone to interact with nearby magnetic field transmitters, roughly. This means big things for the Galaxy S-II, and smartphones in general, in the near future. The most widely anticipated use of this feature will be the ability to use your phone as a mobile payment device, which we will probably see more of later this year. At this point, it might be a better idea to start asking what our phones won’t do in the future.

Samsung is also introducing media hubs to its UI, allowing you to access anything on your phone related to either music, reading, gaming, or social networking in one place, at one time. Gaming is boosted by a built in gyroscopic sensor.

The Galaxy S-II runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread, as expected. The phone is sleek, lightweight and comfortable to use, and has the look of a tough competitor in the 2011 market, especially given the good reputation that its predecessor has garnered. Thanks in part to Gingerbread, it runs lightning fast and smooth, as well. Look for the Samsung Galaxy S-II to drop in stores sometime Q2 2011.

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