Hands on with the Samsung Galaxy S II for AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile

Samsung announced Today they will be releasing their Galaxy S II in the U.S. on three different carriers starting this Fall. AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint will all be selling their own versions of the Galaxy S II. Each carrier’s phone will have its own unique and attractive form-factor, but each boasts the same cutting edge features.

Like its predecessor, the Galaxy S II aims to break new boundaries and push the mobile smart phone market as far ahead as possible. This is going to be the thinnest 4G phone on the market, but that’s not all. It features a 4.52 inch Super AMOLED (800×480 WVGA) touchscreen, which we have to admit is beautiful, if not breathtaking, with incredible blacks. It’s powered by a Samsung Exynos 1.2GHz dual-core processor and runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread with an all new version of Samsung’s TouchWiz UI. There is an 8 megapixel rear camera with an LED flash and a 2MP front facing camera. The rear camera is capable of shooting HD 1080p video, which Samsung claims can record at higher megabits per second than any other phone. There’s even a video editing application that comes stock with the phone. So much power and capability has been added since the Galaxy S I, and somehow Samsung even managed to boost the battery life by 10%.

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As an enterprise phone, the Galaxy S II is more than capable with Exchange ActiveSync, VPN, MDM, Cisco WebEx, and a hardware-based encryption. It will be the first SSL VPN on Android. Another note-worthy feature is Samsung’s media hub, which allows you to purchase movies and media and acquire it on all of your devices. The hub doubles as a media center allowing you to play the DVD quality content on any HDTV via the HDMI smart adapter. One last big feature is Samsung’s Voice Control Engine which allows you to use voice commands by addressing your device, i.e. “Hi Galaxy, call Chip Chick”.

Based on the specs and a brief hands-on, the Galaxy S II looks like it could make a big splash in the US market. For such a large phone, it’s lightweight form was extremely surprising (4.55 ounces). We found it to be pretty good looking and it had a nice feel to it with its smooth edges. While I, personally, was impressed with the weight, feel, and durability, a colleague scoffed at its “cheap” feel. Maybe only time will tell how durable the Galaxy S II really is. With all that said, we are excited to test the Galaxy S II in the wild and see how well it holds up for us power-users. We can expect it out in Fall for AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint, with a slightly different form factor for each carrier. No word on pricing yet.

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Additional features of the Galaxy S portfolio include:

• 8-megapixel Rear-Facing Camera with Autofocus & Flash & 1080p HD Video Recording/2-megapixel Front-Facing Camera: The Galaxy S II portfolio features an 8 megapixel camera with flash and can record video in 1080p HD high profile offering the richest video content on a smartphone. Plus, the front-facing 2 megapixel camera provides video chat capabilities for personal and business communication on-the-go. Galaxy S II supports popular video conferencing services like Skype, Fring, Qik and Tango.

• Voice Talk: The Galaxy S II Voice Talk feature allows users to give their Galaxy S II device voice commands, including voice dial, text message, navigation, music, Web browsing and search. When docked into the car dock, the Galaxy S II automatically defaults into Voice Talk mode. Users can instantly activate the Voice Talk application by a long press on the search key.

• Task Manager: View and close the applications users have active, what items have been downloaded and check on memory usage via the Task Manager widget.

• Screen Capture Feature: Users can easily take a screen grab of the phone screen by pressing the power button and the home key simultaneously.

• Memory: All three Galaxy S II devices offer 16GB of on-board memory, as well as a microSD card slot that supports up to a 32GB memory card.

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