Samsung Galaxy S II Hands-On: Dual Core Power, More Hubs

Today in Barcelona, Samsung took the wraps off the newest member of its Galaxy S series of Android handsets, the Samsung Galaxy S II. Running Android 2.3 on a 1-GHz dual-core Samsung CPU, the Galaxy S II  is designed to put an incredible gaming, media, and productivity phone in the palm of your hand. The 8mm thick, 0.25 pound phone includes a 4.3-inch 800 x 480 Super AMOLED screen which is designed to provide an extra sharp and bright image,  16 or 32GB of internal storage,  dual cameras (2-MP front, 8-MP back), a microSD card slot, NFC-support, HSPA+ connectivity, and 802.11n Wi-Fi.

With this launch Samsung is beefing up its software by offering additional “Hubs” of content and communication. The Galaxy S II will have four new hubs:

  • Social Hub Premium: Combines all your social media feeds and messaging (text, IM, ec) in one convenient interface.
  • Readers Hub: According to Samsung’s release, this will carry “2.2 million books and novels, 2,000 global and local newspapers in 49 languages and 2,300 popular magazines in 22 languages.”
  • Music Hub: A music player and store that will carry 12 million tracks courtesy of 7digital.
  • Games Hub: An alternative to the Android market that focuses on large, powerful games that might be too big of a download to meet the size restrictions of the Android Market. Samsung hopes the Galaxy S II will be huge with gamers.

The Galaxy S II has other unique software. Samsung Live Panel promises an enhanced homescreen view that incorporates live web pages, content from apps, and messaging. Kies Air allows users to manage their smart phones from a Windows PC, downloading photos from the handset, listening to music on the phone, or checking call logs via a Wi-Fi connection. The Galaxy S II also features several Enterprise-friendly features such as Exchange ActiveSync (for enhanced MS Exchange support), On-Device Encryption to protect your data, and Cisco VPN, WebEx, and VPN support.

Unfortunately, there’s no immediate plan to bring the Galaxy S II to the U.S. and pricing / availability for Europe and Asia have yet to be announced.

We had a chance to do a brief hands-on with a demo device that did not have the Hubs or any of the other exciting new software working. However, we were impressed with the colorful screen, light weight, and textured backside. Check out our video and gallery below for a closer look.

Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.
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