Galaxy ii s Samsung Free Hand On - The Galaxy S II is available from Optus from $42 per month ($19 cap + $23 for the handset over 24 months) and Vodafone from $44 per month ($29 cap + $15 handset over 24 months). Telstra has confirmed that it will offer the phone in July. It’s available for $899 outright but I’ve seen it around for $750-ish.

Open the box and the Samsung Galaxy S II makes a great first impression. 
It’s only a year since the Australian launch of the original Samsung Galaxy S, but the world of mobile gadgets changes so quickly that it feels like a lifetime. At the time the Galaxy S was fighting it out with the HTC Desire for the title of “flagship Android phone”. Both were impressive devices which raised the bar for Android, but in the end I awarded the fight to the HTC Desire - in a points decision rather than a knockout. I favoured HTC’s Sense UI interface enhancements, plus I couldn’t stand the strong blue tinge of the Galaxy S’ Super AMOLED display.

Twelve months later and the two Android superpowers are battling again. HTC has a few options on the table and I was quite impressed with the 4.3-inch HTC Desire HD. Even so, the new Samsung Galaxy S II is breathtaking and I certainly wouldn’t buy either without considering the other.

Screen technologies have always been a key weapon in the smartphone wars, and here the Galaxy S II doesn’t disappoint. It sports a 480x800, 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus display. It’s a big sucker, as you’d expect from any 4.3-inch phone, but the device is still amazingly light (116gm) and thin (8.49mm). It certainly doesn’t feel as chunky as competing 4+ inch phones, actually it’s slightly thinner and lighter than its predecessor. In fact the Galaxy S II is so thin and light that your second thought.

At 4.3-inches it’s a bigger display than the original 4-inch Galaxy S, although it still sports the same 480x800 resolution. This is because Super AMOLED Plus boosts the number of sub-pixels, to improve picture quality at the expense of pixel density. The Super AMOLED Plus supposedly brighter and more energy efficient than the Super AMOLED display found on the original Galaxy S. I can’t attest to that because I don’t have the original Galaxy S at hand, but the blue tinge has certainly improved compared to original. The screen stil isn’t as bright as my iPhone 4, nor are the whites as white, something I also said about the Desire HD. The Galaxy S II’s colours are certainly more vibrant than the Desire HD, which utilises a slightly washed-out LCD display. The Galaxy S II also offers excellent contrast and viewing angles. The screen is so glossy that outdoor glare is an issue, but the very bright display helps compensate.

Under the bonnet the Galaxy S II is packing some serious fire power. There’s a 1.2GHz dual-core processor accompanied by 1GB of RAM, which helps Android 2.3 “Gingerbread” run silky smooth. The rest of the spec sheet also looks impressive, with highlights including;

- 802.11 a/b/g/n wifi- HSPA+ 21Mbps
- quad-band 3G (850/900/1900/2100)
- GPS- FM radio- Bluetooth 3.0
- 16GB onboard memory- micro-USB slot- micro-SD card slot
- 2MP front camera- 8MP rear camera (LED flash)
- TV out via optional cable

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