To say that smartphones are all the craze these days could not be further from the truth. From the earlier keypad-bound phones of just over 5 years ago, to the full-touchscreen slates that we see even toddlers all the way to elders swiping away at today, smartphones now are going to be an increasingly significant part of our lives, growing ‘smarter’ by the day.
Today, if you’re not using Apple’s iPhone, then chances are very high that you or someone you know would be using the Samsung Galaxy S II, which came out at an opportune time last year in 2011 to give the iPhone a run for its money.
The Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket is an interesting variant released in November 2011 from AT&T, being solely available in the US. Now armed with full 4G LTE connectivity courtesy of AT&T, we can expect to see network speeds averaging 10 times the speed of 3G, and combined with 4G HSPA+, this technology also provides an enhanced broadband experience of speed and performance.
Being offered in black color as compared to the white-colored, regular Galaxy S II, the Skyrocket naturally inherits most of the original’s features, with some interesting enhancements. The most obviously pleasurable experience would come from the slightly larger 4.5-inch screen, 0.2 inches larger than the previous 4.3-incher.
Featuring the same Super AMOLED touchscreen at a 800 x 480 resolution that displays Samsung’s trademark bright and vibrant colors, there is a beefed up dual-core processor of 1.5GHz to power all its hardware and software, coupled with 1GB RAM. This is quite a boost from the earlier 1.2GHz of the original S II. Measuring 9.7mm thick (slightly thicker than the earlier model’s 8.5mm) and weighing a comfortable 130g (4.6 ounces), this smartphone has become well renowned for its slim build that is comfortable to grip.
Running the Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS, this intuitive interface is well-optimized for smartphones and provides smooth multitasking and performance. Naturally, with the latest version 4 Ice Cream Sandwich being out now, it would be great to see an upgrade to the Skyrocket in due course as well. Not forgetting its strong capabilities in sharing what you see, there is an 8MP snapper that also features Full HD 1080p video capture.
To facilitate video calls, there is a 2MP front camera included as well. In order to make this a truly “complete” smartphone, there is the usual set of full-fledged connectivity features such as GPS, HDMI, MicroUSB, Bluetooth 3.0, and n-WiFi. Being Android-based, the Skyrocket has the advantage over Apple iOS in providing a full HTML browser that supports Flash 10.1. In terms of flash storage, there is 16GB of internal memory, that is expandable by an additional 32GB via microSD to make a maximum possible total of 48GB, while battery life seems decent, estimated at about 7 hours talk time.
Having reviewed the Skyrocket and its features in detail, let us now turn our attention to some real-life reviews on Amazon for the real picture, to see if Samsung is really able to deliver all the above-mentioned specs and features. Overall, reviews were enthusiastically positive for this smartphone, which is to be expected since it is a later variant of the well-acclaimed, original Galaxy S II.
There was praise for the 8-megapixel camera taking sharp pictures, its speed in combining the new 1.5GHz dual-core processor with 4G LTE network speeds, and its overall build and outlook, from gripping the plastic build that is surprisingly comfortable to viewing the bright, vibrant screen.
The only gripes heard were some opinions on the 4.5-inch screen, which a couple of people claimed was draining battery life faster than the earlier model with a smaller 4.3-inch screen. Also, inevitably there were the expected pros and cons of the larger screen, with some users enjoying the larger real estate, while others claiming it was less portable. Either way, Samsung would have inevitably faced these issues when producing larger-sized variants.
Perhaps they could consistently keep two different sizes available globally, similar to how HTC offers the Sensation XE (4.3 inches) and XL (4.7 inches). On the battery life, there is certainly a need for Samsung to upgrade the battery further to power the larger screen, considering this is a common problem faced by multitasking smartphones these days, including the iPhone, where there never seems to be quite enough portable power for all the functions of a smartphone running on a day’s single charge.
Nevertheless, taking into account all its strengths and areas for development, the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket is a highly capable smartphone, and is a worthy one to own for now before the Galaxy S III arrives.