Interface and Software, Performance Tests and Battery Life

User Interface and Software

Samsung has been bragging about their TouchWiz 4.0 user interface design that overlays the Android operating system way before they were able to implement it into production models of their smartphones and tablets. Finally seeing it in action in the Galaxy S II will let me know if it adds a new user experience or just puts a damper on the phone’s performance and functionality.


There are several usability changes that Samsung made to how Gingerbread functions. The Android’s application list was changes to scroll from left to right on the Galaxy S II, which differs from Android’s reference design. The icons are also much brighter and vibrant on this phone, which is most likely due to the AMOLED display.


Another unique feature of the TouchWiz UI is the new "motion" capabilities it brings to the Galaxy S II. Users can now physically move the phone to do a variety of functions like panning, zooming, and muting incoming calls. 


I’m also impressed with the Kies Air application that allows users to wirelessly connect their smartphone to their PC without any additional software. This app is great for on-the-go users who need files off their PC or want to upload data from their smartphone to their home or work computer. I actually used this app to move over sample photos and video for this review and it worked like a charm.


Performance Tests

I ran a host of performance benchmarks on the Samsung Galaxy S II as well as two other T-Mobile smartphones I had on hand – the LG T-Mobile G2X and HTC T-Mobile G2. This suite of benchmarks evaluates every piece of hardware that affects a smartphone’s performance like the CPU, memory, graphics, storage, and other key components. Let’s see how the Galaxy S II faired in these benchmarks below.







Our benchmark results showed that the Samsung Galaxy S II and its dual-core 1.5GHz processor was the clear winner in every test we ran today. To be fair, the G2X was the only other competitor with a dual-core CPU (Tegra 2x1GHz) and the original G2 has a single 800MHz core. All three smartphones are running Gingerbread., but the Galaxy S II’s TouchWiz UI streamlined and somewhat improved some of the features and functionality which may have contributed to the lopsidedness of these benchmark results.


Battery Life

To evaluate the Samsung S II’s battery life, we fully charged the device, set the brightness level to 50 percent, enabled wifi, and began to do a variety of tasks on it for an extended period of time to deplete the battery power. After more than seven hours of web browsing, watching YouTube videos, answering e-mail, texting friends, playing Angry Birds, and calling my wife, the Samsung S II still had around 15 percent of battery life left on it. That’s an amazing amount of power that we can completely attribute the bundled 1850 mAh battery that Samsung included with this smartphone.

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