Samsung Galaxy S II 4G Android phone
Samsung Galaxy S II 4G review: 4G flies, but there are better phones on the horizon
- Fast 4G speeds
- 4.5in display
- Slick performance
- Limited 4G coverage
- Screen resolution outdated
- Thicker, heavier than 3G model
If you desperately need or want 4G connectivity on your phone and live or work in an area that's effectively serviced by Telstra's 4G network, the Galaxy S II 4G's fast data speeds will certainly impress you. However, newer phones like the HTC One X and Samsung's own Galaxy Nexus have better specifications, up to date software and more attractive designs.
Price$ 768.00 (AUD)
Take the Samsung Galaxy S II, add 4G connectivity and you're left with the Samsung Galaxy S II 4G, right? Well, not quite. The Galaxy S II 4G may be Telstra's 4G variant of arguably the most popular Android phone on the market, but there is more to this new model than 4G. Unfortunately, none of the minor improvements are enough to make it a worthwhile purchase over some newer alternatives.
The need for four G's
If you're looking at buying the Galaxy S II 4G, you'll want to know about 4G first and foremost. The answer is yes, it's fast. Telstra's LTE enablement of its Next G network runs on the LTE 1800MHz network band but "switches across" to the Next G network when 4G coverage is not available.
In a 4G coverage zone, we regularly achieved download speeds of almost 30Mbps with the Galaxy S II 4G. The presence of HSPA dual-channel technology on this phone also means 3G speeds are fast, too. We regularly managed between 13Mbps and 19Mbps which is much faster than you'll get on most other smartphones including Apple's iPhone 4S and the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, for example.
The issue with 4G is, as always, limited coverage. If you live or work in a 4G zone and use mobile Internet on your phone extensively, then you'll no doubt quickly come to love the extra bandwidth the Samsung Galaxy S II 4G is capable of. To achieve these fastest possible speeds, however, you'll need to be using the phone within five kilometres from an Australian capital city or its respective airport in Australia, or three kilometres from around 80 regional and metropolitan centres across the country. There is no doubt Telstra will continue to expand and improve its 4G coverage, but its currently working in a pretty small area.
As you can see, Telstra's 4G coverage in Sydney is fairly limited right now. The dark blue shade denotes an area where you will get 4G data speeds.
A bland design
4G antenna aside, the Samsung Galaxy S II 4G makes a few other changes to the original Galaxy S II. It has a slightly faster 1.5GHz dual-core processor and a bigger 4.5in screen. The Galaxy S II 4G also has a slightly larger battery in order to cater for the extra juice that Telstra's LTE network will use.
The bigger battery has resulted in a phone that is thicker and slightly heavier than its non-4G counterpart. Unfortunately, the size and weight gain has taken away what most people loved about the Galaxy S II, its extremely thin design. What's left is a phone that in our opinion looks quite bland. The Galaxy Nexus can claim a stylish curved design, the HTC One X boasts a striking polycarbonate finish and the iPhone 4S' combination of aluminium and glass gives it a distinctly classy edge. By comparison, the Galaxy S II 4G simply looks like a chunky block of boring, black plastic.
Some users will appreciate the extra real estate the Galaxy S II 4G's screen offers over the original model. At 4.5in, it's 0.2in bigger diagonally than the Galaxy S II. The super AMOLED panel is bright and clear, but the 800x480 resolution has remained the same. In a year when most flagship smartphones will offer HD resolutions of 1280x720, the Galaxy S II 4G feels a little outdated.
Next page: Software, performance, battery life and more.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Lexar® Portable SSD
Acer Swift 7
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Google Daydream VR headset
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Huawei Mate 9
Dell XPS 13 laptop
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Surface Pro 4
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 2 Kogan curved 4K UHD 55-inch LED LCD TV review
- 3 Panasonic Blu-ray recorder PVR set-top box review
- 4 Garmin Fenix Chronos fitness tracker smartwatch review
- 5 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
Latest News Articles
- Samsung unveils Bixby voice assistant for upcoming Galaxy S8
- BlackBerry readies a more secure version of the Samsung Galaxy S7
- Android device updates: Nougat rollout begins for the Moto Z Play
- Android device updates: Nougat is coming to the Moto G4, G4 Plus
- Beyond smartphones, Samsung wants its Exynos 9 chip in VR headsets
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Behind the scenes with Team Walkinshaw at V8 Supercars Melbourne 2017
- And the 2017 winner of the Formula 1 Best Pit Lane Boom Gantry is...
- First look at the Formula 1 2017 pit lane in Melbourne, Australia
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- CCFirewall EngineerNSW
- CCUser Researcher/Business AnalysisACT
- CCInfrastructure Project ManagerNSW
- FTSenior System/Network EngineerACT
- FTSenior Technical Consultant - Microsoft / VMWareVIC
- FTLinux / Unix Systems AdministratorSA
- TPBusiness Implementation ManagerNSW
- FTL&D Manager, Transformation Program in Finance ServicesNSW
- CCApplication Support Specialist- Bathurst or Port MacquarieNSW
- FTSenior Desktop Engineer - SCCM / AD / 2012 ServerNSW
- CCProject ManagerNSW
- FTPHP DeveloperNSW
- CCITCM EngineerNSW
- TPSenior .NET Developer - Contract roleWA
- TPAutomation TesterQLD
- CCDeployment GraduatesSA
- TPDigital Business AnalystNSW
- FTSolution Architect l MS Exchange, O365NSW
- CCSharePoint Developer - Multiple Roles - 3-6 Mth Contract Initially - SydneyNSW
- FTGraduate Application Support Analyst -SMSF SoftwareNSW
- FTPower BI Reporting DevelopersSA
- FTJunior Network EngineerNSW
- FTSalesforce Senior Developer | Solution DesignerQLD
- FTIT Project Manager. Ciritical permanent roleNSW