Samsung Galaxy S II 4G Android phone

Samsung Galaxy S II 4G review: 4G flies, but there are better phones on the horizon

  • Review
  • Specs
  • Images
  • User Reviews
  • Buy Now
Samsung Galaxy S II 4G
  • Samsung Galaxy S II 4G
  • Samsung Galaxy S II 4G
  • Samsung Galaxy S II 4G
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5

Pros

  • Fast 4G speeds
  • 4.5in display
  • Slick performance

Cons

  • Limited 4G coverage
  • Screen resolution outdated
  • Thicker, heavier than 3G model

Bottom Line

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.

Would you buy this?

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.

Samsung Galaxy S II review
Samsung Galaxy S II 4G preview
HTC Velocity 4G review

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.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 4G 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!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

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.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

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!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

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.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?