Does the Samsung Galaxy S II Have What it Takes to Beat the iPhone 4?
Samsung’s Galaxy S II Android smartphone isn’t available in the U.S. (and maybe never will) but claims of 3 million phones sold around world are in the news. Early reviews rave about the Galaxy S II, noting a large “gorgeous” 4.3-inch Super AMOLED display, dual-core CPU, and many other desirable features you would only expect to find in a state-of-the-art smartphone. How does the Apple iPhone 4 stack up against the new Samsung Galaxy S II? How will it compete with the forthcoming iPhone 5? Before you put your order in for the Galaxy S II or iPhone 4 (or wait for the iPhone 5) take a look at our comparison of the two phones and see which one comes out ahead.
The Galaxy S II is Slimmer and Lighter
There’s no denying that Apple pulled out all the stops when designing the iPhone 4; many consider it a work of art. It seems like quite a challenge to release a product that can compete, but the Galaxy S II could be the harbinger of a new generation. With its light frame and impressive display, it might just have the looks to beat the iPhone 4. When holding these phones side-by-side, the slim body of the Galaxy S II really shines; it’s about a millimeter thinner than the iPhone (8.5 mm vs. 9.3 mm). It also manages to be lighter than the iPhone as well, weighing only 116 grams compared to 137. You may you think we’re splitting hairs here, but the changes really do make a difference when you have the device in your hand. If we had to choose between the two, we would give the edge to the thinner and lighter Galaxy S II.

Design Winner: Samsung Galaxy S II

While the Galaxy S II edged out the iPhone 4 in design; the rumored iPhone 5 may be a different beast completely. Speculated to be near bezel-free with an even thinner design, the Galaxy S II may have a formidable competitor come September (the rumored release date of the iPhone 5).

More Megapixels Mean a Lot
The camera on a smartphone is a must-have feature and can make a big difference in the whole mobile experience. We know that a poor phone camera can be plagued by slow shutter times, low-resolution images, and poor software support. The iPhone 4 has been praised for the picture quality of its cameras, and has a 5 MP rear facing camera, a VGA (3 MP) front facing camera, and can shoot 720p video. It uses the default ‘Camera’ app to edit photos and iMovie (for iOS) to edit video – both of these programs work well on the iPhone and don’t leave much to be desired, besides more megapixels from the shooter.

The need for a more advanced camera is met by the Galaxy S II, which packs an 8 MP rear facing and 2 MP front facing camera into its shell. It also has the ability to shoot 1080p video, a missing feature on many modern phones. Like the iPhone, the Galaxy S II uses the default Android Camera app to capture images and video but has no integrated ability to edit it. Sure you could download a 3rd-party app to do so, but it would be nice to have an option straight out of the box. Despite this, we think more megapixels tip the scales and for this reason, we view the Galaxy S II the better of the two when it comes to cameras.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S II

Android fans - don’t start cheering yet, for the rumored iPhone plans on matching the shooters found on the Galaxy S II. It is speculated that the next-gen smartphone from Apple could be packing an 8 MP rear camera along with a 2 MP front for video calls. If this rumor plays out, you might want to wait until the next keynote before getting the Galaxy S II.

Super AMOLED Plus vs. Super High Resolution
Apple’s Retina Display on the iPhone has become somewhat of a legend in the past year, boasting a 326 ppi (pixels per inch) display, which raised the bar for mobile phone display technology. The iPhone has a 960 x 640 3.5-inch TFT display, a resolution no phone of any size can match. The Samsung Galaxy S II ‘s 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus display also looks great and utilizes some of the best screen technology available today. However, resolution means a lot and a higher resolution makes everything on your phone look better; from reading an article to playing a game. The most important thing is that there is almost double the number of pixels on the Retina Display than on the GS2, yielding a ppi of 326 vS II18. Though the Galaxy S II may fool you with it’s vibrant display, the real winner here is the iPhone 4.

Display Winner: Apple iPhone 4

Just a note regarding the rumored iPhone 5 – we don’t think that Apple would change the resolution or size of their screen in the near future. They seem to have certain affection for maintaining the ratio of their screens, which makes it hard to offer either a larger screen or more pixels.

One Core vs. Two Cores and More
This is the fun part, when we stop talking about aspects of appearance and dive into the real debate – hardware. The Apple iPhone 4 has a speedy A4 processor (first found on the iPad), a single-core chip that runs at a speed of, what we understand to be 1 GHz. The limitations of the A4 are generally not perceived when using the iPhone 4; the phone runs great and we rarely experience any lag when using it. The Galaxy S II takes it to another level, packing a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor which makes the Gingerbread phone run smooth and fast. Though it’s difficult to compare performance between operating systems, the faster processor and additional RAM (1 GB vs 512 MB) makes the Galaxy S II the winner here.

Internals Winner: Samsung Galaxy S II

The Galaxy S II dual core-based phone may have only a brief time in the spotlight, as the rumored iPhone 5 (expected to be released in September) will likely be equipped with the Apple A5 processor and more RAM. The A5 can be seen powering the iPad 2 and is a dual-core chip with powerful graphical processing abilities, which matches the Galaxy S II’s CPU.

It’s All About the Apps and the OS
The battle between iOS and Android has been going on for years, and you’ve likely sat through more than your fair share of fanboy clashes between your friends. We’re going to try to avoid discussing the nuances in each OS that set them apart and instead focus on the user experience with these two sets. Apple engineers created a phone that runs fast and reliably without judder, app crashes, or stutter. The App Store is another strong point of the iPhone 4 – over 350,000 apps can be found here, with many professional programs available for download. We also think the method of multitasking is very simple and effective and are impressed with the user experience as well.

The Samsung Galaxy S II runs on one of the newest version of the OS, Android 2.3, named Gingerbread. This new version offers an overhaul in the UI as well as improvements in the onboard keyboard. The experience is a dream, thanks to the dual-core CPU found within the Galaxy S II: apps load quickly, menus scroll without judder, and lag is noticeably not present. We would almost rate the two OSs equal if it weren’t for the App Store. Often used as kryptonite in an Android vs. iOS debate, the Apple App Store has thousands more apps than the Android Market and to many seems to be of a better quality. Total revenue from the App Store is greater too, driving many all-star developers there.

Software Winner: Apple iPhone 4

Apple fanboys may well rejoice when the rumored iPhone 5 is released, as it is expected to ship with iOS 5, the newest version of the Apple OS. It comes with a better notifications system and tweaked UI, which will likely push the iPhone even farther past the Galaxy S II.

The iPhone 5 Cometh
For the longest time, a true debate between iOS and Android hasn’t been feasible, as the Android platform always seemed to be awkwardly shuffling under Apple’s shadow. 2011 may be the year of the Android phone , with a number of devices announced that push the envelope for Android capabilities. The Samsung Galaxy S II is winding up to be one of these phones, and is on target to go head-to-head with the Apple iPhone 4.

A lot can be said about the differences between the Galaxy S II and iPhone 4, but not as much as one would expect. The looks, dimensions, and OS all end up being a matter of personal preference, with the faster internals being the main thing that the Galaxy S II can hang onto. However, this proves to be a deciding factor, and nudges the Galaxy S II into victory.

Despite this victory, the release date for the Galaxy S II may be going up against the iPhone 5, which will likely include a new design and a faster processor. These improvements might allow the iPhone 5 to move past the Galaxy S II in quality and likely, sales.

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Phone comps

Interesting and comprehensive review. Now could you manage one between two phones that I could go out and purchase today?

Iphone versus GalaxyII

Interesting comparison, however, you missed two of the flaws present in the Iphone that prevents many people, including me (I'm still a Nokia fan) from buying Iphone: a) the lack of bluetooth connectivity for photos, documents, music, videos etc, and b) the lack of videocall from Iphone to other branded phones. These two flaws I consider the most stupid of all any high class phone can have. I just don't understand why Apple wants the videocall only between Iphones. This makes no sense at all. It is like having a Porsche that runs only on German highways. And the bluetooth issue, even the most cheap and low quality Chinese unbranded phone have Bluetopoth capability for information transfer.

Agree with bluetooth and

Agree with bluetooth and video call issues on iOS4, and that made things far more difficult for apple to match the sgs 2. Dont forget non removable battery on the iphone and the ever so famous antennagate

Agree with bluetooth and

Agree with bluetooth and video call issues on iOS4, and that made things far more difficult for apple to match the sgs 2. Dont forget non removable battery on the iphone and the ever so famous antennagate


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Smart Phones

If you want large memory, 12Meg cammera, compatability accross the field, then you need to look at the Nokia range, with special regard to the "N8".

Galaxy S2 super phone

Galaxy S2 super phone

Galaxy II

You shoul mention also the price difference.
Amazon offers the unlocked 16GB Galaxy II for $660. The device also has a microSD card slot that can support up to 32GB of additional storage. A 16GM card costs about $21.
iPhone 4 costs $649 for the 16GB model and $749 for the 32GB model

Compared to what?

While I appreciate side-by-side comparisons and speculation on 'imminent' new products in the market place, until either or both of the notional competitors to iPhone 4 are available or release dates set, it is kinda silly to discuss them. Afterall, of what value is it to compare an available product to two non-available products especially when you can't confirm if the one will ever show up in America or, in any certain terms, what the other will feature?

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Where's the objectivity?

After reading this, I get the idea that you are an iPhone groupie. The iPhone 5 is completely off the table and shouldn't even be mentioned because nothing has been released about it yet. For all you know, the changes from the iPhone 4 might be negligible at best, although I doubt that. All of your arguments are sound other than the the ability of the iPhone to multitask and the iTunes app store making iOS beat the Gingerbread OS. First off, the iPhone doesn't truly multitask. As an iPhone owner that's been not-so-patiently awaiting the release of the GSII, even though your session info is preserved when "switching" between iPhone apps, you must close one app to open another and some apps don't open instantaneously. With the GSII, apps are retained in the task manager and with the dual 1.2G processors, blink and you'll miss the app reopening. Next is the app store, yes, iTunes has "...thousands more apps than the Android Market...", but there are also thousands of crap apps floating around as well as apps that are utterly useless. If that's the only leg you have to stand on, you'd better invest in a comfortable wheelchair because there isn't a person on the planet that needs to have every app in existence so there are more than enough available apps to quench anybody's thirst. As far as the display, the difference in DPI is significant, yet the 4.3-inch Super AMOLED is .8 inches larger than the iPhone, it's brighter and more vivid than the iPhone and it consumes less power than the iPhone's "not-so-super" Retina Display. The power consumption is a huge point because the GSII has a larger battery so longer battery life is the end result.

I hope you enjoy your iPhony 5 when it is released!

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More Megapixels Mean a Lot?

While I agree with most of the comparison, I can't agree on the megapixel issue as stated. Higher megapixels does NOT mean better, it means MAYBE better. The quality of the sensor, the lense, and the imaging software all work together to make an image. Not having seen a comparison of the images between the two phones I can't say which is best. I just caution to not fall into the "more megapixels is better" trap.

Design Winner: Samsung Galaxy S II ????

So, you think design is about mm and weight?
Come on, the Galaxy looks decent, but cannot by far beat the iPhone design.


That's pretty subjective. Personally, looking at those 2 together, the Galaxy looks far better to me aesthetically. The thickness and weight matter little to me. Usually gets covered with a case anyway, so that's really where the design matters... in the case making industry.

Seems like the Galaxy S II

Seems like the Galaxy S II won simply because it had a little more practical of a design.

Though the iPhone 4 is made of much more 'premium' materials (the glass / metal are beautiful), the design of the iPhone 4 lost because
>Dropping an iPhone on its aluminum corner has a high chance of shattering the display (http://www.pcworld.com/article/198476/iphone_4_glass_housing_put_to_the_test.html)
> Holding the iPhone 4 a certain way can cause it to lose cellular signal (causing such a hubbub that Steve Jobs publicly had to offer his regrets and free cases)

And though the Galaxy S II is arguably the less attractive of the two, its Corning Gorilla Glass screen and plastic body helps protect it from falls and other damages. Not to mention that the Galaxy S II had to stuff faster internals and a larger screen in their phone yet still remain lighter and thinner than the iPhone.

Iono man, seems like the Galaxy S II is at least staying competitive with Apple in terms of design.



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shut up fanboi, size and weight is majority of the design, lighter and slimmer wins obv.. android rules, open source all the way baby
go suck on steve jobs and pay money for your apps, everyone knows apple is for queers


Give us a break

If that is as intelligent as you can be, the head back to the food stamp line. I am guessing you are some 14 year old getting ready to drop out of school so you can become a full time ex professional skateboarder!


Is there no moderation of these blessed flame wars?
Let me suggest two useful responses to comments that strike you as strange.

1 "That throws an entirely new light on the subject. I had never thought of things that way before."
2 "You might very well think so. I couldn't possibly comment."

Samsung Better?

There is much subjectivity in most comparisons, and this review is no exception. Both products are well designed, obviously one is a the latter end of its run due to competition. The real question is what operating system do you want and is the software(apps) available to do what you want, as well as, which of the companies do you want to deal with for cell service. Dual core processors are nice, but as he said it doesn't make any difference in using the phone.

Mega pixels

What is the obsesion with mega pixels. More pixels always means a noisier picture and crap low light photos. 3mp is more than enough for a 10 X 8 print. If 10mp was so good on a small phone then digital slrs would have 60mp, but they don't. 18 is pushing it even with the latest and greatest canon dslrs.