Samsung Galaxy S II - The Second Installment

Launch SRP: S$998


Getting to Know TouchWiz 4.0 

As with most Android smartphones, the Samsung Galaxy S II comes with Samsung's own patented TouchWiz 4.0 UI, an upgrade from Samsung Galaxy S's TouchWiz 3.0. The latest version of the interface comes with a couple of small tweaks here and there; from sleeker widgets (including more to choose from), to new gesture functionality and improved camera interface.

Similar to Motorola's Motoblur UI, you can resize Samsung-specified widgets on the TouchWiz 4.0 UI as well.

Additional widgets have been added to the selection, with some looking really polished and classy. Take the clock widget shown here for example.

One of the major upgrades in the TouchWiz 4.0 UI is the inclusion of touch gestures. Simply access the menu from the settings options. For example, you can select to mute incoming calls and audio playback by turning over the phone or double tap to auto-access voice commands in voice talk.

Placing the phone in landscape orientation will activate the split-messaging format. This feature is especially useful on phones with bigger screens.

Productivity apps like Kies Air, Photo editor and Video maker are now made integral to TouchWiz 4.0. Kies Air is not new to the Samsung portfolio of gadgets - like Motorola's Moto Phone Portal app, it allows users to access their phone's content on a web browser through a given URL via a Wi-Fi connection or a self-created Wi-Fi hotspot. From there, you can manage almost everything on your Samsung Galaxy S II.

The app is extremely easy to use. Simply follow the instructions, and set-up will be done in one to two minutes.

The photo editor app is pretty extensive, allowing for some pretty cool editing options on an interface that's extremely simple to use. As you can see, simply click on the respective icons for your desirable effect - crop, rotate or add effects.

The video maker app is slightly more basic than the photo editing app but allows for quick, on-the-spot editing. You start off with choosing a theme, say Movie, Home Video or Party, and editing options will vary.

Users will also see four Hubs, with the Music, Readers and Games Hubs acting like Samsung's own multimedia stores, as well as a Social Hub that collates all your social networking and messaging feeds into one place. 

In the Game Hub, you will get titles that are categorized into Social games and Premium Games. Clicking on the latter will bring up a list of Gameloft games, which is a nice addition since they are not listed on the Android Market. You can try these games before buying them, just like how it is on the Xbox Live Hub on Windows Phone 7.

You can convert your Samsung Galaxy S II into a dedicated e-book reader with the Readers Hub. There are book previews to download before buying the actual products, or you can subscribe to digital print media like newspapers or magazines.

The Social Hub allows you to combine your email and IM accounts with social networking such as Twitter. These will be filtered accordingly to feeds and messages. Previously on the Galaxy S, the Social Hub stands as a very basic tool (i.e., you can't like posts, or direct message your peers), but it has seen improvements on the TouchWiz 4.0 UI. You can now do almost everything by simply clicking on the arrow button next to the individual feed update.

Overall rating 9/10
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The Good
Lightweight and ultra-thin body
Easy to use & detailed UI options
Brilliant Super AMOLED Plus screen
Speedy performance
Excellent battery life
Good camera capabilities
The Bad
Plasticky build
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