Head To Head: Samsung Galaxy S v Galaxy S2

The Samsung Galaxy S2 just hit the global markets a few days ago after having sold in the millions in Samsung’s own country, South Korea in under a month. A lot of people are looking at what is essentially a superphone, as their next smartphone and why not! It packs a 1.2 dual core processor, 1 GB of RAM, a beautiful 4.3″ Super AMOLED Plus display, is thin as you like, feels extremely light and is power by the latest in Google’s software.

Head To Head: Samsung Galaxy S v Galaxy S2

But there are also a lot of people who still like the predecessor to this device, the original Galaxy S. Some would wonder if it is worth the upgrade if they already own a Galaxy S and some would wonder if it makes sense getting the now much cheaper Galaxy S original if it meets their needs. In this post I’ll attempt to put the two Galaxy S devices head to head to see if the successor has enough extras to make it a compelling upgrade. You can jump directly to the all encompassing video, or get the background in text below.

Physical: The all apparent physical bits first, both devices have essentially the same design with the S2 going a little easy on the curves. However, the S2 is slightly larger on account of the bigger 4.3″ display as compared to the 4″ display on the original. But the thing to note is that despite the boost in specs, its now much thinner 8.5mm v 9.9 mm and is also lighter by 3 grams, 116g to the original’s 119g, making it the thinnest and most powerful smartphone on the market.

Finally, because of the light weight and the slim profile, the Galaxy S2 doesn’t feel much bigger than the original. If you are used to the S1, you shouldn’t have any problems adjusting to the S2.

Display: Its not just the size of the display, but the technology behind it that’s improved as well. The 4.3″ screen on the S2 is ‘Super AMOLED Plus’, compared to the original’s ‘Super AMOLED’. Does this make a difference? Yes. Everything is better, the colours, the sunlight visibility, the viewing angles, the blacks. When you first move from a Galaxy S to a S2, the difference isn’t obvious, but when you move back to the Galaxy S, it then that you realize that Samsung’s new display does deserve the ‘plus’ moniker. That’s not all, the sub-pixel count has improved from 8 to 12, so this means that despite having the same resolution 800 x 480, the S2’s display will be sharper and the corners smoother than the original.

Power: The S2 is powered by a 1.2 Ghz dual-core exynos processor that literally blows the competition away on benchmarks. It also comes with a gigabyte of RAM with about 833 MB being useable. Compare this to the 1 Ghz processor on the original and the 329 MB of available RAM on S1.

Head To Head: Samsung Galaxy S v Galaxy S2

Camera: The S2 comes with an 8MP auto focus camera with a single LED flash. It also shoots in video in 1080P at 30 frames per second. The S1 on the other hands has a 5 MP AF camera without any sort of flash and shoots at video at 720P, 30 FPS. Needless to say, the camera on the S2 is better, but the one thing to note is that when shooting at 1080p, the frame is slightly zoomed in, watch the video below to get a better idea of what I’m taking about.

Software: The S2 runs Gingerbread 2.3.3 out of the box with a TouchWiz 4 overlay. The S1 originally ran Eclair, but with the recently leaked 2.3.4 Gingerbread release, the S1 runs the absolute latest in Google’s software, even bettering the S2, which is supposed to get 2.3.4 is the coming weeks. Officially the S1 now also runs Gingerbread and newer units ship with it. TouchWiz 4 on the other hand is a very welcome improvement over TouchWiz 3 that runs on the S1, making it my favorite Android launcher/skin by far. A bunch of things have changed, the messaging app has skins, the memo app is better, the homescreen layout and switching is faster, you have music control from the lockscreen which itself has improved and looks much better. See the video to get a better idea.

Battery: The S2 comes with a 1650 mAh battery (compared to 1500 mAh on the S1) and slightly better battery life than the original running the latest Samsung ROMS. Also, the back on the S2 is matte and non glossy, giving it a premium feel. However, removing it does show you how thin it is and that can cause some anxiety. Overall, its still a definite improvement.

Connectivity: The S2 immensely benefits when it comes to connectivity. First it has HSDPA support for speeds upto 21 MBPS, compared to the 7.2 MBPS cap on the original. It also has USB on-the-go and WIFI direct support (more on that later today), not to forget the HDMI out with the microUSB adapter.

So these are the broad difference/improvements that the Galaxy S2 brings compared to its predecessor, I have outlined all of these and more in the video below. What is my final conclusion? Watch the video to find out!

Already have a Galaxy S2? Then check out some little known tips & tricks or our In-Depth Samsung Galaxy S2 Review.

14 thoughts on “Head To Head: Samsung Galaxy S v Galaxy S2”

  1. Hi Vaibhab,

    Is there any firmware update for 2.3 gingerbread for Indian modal for gs2. Does it come with NFC function.

  2. Great video. I was doubtful earlier. I am going for Galaxy S as that almost had everything.

  3. Hi
    I just got the s2, had the S1 previously, can you tell me if there have been any changes to the speaker? Listening to music I am sure there is more volume & crisp clarity on my S1 than my S2. Is it my imagination? :0)
    Kind regards

  4. Hi there, I just wanted to thank you very much for the very informative blog and video, fantastic.
    I just got my iphone 3GS wet and it died and I decided to look at the Galaxy, I am a Mac man through and through so was hesitant but must admit that the iphone is not the greatest phone by any means, it’s a nice pocket computer but it seems that Samsung is more than a match there. 🙂

    I guess my only concern is when I want to data swap with my Macbook Pro, will the Galaxy (I got the S2) be able to communicate ok with the Mac?
    I sure hope so!
    Thanks again for the great information and excellent presentation.

  5. I have an S1 (Sprint Epic 4G) and am definitely not going to upgrade. By the way, my camera does have a flash?
    This is by far the best phone I have ever owned and I plan to keep it for at least a few more years 🙂

  6. Hey Lisa,

    “I just got the s2, had the S1 previously, can you tell me if there have been any changes to the speaker? Listening to music I am sure there is more volume & crisp clarity on my S1 than my S2. Is it my imagination? :0)”

    I think its only ure imagination. =p

    The speaker of the S2 is a bit better i think. My sound gots realy more power and volume.

  7. does it come with a foreward facing camera. I want video chat but my Galaxy S does not come witht that option.

  8. hello, thanks very much for your detailed explanation with video. The price difference between s1 and s2 is nearly Rs.12,000/-. The big difference is internal memory ie 800plus in s2 and 300 plus in s1. But htc explorer which is coming with 90MB and 512 MB ram. wildfire s is 512MB internal memory. I think samsung is not generous in terms of internal memory because ace is hving 158MB only. what for internal memory is so important while choosing an android. did all apps will go definitely into the sd card it hope it is not.pl answer

    with regards

  9. Open letter to Samsung- my review of my Galaxy S1 I’ve owned for six months.

    My feed back is a mixed feedback of both the Android gingerbread and the Samsung Galaxy S1. I’m a 34 year old Australian Male Electrician (I make Machines function when they don’t work). Thinking of going back to my old Nokia 5800 music express.

    PROS- let’s start with the good
    Great screen but I turn it down to the dullest setting to save battery.
    usb port, bluetooth, wifi, gps, 3.5 mm jack, both cameras good.
    big memory
    lives in an otter case.
    Good price.

    CONS-mostly just irritation with the way it works

    One loudspeaker ON THE BACK- sounds tinny when held in hand, sounds worse when on it’s back cause phones don’t float or stand up.

    Super sensitive Capacitive touch screen- i’m going to rant here.

    I work, my hands get dry and can not operate the screen until I wet or lick my fingers ( I have missed calls after five attempts to swipe the screen )

    Or holding the phone the wrong way can result in all manner of accidental operation with the slightest brush of the screen.

    I use a screen lock to avoid these accidental operations- however emeregency calls bypass this screen lock and can be made accidently from your pocket. ( I was one bump away from a 000 call )

    large icons are good but some icons are way too small for human fingers. eg the contacts menu has an alphabet list on the right with 2 x 2 mm icons. The tip of a man’s finger is about 10 x 10 mm. continual wrong presses.

    no screen sensitivity adjustment. might be able to hack it- haven’t tried, shouldn’t have to. Resistive touch screens seem more positive to use, less errors with the ability to use a stylus.

    Menus or lack there of. I Think in menus- this has seven desktops to place shortcuts on. It has a giant application folder that is just full of applications in chronological order. I could sit down and sort out the folder but why should I. If it had decent menus I would not need seven pages of shortcuts. eg games in the games menu.

    Bloatware. Example The Good food Guide 2011 trial application. Can’t be uninstalled. It is a trial. I Tried. I don’t want it, but can’t delete it. WTF.

    Battery life. If I was a blouse wearing nancy boy in an office leaping from charger to charger this would be fine. If you need the phone to work all day- turn off all the features that use power and don’t use the phone for anything but telephony. Hang on, the whole point of a smart phone is to be used to it’s full potential- but carry a charger. mine was near flat today by eleven with mild 3g usage and two calls.

    Constant updates. All these apps from the android market seem to need constant updates. Dumb ones like a scientific calculator that wants a weekly update. Is the software buggy or is it updating the adds, cause maths has not changed since last week.

    Even with nothing running, there is always some thing running in the background that you manually have to seek out and turn off or it consumes battery life.

    Camera – no flash or led. Virtual shutter button instead of real shutter button a little weird to hold and use.

    Virtual keyboard in vertical- buttons too small for my fingers.

    XT9 predictive text is truly truly awful. Nokia predictive text was more accurate than this over ten years ago. XT9 tries to be intuitive to what your typing. It can and does ignore letters that you have pressed if it thinks your wrong. Pain in the Arse. Fine if you’re a LOL Cat.

    Text boxes are not intuitive….ie text boxes and numeral boxes both default to type letters.

    Hope they get better with Ice cream sandwich that may not be available to the S1

    just being honest.

  10. I am still confussed…in galaxy S2 and S plus???
    please help me..which phone is better for me…but i like S2 size,scree,HD video…and S plus..have good battery back and 1.4 processor..

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