Samsung has become known for its AMOLED screens, which are famous for having incredibly vivid colours, pure blacks, and essentially infinite viewing angles. However, we've always had a problem with the majority that we've seen as they tended to look rather grainy due to their pentile sub-pixel arrangement – particularly the Super AMOLED model used on the original Samsung Galaxy S. Thankfully Samsung has fixed this with its latest generation, Super AMOLED Plus displays, as sported by the Galaxy S2. The result is rather stunning.
Colours simply leap out at you in a quite mesmeric way while blacks never look grey but truly tarry, and most importantly it looks nice and sharp with none of the old graininess. What's more, the display has a particular quality of feeling, as if it's right on the surface you're touching, not someway behind layers of glass. This only helps it look more vibrant. Viewing angles have also improved – some older AMOLEDs could suffer with a strong blue shift when viewed from an angle. While this is still present to an extent on this model the effect isn't half as bad. That said, there is a slight blueish tone to the overall display. In general use you don't really notice it but certainly if you compare a white piece of paper to what the Galaxy S2 reports as being white, the difference is obvious. Clearly this isn't the best phone to edit photos on!
It's also worth noting that with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels, the 4.3in display doesn't actually pack in as much detail as it perhaps could. After all, the iPhone 4's display has 960 x 640 pixels in just a 3.5in panel. It seldom looks out-and-out blocky or blurry but you do sometimes notice jagged edges to, in particular, black text on a white background.
Originally the S2 was to launch with a dual 1GHz CPU but in a brazen act of one-upmanship Samsung took a little extra time to boost the processor to a competition-blasting 1.2GHz. The result is a phone that is noticeably the fastest going – it simply flies along. Every now and then there's the slightest of pauses as you navigate the interface but most of the time it will be you who is slowing things down, not the phone. From tapping out texts through gliding round the internet to flinging agitated aves around, this phone never has a hiccup.
As ever the benefits of the dual-core processor are not totally obvious, but clearly multi-core is the way forward and the S2 is leading the pack, with an extra 200MHz and the fast graphics hardware over some rivals.
For all this extra speed, the iPhone 4 still feels that bit slicker with the subtlest of graphical tricks still missing – things like the inertia of menus as you scroll through them being slightly off on the S2. This is simply a trait of Android, though, and it's something the S2 combats better than any Android phone we've seen before.