We’ve spent the last few days in the company of the all-new Samsung Galaxy S II Android phone. We’re not quite ready to put together a proper review of the phone’s functions to our, er, exacting standards.
What we can do is start the review process with a look at the phone’s camera. So here we go. The Galaxy S II features an 8megapixel sensor complete with LED flash, ‘Full HD’ 1080p video recording abilities. It really ought to be very good indeed.
And yes, it is. Still shots emerge from the Galaxy S II at a maximum resolution of 3264×2448, and it produces the best results of any Android phone camera we’ve used. No doubt about that.
It’s also great in low-light conditions, too, managing contrast between light and dark areas very well. It’s like having a proper camera.
This is a still shot at maximum digital zoom. It’s not great, but then digital zooms never are. Apart from in episodes of unrealistic investigative TV shows.
1080p video performance is literally miraculous. There’s no tearing, no dropped frames, just proper, high-resolution video. The only slight issue is that the auto-focus is a little slow to react. For the first few days we didn’t think it even did auto-focus while recording videos. But it does, just a little slowly.
This is a still from a 1080p video recorded on the Galaxy S II. We’ve put a brief unedited 1080p clip online here [47MB]. Sorry that it’s of a baby. He’s new and not yet learned to be shy about having his likeness put on the internet, so doesn’t have any choice in the matter.
Switching down to 720p lets you use a digital zoom while recording. As you might expect, zooming in digitally reduces the quality a little, so it’s not a great idea to use it. There’s an unedited 720p video sample online here [64MB]. While the zoom’s a little rough, the transition between light and dark areas is very smooth.
This photo is taken in the evening, indoors, without flash. Again, it’s the best low-light performance we’ve seen from a mobile camera. A bit grainy, but nothing like the techniclour mess some phones produce when capturing dusky scenes.
You get modes. Lots of modes. Great if you are the sort of person who ever uses any of the modes.
This is “Cartoon” mode. What a waste of everyone’s time.
You also get a 2megapixel front-facing camera, for video chatting. This is a photo taken using it. 1200×1600 isn’t a bad resolution for what is basically an extra spare camera.
There’s a specific “Macro” option to select, which is always fun. The Galaxy S II manages to focus very well on close, still objects.
Lots of scenes, too. Let me know if you want a specific scene testing. Not doing them all. Life’s too short.
Anyway. Basically, this is the best, fastest mobile phone camera we’ve used. Forget the dual-core boasts of the phone itself – the Galaxy S II is worth upgrading to on the strength of its image capturing performance alone if you use your phone as your “main” camera.