Samsung Galaxy S2 — better than HTC Sensation & Apple iPhone4?

The last ten days have been a treat for those looking to upgrade their phone to the latest and greatest in India — seeing the launch of the best of HTC, Apple and Samsung.

The three phones represent the next generation of big-screened phones that are unabashedly geared towards media, media and more media. Unlike the Nokia E7 or the Motorola Milestone2, these phones are of great show-off value, but for a working professional, may yet fall short of requirements like being able to write an email quickly.

But for the audience that is after the biggest, the fastest and splashiest, only one of these three models would do.

So, they are all new, they have the latest hardware and software and they all cost between Rs 30,000 & 34,000, which one should you buy?

The answer to this question, to many, depends on their brand preference. For many, only Apple would do, even if the specifications are lower than the others. Similarly there are the dedicated fans of HTC and Samsung as well. But if you are still reading, that means you want to check out how they compare.

If one is to make an average of all the specifications, excluding the user-interface and design (which we leave for you to check out personally,) iPhone4 can be eliminated first of all. The phone suffers from many drawbacks when compared to the other two and has only one factor where it scores above the other two — screen resolution (see chart). However, even on the overall display appeal, the iPhone4 falls short and literally pales in comparison to the vibrancy of the Samsung display.

For example, iPhone4 has the least amount of RAM — a factor which determines how smoothly the phone functions when lots of applications are running. There is no memory card slot, it has poor 3G data speed, it has a lower resolution camera, it does not capture full HD video, the display is around 25% smaller and its processor capacity is less than half of the other two. In addition, it also has the steepest price.

That said, there will always be Apple die-hards who like the bigger app-store, the smooth design and of course, the brand.

Now we come to the shoot-out between the Galaxy S2 and the HTC Sensation, launched two days ago. Here, it is much more difficult to draw a clear conclusion. Most of the specs are the same — both have 1.2 GHz dual core processors, 4.3 inch screens, 8 megapixel cameras, full HD recording and support up to 32 GB of SD card memory.

The difference in price is only Rs 1,700, in favor of the S2.

The notable difference — a big difference for those who care most about display — is the display technology. Samsung uses Super Amoled plus while HTC uses Super LCD. While the Super LCD is better in contrast than the iPhone4 display, it cannot stand against the Samsung display when it comes to the sheer vibrancy of colours. The colours on the Amoled display are much more ‘alive’ and bright, making the S2 a winner in case of display.

The S2 display, however, is almost 25% lower in resolution than the HTC Sensation, thus sort of evening out the odds on the display front. While the 0.38 megapixel resolution will not look pixelated when held at arms length, the HTC display should look technically crisper. However, this may be nullified by the Amoled vs SLCD difference. We still believe the S2 wins in the display department.

The S2 again wins in the system memory (RAM) department too, with 33% more RAM. It also wins in the storage memory area, with 16 GB of built in memory and another 32 GB that can be added through the card. HTC Sensation has 1 GB of built in memory, plus 32 GB of card memory slot.

In terms of weight too, the S2 wins clearly, coming in at just 116 gram against the 148 grams of the HTC Sensation. Add to these, the fact that the Samsung model also supports 3G speeds of up to 21 Mbps, compared to 14.4 Mbps for the HTC Sensation, the S2 wins the battle of specifications.

A word about the graphics capabilities — which, incidentally, are difficult to analyse without effort.

The HTC Sensation uses the Qualcomm solution, with both the processor and the graphics processor coming from the US vendor, while Samsung’s graphic’s processor is designed by ARM itself. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor core is also designed on ARM specifications, but not the graphics core.

Before wrapping up, it must be said that the choice between the Sensation and the S2 is certainly not as clear-cut as it is between one of these and an iPhone4 on the specifications. In addition, a crucial factor — battery life — is not reliably known for both the models.

While battery-life is not an issue for small-screen phones, for 4.3 inch phones with two processors, battery life is definitely something to watch out for. Some phones, for example, see their battery totally drain out after 4 hours of browsing on the phone.

Finally, finding your phone is like finding your ideal partner, you don’t know whether it is the right one until you meet in person. The final choice must be made after holding the phone in your hand — finding out the build quality (sturdiness), the actual speed of launching applications, the ease of use etc.. But, based on the hard specs, Samsung definitely has a slight edge.


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