Gallery

Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket

The good: The Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket has a beautiful 4.5-inch Super AMOLED Plus display along with a dual-core 1.5GHz processor, an NFC chip, and support for AT&T’s LTE network. It ships with Android 2.3 Gingerbread, and has an 8-megapixel camera with 1080p HD video capture and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera.

The bad: AT&T’s LTE network is only available in a few cities at the time of the Skyrocket’s launch, it has a somewhat cheap, plastic feel, and you can’t remove bloatware.

The bottom line: If you live in an area that gets AT&T’s LTE network, we highly recommend the powerful and beautiful Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket.

Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket (AT&T)

Editors’ note: Portions of this review were taken from our evaluations of the other Samsung Galaxy S II models.

At long last, AT&T is finally rolling out its much-awaited LTE network that promises much faster speeds than its existing “4G” HSPA+ network. (What will AT&T dub its LTE network to differentiate it from HSPA+? 4G Plus?) The carrier promised that LTE will be in at least 15 markets by the end of 2011, and along with that comes the launch of AT&T’s first 4G LTE handsets–the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket and the HTC Vivid.

Those familiar with Samsung’s Galaxy S II handsets will feel right at home with the Skyrocket. Interestingly, the Skyrocket has more in common with the T-Mobile version of the Galaxy S II rather than the AT&T version; it has a similar footprint, NFC support, and the same Qualcomm dual-core processor.

Of course, the big differentiator is the Skyrocket’s LTE chipset. That’s the reason the Skyrocket is priced at $249.99 after a two-year contract.

Design
The first thing that strikes you about the Samsung Skyrocket is its size. Due to its 4.5-inch display, the phone has quite a large footprint. At 5.15 inches tall by 2.75 inches wide by 0.37 inch thick, the Skyrocket is not the most pocket-friendly of phones. Yet, its smooth curves do make it more comfortable to hold than other large handsets. The phone is clad in plastic from head to toe, which gives it a slightly cheap feeling, but it also means it’s quite lightweight at 4.71 ounces. The battery cover on the back feels similar to the one on the unlocked version of the Galaxy S II. It has a very slight texture that reminds us of wood veneer.

The Skyrocket has a large and imposing 4.5-inch display.

As we mentioned, the Skyrocket has a huge 4.5-inch display. Because of that, it looks more similar to the T-Mobile version of the Galaxy S II, as the AT&T version has a smaller 4.3-inch display instead. The Super AMOLED Plus screen is as gorgeous as ever, with vibrant colors and sharp images. It’s still stuck with the 800×480-pixel resolution, which doesn’t look as crisp on a big screen, but we still thought it looked great.

The touch screen is very responsive to our taps and swipes. You can also use motion gestures and certain finger gestures: if the appropriate settings are turned on, you can flip the phone over to mute it, and you can tilt to zoom in and out with two fingers on the screen. You can even “pan” the phone (flicking left or right) to move a home screen icon. These gestures strike us as more gimmicky than useful, but they’re there if you wish to use them. A more interesting feature is the Vlingo-powered Voice Talk app that lets you perform various actions using voice command.

Beneath the display are four touch-sensor controls for the home, menu, back, and search functions. On the left is the volume rocker, while the power/lock button is on the right spine. A Micro-USB port sits on the bottom, while a 3.5mm headset jack is on the top. Sitting above the display on the upper left-hand corner is a 2-megapixel camera for video calls, while the main 8-megapixel camera is on the back along with an LED flash.

AT&T packages the Skyrocket with an AC adapter, a USB cable, and reference material.

User interface
As we mentioned earlier, anyone who is familiar with the Samsung Galaxy line of phones will be familiar with the Skyrocket. It runs Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread along with Samsung’s latest TouchWiz 4.0 interface. It has seven home screens, and a notification pull-down menu for easy toggling of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, silent mode, and autorotation. You can also customize the home screens easily by dragging and dropping widgets and shortcuts through the various panels.

You can also now resize Samsung Live Panel widgets and there’s a more fluid motion when scrolling through widgets lists and home pages. Some of the changes are purely cosmetic, but they certainly add some polish to the UI. There are also some useful additions, such as an integrated task manager that displays all your active applications, downloaded apps with the option to uninstall, RAM status, and system storage. Also great: you can capture screenshots by simply pressing the power button and home key simultaneously.

Features
The Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket offers quad-band world roaming, a speakerphone, conference calling, voice dialing, video calling via Qik, and text and multimedia messaging. It also supports Bluetooth 3.0, Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n), and GPS. The embedded NFC chip means you can use the smartphone to scan, read, and share RFID tags. Once Google Wallet is supported beyond the Nexus 4G, you should be able to use the phone to make mobile.

All of Google’s services are ready and available for you to use. They include Gmail, Google Maps, search with voice support, Google Talk, Places, YouTube, and Latitude. Other smartphone tools are available as well, like a calendar, a calculator, an alarm clock, a world clock, a stopwatch, and a timer. You get plenty of extra apps on here too, like Amazon.com’s Kindle app, Quickoffice, Kies Air (a Wi-Fi-based PC-to-phone sync manager), MOG Music, a Mini diary, NFS Shift, Social Hub, MyAT&T, AT&T Code Scanner, AT&T FamilyMap, AT&T Navigator, AT&T Ready2Go, and AT&T Live TV.

Like the other Samsung Android handsets, the Skyrocket comes with Samsung’s own Media Hub app, through which you can download movies and TV shows to rent or own. There’s also the stock Android music and video player, of course. You can shoot your own videos and photos with the phone’s 8-megapixel camera, which can shoot 1080p HD video. You get plenty of tools and features with the camera, like color effects, white-balance controls, ISO settings, and an image editor that lets you crop photos. There’s even a video editor that lets you piece together clips right on your phone.

The Skyrocket takes sharp and colorful photos.

Picture quality was commendable. Low-light photos looked great, with rich colors. The LED flash came in handy in especially dark environments. Camera performance was fast as well. Video quality looked great for a phone, with very little blur or pixelation. You can store the media files in the phone’s 16GB of internal memory or on a microSD card–the phone accepts up to 32GB. You can then share your shots via DLNA or the usual social network channels.

Performance
We tested the quad-band Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket in San Francisco using AT&T service. Call quality was very good. Audio quality sounded clear with plenty of volume. We didn’t detect much background noise, though there was a tiny bit of hiss at times. On the other end, callers reported similarly great quality. They did say our voice quality was a little harsh at times, but not extremely so.

Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket call quality sample Listen now:

Of course the most important part of the Skyrocket is its support for AT&T’s nascent LTE network. Unfortunately, San Francisco is not one of the cities where that’s available. In fact, at the time of this writing, AT&T’s LTE network is only available in Boston, Washington, Baltimore, Athens, Ga., Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio. Until we get AT&T’s LTE network here in San Francisco, we’ll have to test the Skyrocket as if it’s a 3G phone.

The Skyrocket actually isn’t such a bad 3G phone, however. It does support AT&T’s HSPA+ 21 network, which theoretically supports download speeds of 21Mbps. Using Ookla’s Speedtest.net app, we averaged a download speed of 3.2Mbps and an upload speed of 1.1Mbps. We were able to load the full CNET page in 15 seconds and the mobile page in 10 seconds.

Like the T-Mobile version of the Galaxy S II, the Skyrocket is equipped with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S3 1.5GHz dual-core processor to accommodate AT&T’s LTE chipset. We felt navigation was nice and snappy, and didn’t notice much lag or sluggishness when switching between apps.

The Samsung Skyrocket has a rated battery life of 7 hours of talk time and 10.4 days of standby time. According to the FCC, it has a digital SAR of 0.3 watt per kilogram.

Conclusion
AT&T couldn’t ask for a better phone to kick off its LTE network. The Skyrocket is a beautifully designed phone with all of the high-end features that Android power users have come to expect. It ships with Android 2.3 Gingerbread and should be upgradable to Ice Cream Sandwich in the next year. Notable features include a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, an 8-megapixel rear camera, a front-facing 2-megapixel camera, NFC support, and of course support for AT&T’s LTE network.

Unfortunately, that network is only available in a few cities right now, and the rest of the country will have to wait for AT&T to roll out LTE nationwide. By the time that happens, a better smartphone will probably have come along. If you don’t live in one of the blessed areas, our suggestion would be to wait, or get another Android smartphone–like the Samsung Galaxy S II for AT&T, perhaps, which is around $50 less than the Skyrocket.

Advertisements

16 comments on “Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket

  1. I do not even know the way I stopped up here, but I believed this post used to be great. I do not recognise who you are but certainly you’re going to a famous blogger if you happen to aren’t already. Cheers!

  2. I’m not sure where you’re getting your info, but good topic. I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding more. Thanks for magnificent info I was looking for this information for my mission.

  3. Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket Tips And Tricks… I was suggested this blog by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my trouble. You’re incredible! Thanks! your article about Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket Tips And Tricks…Best Regards Agata

  4. Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket Tips And Tricks… I was suggested this web site by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my trouble. You’re wonderful! Thanks! your article about Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket Tips And Tricks…Best Regards Cassetta

  5. Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket Tips And Tricks… I was suggested this web site by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my trouble. You are incredible! Thanks! your article about Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket Tips And Tricks…Best Regards Cassetta

  6. Not bad, but Lil Wayne is no lupe! The album is entertaining but it lacks provocative lyrics and interesting concepts. But there are some awesome beats and songs on this album!

  7. Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket Tips And Tricks… I was suggested this website by my cousin. I’m not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my problem. You are incredible! Thanks! your article about Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket Tips And Tricks…Best Regards Craig

  8. Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket Tips And Tricks… I was suggested this web site by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my difficulty. You’re amazing! Thanks! your article about Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket Tips And Tricks…Best Regards Justin

  9. Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket Tips And Tricks… Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I’ve truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. In any case I will be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again very soon!

  10. Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket Tips And Tricks… Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I’ve truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again very soon!

  11. I am exploring the Internet as I never have before. I have more time since I reitred. I can see that there is a rich diversity in the blogs I am reading and I am trying to leave some comment whereever I visit. I think I really appreciate the basics of what you have here in this blog. I am approaching this from all sides, sonce I recently started my own website with its own blog. In the text boxes I have entered my email address and my website URL. I think it is ok that I incuded them since there seems to be a place to do that. Hope so anyway. TheVeryBest2You 13 12

  12. Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket Tips And Tricks… Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I will be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again very soon!

  13. Nice post at Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket Tips And Tricks…. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed! Extremely useful info particularly the last part 🙂 I care for such information much. I was seeking this certain information for a very long time. Thank you and best of luck.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s