There's a lot of speculation about the SoC used in Samsung's Galaxy S II, thankfully through process of elimination and some snooping around we've been able to figure it out.

We know for sure it's not NVIDIA's Tegra 2 or Qualcomm. That leaves Samsung or TI. A quick look at GLBenchmark2's output gives us the GPU string: ARM Mali 400. TI's OMAP 4 uses a PowerVR SGX, so it's out of the running. This leaves one and only SoC: Samsung's own Exynos 4210 (formerly Orion).

Exynos has two ARM Cortex A9 cores running at 1GHz. As a result, general performance of the Galaxy S II is competitive with phones based on NVIDIA's Tegra 2. The Galaxy S II runs Android 2.3.1 compared to 2.2.1 used by the Tegra 2 phones, and as a result has better Javascript performance which we see in some of our benchmarks.

SunSpider Javascript Benchmark 0.9

Rightware BrowserMark

Physical Comparison
  Apple iPhone 4 Samsung Galaxy S Fascinate LG Optimus 2X Motorola Atrix 4G Samsung Galaxy S II
Height 115.2 mm (4.5") 106.17 mm (4.18") 123.9 mm (4.87") 117.8mm 125.3mm
Width 58.6 mm (2.31") 63.5 mm (2.5") 63.2 mm (2.48") 63.5mm 66.1mm
Depth 9.3 mm ( 0.37") 9.91 mm (0.39") 10.9 mm (0.43") 10.95mm 8.48mm
Weight 137 g (4.8 oz) 127 grams (4.5 oz) 139.0 grams (4.90 oz) 135.0 grams 116 grams
CPU Apple A4 @ ~800MHz 1 GHz Samsung Hummingbird NVIDIA Tegra 2 Dual-Core Cortex-A9 (AP20H) @ 1 GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 Dual-Core Cortex-A9 (AP20H) @ 1 GHz Samsung Exynos 4210 Dual-Core Cortex A9 @ 1GHz
GPU PowerVR SGX 535 PowerVR SGX 540 ULV GeForce @ 100-300 MHz ULV GeForce @ 100-300 MHz ARM Mali-400 MP
RAM 512MB LPDDR1 (?) 512 MB LPDDR1 512 MB LPDDR2 @ 600 MHz data rate 1024 MB LPDDR2 @ 600 MHz data rate 1GB
NAND 16GB or 32GB integrated 2 GB, 16 GB microSD (Class 2) 8 GB integrated (5.51 GB internal SD, 1.12 phone storage), up to 32 microSD 16 GB integrated, up to 32 microSD 16 GB integrated, up to 32 microSD
Camera 5MP with LED Flash + Front Facing Camera 5 MP with auto focus and LED flash 8 MP with autofocus, LED flash, 1080p24 video recording, 1.3 MP front facing 5 MP with autofocus, LED flash, 720p video recording, VGA MP front facing 8 MP with autofocus, LED flash, 1080p video recording, 2MP front facing
Screen 3.5" 640 x 960 LED backlit LCD 4" Super AMOLED 800 x 480 4" IPS LCD 800 x 480

4" PenTile LCD 960 x 540

4.3" Super AMOLED Plus 800x480

The GPU accelerated UI used in Android 2.3.1 makes the Galaxy S II feel a bit faster than the Tegra 2 phones, however that's not always the case. While web page loading feels comparable between the Atrix 4G and the Samsung Galaxy S II, Tegra 2 appears to handle flash a bit better than Samsung's Exynos.

Flash Performance

This is a pretty significant difference in our Flash benchmark, however it does translate into a somewhat less smooth experience when scrolling around web pages with Flash.

We managed to run GLBenchmark2 on the Samsung Galaxy S II and compared it to our recently reviewed/previewed Tegra 2 smartphones.

GLBenchmark 2.0 - Egypt

GLBenchmark 2.0 - PRO

The Mali-400 MP performs pretty well in GLBenchmark2, however it's still a bit behind NVIDIA's Tegra 2. Note that the Galaxy S II runs at 800 x 480 so its direct competitor in this case would be the Optimus 2X. These results don't tell us a lot about the GPU's performance other than the combination of hardware and drivers isn't quite up to par with what NVIDIA has today - at least under GLBenchmark2. There's so much that can be done with driver optimizations that it's difficult to draw any meaningful conclusions yet.

More Hands on Time with the Galaxy S II
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  • Brian Klug - Monday, February 14, 2011 - link

    Awesome information! I was wondering this myself and wasn't sure. The two Galaxy S II phones I touched were on Vodafone ES.

  • ssj4Gogeta - Monday, February 14, 2011 - link

    The international Galaxy S also has the exact same button layout, with a missing search button. You bring up the search bar by pressing and holding the menu button. That may also work the same way on the S II.
  • rcocchiararo - Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - link

    i only get the task manager doing that.
  • ssj4Gogeta - Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - link

    Long pressing the _menu_ button (to the left of Home), not the Home button.
  • tnseoaos - Monday, February 14, 2011 - link

    Optimus 2X's Memory is not 8GB intergrated, but 16GB intergrated.
  • wolfman3k5 - Monday, February 14, 2011 - link

    Hey Anand, excellent writeup. Did you know that extended cell phone usage can lead to hair loss? Never mind, you don't have any more to loose anyway...
  • glpdx - Monday, February 14, 2011 - link

    I can't even consider buying another Samsung again being they they haven't even finished the promised v2.2 for the Galaxy S models already in the hands of their customers. v2.3 is already out and Samsung customers are still sitting on v2.1. Very unethical.
  • keithwalton - Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - link

    I think you are confusing samsung with sony erricson, as I have a galaxy s, currently running android 2.2.1, it has been running 2.2 froyo since last november
  • mwarner1 - Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - link

    I think you are confusing Carrier Specific version of the Galaxy S, released in the US, with the 'Standard' Samsung Galaxy S used in the rest of the world.

    The 'Standard' / Word Galaxy S is on firmware revision 2.2.1 at the moment (and has been on 2.2 for quite a long time), whereas the US Carrier models appear to be held back to 2.1.

    I strongly suspect that this is due to the carriers not being bothered to modify the standard Samsung firmware for their custom Galaxy S hardware revisions.
  • solinear - Wednesday, February 16, 2011 - link

    I seriously doubt that it's the carriers. LG, HTC, Motorola... they have had Froyo on their phones for 4-6 months now, while Samsung phones are universally stuck (in the US) with whatever OS version the phone came with? I seriously doubt this has anything to do with the carriers and has more to do with Samsung. Even one vendor updates the OS on what is one of the most popular phone lines in the US and they would be the go-to carrier for the Galaxy S and the others would be there with egg on their faces.

    There is no justifiable reason why the carriers wouldn't release an updated Galaxy S, particularly since they received the original OS loads from Samsung back in September (5 months ago).

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