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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  • mwarner1 - Wednesday, February 16, 2011 - link

    I agree that the US situation is very poor with respect to the Carrier customised Galaxy S variations.

    Personally I believe it to be the carriers fault and not Samsung's- we know that 2.2.1 is available in the rest of the world's Galaxy S devices, so it is not as if they can't get the base firmware from Samsung. I think the main issue is that the US variants are carrier modified, and so they will have to port those modifications (different button layout, camera differences, memory differences, baseband differences etc) to 2.2. This will require significant network revalidation, be very expensive and only really matter to a fairly small percentage of their users.

    To your other points:

    Kies - I am not sure why you would want to use this? I don't think I have ever used Kies, and can;t see why I would need to.

    Hack of 2.2 and 2.3 - This is true - it does use a custom built 2.2 kernel and incorporate a number of 2.3 packages. This, in my opinion, is a good thing as long as stability is kept, as you get new features (such as the excellent 2.3 keyboard) early. Personally I have not found any stability issues whatsoever.

    Battery issues - I think you will find that the vast majority of users (and all users who are technically competent) find that battery life is better then the generic Samsung firmwares.

    Reliability - I would be surprised if anyone has managed to brick a Galaxy S unless they pulled the power or a cable during a firmware update. People with little experience who have messed something up may think they have, but the situation is almost always recoverable.

    Trust - I suppose you can trust who you like, but Darky (like all modders) is just another user like you and I who has decided to improve on Samsung's firmware. The custom firmwares I have created were purely done for my own interest and to improve upon the base phone that I had been supplied. There are always other modders who will look at the content of these firmwares to improve on them or see how they do something, and if something looks suspicious it will soon be picked up by the modding community.

    If you wish to hear Darky talk about his firmware, then you can always listen to TechTalkUK's podcast:

  • synaesthetic - Wednesday, February 16, 2011 - link

    I won't buy an Android phone that I can't root and flash a custom ROM to.

    That's the whole POINT of Android!

    If I wanted something that "just worked" out of the box, I'd buy a goddamned iPhone.
  • jmcb - Thursday, February 17, 2011 - link

    'I wont buy an Android phone that I cant root and flash a custom ROM to.

    Thats the whole POINT of ANDROID!"

    No thats not the whole point of Android... the problem is some ppl think it is..

    Rooting and custom ROMs are an added bonus, luxury.
  • Belard - Wednesday, February 16, 2011 - link

    Looks like the Captive is not on the compatibility list for Darky... it requires Froyo to be be installed.... or at least about another 5 tools to install.

    This is the kind of crap that should get Samsung sued. 2.2 was promised. It fixes a lot of problems with their own products.
  • mwarner1 - Wednesday, February 16, 2011 - link

    A few points:

    1. The Captivate is certainly supported - see the ODIN edition.
    2. You don't need to have FroYo installed when using the ODIN edition.

    For those of you who are unfamiliar with ODIN, it is the Samsung built application that is used to flash a specific firmware onto your device. In essence you download a firmware, run ODIN, select it & hit Flash (slightly more complex than this, but it is the essence)

    The other way to flash firmwares on Android devices is to boot into recovery mode (e.g. 2e on the Galaxy S or CWM if you have it installed) & select a zip file to flash. This method is, in my opinion, more complex but more common as it is a generic android way of changing your firmware.

    Once again, I am surprised that people on Anandtech are worried about flashing the firmware on their phones - I think I have reflashed every device I have owned since my Sony Ericsson T610 in 2003. I agree it is a hassle to reinstall all you apps and backup all your data, but if I were stuck on a US 2.1 device I know what I would do ... I purposefully changed to a Custom Firmware from a generic Samsung 2.2.1 firmware!
  • Belard - Wednesday, February 16, 2011 - link


    I've been checking out the screenshots. I want many of those features.

    I want to customize the phone into something better. I want more useful info on the desktop than what comes default on my at&t Samsung (could be worse... verizon) - My dumb Sony had more useful info and didn't require unlocking it to view alarm & time info... stuff like that.

    My biggest concern is fracking up the phone.
  • ssj4Gogeta - Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - link

    Kies 2.0 has fixed most of the issues.
  • Belard - Wednesday, February 16, 2011 - link

    I've downloaded the latest Kies 1.x from Samsung about 3-4 weeks ago, so I'll give it a worthy try.
  • Belard - Wednesday, February 16, 2011 - link

    Nope... the latest Kies available from Samsung's website is from Sept 2010 and its 1.x.
  • kablunkie - Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - link

    Forgive me as this is mostly off topic, but it has to do with your benchmark tests.

    I own a dell streak, and after months of waiting for 2.2 OTA, I flashed a custom rom. It was like a new phone, more specifically performance drastically improved. According to the quadrant graph, even with 'stuff' running, it exceeds the nexus one 2.2 (top of quadrant tests). No overclocking/perfmod.

    I am not sure what you policy is regarding custom ROMs/OS given it is not what it came with, not officially supported, voided warranty.

    I do want to say thanks for including the Dell Streak on your benchmarks and enjoy the site.

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