T-Mobile Galaxy S II hands-on impressions and photos

T-Mobile held a big party in New York Wednesday night to celebrate the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S II and HTC Amaze 4G. Both phones were just released to counter the launch of the iPhone 4S, which T-Mobile was not fortunate enough to secure this year. 

When Samsung unveiled its three Galaxy S II phones at the end of August, the T-Mobile versions were locked behind plastic boxes. We weren’t allowed to touch them. As such, last night’s event was the first time we were able to actually use the T-Mobile S II. The results weren’t terribly surprising in a good or bad way. For the most part, the phone is the same as its Sprint and AT&T counterparts, meaning it’s a fast dual-core Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) phone running on Samsung’s new TouchWiz 4.0 interface, which is an improvement of its older interfaces that mimicked the iPhone too much. Check out our impressions of the Galaxy S II from August and our review of the AT&T version of the phone. 

The T-Mobile version is a bit larger and faster than its AT&T counterpart with a 1.5GHz Snapdragon processor instead of the 1.2GHz Exnyos processor. In addition, the screen is 4.5 inches instead of 4.3 and the edges of the phone are more rounded than other models. The back also has a different texture to it and a differently shaped camera. We also noticed that flipping between homescreens was ever so slightly slower than on the AT&T and Sprint versions, but the phone may have needed a reboot. The power button, on the other hand, has been improved and now sits higher up than on the AT&T version, which had it awkwardly placed very low on the right side of the phone.

Holding the phone, we found it to be a bit large, but manageable. It’s difficult to see phones getting much bigger than they are today, but I said that last year too. T-Mobile is also touting that its S II comes with Netflix, but it’s actually a disadvantage because you can’t delete it if you don’t want it. Galaxy S II owners on other carriers can download Netflix if they choose to from the Android Market. It takes seconds. We have no word on battery life, but expect that it is roughly as good as the other versions, which performed very well in our tests. 

Overall, the Samsung Galaxy S II is a great phone no matter which carrier you buy it on. The T-Mobile version is launching for $230 with a two-year contract.