Last month we noticed something rather peculiar and that was that we were getting reports that in some entire cities AT&T wasn’t selling the original Samsung Galaxy S II. After investigating further we determined that this was because AT&T was getting the Samsung Galaxy S II 4G LTE, which AT&T is calling the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket to go with their air themed 4G LTE network. Their first Android device on 4G LTE is the HTC Jet Stream.
The Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket seems to be built around the Samsung Galaxy S II model that was available international with a little flavor from the Samsung Galaxy S II that is being sold at T-Mobile. The SGS II at T-Mobile has a 1.5ghz processor, where the Sprint version and original AT&T version have a 1.2ghz processor. The AT&T Skyrocket also has the 1.5ghz processor, made by Qualcomm.
The Samsung Galaxy S II also features the bigger 4.5″ screen, where the original Samsung Galaxy S II on AT&T had a 4.3″ screen.
The Skyrocket also features an NFC chip, and Android 2.3 Gingerbread. In the camera department there is a rear facing 8 megapixel camera with LED flash and the ability to shoot 720p HD videos. The front facing camera is a full 2 megapixels which makes self portraits and video chat look crisp. You can video chat using Google Talk with Video, qik or whatever your flavor of video chat app is.
We were able to test AT&T’s 4G LTE network in Atlanta, Washington DC, Baltimore and Chicago. On average we saw speeds between 14 and 18 mbps down and 5 mbps up. One bad thing we noticed (for the customer not necessarily for AT&T) is that the 4G/LTE icon never goes away. It may lead consumers to believe that they have 4G/LTE where they in fact do not. It also may lead customers to believe that AT&T’s 4G/LTE is really slow.
Over wifi and in non 4G/LTE areas the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket was still fast, virtually no lag can be found anywhere when switching between screens, apps, videos, picture taking etc. Samsung’s “hubs” are seen as a big plus for consumers as they easily identify different things that the phone can do like media hub, social hub etc.
Although it’s only .2 inches, the extra real estate makes the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket look pretty big next to the flavor of the week 4.3 inch phone, that’s actually something that I like.
Battery life was great off 4G/LTE and on 4G/LTE we got about 5-7 hours of straight use streaming video, listening to Slacker radio etc.
AT&T seems to be lighting up 5 or 6 4G/LTE markets everytime they add more. Right now they are at 10 and will be at 16 on the 20th of November. Compared to Verizon’s 180+ markets they have a lot of catching up to do.
Where I would go with my colleagues and say don’t get it if you’re not in a 4G/LTE city I’m actually going to say the opposite. This phone is worth getting even if you’re not in a 4G/LTE market, if you have solid AT&T 3G it’s a big win.