Samsung Galaxy S II Is a Stellar Smartphone

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Forget all the Apple (AAPL) iPhone hype -- Samsung is setting the bar for touch-controlled business phones with the Galaxy S II ($199 with two-year contract from Sprint (S)).

The market has become downright flooded with large, bright, powerful, pricey, touch-activated smartphones for businesses, to the point where it is getting awfully tough to sift out a winner in a legit competitive analysis between, say, an iPhone, Motorola ( MOT) Droid Bionic and HTC EVO.
The Galaxy S II is rapidly become the star in the mobile businesses telephony market.

For a business anyway, they're all pretty much the same.

So how cool is it to find a large, bright, high-powered mobile device that actually offers fresh value to firms: The Samsung Galaxy S II. The unit came to Sprint earlier this month and is widely available at places such as Radio Shack ( RSH), Amazon ( AMZN) and Best Buy ( BBY). And after several weeks of tough testing, I gotta say, this thing is worth keeping track of.

The Galaxy S II is rapidly become the star in the mobile businesses telephony market.

What you do get
The Galaxy S II offers probably the best mix of mobile business functions found in a touch-based smartphone today.

Samsung deserves a huge round of applause for making a phone that seems smaller than it actually is. At first blush, the Galaxy seems like the average chubby cellphone: 5.5-inches diagonal overall, nearly 3 inches whide, roughly a half-inch thick. You get the idea. But when you touch the thing, the unit seemed practically delicate. It is done in a bulk-reducing, soft-edge case and is lighter than expected. But there was enough mobile real estate for a 4.52-inch diagonal screen that has got to one of the best-looking on the market -- bright, remarkably crisp, and the blacks are excellent. Tied with a fat, 1.2-GHz processor, the 4G Sprint network and support for oodles of business apps, this unit is an all-world business-class performer.

But the real killer app on Galaxy S II is the battery. Samsung says this unit has almost nine hours of talk time, as well as other impressive battery stats. But that actually understates the true performance. I routinely burned as much power as possible running the Wi-Fi, GPS, 4G network and Bluetooth all while profligately watching videos. And I still got easily all-day usage out of a single charge.

Good luck trying that with an iPhone or Droid or EVO.

What you don't get
As sweet as the Galaxy S II is, there are issues. BlackBerry ( RIMM) users who must have their keyboards won't like this phone. And the case is a bit too plasticky, as well as not as durable as it could be. For example, the back battery cover came off much too easily when I dropped the phone.

Also, if you try to go off-contract -- if you, like me, refuse to sign any more long-term phone contracts -- this unit is pricey: You can spend $650 for certain versions of the Galaxy. That is a lot!

Bottom line
The Galaxy S II is fast, light, powerful and filled with all the right bells and whistles for businesses. If your shop does the touch-based smartphone thing, assuming you can eat the cost this really is the phone to get. Better yet, the capabilities of this device make me feel that it will be relatively future-proof. The Galaxy S II will provide value no matter what else happens in the smartphone market.

As I said, we are watching a star come to life in the smartphone galaxy with the Galaxy S II.

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This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.

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