Samsung Galaxy SII Roams the Globe

NEW DELHI (MainStreet) -- If there is such a thing as the ultimate global business phone, it might just be the Samsung Galaxy SII ($150 from AT&T (T) with a two-year contract).

Geek hipsters like to dis the Galaxy SII as a fading phone. Samsung is set to release the next iteration of this phone, the Galaxy SIII, sometime this year; Motorola ( MOT) competes now with its Droid Razr; and of course there is the iPhone 5 that -- if and when it gets to market -- will make the SII just so much uber-phone roadkill.

Thing is, the SII has been such a solid performer in my shop for, heavens, more than a year, that I wanted to see how it would stand up to the toughest test of all: serious global roaming. I arranged with AT&T to get a demo of the globally roaming riff on the Galaxy device for a business trip here. And for the past week I have been using this phone in and around Paris and in New Delhi.

My verdict? Sure, those other phones might be cool. But there is no denying the pure raw business genius that is the Galaxy SII, at least here in magnificent India.

What you get
This is a legit, globally roaming business tool.

The international genius of this device here on foreign soil was apparent from the moment I stepped off the plane at Indira Gandhi Airport.

Not only did this device find the local cell network -- in this case, Airtel -- instantly, but it pulled in local Wi-Fi options, enabled one-button international calling with the "+" key and basically made it idiot-proof for me to dial up my hotel to find my driver. At midnight in a strange land, that's just what you need.

The excellent battery life on this phone meant I could charge it up in the hotel in the morning and not worry about it for the rest of day, while the iPhone overseas is a continual process of 120/220 adapter tinkering. I found overall voice quality to be excellent. App-based telephony such as Skype worked well, email performance was top-notch, even the camera was handy. Plus the Galaxy is cool here; people wanted to know more about it, and it is a great conversation starter in a meeting or at dinner.

Of all the overseas phones I have tested -- albeit mostly in Europe, but including devices from Apple ( AAPL), Motorola, LG and others -- the Galaxy SII was by far the most business-friendly.

What you don't get
Using this thing overseas can get expensive. Data connections are a pain to manage and there is the problem of thievery.

The Galaxy's problems spin out of its virtues -- it's so easy to use that I found I was running up costly minutes. So real discipline is needed when traveling abroad with this device.

Also, managing all your data options can be frustrating. I found keeping connected on a Wi-Fi network took constant rebooting.

And while the phone is cool, it is almost too cool. I was actually nervous about flashing it when I was out and about in this fascinating but, let's be honest, poverty-stricken and dangerous town.

Bottom line
The Samsung Galaxy SII is one heck of a business mobile telephony solution. It's fast, smart and provides excellent functionality. If you travel around the globe for work, this is my pick for the device to have.

And actually, the coming of a new generation of phones might just be the best thing that happens to the Galaxy SII. It might make it cheaper. If this device ever comes free with a contract? That will probably be the best deal in business telephony. Ever.

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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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