Samsung is almost through rolling out their holiday lineup of smartphones in 2011, and two of the best available now are the Galaxy S2 and Focus S. Galaxy S2 is the pinnacle of Samsung technology and their bestselling device the world over. In November, Samsung will debut the Galaxy Nexus, a true next generation device, but it's really a Google phone manufactured by Samsung.
So until the Galaxy Nexus gets here, check out the Focus S and Galaxy S2 to see if you like what they have to offer. Both phones are offered on AT&T for $200 on contract. However, Galaxy S2 is also on T-Mobile and Sprint. The Sprint version is called the Epic 4G Touch and the T-Mobile version costs an extra $20 on their Web site. Really the best way to get to know these devices is to go over to the store and get your hands on them. See how it feels in your hand and if you can see yourself walking around with one. Both devices here are large for smartphones, so if you are self-conscious about whipping that thing out on the bus, that might be a consideration. Samsung made both the Galaxy S2 and Focus S with 4.3-inch screens, and they look amazing because of Samsung's patented Super AMOLED technology.
Many devices, like the iPhone 4S, have 3.5-inch screens, but Samsung is pushing screen sizes ever larger; Galaxy Nexus will launch with a whopping 4.65-inch display. Galaxy S2 and Focus S are also both 4G capable, and that simply means they have blazing-fast download speeds whether you think AT&T's system is really 4G or not.
The last thing these two fine machines have in common is that they are super thin. Thinner even than the iPhone 4S. Galaxy S2 is only 8.49 mm thick and Focus S is actually thinner than that. It's 8.33 mm thick compared to 9.3 mm for iPhone 4S. Yes, that's only one millimeter difference, but it means Samsung is packing super high-end tech into an even smaller space than Apple.
What really sets these two devices apart is the software. Galaxy S2 runs Google's Android system and Focus S runs Microsoft's Windows Phone system. It's important to know the difference here, because if you go to the store and look at the devices, the screens will look totally different. The Android system has icons on the home screen, and looks much like many, many other devices, including iPhone 4S in that regard. The Focus S, however, has totally different look; no icons. Instead, the Microsoft system tries to integrate the devices functions into an all-in-one environment on the home screen. They're called living tiles, and they automatically update your emails, apps, messages, social networks and calender on the home screen.
Furthermore, if you are looking for the newest apps or a particular app for your new phone, keep in mind that the Microsoft system has access to the Marketplace but not to the Android Market, like the Galaxy S2. Many of the most popular apps are in the Marketplace, but there are many more available in the Android Market and especially the Apple App Store.
One big feature the Focus S has going for it is the Office Suite of apps that so many Windows users have been using for years. They are all here and you can edit your documents and use Outlook all day; not so on the Galaxy S2. Samsung Focus S also comes with Internet Explorer 9 as its stock Web browser. Samsung may be trying to corner the market with its wide variety of high-end smartphones, but with devices like the Galaxy S2 and Focus S, consumers may not mind because at least they will have a big selection to choose from
Tell us in the comments if you think Microsoft's entry into the smartphone world is a good thing or not.