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Samsung Galaxy S II vs Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc

Yesterday saw Samsung's long awaited Galaxy S II officially confirmed at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, much to the delight of the assembled crowds. The device seems to have it all, and we were hugely impressed with what was on offer, so we got to thinking, maybe we should have ourselves a little game of super-smartphone top trumps?

We've opted to take the Samsung Galaxy S II and place it in a little head-to-head with the darling of last month's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc. But which of these delicious devices will come out on top? Will it be the star of CES or the upstart from MWC? Let's see.




Sony Ericsson's Xperia Arc comes packing a dazzling 4.2-inch scratch-resistant LED-backlit LCD display, capable of excellent colour reproduction, which is hugely responsive. When you add to that mix Sony's Bravia Mobile engine you end up with a truly noteworthy screen, capable of rivalling, or even surpassing, virtually anything on the market – everything, that is, apart from the Samsung Galaxy S II.

The Galaxy S II brings the latest in a long line of amazing Samsung screens to market, in the form of a cutting-edge 4.3-inch Super AMOLED display, which not only renders colours faithfully, and offers unsurpassed sunlight legibility, but sucks up about 1/3 as much power as the LCD on the Xperia Arc.

Winner - Samsung Galaxy S II




The Samsung Galaxy S II comes bristling with cutting-edge technology. Powered by a 1GHz dual-core Exynos processor and featuring a huge 1GB RAM, the Galaxy S II is as powerful a device as you're likely to see on the market, and will undoubtedly remain so for some time.

You won't get a sniff of lag while using the device and apps open and close in lightening fast time. Conversely, Sony Ericsson opted to consolidate with the Xperia Arc, choosing to utilise a stable, reliable but a wee bit out of touch 1GHz single core Scorpion CPU, which sits beside an Adreno 205 GPU, offering the Xperia Arc plenty of grunt to power games and media playback.

While you won't get noticeable slow-down with either device, the Samsung takes the tape in this round for the simple reason that it comes with the very latest, and most powerful, processor on the market.

Winner - Samsung Galaxy S II




Sony Ericsson has a good pedigree when it comes to phone camera technology. Its Cybershot range never failed to impress and we can see that it’s put a lot of know-how to good use in the Xperia Arc, which utilises an 8-megapixel Exmor-R sensor to produce great quality snaps with very little noise, and impressive colour balance and saturation.

With the Xperia Arc you get an LED flash, image stabilization, geo-tagging and face and smile detection added for your convenience, as well as 720P movie capture, resulting in a pretty impressive package.

Samsung's Galaxy S II also offers an 8-megapixel camera with image stabilization, geo-tagging, face and smile detection and an LED flash which produces images every bit as good as the Sony Ericsson, but the addition of 1080P capture and front facing 2-megapixel, compared to the Xperia Arc's 720P capture and no video-call optics, means that yet again, the Samsung is victorious.

Winner - Samsung Galaxy S II




The lustrous 4.3-inch screen of the Samsung Galaxy S II makes for a great viewing experience and the addition popular codecs will allow users to view the most commonly found video formats on the device – and all without having to seek out third-party software to do the job.

Audio playback is solid as ever and the addition of an HDMI-out port means that you can plug your device into your HD display to consume media, which the 1GHz dual-core CPU renders without a hitch.

Sony Ericsson's Xperia Arc similarly offers a great media viewing experience, with the LED-backlit display offering nice, rich colours and deep blacks.

Audio quality in the Xperia Arc is slightly better than the Galaxy S II, with no noticeable noise or distortion, even at higher volumes. The Xperia Arc also offers a HDMI-out port to allow you to view your media on your HDTV but lacks the native codec support of the Samsung, nevertheless a short trip to the Android Market evens things up adequately.

The lower powered processor of the Xperia Arc seldom shows through when dealing with media, but once or twice we noticed a millisecond of lag, which, although small, is enough.

Winner - Samsung Galaxy S II


The Future


Both devices come loaded with the latest and greatest version of Google's Android OS, version 2.3 – Gingerbread – and users can expect to see updates from both companies as and when they arise, though neither has a particularly good track-record for rolling-out the updates expeditiously.

The inclusion of NFC technology in the Samsung Galaxy S II ear-marks the Korean device as being the most future friendly, and when you factor in the superior running gear, you’re left with a fairly optimistic feeling that the Galaxy S II will hold its own in the future.

While the Xperia Arc is a good, solid device, one doesn't get the feeling of “future tech” from it, though it will assuredly stand the test of time thanks to Sony Ericsson's solid manufacture.

Winner - Samsung Galaxy S II

So there you have it. It's a clean sweep for Samsung's latest super-smart Android. The combination of cutting-edge, high-end technology and the latest version of Android are a match made in heaven and while Sony Ericsson can stand proud of the Xperia Arc, which is most definitely a fantastic device, you can't help but feel that the company is losing pace with the leaders in the smartphone field.

If the Xperia Arc comes in at a lower price-point than the Galaxy S II, it's device that you'd be an idiot to ignore, but if, as we fear, it’s aimed at the same value range, you'd be best served treating yourself to the Samsung, as the Xperia Arc just isn't on the same level.


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