Dual core Androids battle heating up with upcoming 4.3″ Galaxy S II and HTC Sensation

Posted on April 23, 2011

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The battle for the best Android smartphone has now move up to another level – the 4.3″  dual cores.  The arrival in Malaysia of the Galaxy S II and HTC Sensation is still unknown. Rumors is the Galaxy S II will be launched by Maxis in May, while the earliest launch date of the HTC Sensation in Asia ( no information of countries yet ) is June. NO prices known yet but based on present prices of the single core and past pricing patterns, I’d guess estimate the retail prices should be around RM 2500.

These 2 smartphones will be the ones to be considered if one is looking for a more ” futured proof” Android smartphone.

PROCESSORS :

Galaxy S II : Dual-core 1.2GHz ARM Cortex-A9 proccessor, Mali-400MP GPU, Orion chipset
HTC Sensation : Dual Core 1.2 GHz dual-core  Qualcomm MSM 8260 Snapdragon, Adreno 220 GPU

Probably due to supply problems, it is reported in  some other regions the Galaxy S II will be using the NVidia Tegra2 chipset as an alternative

Will these dual core smartphones delivered the performance that is expected ?

The diagram below shows a simplistic picture of dual core operations based on NVidia Tegra 2. Dual-core mobile processors use two matching processor cores , here they’re 1GHz A9 processors which is comparable to the present single core 1GHz processors.  In principle, a dual-core processor can do more things at the same time, unleashing more power, speeding-up performance. With a dual-core processor, the two cores don’t have to be active all the time, allowing power management to be much more effective, meaning a better battery life.

What does this additional power means ?

– better 3D graphics especially in games apps . Games that will need more polygons, render more complicated and intricate textures and produce higher frame rates. Advanced graphical techniques like anti-aliasing will also be unlocked, which will smooth-out rough edges in 3D games.

– less slowdown during intensive tasks and better multitasking capabilities. With a single-core processor, tasks in different applications are processed in single-file, but at a speed fast enough to give the impression that they’re happening at the same time. With a dual-core setup, real multi-tasking is possible. In real-world terms, this will mean that you’ll be able to run more apps at the same time without seeing any performance slow-down . This could mean while you are playing a game, you can at the same time  be downloading the latest newsfeed , emails, RSS feeds etc

– Excellent recording and playback of 1080p video. With HDMI cable connected , one can now have  playback full-HD videos on the TV . if your phone has an HDMI output, and record video in 1080p if your phone’s camera supports it.

– New potential and development  of more demanding apps . However  most of the present apps will not be fully optimized yet for the power of the dual core until the developer make changes to it. I noticed this obviously using the dual core 1 GHz Motorola Atrix comparing it against the single core 1 GHz HTC Incredible S

More information :
http://www.bit-tech.net/news/hardware/2010/12/08/nvidia-dual-core-power-saving/1
http://www.bestbuy.co.uk/articles/mob/rc252/what-does-a-dual-core-phone-mean-for-me.aspx

The website fonehomeco.uk has done a simple comparison between these two smartphones : reproduced below with my brief comments

SOURCE : http://www.fonehome.co.uk/2011/04/12/htc-sensation-vs-samsung-galaxy-s-ii-android-big-guns/

Display

HTC Sensation – 4.3-inch qHD Super LCD
Samsung Galaxy S II – 4.27-inch Super AMOLED Plus

No one could come close to the original Samsung Galaxy S‘s Super AMOLED screen in terms of vibrant colours and deep blacks, and now that Samsung has created a new and improved version for the Galaxy S II we expect that to remain the same. Rather, the HTC Sensation’s qHD Super LCD screen promises to be sharper and clearer with a resolution of 960 x 540 as opposed to 800 x 480. Both hit the limit of acceptable smartphone screen sizes at around 4.3 inches – the rest, as always, will probably come down to a matter of preference.

For  my purposes mainly on browsing, reading up E Books, newsfeed, RSS feeds , the SGS II will be a winner here. I have seen the  obvious advantages of the qHD display in my Motorola Atrix 4G

Power

HTC Sensation – 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor
Samsung Galaxy S II – 1.2GHz dual-core Exynos/Tegra 2 processor

Both devices feature dual-core processors clocked at an eye-watering 1.2GHz. What this means for real world performance is unknown, other than that both will be stupidly fast and will likely eat multiple tasks and 3D games for breakfast. In terms of direct comparisons, we’ll have to wait until the first benchmarks are released. One thing in the HTC’s favour is that it has the Sensation’s processor properly lined up, while Samsung will have to replace its own Exynos chip with a Tegra 2 in some regions owing to component shortages.

I’d rate it a draw here

Storage

HTC Sensation – 1GB internal storage, microSD up to 32GB, 768MB RAM
Samsung Galaxy S II – 16 or 32GB internal storage, microSD up to 32GB, 1GB RAM

While Samsung has been the first to show the strain in the race to the top with regard to its cutting edge processor, its seems HTC has wobbled a bit when it comes to storage. The internal memory of the Sensation is a piddling 4GB – and of that only 1GB is allocated to the user. The rest is reserved for the Android OS and system-hogging Sense UI. Compare that with the Galaxy S and its choice of 16GB or 32GB of ROM and it’s clear who gets the nod if you want to store loads of records and apps on your phone. Still, both allow for up to 32GB of expandable microSD storage, so it’s not a total disaster for HTC.

An obvious winner – Galaxy S II

Dimensions

HTC Sensation – 126.1 x 65.4 x 11.3mm, 148 grams
Samsung Galaxy S II – 125.3 x 66.1 x 8.49mm, 116 grams

The Galaxy S II appears to win another clear victory here, but this one comes with a large qualification. The Samsung device is considerably thinner than the HTC Sensation – 8.49mm against the latter’s 11.3mm – but of more concern is the weight difference. You might think the Sensation’s rather tubby 148 grams is down to all those top-end components, but the Galaxy S II weighs in at a mere 116 grams. Still, there’s a rather considerable caveat concerning build quality. The Sensation will feature a famously solid HTC unibody chassis, while the Galaxy S II looks to be another plasticky Samsung device that trades a premium feel for compactness.

I’d prefer the HTC build quality even though is heavier

Operating system

HTC Sensation – Android 2.3, Sense UI
Samsung Galaxy S II – Android 2.3, TouchWiz UI

Both devices run on Android 2.3, and both stick their own custom UI on top. Traditionally, Samsung’s TouchWiz UI has been the lighter and less intrusive, while the changes wrought with HTC Sense have been far more dramatic, leaving less of the original Android OS to shine through. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though – HTC Sense has won a lot of fans with its slick appearance and well thought out widget-heavy interface. It’s worth noting that Samsung appears to be taking a step into this kind of territory with a new Live Panel feature, though it remains to be seen if it can match Sense’s seamless functionality.

UI – HTC Sense 3.0 is just awesome. So far not impressed with the various demo videos of Samsung’s Touch Wiz 4

Of some concern is recent   HTC new practice of locking up the bootloader. The recent new release Incredible S, Desire S – till now no rooting solution yet. This could discourage potential buyers who is so used to root HTC phones and flash cooked roms on it.

Camera

HTC Sensation – 8-megapixel, autofocus, dual LED flash, 1080p HD video recording
Samsung Galaxy S II – 8-megapixel, autofocus, dual LED flash, 1080p HD video recording

This one really is impossible to call based on specs, because on paper the two cameras are identical. Of course, the two could use completely different components and radically different software, but at first glance both handsets feature an 8-megapixel snapper with a dual LED flash. Both are capable of 1080p ‘Full HD’ video recording at 30fps, too. We’ll have to wait until we have both devices in our hands before we can call a winner in the camera department, which is pretty much indicative of the devices themselves. This is going to be an almighty battle come review time.

Not an important factor for me – make it a draw here

This is CLOVE UK online store  short video on the differences and a chart taken from their website

Other links on comparisons :

http://www.pcworld.com/article/224997/htcs_sensation_4g_vs_samsungs_galaxy_s_ii.html

http://blog.gsmarena.com/htc-sensation-vs-samsung-galaxy-s-ii-comparison-table/

http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1032175

http://forum.dailymobile.se/index.php?topic=45649.0

http://blog.clove.co.uk/2011/04/12/quick-compare-htc-sensation-vs-samsung-galaxy-s-ii/