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Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket
What's hot: Extremely fast LTE speeds, colorful display, good battery life by LTE standards.
What's not: AT&T's LTE coverage footprint is in its infancy, 800 x 480 resolution is getting old.
Reviewed November 10, 2011 by Lisa Gade, Editor
in Chief (twitter: @lisagade)
Got LTE? If you are in one of AT&T's few 4G LTE coverage areas, go get this phone. Really. Data speeds are insane. We're lucky enough to be in one of the original 5 launch markets and we routinely see download speeds of 25Mbps down and upload speeds of 12Mbps. Of course, when more customers are using the LTE network, speeds will drop but we'd wager they'll stay as good as Verizon's with an average of 12-16Mbps down and 4-5Mbps up. The carrier expects to be in 15 metro regions by the end of the year. That's the bad news. Compared to Verizon Wireless, AT&T's coverage is paltry right now, but merger or no merger, we expect them to ramp up pretty quickly in 2012. Current metro regions are Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio, Washington DC, Boston, Houston, Atlanta and Athens GA. New York City should have coverage by the end of 2011.
The phone sells for $250 with contract and $600 without. That's $50 more on contract than the Samsung Galaxy S II without LTE and $50 more than the HTC Vivid with LTE.
LTE is true 4G, and though T-Mobile has managed to really push the envelope of HSPA+ with the 42Mbps devices, LTE still offers faster speeds. AT&T launched the HTC Vivid and the Samsung Galaxy Skyrocket on November 6 as their first two 4G LTE phones. The HTC Jetstream was their first LTE tablet. Why are we focusing so much on LTE here? Because the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket is pretty much your average GS II phone with an LTE radio. It has a 4.5" Super AMOLED Plus display like the T-Mobile and Sprint versions, and that's a little bigger than the AT&T GS II's 4.3" display.
The iPhone 4S and Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket.
In most other ways, the phones are the same. They run Android OS 2.3.5 Gingerbread with Samsung's TouchWiz UI. They have super color saturated displays and the usual bundling of Samsung and AT&T apps. The Skyrocket has a higher capacity 1850 mAh battery because it needs it. LTE is power hungry. The pleasant surprise is that the battery outlasts not just the lower capacity HTC Vivid's on AT&T, but Verizon's LTE phones.
If you're not in an AT&T LTE coverage area, and odds are you're not as of this writing, the phone will fall back to AT&T's zippy HSPA+ 21Mbps network. You're not slumming on HSPA+, with average download speeds of 4.5Mbps in our tests. The phone can act as a mobile hotspot, sharing the fast data connection with your laptop or tablet via WiFi.
Voice quality is good on both ends, and the speakerphone is a little harsh sounding at higher volumes. Reception is average for 3G and HSPA+, and is quite good for LTE 4G. We'd put voice quality on par with its non-LTE sibling on AT&T.