Phone, Smartphone, Notebook and Gadget Reviews and buyers guide
Phone Notebooks & Tablets Gaming Gadgets iPhone & iPad Shop Forum


Home > Android Phone Reviews > Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket


Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket

Editor's rating (1-5): rating starrating starrating starrating starrating star
Carrier: AT&T
Manufacturer: Samsung
Discuss this product
Where to Buy
Editor's Choice

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 , 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.

Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket

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.

Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket

The other difference between AT&T's Galaxy S II and Galaxy S II Skyrocket is the CPU. The GS II rocks on Samsung's own wickedly fast 1.2GHz Exynos CPU, while the Skyrocket has a 1.5GHz Qualcomm S3 Snapdragon dual core CPU (because Qualcomm has an LTE chipset). Both are dual core and as it turns out, they're pumping out similar speeds according to a bevy of benchmarks. The Exynos scored 3175 in our Quadrant tests, and the Skyrocket managed a top score of 3346. Linpack multi-thread scores were a dead heat at 82 and the Skyrocket actually had better Sunspider Javascript test numbers (2878 vs. 3353 where lower numbers are better). It seems you're not sacrificing processing power to go with the LTE version of Samsung's popular Galaxy S II.

Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket

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.


Deals and Shopping:


Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket Video Review



LG Nitro HD

Above: The LG Nitro HD and the Skyrocket AT&T LTE phones.


As you'd guess, this is a large phone that bears a strong resemblance to the GS II on T-Mobile that also sports a 4.5" display. Like all Galaxy S II models, the Skyrocket is unabashedly plastic, which doesn't give it a quality feel. Though large, it's comfortable thanks to those soft plastic curves, and aesthetically we like the back design better than the GS II. It looks less cheap thanks to a faux brushed metal finish. In fact, it's an attractive though not stunning phone, and thanks to the plastics, it's light.


The display is, as always, drenched in color since it's Super AMOLED Plus, and it has high contrast. It fades more in bright outdoor light than its standard LCD counterparts though. Like all Galaxy S II models, the Skyrocket has 800 x 480 resolution that seems a little uncompetitive among today's high end Android phones with qHD 960 x 540 and soon 1280 x 720 pixel displays. It seems especially silly at a huge 4.5": fonts are very large and icons are big. But it is pleasant for viewing photos and watching movies using Netflix, mSpot video (included) and YouTube.


Samsung's usual excellent 8 megapixel rear camera with LED flash is on board, and it takes colorful and sharp photos. It can shoot 1080p video at 30fps with good detail and not too much motion blur or blockiness. The GS II line sports one of the better cameras available on the market today. There are plenty of settings for shutterbugs, and the auto setting works intelligently for you point and shoot types.

Battery Life

Here's the sore spot for LTE phones: they have terrible battery life. But wait! AT&T claims they've done clever network optimizations to offset LTE's power demands, and from what we've seen on the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket, they're telling the truth. And we're sure Samsung's been working hard at power management as well since the Skyrocket has more stamina than the HTC Vivid (difference in battery capacities taken into account). My stable of Verizon LTE phones struggle to make it to dinnertime with moderate to heavy use. The Skyrocket consistently made it to 10pm on LTE. With light to moderate use, it can survive until the next morning. That might not sound impressive, but by LTE phone standards, it is. Take that, Droid RAZR! While Verizon's LTE phones have a setting to turn off LTE and use 3G instead (handy for saving battery power), the Skyrocket lacks this setting.

Samsung's Galaxy phones haven't been fast when it comes to charging, but the Skyrocket is much faster. Another plus when you've got the triple play of a big display, very fast dual core CPU and 4G LTE.


The Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket is an excellent smartphone. If you're in an LTE area and are in the market for a new phone, go get one. The Super AMOLED Plus display is livin' large here, and we enjoy it despite the old school resolution. Voice quality is good, reception is solid and LTE simply flies. Though fraught with plastics, the Skyrocket is attractive and it's light and slim despite its big phone dimensions. Battery life is surprisingly tolerable for an LTE phone, and unlike the Motorola Droid RAZR, you can swap in a fresh battery on the road.

Price: $249 with a 2 year contract, $499 without contract


Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket


Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket

Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket


blog comments powered by Disqus


Display: 4.5" Super AMOLED Plus display. 800 x 480 resolution. Has accelerometer, ambient light sensor and gyro sensor.

Battery: Lithium Ion rechargeable. Battery is user replaceable. 1850 mAh. Claimed talk time: 7 hours. Claimed standby: up to 10.4 days.

Performance: 1.5GHz dual core Qualcomm S3 Snapdragon CPU. 16 gigs internal storage.

Size: 5.15 x 2.75 x 0.37 inches. Weight: 4.65 ounces.

Phone: GSM quad band with 3G, HSPA+ 21Mbps (850/1900/2100MHz) and LTE 4G (700MHz, bands 4 and 17).

Camera: 2MP front video chat camera and 8 megapixel rear camera with LED flash. Can shoot 1080p video.

Audio and Video: Built in speaker, noise cancelling dual mics and 3.5mm standard stereo headphone jack. HDMI out through micro USB port via MHL adapter (not included).

Networking: Integrated WiFi 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 3.0.

Software: Android OS 2.3.5 Gingerbread with Samsung TouchWiz UI and apps.

Expansion: 1 SDHC microSD card slot.


All Phone Reviews
Smartphone Reviews
Android Phone Reviews
Windows Phone Reviews
HTC Phone Reviews
LG Phone Reviews
Motorola Phone Reviews
Nokia Phone Reviews
Samsung Phone Reviews
Sony Phone Reviews
AT&T Phone Reviews
Sprint Phone Reviews
T-Mobile Phone Reviews
Verizon Phone Reviews
Unlocked GSM Phone Reviews


All Tablet Reviews
Android Tablet Reviews
Tablet Comparisons
Android Tablet Comparisons



Laptop Reviews
Ultrabook Reviews
Laptop Comparisons
Best Ultrabooks



Bluetooth Headsets
iPhone and iPad Accessories
eBook Readers

iPhone Game Reviews
iPad Game Reviews

iPhone Case Reviews
iPad Case Reviews


RSS News Feed

About Us

Contact Us


Site Map