The other part of the story is Samsung’s mobile Digital Natural Image engine, or mDNIe, profile set on the SGS2. Numerous people have noticed that under Display -> Background Effect, lurks a page with a sample image and three presets - Dynamic, Standard, and Movie.

On previous Galaxy S devices there was a box in the camera app marked ‘outdoor viewing’ which increased brightness and contrast. I always wondered how that worked, and the answer is through mDNIe profiles. Inside /system/etc/ are a bunch of files prefixed with ‘mdnie_tune’ and then some more text, for example ‘mdnie_tune_camera_outdoor_mode’ and ‘mdnie_tune_standard_mode’. Of course, these are how the various settings are defined, and there are a bunch of them.

Inside are settings which control sharpening, saturation, and other things which are governed by mDNIe. For example, the mdnie_tune_ui_standard_mode file looks like this:

//start
0x0001,0x0000,  //
0x002c,0x0fff,  //DNR bypass 0x003C
0x002d,0x1900,  //DNR bypass 0x0a08
0x002e,0x0000,  //DNR bypass 0x1010
0x002f,0x0fff,  //DNR bypass 0x0400
0x003A,0x000d,  //HDTR DE_off CS : de on = d , de off = 9
0x003B,0x0001,  //DE SHARPNESS(0~1023)  off
0x003C,0x0000,  //NOISE LEVEL
0x003F,0x001e,  //CS GAIN 30
0x0042,0x0030,  //DE TH (MAX DIFF)
0x0028,0x0000,  //Register Mask
//end

Movie and Standard just differ in CS (Chroma Saturation) Gain (from 30 to 50), and dynamic boosts that to 300 along with another field whose purpose I’m not certain of. I’m told by Francois that Dynamic also changes white point through mDNIe by clamping and thus results in some dynamic range being lost. Unfortunately there’s no - everything off - mode with no sharpening or chroma gain that makes colors less oversaturated out of the box, though if you have root obviously you can change and experiment with these. Now that we’ve mentioned it, all measurements I’ve done on the SGS2 were in the Standard mode.

Now what about brightness across the spectrum of user-selected intensity percentages?

Bright SAMOLED

It’s redundant to show black brightness since each device measures 0 nits due to black pixels not emitting any light, so AMOLED remains super contrasty, even if brightness is about the same with SAMOLED+ as it was with SAMOLED. Thankfully the curve is nice and linear.

Display Brightness

On the big display graph though, SAMOLED+ still isn’t as bright as the competition, though again having infinite contrast does make the display subjectively awesome indoors.

Outdoors SAMOLED+ is about the same as the previous generation. It isn’t very easy to see the display contents outside in direct sunlight, but then again what phone does look as good outside as it does inside? SAMOLED+ as mentioned earlier still leverages the optical bonding benefits (fewer reflections) that SAMOLED brought, so if you were pleased with view-ability there expect much of the same with this update.

The only major issue outdoors is something else entirely. I noticed pretty quickly with the Infuse 4G and Droid Charge that outside in my climate’s environment (~100+F outdoor temps, lots of sunlight) that the phones would clamp brightness to about 75% to prevent overheating. This is in part a measure to protect the display panel and of course other internal components. I set out to find out whether SGS2 implements the same thermal restrictions, and it does.

I broke out my contactless IR thermometer and went outside into the midday sun on my patio and set the phone down. Overheating and clamping down the display brightness doesn’t take long in this climate, about 5–10 minutes will do it. At around 115F (~45C) surface display temperature you’ll get clamped to 75% maximum until temperature drops down. I actually subjectively don’t think SGS2 is as prone to overheating as the Charge or Infuse.

Some other people have reported SGS2 crashing or encountering a thermal shutoff after a certain point, so I braved the heat and stayed outside even longer using the device until it hit well over 140F (60C) and still no system shutdown or overheating happened. That’s not to say it isn’t possible, as the SGS2 clearly does have thermal monitoring, for example the following lines from dmesg suggest some thermal monitoring going on, though I definitely crossed these boundaries to no ill effects:

<6>[    0.047638] thr_low: 83, thr_high: 98  warn_low: 97 c warn_high 106
<6>[    0.047715] tq0_signal_handle_init
<6>[    0.047751] tmu_initialize: te_temp = 0x00000048, low 8bit = 72, 
high 24 bit = 0
<6>[    0.047765] Compensated Threshold: 0x7d
<6>[    0.098087] Cooling: 82c  THD_TEMP:0x80:  TRIG_LEV0: 0x89     
TRIG_LEV1: 0x99 TRIG_LEV2: 0xa0

Back to the display, next up are viewing angles, which the SGS2 thankfully preserves from the previous generation. I tossed the SGS2, SGS4G, and Optimus 2X in the lightbox and took pictures at various extreme angles. I realize the Sensation is a comparison point people are interested in, unfortunately that went back a while ago.

Viewing angles are awesome on all three - the SGS4G’s SAMOLED display (left), SGS2’s SAMOLED+ (middle), and Optimus 2X’s IPS display (right).

Another small thing about the SGS2’s SAMOLED+ is that I’ve noticed that high contrast images can be persistent for a few seconds. It isn’t burn-in, but a persistence that stays for a few seconds and can be very visible. For example, leaving the Android keyboard up (which is black, grey, and white) and dragging the shade down, a shadow of the keyboard remains visible until it fades after a few seconds. This persists even on other applications as well, and I can only hope doesn’t become something permanent if left up too long.

Wrapping up SAMOLED+ is difficult, because whether or not you like it over traditional LCD alternatives is ultimately a very subjective (and as I’ve learned in discussions, sensitive) matter. We’ve codified the differences between SAMOLED+ and previous generations, and other IPS displays, but really it’s impossible to communicate every subtle difference.

Personally, I prefer higher PPI IPS-LCD displays, though at 4.3“ SAMOLED+’s WVGA (800x480) isn’t a slouch, and the change from RGBG PenTile to an RGB stripe helps matters. Where WVGA starts to become a problem is at 4.5”. Scaling up area and increasing the diagonal size by 0.2“ doesn’t sound like a problem, but r^2 is a bitch, and at that size both the Android UI elements and subpixels look absurdly huge. Luckily, the international SGS2’s 4.3” is completely tolerable with WVGA.

MHL

Last but not least, the SGS2 supports HDMI out through USB MHL. For those that haven’t encountered the term before, MHL (Mobile High definition Link) is just a way of getting HDMI out through a low pin-count port alongside supplying power. So far, all MHL I’ve seen has worked over microUSB, but other interfaces possibly may support MHL in the future as well.

I had a Samsung MHL adapter laying around from a Samsung Infuse 4G, which has a microUSB port on the side for connecting to a charger, a full size HDMI port, and the microUSB connector which plugs into the host device. With all this connected, you can then get HDMI mirroring working, which does work on the SGS2.

I connected the SGS2 over HDMI up to an ASUS PA246Q and saw it negotiate a 1080i link and do HDMI mirroring flawlessly. Landscape is also supported, thankfully, and seems to work just like it should.

Super AMOLED+ Display Camera UI and Video Quality
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  • Deann - Friday, October 07, 2011 - link

    Maybe I misunderstood, but if you take a look at this swedish website the Samoled + looks much better than the Amoled: http://www.appsandroid.dk/joomla/skaermtest-af-htc... Reply
  • aritai - Saturday, October 08, 2011 - link

    You may want to consider counting number of web pages browsed before battery exhaustion and report those as well. Perhaps even calculate a "joules per page viewed" as part of your power metrics. (i.e. it may be that running at max benchmark rate on a more powerful system displays twice as many pages - and that these systems are being penalized for not being as slow as their competitors - where in terms of raw energy usage they would last longer than their slower competitors if asked only to do the same amount of work). Reply
  • Paulman - Thursday, October 20, 2011 - link

    I just started reading some comments about upgrading the Galaxy S II to 2.3.5 of Gingerbread, and people are reporting improvements in the sound quality. They were quite surprised! Do you think one of you / Francois can take the time to look into it? Thanks. Reply
  • san3536 - Friday, October 28, 2011 - link

    Hi
    I am planning to buy a Samsung Galaxy S2 in US and to use it in India.... is it possible that way to use it in different country ? i would like to know what are specifications to be asked for the same like unlocked & International etc ... does unlocked mean just it can be used on any network only in US or else where or is international version mandatory ? please inform the disadvantages of using the phone in India which is brought in US ...like any of phone functions wont work etc ..
    Reply
  • Naengmyun - Monday, November 21, 2011 - link

    Me and about a gazillion of my GS2 owners are experiencing problem connecting to our home WiFi networks. Everything, including visitors' laptops, iPads, Android Tablets, smartypwns, netbooks and even the kitchen sink connect seamlessly to my Great Home WiFi Network. But not the GS2! Amazing. Everyone's playing the blame game for now~provider says it's the router, router tech support says it's the phone, Samsung says it's me, phone carrier wants to know if I'd be interested in their latest unlimited plan.
    Anyone else having trouble with GS2 WiFi connectivity?

    Bibm
    Reply
  • Ravil - Saturday, November 26, 2011 - link

    i bought the samsung galaxy s2 from sri lanka for LKR85,000/= on the 4th of november 2011 with android 2.3.3 and i have some issues with it.

    1) screen issue
    when the phone is on the lowest brightness level the left part of the screen has a yellowish tint and i took it to the sri lankan warranty agents THE PHONE COMPANY four times and they replaced the screen and now its worse now the whole screen has a yellowish tint.

    2) signal issue
    the signal is unstable signal bars are at 2bars sometimes 3bars sometimes full and when i connect to the in ternet it connects from hsdpa and edge, when i'm not connected to the internet it shows the 3g icon, the above mentioned warranty agents THE PHONE COMPANY replaced the motherboard but i still have the issue.

    3) no NFC
    i don't have NFC (near field communication)

    pls help me with these issues can samsung replace the whole phone and give me a new one?
    my email address is ravildealwis7@gmail.com
    Reply
  • sgxsingapore1 - Friday, February 03, 2012 - link

    Singapore Exchange (SGX) is working with Singapore's first futures brokerage on a professional traders development programme,SGX Singapore : Live News & Updates from SGX Singapore .These were among the most active shares in the market <a href="http://sgxsingapore.com/">SGX Singapore</a> Reply
  • sgxsingapore1 - Friday, February 03, 2012 - link

    Singapore Exchange (SGX) is working with Singapore's first futures brokerage on a professional traders development programme,SGX Singapore : Live News & Updates from SGX Singapore .These were among the most active shares in the market SGX Singapore Reply
  • sgxsingapore1 - Friday, February 03, 2012 - link

    Singapore Exchange (SGX) is working with Singapore's first futures brokerage on a professional traders development programme,SGX Singapore : Live News & Updates from SGX Singapore .These were among the most active shares in the market <a href="http://sgxsingapore.com/">SGX Singapore</a> Reply
  • Jedi2155 - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - link

    I have an Epic 4G (Original SGS), and I have to say the audio quality is horrendous compared to an iPhone, Creative Zen X-Fi, and my home X-Fi on my PC. Nothing compares, especially since I hear some clear static even though nothing is playing pointing to poor isolation. To say that the original SGS phones were good sound quality (my sister's also has the same Epic 4G with same issue) would be hard to swallow based on my personnel experience. Reply

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