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Skyrocket vs GSII in non-LTE area
This is for those who just want a straight-up performance comparison, where LTE is not a factor.
Okay so a few days ago I got the OGSGSII, but yesterday I exchanged it for the Skyrocket, and I'm so glad I did. I did several side-by-side comparisons with my OG and the Skyrocket in the store, and here's what I found:
While I could notice that the SR was just a hair behind the OG when switching home screens (mainly when jumping from one far end to the other), it was still a perfectly acceptable speed and was still fast to me. Switching between screens in the app tray was very fast on both and were exactly the same speed, bar like 1/100th of a second behind on the SR, which was completely negligible. Interestingly, when pressing the Home key whilst in an app, the SR would consistently get me back to the home screen faster than the OG could.
Next, I tested the Gallery of each phone. One thing I noticed from my OG was how insanely fast it showed all my picture folders when launching the Gallery app. When scrolling through my folders as fast as I could, I did have to wait a few fractions of a second for even the OG to display the thumbnails. When I tested this on the SR, it seemed to have the exact same performance, without even a hair of difference. It showed the folders and thumbnails at the same speed, and when going into the folders, it displayed the contents of the folder instantly (I didn't even notice a fraction of time where it loaded the frames and painted the pictures in; they were just instantly there). The OG performed the same. And by the way, these Gallery tests were done with pictures that were on the internal sdcard partition of each phone, so microsd read/write speed did not impact the comparison, meaning each phone should perform the same.
I next tested gaming capabilities. I put N64oid and Zelda OOT Master Quest on my Dropbox, and put them on the SR. Both ran the game at an acceptable speed, and each had their advantages over the other. I launched the game at the exact same time on each, and they started out the same, displaying the logo and Press Start graphic at the same time. Initially, the SR was ahead, but after about 12 seconds into the emulation, the OG started to pull ahead and finished the title screen video about 3-4 seconds before the SR. I saw similar results with the opening video, although the SR managed to pick up near the end and finished only one second behind the OG. One thing I noticed is that the video on the SR *looked better* than the video on the OG. There were no graphical blemishes, while on the OG there would be frequent flickering and portions of the screen would have little streaks of black creep through, where there would normally be color (even so, it was perfectly playable). Even though the OG does technically render the video faster than the SR, I found my play experience to be better on the SR because the video simply looked nicer, and the framerate was still great and it still felt like you were playing the game for real. I could just play Zelda; there wasn't a moment that I felt I had to wait for the game to catch up. Although, one weird thing I noticed is that the SR failed to render the footpaths in Kokiri Forest; there was just grass everywhere, while the OG did render the footpaths. No big deal; my play experience didn't degrade because of it. Overall, I found gameplay experience to be acceptable and enjoyable on both, with each having their own advantages over the other.
Lastly, I tested data speed. This was done at a corporate AT&T store in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah (where I don't expect we'll get LTE until around 2013). I ran several speedtests (using Ookla's app), with both my OG and the SR picking up an HSPA+ signal. One thing that I didn't quite understand is that they never were able to connect to the same server; one connected to a server in SLC, another in Houston, and one in I think Pennsylvania. They each took turns connecting to a server that was farther away than the other. Regardless, the SR had faster download speeds every time, and by a considerable margin. 1+ Mbps on the OG, while 3+ Mbps on the SR; 3+ Mbps on the OG while 6+ Mbps on the SR, etc. My download speeds never reached 7 Mbps on the SR (which anything 2 Mbps or higher is quite fast and rare to me). In the browser comparison, they were usually pretty close, but the SR finished loading pages faster than the OG more often than the other way around. Pings and upload speeds were more or less comparable and closer in results, unlike the download speeds which obviously the SR was superior.
So, switching between home and app tray screens is comparable, read speed for pictures and other files is comparable, gaming performance is more or less comparable, and network speed goes to the SR. It comes down to what aspects of the phone you value the most, and if the differences are a big enough deal for you. In the end, even though I won't be getting LTE for some time, I chose to go with the SR, for these reasons:
1- faster HSPA+ download speeds, and future-proofing for LTE whenever I get it. So, faster internet in both short-term and long-term.
2- confirmed upgrade for ICS (and coming Q1 2012!). If I can get an official upgrade as an alternative to a custom rom, I like having that option. I did have a few issues with custom roms on my Dell Streak (even though I was grateful for having the option there, too).
3- I wanted to lock in an unlimited LTE data plan for the long-term; this was a pretty heavy factor in my decision. AT&T may not actually refuse to transition grandfathered plans into LTE, but in the event that they do, I'll already have unlimited data locked in for another generation of wireless data.
4- this is personal preference but... 4.5 inches! Yes it does make that much of a difference. 4.3 and 4.5 is night and day to me. I can type much easier on the portrait keyboard (and did so for entirety of this post), and it's just so much nicer to have that much more screen. The resolution doesn't bother me. IMO, WVGA vs qHD is pointless because the new standard will be 720p, so either way you're behind the curve. Also, I'm not constantly running out of room in the notification bar on my SR like I was on my OG. Coming from the Dell Streak, I was having a hard time coping with 4.3 inches, but 4.5 is perfect.
This is something I noticed after buying the SR and taking it home, but to me, the SR is actually way more comfortable to hold than the OG. I can't get over how incredibly comfy it is to hold this thing. It's similar to the feeling I had when I first held an Atrix 2. I thought I liked the textured back on the OG, but after experiencing the smooth material on the SR, I can't go back. Plus I like curvy body of the SR more than the boxy OG, it just feels more natural in the hand. The phone itself even kinda looks curved; when it's off it looks like a tall Nexus S. :P Plus the larger body feels more natural to me, having been accustomed to wielding the behemoth Dell Streak with one hand for about a year and a quarter. Interestingly, the SR actually has less bezel on it than the OG, and looks sexier as a result.