Life after iPhone Samsung Galaxy Note II review
Life after iPhone, Samsung Galaxy Note II review
The iPhone is currently the most popular smartphone on the market today and for good reason, it’s a wonderful device, but what if you are looking for an alternative, something with a little more real estate and versatility? The Samsung Galaxy Note II is all that and then some, tall dark and handsome…
Is the Galaxy Note 2 too big for you ? Chances are if your interested in this phone, you want it for that very reason. It’s a bit meatier than the Galaxy S3 and a bit heavier then the Galaxy Note at 6.35 oz or 180g and measures 5.94″ x 3.16″ x 0.38″ or 151 x 80 x 9.7 mm. The Note II is a top notch device, it functions smooth and is a pleasure to use. This is not a gamer device per say, it’s about productivity and user functionality, but offers plenty of power to push the larger display and keep it running smooth even in multitasking situations.
The added real estate is excellent and well worth the inconvenience of the size, not to mention you have an external SD card slot to expand your storage vs paying hundreds more for the same device with a variety of internal flash drive sizes. Marginal improvements, underclocked hardware, jailbreaking to gain functionality and screen size are some of the things that have lead me to switch over to the Android OS starting with the S3, now the Note II and I’m glad I did. We won’t get into all the features since the Note II carry’s over the functionality from the Galaxy SIII or S3 with some added support for the S Pen and Multi Window split-screen support.
Verizon users, aside from being littered with company branding, you also get a plethora of useless preloaded bloatware which can be uninstalled but most notably Verizon disables some features like Call Blocking Mode, S-Cloud and the S-Planner widget which may frustrate users but the performance is the same. They have also conveniently omitted the second pair of gold contacts for NFC use and inductive charging ie wireless charging. Verizon seems to be trying to keep a strangle hold on nickel and dime-ing their customers for services and invading their devices and OS. Still for a carrier who’s albatross was always that it never had the top devices and didn’t use sim cards, the Galaxy Note II, Galaxy S3 and iPhone 5 are a welcome sight for Verizon users.
Lets take a closer look at the Samsung Galaxy Note II’s display
The Galaxy Note II smartphone aka phablet has already sold 8 million plus units in Korea and for good reason, the 5.5 inch Samsung Super AMOLED screen displays at 1280×720 resolution 267PPI and is protected by Gorilla Glass. It is currently the largest smartphone screen available on the U.S. market today.
The picture on the Galaxy Note 2 is beautiful and I would expect nothing less from Samsung. The slightly reduced resolution from the former Note I’s display, 5.3 1280×800 285PPI is marginal and you will not notice it unless your carrying them both around comparing them all day.
Note II Hardware
The Galaxy Note II comes equipped with a snappy 1.6ghz Samsung Exynos quad-core processor, 16gb internal storage with 10.2gb available to the user, 2gb of ram and Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean on our test unit. It captures images and video at 1080p with its rear firing 8mp HD camera and a front firing 1.9 mp camera for video calls and conferencing. A micro SD card slot allows you to expand storage to up to 64 gb.
It comes equipped with a removable 3100mAh Lithium Ion battery that gives you 300 hours of max stand by and 21 hours of talk time. Battery life is actually very nice in real world use, but if you are endlessly playing, running widgets etc, you will find it best practice to plug in whenever possible like any mobile device. If your a tinker junky you can easily overclock this puppy to 1.8ghz.
The Note II’s Camera
The Galaxy Note II comes equipped with the same great CMOS sensor 8mp rear and 1.9mp front camera as the Galaxy S3, this is the best smartphone camera I have ever used hands down. The Note II comes with some new features like being able to take 6+ fps and up to 20 shots just by holding down your finger on the camera button, low light shooting mode, or Best Shot mode that takes 8 photos and helps you decide which is best and eliminating the rest just like on the Samsung Galaxy SIII. Not only can you capture video is 1080p, you are also able to shoot in high-speed or slow-motion! Features like “Best faces” will take multiple shots of your group of friends and then allow you to select all the best images of each person then merge them!
Multi Window Split Screen
Multi tasking is a reality with the split-screen feature we love so much. How many times have you been on your gps and not want to toggle off to read a message only to fumble your way back? Surf the web and browse a map, watch a video and check out your email, read the news and tweet. The Note II comes with a one handed mode that allow you to easily navigate and execute your tasks. The one handed mode also supplies you with re-sized versions of icons, aligned either for right-handed or left-handed users. There’s also a side loading menu that you can customize, similar to your windows task bar or OSX dock to make your life a little easier.
The Enhanced S Pen
The stylus or Enhanced S Pen gives you the ultimate versatility and functionality with the built-in Wacom digitizer. The Wacom driven Enhanced S Pen gives you 1,204 different pressure sensitivity levels for a more natural feeling and a hover feature called Air view allows you to bring up menus without touching the phablet. Note taking, scribbling down thoughts is a snap with S Note and very convenient. Take screen shots by selecting content, write on virtually everything, even add functionality through S Pen apps from Samsung on Google Play store.
Page Buddy widget areas are triggered when you pull out the S Pen, or plugging in headphones or to a docks and for when your roaming give you customizable widget areas to place whatever you would like. Think of it as a submenu for a particular action. The included stylus neatly tucks away into the device so you don’t lose it and detection can be turned off to preserve battery life.
You can even use your Enhanced S Pen to write to SVoice and have it perform tasks or ask it questions. Ever lose your internet and try to use your txt to speech on your iPhone? Android Jelly Bean 4.1.1 brings with it text to speech recognition without the need for an internet connection!
Sharing your videos, pictures, notes or whatever is a breeze with Samsung’s NFC, WiFi direct and S Beam, that allow you to directly transmit media device to device or Group Cast to automatically share to a group of users on the same Wi-Fi network. Share shot lets you automatically based on session, share out your photos as you take them!
The Galaxy Note II and Android interface bring the best of hardware and software OS together for a smooth end user experience. The famed phablet lives up to all the hype and you might not look back once you get used to it.
Available on Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and US Cellular