* Prices may differ from that shown
I fell in love with this phone the moment my partner came home with it. The S pen is a brilliant feature, along with the ability to split the screen for example using facebook and youtube together. The camera is amazing at an 8mp quality.
When my husband decided to buy this phone, I wasn''t quite sure. This huge product, with its touch screen features, AND his out door job. It really didn''t sound like a good idea at that time. But I soon changed my mind.
This product is sure one of the best purchase decision we have ever made. It does cost more, compared to other Android based smart phones, but it is still slightly cheaper than apple products. It is still a good buy.
Being a big built man, equipped with equally big hands, my husband found the big screen very helpful. It just the right size in his hands. The stylus helped him with the minute details, and he could do all the typing without accidentally touched the other buttons.
I also found the display resolution really good. We used this phone to watch football when we were on the way home from London to Norwich, and it was clear and bright, and honestly, it was so much nicer to watch the match on this phone than on my iphone. The camera is also very impressive, and I think it is so much better than iphone.
For me personally, I felt that the keypad is still less responsive, compared to my iphone. But I have to admit that it is still so much better compared to other Android phones I have ever tried. However, I think the stylus, and the note feature could make up to this, because this phone could automatically interpret your writing and change it to texts. How awesome.
Another awesome thing I quite envy from my husband phone is the memory capacity. While my iPhone doesn''t have external memory, and would have to rely solely to its internal memory, my husband''s Galaxy Note 2, allows him to add more spaces for his music, and photos.
Overall, I am glad that he bought this product. This has made our communication a lot easier. I am also happy that it means with the features this phone has, we wouldn''t have to buy a new phone for a very long time.
This phones screen is big and if you are a fan of YouTube, you will be fallen in love with such a big screen. But your hands can be tired holding it as it it big and you need both hands to support it. It is an andriod smartphones so some of the apps from iOS store could not be downloaded such as iTunes. I love the fact that the cover of the phone can be found easily. It can be troublesome sometimes. If you those people who don''t like to bring your bag/ purse everywhere, then this phone is really not inconvenience. It can be too big to fit in your pockets. Besides, some bags have design a phone pockets inside which helps to organize your bag but unfortunately it don''t fit in there. This phone is just huge and could not fit in a pocket. But it has large memory spaces which allows you to download a lot of apps and it has a build in front camera for selfie. Nonetheless, a larger screen always works for elderly as they can see better, so if you are thinking to buy it as a gift to your parents, it can be a very thoughtful gift. Another disadvantage is it brakes easily. If you are a clumsy people, I advise you to buy a harder coveer to protect your phone. It also drawn out your battery very quickly. You need to bring a charger if you plays a lot with your phones.
I have had this phone for 15 months now and although I'd normally be bored of my phone after this time period, I am still loving the Note 2.
Sure, I've had my fair share of abuse thrown at me, "why are you carrying a laptop in your pocket?" and "that phone is bigger than your head" are two of the most common lines but for me, the phone is a perfect size. I read and write a lot of emails and documents on my phone and the large screen is a God send - it also has an unbelievably crisp display. In addition, the internet browsing and satellite navigation are just so much better on this big display than they were on my old Samsung Galaxy S or S2.
As with all androids, the operating system is superb and the amount of apps available is simply incredible. You can customise your home screens which is a nice touch too.
As for the stylus that comes with it, it fits into the phone very neatly and you could be forgiven for not knowing it is there. I have used it occasionally - often to write a shopping list or draw a picture but overall, I'd say it's more of a gimmick than anything of actual real use. The 'handwriting to text' feature is pretty accurate though. My handwriting is an incredibly bad joined up scrawl but 9 times out of 10 the phone translated it to the correct text.
I do find texting with just one hand (For example, when walking and holding a bag etc.) to be difficult, albeit just about possible. I have a large hand so can hold the phone in my palm and just about reach the other side of the screen with my thumb - I'm sure many others would struggle.
The battery life is obviously not as long as the good old Nokias, but which smartphone lasts much more than a day these days? The battery easily lasts the day and that's all that matters to me.
Overall, I'm delighted with this phone and am seriously considering getting the latest in the Samsung Note series when my phone contract expires.
Galaxy Note 2 Review
I've been using this phone for almost a year now, so I've had a nice time getting used to it. All I can say is that it is amazing. A year on and still the battery life is great. It easily gets me through the day without having to carry around a charger with me. I use the phone quite intensively, regularly facbooking, whatsapping, playing games, having push emails, auto-adjust brightness, amongst the many other features that it contains. These things can be quite intensive on most phones and would instantly drain the battery, however not for the Note 2.
The stylus for the phone is amazing, and the apps that support the stylus are growing. The built in Samsung app is my personal best for making notes. The screen is nice and large, great for viewing movies or watching sports through apps such as flixster / Netflix / skysports tv etc. The quality ofcourse depends on your connection.
A year on and still the Note 2 is one of the best on the market. I opted for the 3G version, however now around the UK 4G is becoming more and more popular and cheaper too, it would be worth investing in a 4G version. If you're not too bothered and want to save some money the 3G version will do. This phone will not depreciate in its market value nor its operation much for atleast the next year. If you want something that lasts and is reliable, this is the phone to get!
The only drawback to this phone is that it can be quite some time before you get android updates. But this is quite general in the market unless you own a google made phone. So don't expect to get instant updates as soon as google releases a new OS.
Some may say that the size is too big. I think it's perfect. It's not going to be for everyone, but most people get comfortable with it after using it for a few days.
Verdict: Get it!
As a proud and happy owner of this magically fantastical feat of slickness, i have to admit that this aptly named "phablet" has caused such a massive inflation of my ego that i may as well be orbiting it.
The phone features Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors, with a resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels making this the biggest phone on the market and because of that i had assumed that i would in fact be in for a chunk of a phone but i was pleasantly surprised when i picked it up and found it very light in weight.
the other thing that i particularly enjoy about this phone is the vast space for applications i have over 20 games let alone the 30 odd applications on top and with that big processor it rarely disappoints on speed.
The most important thing you need to know is this is one of those phones that make people say
"is that a phone??", "its massive!!" and of course, "i want one"
Lastly if you like to try your hand at a bit of developing this is a fabulous phone when rooted and on a custom rom.
I would recommend this phone to my friends, my partner, my nan and even the randoms in the street. Its a champion of a phone i tell thee!
This phone is amazing! When I first saw it, I thought "it's massive!" but there's a reason....The second note by Samsung lives to every persons expectations. Its super fast, easy to use, offers a million and one apps for everything, an incorporated stylus that makes you look professional (even if you are just playing a game!) and so much more!
I don't use my phone for business use, but it lets me feel a lot more important! I use a range of apps, such as email, eBay, Whats App, games and video calling. I was so impressed with how clear the screen is! Usually every time I have bought the latest phone at the time, I always end up having to take my phone back to get rid of 'software problems'. But 6 months on, I have had no problems. Originally this was the phone my husband wanted, but after seeing what this phone could do, there was no way I wasn't buying it!
I definitely recommend this phone to anyone. Its so smart and practical. The only downside is it is a large phone. But who wants to carry an iPad around all day long when you have a Note 2 that slips into your pocket??
I fell in love with this phone after seeing an advert for it, and after owning it for 6 months it hasn't disappointed. I use the phone as a laptop, a kindle and a camera, as well as a phone. The giant screen is perfect for gaming, reading books, emailing, social networking and watching videos on YouTube.
The stylus is easy to use, taking it out opens up the 'S Note' app on the home page, which is great for jotting down ideas and quick sketches. Holding down the button on the pen allows you to copy sections of whatever page you're on, which can then be pasted into emails, messaging apps or the notebook.
It is fast, with plenty of storage, which I still haven't come close to using up despite downloading hundreds of apps! The camera is amazing, with a bright flash. If you touch the screen the camera will focus on that spot, which is great for almost any shot. The preloaded photo editing software is basic but great for fun edits. It's very easy to switch between camera and video, and the video is fairly good quality. I find it very easy to send pictures wirelessly between the phone and my laptop and often don't bother taking out my camera, using the phone instead!
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 does everything you could want it to and looks good doing it! It has a decent battery life and is easy and fun to use.
I'm not a big techno-geek but when I picked this phone up in the store I decided that for it's large size it was about as thin and light as you can get. I needed the big screen as I need to keep it switched on my desk, almost like a mini-computer, to see emails arriving through the day. Without buying a tablet (which I'm told can't take calls even if you put a SIM card in the 3G versions) this is the biggest screen 'phone' that's generally around on the market.
The battery life isn't bad given the big screen must consume a lot, almost two days with a new battery, but that's using WIFI, I'm sure if I go out on 3G it would be less.
The 'home' screens were quite confusing at first, but by deleting all the rubbish and clutter and not downloading awful, time wasting apps it remains simple enough to a simple tech user like myself.
I can't really comment on all the extra bits and pieces that other users might swoon over as I never use them. So just checking emails and making a few calls, maybe you think it's woefully underused or I have bought the wrong phone, but for me it's the screen size.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is a smart phone which was released in September of 2012. I purchased this phone in December of 2012 and I am extremely glad I did. The phone itself is fairly large compared to any other mobile devices I have ever had, however, if you are looking for a phone that is smart, fast and fun; then this is for you. The phone is available in various different colours including Titanium Grey, Ruby Wine, Marble White and Amber Brown. The Note 2 doesn't fail to live up to its slogan- 'Be Creative, Be Expressive'.
In my opinion, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 has a very attractive appearance, it's both smooth and sleek with only one home button on the front and 2 hidden soft keys either side (back and menu), which light up when pressed. This gives the phone a very simple look; often people can get confused by too many buttons on a phone. Underneath the phone is where the S-Pen is kept, it slots in perfectly and if you didn't know any better, you wouldn't know it was there. It is easy to extract, and matches the phone's attractiveness perfectly.
The size of the screen is 5.5 inches and the overall size of the phone is 5.9 x 3.2 x 0.4 inches, which at first glance, didn't seem enormous. It weighs 183 grams which seems heavy to some people, but honestly I feel as though it's quite light. However, before considering buying this phone I suggest going to your nearest phone store to try the Note 2 out. I did this myself before purchasing the phone and I was incredibly shocked by the size of it, but after using this phone for a week I found that I just got used to the size of it, and now after 6 months of use, it feels completely normal. As long as you don't mind the occasional weird look or comment off someone ('woah that phone is huge') when pulling out your phone then the size shouldn't bother you too much.
The phone has Super Amoled capacitive touchscreen with 16M colors; which on a screen of its size looks amazing. The display is 720 x 1280 pixels which allows you to view photos and other media to the best quality. The phone has different colour settings, which allows you to adjust the colours that the phone shows as often people believe that the photos taken are too vibrant and unrealistic; which can be easily changed in the settings. The phone can be bought with either 16,32 or 64gb of memory, and with a micro-sd card you can add extra memory to the phone. I have a 16gb memory, as well as a 16gb memory card and I am having no trouble with keeping all my music, photos and apps on the phone.
With such a massive phone, it is vital to have a massive battery; and the Note 2 does. It has a 3,100 mAh battery which personally for me lasts around 2 days of normal use- this being occasionally surfing the internet, using social networks and texting. When I am constantly using the phone, it'll last about a day, maybe a day and a half- this being listening to music for about 2/3 hours, watching YouTube videos and playing games and apps. For me, the battery life is perfect, however it really does depend on what you are going to use it for and how long you are going to be using it.
The main camera on the phone is 8mp with autofocus and LED Flash, and personally, I think this camera quality is amazing. It has many different shooting modes, just like a digital camera and also has a front facing camera for taking self shots. The front camera has a small 1.9mp however once again I believe the quality is perfect for what I use it for.
The phone is made from a strong Gorilla Glass which is supposed to protect it from both scratches and smashing. Personally, I believe the phone is very strong, as I have dropped it face down twice onto concrete and wooden floorboards from about chest height and I have a perfect screen; no scratches at all. I do however have a few scuffs around the edges. I wouldn't recommend you not being careful with this phone though, as my experiences could have just been luck! I do recommend, however, buying a case, just to be on the safe side, as this phone is very expensive, and I believe repairs can be expensive too.
The phone is very fast with a Quad-core 1.6 GHz Cortex-A9 CPU, and is great for internet surfing and streaming music and videos.
Like many Samsung phones, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 comes with S Voice built in. S Voice is a app which uses voice commands to open other apps, surf the web and control music. It is a bit like Siri from iPhones apart from you can't really have a proper conversation with it; although it will tell you jokes! The Note 2 also has a feature called Smart Stay. This can be turned on or off in the settings and uses the camera to track your eyes and adjust the brightness of the screen depending on what you're doing. For example, if you're reading something or watching a video, the screen will stay on and will not dim down or turn off. I have had no problems with this feature and would recommend turning it on!
The main unique feature of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is the S Pen. The S Pen is a stylus that slots into the bottom of the phone. It can be used as a normal stylus to navigate the screen, or it can be used to unleash your creativity. You can use the S Pen to write what you want to type, which the phone will automatically change into text which makes texting a lot easier if you're not a fast typer. You can also use it to quickly jot down notes and view photos by hovering over them. I personally really like the S Pen, but I don't use it as much as I should. I mainly use it for drawing on apps which you can download for free off Google Play or the Samsung Market.
One of my favorite features of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 which I find very useful, is the ability to pause/stop your music playing by placing your hand over the phone, or placing it face down on a flat surface. In my opinion it is very responsive and the music stops the second the phone is covered.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is the best phone I have ever owned and Samsung have really outdone themselves with this product.
This phone is a feature packed cross between a smartphone and a tablet which in mobile talk has been christened a phablet! It has a fantastic 5.5 inch HD super Amoled display ideal for video playback. It runs on the latest Android 4.1 jellybean operating system. It has an 8 mega pixel rear facing camera and a 1.9 mega pixel front facing camera for video calling with HD recording for video. It boasts an impressive 10 hours talk time which, considering the many high tech specs of this mobile is no mean feat. Also boasting a very reasonable 16 gig internal storage capacity with the option of inserting a memory card if required. The feature specialty however is the marvelous note making facility and the improved built in pen which takes this mobile into an altogether unique direction. When the pen is removed a pop up note appears on screen, perfect for jotting down quick notes whenever needed.
Samsung's large sized flagship device. This device is enormous in every aspect from the screen to the quad core processor to the hefty price tag.
The phone despite being large is very light . The slightly curved phone resembles the galaxy s2 more than the the latest flagship galaxy s3. Some people with very small hands may find it hard for one handed operation inspite of enabling one handed operation mode.
The back cover is glossy and appears flimsy but is actually very sturdy. The cover can be removed easily to expose a large battery , micro sd slot and micro sim slot.
The expansive screen is of what samsung calls super amoled type. The screen by itself is gorgeous and the colours pop. Some may find it very saturated(the saturation can be reduced in settings ). Viewing angles are great and there is no washout of colours
The phone is powered by a quad core a9 processor clocked at 1.6 ghz. There is no lag during scrolling through websites or app drawer.Games and apps load very fast .
The phone is powered by an adreno-400 mp gpu.games run over a smooth 60 fps even in taxing games such as nova 3 and nfs most wanted.
The phone is provided with 2 gb of ram which is very helpful in multitasking.
The note 2 runs android 4.1.1 ( upgradable to 4.1.2) heavily skinned with touchwiz v5.0. Touchwiz has developed from being intrusive to actually being visually pleasing, fast and contains many features. Features such as smart stay , smart call and all other features are carried over from the galaxy s3. Adittional features include page buddy -4 pages, each for s-pen , headphones , roaming and docking.
Multi windows - allows to run 2 apps simultaneously in split screen. The drawback is that only very few apps are supported out which most are Samsung apps.
Battery life :
The removable 3100 mAh battery allows this quad core beast to run for 7 to 8 hours with heavy use (with 3g turned on , brightness at full) and last 2 to 3 days with moderate use and 6 to 9 days in standby.
The s-pen from the note has been carried over to its successor albeit while being more ergonomical . Handwriting to text has been improved and can be actually used instead of the keyboard.
The galaxy note 2 takes the s3 and improves it in every possible way. But some people may find it hard to use due to its large size. But larger phones are being developed (huawei ascend mate which is 6.1 inches) which shows that there is a market for large devices.
I really didn't need a new phone, my Samsung Galaxy S2 was more than adequate, but for some reason when my mobile operator phoned to ask if I would like a Samsung Galaxy Note II, I just couldn't resist. Released at the beginning of October 2012, the Note II, is the latest in the Galaxy family and comes in at a shocking £500 SIM free. Available in two colour schemes, I eschewed the Titanium Grey in favour of the ceramic white, and received my Note II free on a contract from Vodafone. To give you an idea of the contracts available with this phone, mine is a £47/month contract, which includes unlimited calls, unlimited texts, 2GB of mobile data and 3GB of wi-fi access. There are lower cost contracts available, but these do mean that you have to pay something towards the phone itself, with the lower the contract the higher the upfront payment and prices ranging from £49 (for a £42/month contract) to £149 (for a £33/month contract). I will say though, that with how well this phone performs online, you will need as high a data allowance as you can possibly get, otherwise you will find you are having to pay expensive top-ups. I am going to make no apologies for the length of this review, this is an expensive piece of equipment that is far more than just a phone, so I will be going into many of the different features, if you just want a summary then skip down to the final section.
==Out Of The Box - The Styling, First Impressions and Set Up==
The Galaxy Note 2 is supplied in a simplistic, minimalistic and yet stylish box, that bucks the trend as far as excess packaging goes. On first glance, the sturdy box doesn't appear anywhere nearly big enough to hold the phone itself, USB lead, adapter plug, earphones, extra ear-buds, battery and basic quick start manual, but everything is cleverly packed as to take up as little room as possible.
Described as a "phablet", the Note 2 is a hybrid, part mobile phone, part tablet, being much larger in size than most phones and yet smaller than a tablet, while combining the functionality of both. Measuring in at 151.1mm by 80.5mm, with a depth of 9.4mm, the first impression of the Note 2 is most definitely how large it is. I remember feeling that the Galaxy S2 was large, but this dwarfs my S2, being almost twice the size. In fact the Note 2 is so big, that I did wonder how comfortable it would be to hold and how ergonomic is is for making calls, but I promise you do quickly get used to the size and now the S2 feels small and rather cramped in my hands.
As with the packaging, the Note II features minimalistic styling, which is enhanced by the glossy white fascia, (that is back cover and screen surround). The only part of the physical styling I'm not so sure about is the silver around the outside edge, it could look tacky, but thankfully simply adds to the feeling that this is an expensive piece of equipment. The battery cover is easy to remove and while it does feel a little flimsy, it is made of the same material as the battery cover on the S2, which has proved very durable despite being removed and replaced many times. Button-wise, there are only three physical buttons on the Note II, a power/stand-by button, volume control (that doubles up a camera zoom) and Home key, everything else on the phone is controlled via the touch screen and touch sensitive buttons either side of the home key.
The biggest physical selling point of the Note II has to be the touch screen, at 5.55" (140.9mm) it looks massive, which of course compared to many phones it is. This HD sAMOLED screen has a resolution of 1280 x 720, which is extremely clear, with vivid colours and deep blacks which are displayed in the wide screen (16:9) format. This truly is a screen designed for displaying photos and videos, with a wonderful clarity that exceeds the S2. This is also a screen designed to survive most knocks and bumps, being made of super-tough Gorilla Glass 2. One thing that cannot be avoided on either the screen or the rest of the phone is fingerprint smears and smudging, the glossy surfaces do seem to positively attract these marks. These marks do not show up as badly on white as they might do on a grey surface (a reason for buying this in white) and they are easily buffed off with a lens cloth, but between cleans they are noticeable when the light hits them. Talking of light, the screen is easily readable in most lighting conditions, but there are occasions when the glare from sunlight will mean that you need to move around to see who is calling.
Considering how much this phone can do, it is surprisingly easy to set up for first use. Very obviously the SIM card and battery need installing before first use, along with a MicroSD card of up to 64GB (if the 16GB internal memory isn't enough for you). A huge improvement on the S2 is that while the battery still needs to be removed before inserting/removing the SIM card, the MicroSD slot is accessible immediately on removing the back cover. Another nice plus is that the battery is almost fully charged on receipt, meaning that you can have a play with the phone before needing to charge it. When charging the battery, the USB lead can be used to connect the phone to any computer's USB port, with any drivers being automatically installed on said computer, or the plug adapter can be used to connect to a wall socket. Due to the minimalistic packaging, the plug comes in two pieces (so as to save space), but assembling it is as easy as sliding a pin into place. I'm trying to decide whether I like the fact that both the USB and plug are white in keeping with the phone. They do look different, but I only charge from the wall in my kitchen, which means these would soon yellow. Thankfully, unlike Apple with their proprietary connections, the Note II has a standard connection shared with many other products (including the Kindle and Blackberry) meaning I can not only use those black leads at home, but should the Note II need charging away from home it is more likely that a friend will have a suitable lead.
As a phone running on the Android system, Google is heavily integrated into the Note II and you will require a Google (Gmail) account to make the most, or indeed anything of the phone. On first switch on, you are asked for your sign in details, so that the phone can be synchronised with your Google account and if you are not already the possessor of one of these accounts you will be prompted to sign up for one. As I already had a Google account I obviously signed in to this and found by doing so it immediately downloaded and installed all the apps that I had previously had on my S2. Well almost all my apps, there were a couple that do not support this phone and so were not installed. As part of the set-up process, you are also encouraged to connect to a wireless network, which is a simple enough process. The Note II easily found my home network (along with those of my various neighbours) and it was simplicity itself to enter the password and connect. All of the wi-fi standards are supported (a,b,g,n) and if not connected to wi-fi, the S2 can also connect over HSPA+, EDGE and GPRS, depending on signal strength.
==The Main Event - Adding Contacts, Making Calls and Writing Texts==
So does anyone use a mobile phone as an actual phone today? Well yes actually, I do, no matter what bells and whistles it may contain, for me making calls and sending texts are still the most important functions, even if they are probably what I spend the least time doing with this particular phone.
Adding contacts is a simple enough affair, maybe too easy as the Note II decided to add all of my Gmail and Facebook book contacts without asking. OK, I love all my FB buddies dearly, but I don't want hundreds of them clogging up my contact list on my phone. This lead to a fun ten minutes or so, removing all the contacts I didn't want on the phone and sorting those I did into different groups. Each contact can hold a reasonable amount of different pieces of information, including phone number, email address and physical address, but only one number can be stored per contact. You can, however, add extra, personalised fields, such as their website, along with a personalised ringtone for each contact. The installed ringtones are as naff as is usual on phones, but any music tracks held on the phone's memory can be used in their place. Ringtone volume is suitably loud and easily adjustable via the rocker button, top volume is loud enough to be heard over almost anything (maybe not in a club), and for those quieter moments the phones can be muted and vibration activated.
Calls can be activated in all the standard ways, the number can be tapped in or they can be initiated via the contact list or call log. The call log is not quite so easy to access as I would like, rather than there being one entry per contact, every single call and text is logged, meaning that if I only call that person occasionally I need to scroll through hundreds of entries to find them. Due to the large screen the numeric keypad for entering numbers is large enough to be easily usable, even for those with large fingers, each "button" is well defined and you don't need to just use the tip of your finger.
Answering a call is as easy as swiping a finger across the screen as is declining the call, although it isn't as obvious that you need to swipe rather than tap as it could be. Once in a call you have the option of the standard holding the phone to the ear, wired hands-free, speaker phone or Bluetooth headset, which is of course pretty standard. When used in the standard manner, call clarity is more than acceptable (depending on signal), with the in call volume being easily adjustable with the ergonomically and logically placed volume button. I've not experienced any echoing and nobody has reported any from the other end either. Signal itself is easily as good as any phone I have owned, although this does depend greatly on network and I find that I do still lose signal in all the usual places.
Although the sheer size of the Note II does still make me self-conscious when making calls in the "normal" way, it is surprisingly easy to get used to holding it. I did think that it would be uncomfortable and make my hand hurt as it's not the lightest phone at 182.5g, but within a day I was having no trouble and even found holding the S2 a little strange as it felt so small. There are a couple of nifty in-call features on the Note II that are worth mentioning, the first of which is the way that the screen switches off to save power when it senses that it is near your ear and then wakes back up as you move it away. I would like the screen to wake up a little faster, but overall this is a nifty little feature. The other feature involves the S-Pen, a stylus housed in the base of the phone which is activated when it is removed. If the S-Pen is activated during a phone call, a small notepad appears on the screen, on which you can make notes (funnily enough). This is an incredibly handy feature, that I quite simply don't know how I ever managed without. No longer do I have to hunt for a pen and piece of paper to jot down an address or phone number, which saves a lot of stress.
When calls are taken using the speaker phone (which is easily activated by pressing a button on the touch screen), the call quality is exceptional through the rear speaker and my voice is picked up with the minimum of background noise. Again the volume is easily adjustable, and there is no echoing or distortion even at top whack. When using the wired hands-free set, the ear-buds themselves are comfortable and mould to my ears. Although a total of three different size bud covers are supplied, I find the medium set already installed perfect for my ear size. These buds fit neatly in the ear, reducing the majority of external noise, but still allowing me to be aware of my surroundings. If I had to point out any problems with the earphones, they would have to be that the wire is a tad too short, and that the buds themselves are not labelled left and right. But taking calls with these earphones is a joy, with exceptional sound quality, due in part to the gold plated jack. Calls can be answered via the in-line control and the microphone is perfectly placed to pick up your voice. From my end call quality is perfect, with no evidence of hissing or popping, while reports from the other end is that it's loud and clear with no drop-outs.
Rather than each text message being displayed individually, text messages are grouped together into conversations, which makes looking back at what either party said previously easier along with making replying to a particular contact easier. There are various input methods available, a standard tap keyboard, swipe and handwriting recognition. Due to the larger size screen the keyboard is large enough to make tapping out your messages a breeze, especially when used in landscape. Should you still have difficulties using this method then then S-Pen makes it even easier to be accurate. The swipe function was first introduced in earlier Galaxy models and is one that I am used to using on the S2. When swiping, rather than typing out each letter you slide your finger across each letter in the word only lifting it on the last letter and the phone will then decide which word you were intending to write. Although I find this method a lot quicker, it does take practise and there are times when the phone picks the wrong word.
My new favourite input method has to be the handwriting recognition, while this was a chore using a fingertip on the S2 it is a delight with the S-pen on the Note II. You can set whether you will be using the S-pen with your left or right hand, but from what I can tell it makes no difference which you set it to. I'm left handed, haven't bothered changing the setting and it doesn't seem to have caused the phone to have a fit. With the S2 you had to be very exact for the handwriting recognition to work, but with the Note II you can be far more imprecise, in fact you can be downright sloppy. My handwriting is in no way the neatest and yet I can scrawl in joined up writing and the Note II has no problem recognising what I want to say. My only problem is that I haven't yet worked out how to quickly add spaces between my words. As with all phones there is a T9 dictionary and predictive text available, both of which I find incredibly annoying and switched off as soon as I could.
==Putting The Smart Into Smart Phone - The OS, The Processor, Apps, The S-pen and Touch-screen==
The Note II runs on the latest version of the Android OS, 4.1, codenamed Jellybean (which is only to be expected with a phone released just one month ago). Combined with a quad core 1.6GHz processor this OS, means that the Note II is lightening fast even when several different applications are open at the same time. Samsung have overlaid Jellybean with their own proprietary software, Touchwiz UI, which "enhances" the smart phone experience further, by adding extra home screens along with some S-pen specific Apps.
The Note II features seven home screens, all of which can be customised with widgets or short-cuts to Apps and then there is easy access to the various Apps ready installed and those you have downloaded. While Apple has iTunes, Android's equivalent is Google Play where you will find a huge number of Apps, whether they be games or utilities. While some of the Apps are naff, there are many that are incredibly useful, some fun games to while away the time and even better a huge number of these are free. With this being a newly released phone on a newly released OS, there are a number of Apps that are available on other phones (such as the S2/S3) that are not compatible with the Note II. One that was particularly disappointing for me, is that Sky Go is not supported, which means I'm now missing out on watching Sky on the go. Some of the Apps I can recommend include, Polaris Office (which allows the creation and editing of Microsoft Office files), iPlayer (you will need to download Adobe Air), ITV Player, TV Catchup (plays the Free-To-View channels in real time) and AVG (an anti virus).
Amongst the Apps the Samsung themselves have added to the Note II, there are a number that have been specifically designed with the S-pen in mind. On removal of the S-pen from it's home a menu housing a number of these opens up. These include S-Notes, which allow you to use the S-pen to write notes, while I'm sure some people would find these useful, I have to admit that I don't. I was quite surprised at how little I liked these Apps, considering just how much I love using the S-pen. As far as I'm concerned the S-pen is simply the smartest thing about this smart phone, it makes writing texts a breeze, highlighting and clicking in the browser simplicity itself and is fantastic for whenever a little precision is required. Want to preview a photo without opening it up, or look at the information hidden behind a piece of HTML, then simply hover the S-pen above it and it will come up on screen to disappear again when you move the S-pen away. Not only that, but should you forget to put it back in it's little home and walk away from it with the phone in your hand it will alert you so you don't lose it.
If your only experience of using a touch screen is those unresponsive mobile phones of years back then the Note II will be something of a revelation. The screen itself is of the capacitive variety, which is extremely responsive and it reacts smoothly to finger touches and swipes, with little to no lag, no matter how cold the weather. While the screen is capacitive the S-pen itself isn't, and I must say that Samsung have managed to combine the two perfectly.
==Snap Happy - The Cameras and Video Recorder==
The Note II features not one but two cameras, a front facing 1.9MP suitable for basic self-portraits to put up on Facebook but not much else and a rear facing 8MP. While admittedly this is the same specification you would find on the S2, it is still an excellent camera that negates the need to carry a separate piece of equipment when out for the day.
The camera includes many features that are considered standard today, including an LED flash, face detection, beauty shot, smile shot and panorama along with a 4x digital zoom. There's more than enough settings to play with including some very cool effects and even a timer. The LED flash is very bright and lights up to a surprising distance, but does come as something as a shock to the photographed, making them blink.
The full crux of the matter as far as the camera goes is how good the pictures are, and in my unprofessional opinion they are excellent. Colours are bright and vivid, without being over-saturated and unnatural, when using the automatic settings, everything is in focus, with no pixilation. While obviously an optical zoom is going to beat digital every time, the zoom is still reasonable at low levels, but at full zoom pictures do become a little blurry and even blocky. At top quality resultant photos can be blown up to A5 size and above to display on the wall and look as good as anything my 10MP camera can produce.
The camera also doubles up as a HD video camera, recording at up to 30fps with full sound. This HD recording does take up a lot of memory, but is fantastic for recording precious memories to watch later on an HD screen.
==Click Happy - The Online Experience==
If ever a phone was designed for spending time online then this is it. Connecting to the internet is painless through the wi-fi connection and almost pain-free using mobile internet, although, be warned you will need a large data allowance for on the go.
Gmail is integrated into the phone from the outset, meaning that you are instantly alerted to new emails and can send and receive then almost anywhere. The combination of the touch screen and S-pen, means that writing emails go is almost as easy as from a PC. Facebook and Twitter can also be integrated by installing their respective Apps, but it is when you are actually accessing the internet that this phone comes into it's own.
The combination of the large screen and accuracy of the S-pen, means that I can access web pages that I wouldn't go near with the S2. Rather than needing to make do with the mobile versions of web pages, I can load the full versions, meaning I get to view and interact with the whole of the site. The large screen is fantastic at displaying detail and the S-pen means that I can accurately click on links. My only real problem is that I am unable to double click, which is only a small niggle really. Using the S-pen, I can even "cut" pictures and articles off of the web and then paste them into the S-notes, pretty cool huh?
==Rock The House - Multimedia, Music, Video, Pictures, Games and Books==
So the Galaxy Note II, is a fantastic phone, a pretty good camera and excellent for accessing the internet, so what else can it do? Well it's also a pocket sized multi-media player.
With 16GB of internal memory (of which only about 12GB is available), upgradable by a further 64GB via a microSD card there is plenty of space for all of your music, video, gaming and even reading needs. Files can be transferred to the phone via a variety of means, you can use the phone as removable storage by connecting to a computer via a USB lead, or you can use Bluetooth to transfer between devices. Perhaps the most innovative way of moving files between your computer and the Note II is Kies Air, which transfers using wi-fi. Whichever way you choose, there is more than enough space and files can then be accessed using the various media hubs.
With the Note II there is absolutely no need for a separate music player, music played through this sounds fantastic, whether through the earphone or speaker. As with all music players tracks can be accessed in a variety of manners, including via album or artist, artwork is displayed on the screen, play lists can be composed and there is a shuffle function. There is also a graphic equaliser with a number of settings to further enhance sound. Music can also be played in the background and if using the earphones can be controlled directly using the in-line control. When played through the speaker the maximum volume level is very loud and yet there is absolutely no distortion and depending on the quality of the track, the audio is multi-layered and life like. One thing I really like is that all of the common and not so common file formats are supported meaning that I do not need to convert any of my files.
Various different video formats are also supported, including MPEG and AVI, which again means that less conversion is required. HD playback is also supported, meaning that the most can be made of that beautiful screen. Obviously the quality of play back depends greatly on the quality of the original file, but so far everything I have played has been displayed perfectly, with no stuttering, loss of synch or other problems, but I have to admit that I do not watch that much in the way of film files. What I do watch on this phone are the various TV Apps along with Netflix (which is a mix of TV and films). The quality of these is amazing, with excellent picture quality, even down to the fine detail and multi-layered sound (especially when teamed with earphones).
The Note II does come with some games installed, but these did not really appeal to me, so I downloaded a selection from Google Play. What really impressed me is that this phone supports not one but two Final Fantasy games, which is perfect for the die hard FF fan that I am. If you are not a FF fan, then there are plenty of other games to choose from, both free and paid for and the responsive touch screen makes playing them a delight. While the Note II will never replace my beloved Kindle, by downloading the Kindle App it becomes the perfect eReader for at night in bed. The lit back screen makes it much easier for me to read at night and I love the way that the App synchronises with my actual Kindle so I never have to find my place in a book.
There are countless other things that the Note II can do, it doubles as a radio when the earphones are attached, it has Google maps for finding your way around, it has a Sat Nav and you can even turn it into a torch by downloading an App, the only limit seems to be the imagination of the App developers.
==Permanently Attached To The Wall? - Battery Life In Real Life Conditions==
Samsung's official figures state that the 3100mAh battery has a talk time of up to 35 hours (2G) or 16 hours (3G) and standby of up to 980 hours (2G) or 890 hours (3G), but as we know these figures really mean nothing as they are under laboratory conditions.
I use my Note II daily, with it mostly being connected to the 3G network and constantly connected to wi-fi. I make up to an hour of phones calls, write (and send) a dozen or so texts, about the same number of emails, check Facebook upwards of twenty times a day, spend several hours online, watch about an hour of TV and play a few games, along with taking the occasional photo/short video. With all this use the battery lasts just over 24 hours between charges, which is actually pretty impressive. What is not quite so impressive is that it takes a good couple of hours for the battery to charge when connected via USB to my laptop.
==The Low Down - Conclusion and Recommendation==
In case you hadn't guessed in my opinion the Samsung Galaxy Note II is one impressive piece of kit. Yes it is much larger than any other phone I have owned, but it also does far more. I love the huge bright screen that makes watching videos and accessing the internet a delight, and I love the accuracy that the S-pen provides. I love that as well as being a fantastic media player, the Note II is also an excellent phone for making calls and sending texts. Considering how much I use this phone during the day, the battery life is also excellent, it's not too much of a strain to charge it each night especially as it lasts throughout the day.
And so I'm giving the Samsung Galaxy Note a full five stars out of five, as although it isn't perfect it's pretty close and I am recommending it to those who are looking for the functionality of a phone with the added extras of a tablet and media player. Only make sure that you have a large enough data allowance to cover the time you will spend on the internet and streaming music and video.
The Galaxy Note 2 came out last week. I couldn't wait to upgrade from my Note 1. The phone costs around £520 sim free or on contract around £40-45 a month. The phone comes in two colours black and ceramic white. I chose the ceramic white version.
For those of you who aren't familiar with the Galaxy Note it is a cross between a tablet and a phone or a phablet. The first thing you notice about the phone is the size of the screen, it dominates the handset. It's a massive 5.5 inches. The phone is very sleek and is similar in appearance to the Samsung Galaxy S3. The size of the screen means that the phone is fairly large. However it is still thin at 9.4mm and weighs in at a suprisingly light 198g. The ceramic white version is very smart looking it has a shiny white battery casing and the edges are silver. Like other Samsung phones the power button is to the right of the phone and the voluke buttons on the left hand side. The front of the phone has a home button and a back and menu button which illuminate when in use. The top of the phone has a headphone jack and finally at the bottom the micro usb port and the Samsung 'S Pen' which is stored inside the phone when not in use. Also inside the box you get headphones, a charger and a usb cable. The accessories are white to match the phone. The phone requires a new micro sim to operate.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 features an S Pen which is a pen that you can use to carry out tasks on the phone. The pen is ergonomically designed which makes it far better than the previous Note as it fits in your hand better. There is also a feature on the phone where when the S Pen is removed it launches the S Pen application. There is also a warning on the phone so if you leave the pen in another room the phone will notify you. The main feature of the S Pen is a notepad which you can write memos on using the stylus. You can choose various colours and types of pen as well as different backgrounds. These notes can then be forwarded to friends or family or saved. The pen is very receptive and the slightest touch with the pen on the screen is sufficient. The pen also allows you to hover over icons and it will give you information about the app without you actually pressing anything.
The Galaxy Note 2 is the most powerful phone on the market currently it features a quad core processor which makes it very fast compared to my previous phone which was dual core. The first thing I noticed when I turned on the screen was the vividness of the display the resolution is 1280 x 720 and like other Samsung phones has a super ameloid screen. The quality of the display is far superior to other phones I looked up in the shop. You also get an 8MP camera with a flash which takes great quality photos. I don't have a digital camera anymore as I find that the quality of the photos on most smartphones are so good it suits my needs. The phone runs on the latest version of Android which is 4.1 Jellybean. Like other Android phones you can download apps from the Google Play store and arrange the icons to suit you on the screen. As the Note has such a big screen you can put lots of icons on the one page. You can also choose widgets such as a month view calender or your email inbox.
I use my phone mainly for browsing online and texting. For using online this phone is excellent the size of the screen means it is easy to use full web pages on the phone. Also when the touch screen keyboard is active there is still enough space to view the webpage. The phone is also great for watching videos on and playing games. It isn't much smaller than a tablet so the quality of the video playback is excellent and my daughter loves watching the iPlayer when we are out and about. You may wonder about the battery life as the phone has so many functions well it comes wirth a 3100 Mha battery which lasts forever it seems. With previous phones I have owned the S2 and the original Note I found by the end of my work day after average use my phone was almost dead. The battery in this phone is a huge improvement. I can use the phone heavily throughout the day and still have 30-40% battery remaining at the end of the day. The phone phone also has a notification light at the top which I have found saves my battery life as I am not continually pressing the home button to check for emails and texts. The led will flash blue for emails and texts, red for low battery or when on charge and green when fully charged so at a glance you know if there are any texts. The phone comes with a 16gb built in memory which can be extended by using a micro sd card. I have found that even though I have 1000s of photos and quite a bit of music stored I still have lots of memory left.
The only negative thing I can say about the phone is that there are a lack of accesories currently but that will change once it's been out a while. Also for some people the size may be off putting. It is odd to use as a convention handset as it is a lot bigger. You can alter the set up of the keyboard to enable single hand use for left or right handed people.
All in all I would recommend this phone it is so fast the pages change so quickly. It is great for gaming and video playback. Also as I have said above the battery life is amazing. I love this phone. 5 stars from me.