Product Type: Samsung Smartphone
Newest Review: ... you suddenly find yourself looking to it to do practically everything for you. The beautiful 5'5 screen makes for a tablet like experienc... more
A seriously gorgeous smartphone with incredible capability
Samsung Galaxy Note II
Member Name: DEBDEB
Samsung Galaxy Note II
Advantages: Looks gorgeous, crisp screen, S-Pen, good battery life, multi-tasking, good camera
Disadvantages: Not for jeans pockets; not (yet) 4G capable
In all likelihood you already know about the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 if you are reading this review. You may be undecided whether this is for you (or your loved one). I hope I can persuade you to go for it. It is an awesome (that awful word!) piece of engineering. Now, if you are like me, the one thing that may make you take a pause is the size. This, as you may know, is a 5.5 inch screen-sized slab but what a gorgeous slab it is. The Galaxy Note 2 is seriously desirable. It has been dubbed a 'phablet' in reference to its size, suggesting that it is a phone-tablet crossover and that is arguably on the mark.
I came from an iPhone 4S, all 3.5 inch of its screen real estate, so the size was a radical departure. However, looking back, I cannot now believe how I put up with that small screen, great as it may have been in its time. This has been a revelation. Having had this for a few months now, I find the large size to be the Note's most important and useful assets. I can use it to read online content, downloaded books, watch movies and use it as a satnav (with the excellent Google maps) without feeling that I'm compromising on anything. It is such a relaxed and fulfilling experience. I really cannot imagine myself going back to the sub-4 inch mobile devices now. Beyond the aesthetics, the Note 2 works so smoothly with that vivid screen and gorgeous colour production. You have all the apps you can possibly need from the android stable so no issues there. If you are a mobile gamer, you will be hard pushed to find anything better than this device. The phone is so quick it does not appear to struggle at anything.
What about the call quality? It may be a multimedia device but primarily it is a phone. On this core function I have had no reason for any complaint. Call clarity is excellent, no dropped calls, voice commands work every time, speakerphone functions are superb. As a phone, it's just perfect.
I have described all that without even touching on the one most distinguishing feature of the Galaxy Note 2; the S-Pen. This is the annotating stylus that is part of the device. If you get this device, do please take the trouble to familiarise yourself with the S-Pen. It is a revelation. There is an app called S-Note to facilitate the use of the stylus and this is impressive. The handwriting recognition is very good; you can do quick hand-written emails and text messages, add pictures and even videos and, if you are the boffin type, perform your calculations taking advantage of its Wolfram-alpha integration.
A lot of people are interested in how good the camera on their phone is. Not a big thing for me as I almost always carry a 'proper' camera. However, I have to say the 8MP snapper on the Galaxy Note 2 produces amazingly beautiful pictures. This is even indoors in subdued light conditions. This was a pleasant surprise for me. You can also record videos in HD and with its storage expandability (up to 64Gb) using a microUSB, that is something you can do without worrying about running out of storage space.
The human race: We are a race that feels comfortable with what is familiar. As such, with its size, it may prove to be an inch or two too far for some. That is understandable. Even now, I can sense the strange looks when I hold it on my ear in public. Doesn't bother me much as I know this sort of size is inevitably the future of mobile telephony. Even Apple are inching, ever so reluctantly, in that direction. Another factor to consider when looking at this is that, in its current iteration, the Note 2 is not 4G capable.
When smartphones have been dubbed as mini-computers, there has been an element of hyperbole. With the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, that description is certainly apt. It is, indeed, an amazing piece of engineering. For me, there is little doubt in my mind that, when it is time for an upgrade, it will almost certainly be the next generation of this (Galaxy Note 3?)
Summary: A step-change in smartphone capability, where it has led, others are sure to follow. Just excellent.