TechRadar was one of the first to put the Samsung GALAXY Note II through its paces, and it scored a stunning 4.5/5 to place it among the best phones in the world.
The review noted that it was the combination of the raw power and next generation screen technology that really wowed users, and the improved functionality of the S Pen took it from a fun item to something that most users would be pulling out on a regular occasion.
“The fact that it launches running Android Jelly Bean and has such grunt with that processor makes this a class-leading phone,” said Phil Lavelle for TechRadar.
Having used the Note II for a few months, it’s easy to see which elements bubble to the surface: the main draw, one that will have you reaching for the Note II time and again, is the advanced screen.
Whether it’s the jaw-dropping HD Super AMOLED display bringing almost impossible contrast ratios or the sheer amount of pixels in there, one of the things we love the most about the phone is being able to browse the internet or watch videos more intuitively and impressively than ever.
The S Pen is a still a nascent evolution in the smartphone world, given it isn’t the kind of accessory some are used to using, but after a while it becomes an invaluable tool for day-to-day use.
As Eurogamer’s Damien McFerran agrees, the wide level of pressure sensitivity make it “incredibly accurate”, allowing you to create detailed brush strokes, annotations or playing games.
Many other reviews were united in their findings: the 2GB of RAM combined with the quad core CPU make this one of the behemoths of the smartphone world when it comes to being able to multi-task or speed through apps:
“[The GALAXY Note II] is indeed significantly faster than nearly all of the competition” found James Pikover of Gadget Review, saying it managed to sit astride two categories. “The best Android phone and tablet you can buy.”
Many users will instantly look for battery life concerns when they see such a high resolution screen and high-functioning CPU to keep your Note II ticking along, but the battery power has stayed strong throughout our extended use, lasting far longer than you’d need it to between your trips from the charger.
The next level
But it’s not just about what’s under the hood with the Samsung GALAXY Note II; it’s also the extra things it allows you to do, be it express your creative side or stay in touch with the people you love.
Nick Gray from Android and Me especially saw the video-calling camera as one of the most impressive features:
“The front-facing camera on the phone is actually one of the best on the market,” he noted.
“If you add up all the features of the Samsung GALAXY Note II, you’d find it very hard not to see that it’s the most unique Android device on the market.”
Of course, it’s important to look beyond what the reviewers think from time to time; it’s easy to get cynical or jaded when you get to play with every device on the market. So what do those who bought the Samsung GALAXY Note II actually think of the phone?
“Best phone by far, and the size isn’t too big either, which is one thing I did worry about coming from a 3.5" phone,“ said one online commentator.
We’ve shown the Note II to a number of people and almost all have quickly found the large and expansive screen to be a real asset to the device.
Many were hugely impressed with the fact the Note II manages to increase the screen size to 5.5-inches, yet has maintained the same footprint as its predecessor; while the design has been improved, the more expansive display has definitely impressed users.
As one put it: "Samsung has created the ultimate Android device," showing that many are finding that they don’t need both a tablet and phone when they can have the Note II.
Pikover agrees, stating: “I’m actually willing and ready to part with my old ecosystem and devices for [the Note II]. That’s right, I’d trade [it all in] for the GALAXY Note II, and I wouldn’t look back.”
Having used the GALAXY Note II for a longer period, its power continues to shine through. It’s by far one of the best media devices on the market, and whether you use the inbuilt web browser or Google Chrome, you’ll always be whizzing around the internet no matter if you’re using 4G, 3G or Wi-Fi.
Users are almost unanimous in their love of the functionality on board, be it as a phone, a tablet, a PC (with the Smart Dock) and even being able to show the screen on a larger TV using All Share.
In short, the GALAXY Note II shows that Samsung has managed to create a new class of device, one that fits between the common lines between devices and shows a whole new world is possible with one of these in your pocket.