Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

T3 4
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review: This is a phone and tablet, or 'phablet', that looks like the Samsung Galaxy S3, but is bigger really better?

    Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

    Love

    • Beautiful
    • bright
    • screen
    • Great battery life
    • Lightning fast

    Hate

    • Overbearing TouchWiz UI
    • Disappointing speaker
    • Very big

    Undeniably one of the surprise tech stories of 2011, the Samsung Galaxy Note sold in bucket loads proving that the niche product actually had mass appeal.

    Having already served up the improved S-Pen technology with the bigger screen surroundings of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 ‘phablet’ brings more inches, power and multi-tasking prowess to the party with a device that fits snug in the pocket.

    Samsung Galaxy Note 2: Build

    Taking clear design cues from the Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone, think of the Note 2 as a kind of super-sized version of the flagship handset, swapping straight lines for sleeker curves and a white paint job "inspired by ‘nature", so the marketing blurb tells us.

    At 9.4mm thick, it’s slimmer than the original Note (9.65mm) but not as slender as the Samsung Galaxy S3 (8.6mm), but at 182.5g heavier than the original Galaxy Note (178g).

    In terms of the key physical features, you’ll find the rounder home button at the bottom of the screen flanked by two capacitive buttons. The power button is situated on the right edge of the device with the volume rocker on the opposite side while the charging micro HDMI cable port sits at the bottom of the handset.



    The 3.5mm headphone jack sits at the top and hiding at the bottom right hand corner is the new, more accurate S-Pen. At the back sits the 8-Megapixel camera with flash alongside it and the loud speaker at the other end.

    Behind the replaceable cover you’ll find the microSD card slot which can expand storage to 64GB and the microSIM slot which will give you phone functionality.

    Putting this to your ear to make a call is still likely to draw strange looks, but the more curved design actually makes it feel not so abnormally large in the hand. It does seem more suited to a handbag, manbag or inside jacket pocket than a pair of jeans though.

    Samsung Galaxy Note 2: Features

    Android 2.3 Gingerbread out of the box, the first Galaxy Note is now Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich friendly but the Note 2 actually has Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update out of the box.

    Samsung’s TouchWiz UI is overlaid on top bringing seven homescreens instead of the Android standard of five, its own web browser, app drawer and branded apps like S-Suggest and S-Planner scattered all over the place.

    You can also reap the benefits of new Jelly Bean features including Google Now and expect a speedier UI performance and reduced lag thanks to Project Butter.

    Following on from the Note 10.1 the advanced smart pen is based around the same tech found in the Wacom digitizer which means you can expect improved pressure sensitivity while you are being creative.

  • Samsung's Galaxy Note 2 functions as both a phone and a tablet, but does the combo actually work or is it suffering from an identity crisis?

    Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

    Love

    • Beautiful
    • bright
    • screen
    • Great battery life
    • Lightning fast

    Hate

    • Overbearing TouchWiz UI
    • Disappointing speaker
    • Very big

    Update: The Samsung Galaxy 2 release date has been revealed as 1 October 2012. The device is set to be available across all major networks.

    Samsung has updated the biggest smartphone ever, defying critics and pushing the smartphone and tablet hybrid idea to the max with an even bigger screen - can it work?

    The Galaxy Note 2 is after the business market and creative types. You still look silly when not using hands-free headphones or a Bluetooth headset (don’t hold it to your ear in public) but we’re warming to that S Pen idea.

    Against the HTC One X,  forthcoming LG Optimus 4X HD and even the Galaxy S3, the Galaxy Note 2 really does have a lot to shout about.

    Samsung Galaxy Note 2: Build

    The Galaxy Note 2 is a premium smartphone tablet hybrid like the original Galaxy Note but the screen is bigger - 5.5 inch - although the physical size of the smartphone isn’t, meaning a better edge to edge screen.

    It’s surprisingly light like the Galaxy S3 and the new and improved S Pen stylus (it’s got a rubber end for easier browsing) fits securely in the bottom of what is, essentially, the biggest phone in the world.

    It’s fine for a suit trouser pocket but not your normal jeans, unless you’re a fan of baggy dungarees.

    Samsung Galaxy Note 2: Features

    The refresh of the Galaxy Note includes a beefed-up processor: a quad core 1.6 Ghz chip to power the bigger screen and Android Jelly Bean 4.1.

     

    The S Pen allows you to hover over icons to get more info on apps or content too - you don’t need to actually touch the screen.

    It’s the best implementation of Jelly Bean 4.1 we’ve seen so far and the drawing apps are as fun as ever and unique to the Galaxy Note.

    The camera is an impressive 8 megapixel snapper too and the results are great, if behind the image quality of the recent Sony Xperia T.

    There’s a noticeable jump in speed for general use against the original Galaxy Note too

    Samsung Galaxy Note 2: Screen

    The 1280 x 720 pixel Super HD Amoled 5.5 inches looks stunning. It evens beats the Galaxy S3 for sheer wow factor and the deep blacks and brilliantly vivid colours work well alongside the responsive new features.

    The 16:9 ratio makes apps like BBC iPlayer look very impressive.

    Samsung Galaxy Note 2: Performance

    The Galaxy Note 2 is a real powerhouse - the features demand power and the Galaxy Note 2 packs a real punch.

    We haven’t tested the battery life just yet but if Samsung can offer a iPhone 4S level of performance, the Galaxy Note 2 could easily make further inroads into the business market.

    As a creative tool, ‘phablet’ or otherwise, the Galaxy Note 2 offers many exclusive features that simply aren’t available on rival phones or even tablets.

    The camera is the only feature which isn’t super-powered but at 8 megapixels, it’s not exactly lacking either.

    And editing large images on the fly feels like using a new iPad and iPhoto but better, thanks to the S Pen.

    Samsung Galaxy Note 2: Verdict

    If your pocket can cope with the size and the price tag, the Galaxy Note 2 is an Android dream - easily surpassing the Galaxy S3.

    While some may laugh, the original Galaxy Note was a brave step that showed originality from Samsung and even inspired rival smartphones from LG.

    There’s no denying that the Galaxy Note 2 is a niche smartphone for show-offs and Android fanboys but, personally, we’re in that camp and think the Galaxy Note 2 is an original piece of fun in an increasingly confused and copycat smartphone market.

    Samsung Galaxy Note 2 availability: October

    Samsung Galaxy Note 2 price: TBC

    Words:Richard Melville

    • Samsung Galaxy Note 2 preview
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