Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review
- Beautiful, bright, screen
- Great battery life
- Lightning fast
- Overbearing TouchWiz UI
- Disappointing speaker
- Very big
The f/2.6 aperture aids low lit photography and while it is not quite as impressive as the f/2.4 aperture found on the iPhone 5, it still does an admirable job of picking out objects in the night. It’s perhaps worth noting the HDR mode which aims to pick out more detail in images is also included but we didn’t notice a substantial difference from pictures taken in normal camera mode.
At a maximum 1080p for video recording, the Note 2 certainly fares better than the Note 10.1 in this department and is more on par with the shooting performance of the S3 with the nice addition of being able to take pictures while filming.
On the connectivity front, it is much of the same with new additions including Bluetooth 4.0 up from Bluetooth 3.0 and Samsung’s take on NFC, S Beam which means you can ‘bump’ phones with another S-Beam packing handset to transfer files like music and videos. However it wasn’t quite as easy as it sounds when we tried it out.
Samsung Galaxy Note 2: Screen
The screen has got bigger, 5.5-inches bigger (up from 5.3-inches) to be precise but it’s still HD Super AMOLED quality which means you can expect deep blacks and brilliantly vivid colours on a 16:9 ratio display making it ideal for watching movies.
The resolution may have dropped from 1,280 x 800 to 1,280 x 720 and spread across a bigger screen, but it still delivers excellent levels of clarity particularly for video. With a screen that big, it’s good to have some added protection and with Corning Gorilla Glass 2 should help protect against everyday bumps and bruises.
Samsung Galaxy Note 2: Performance
Swapping a dualcore processor for more power-hungry 1.6GHz quadcore innards plus 2GB of RAM, the Galaxy Note 2 is significantly zippier than its predecessor which makes it ideal for the new multitasking features and is lightning quick loading up web pages and flicking through home screens.
With 4G capability, things can only get speedier as well, so hopefully it will be added to the list of 4G ready smartphones.
In terms of call quality, the Note 2 put in a decent performance and thanks to the noise cancelling tech and dual mics on board, delivers the kind of clarity to ensure everything comes through loud and clear on both ends of the phone.
With the extra screen estate and array of new power-sapping features, it’s perhaps no surprise that the Note 2 hosts a bigger 3,100mAh battery (up from 2,500mAh) to cope with the extra demand.
We did have some issues with regards to the battery life of the Galaxy Note, so thankfully that has been improved dramatically and we found running applications like Twitter and Facebook throughout the day, browsing watching HD video the Note 2 managed a healthy 12 hours before reaching critical levels.
Samsung Galaxy Note 2: Verdict
There’s not really many places you can fault the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. It’s made a significant improvement in most departments and does more with the design to hide some of its hulking size. We loved the S3-inspired design, the improved S-Pen integration and overall speedier performance thanks to the quadcore processor and addition of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
It really does come down to the issue of size. It’s a great performing smartphone but you are going to have to accept looking a bit silly putting this against your ear in public. We still feel that the S-Pen technology is more suited and beneficial to a larger device like the Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet, but if you're sold on the super-powered stylus and can deal with the inevitable stares, this is a great smartphone.
Samsung Galaxy Note 2 release date: Available now
Samsung Galaxy Note 2 price: £549.99