Samsung Galaxy Note II Smartphone Review

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The Samsung Galaxy Note II ships with Android Jelly Bean (v4.1) right out of the box, with Samsung’s TouchWiz interface enhancements installed on top. Overall, we like many of the additions offered by TouchWiz and the build of Jelly Bean on the phone feels very polished and fluid. The work Google has put into Jelly Bean and Samsung has put into TouchWiz really show on the Note II.


Samsung Galaxy Note II Stock Home Screens

When the Note II is first powered on, the home screens are fairly loaded up with widgets and shortcuts, but they can be quickly and easily customized. Responsiveness to touch is excellent on the Note II, perhaps the best we have experienced on any device. There is virtually no lag when touching / dragging items, pinch to zoom is fluid and responsive, and transition animations are buttery smooth. Launching applications is also very quick; during everyday use, the Note II simply felt fast.

The 5.5” Super AMOLED screen on the Note II is also very good. Samsung came up with a new sub-pixel arrangement with this screen, which features an elongated blue sub-pixel alongside the red and green sub-pixels. There are fewer sub-pixels in the Note II’s display than a similar resolution IPS LCD, but there are actually more sub-pixels in the Note II’s display versus the previous-gen Note, despite the predecessor’s higher screen resolution. As we’ve come to expect from Samsung’s Super AMOLED displays, colors are very vibrant and somewhat over saturated, and the screen has decent brightness. It’s not as bright as the screen on the HTX One X or iPhone, but the screen on the Note II has excellent contrast and deep blacks, which make up for it.

As is the case with many smartphones, the glossy display is somewhat hard to see in direct sunlight, but that is par for the course. Viewing angles are very good, which makes for easy sharing of content with others around you, even when not directly in front of the device. The true HD screen offers a relatively high resolution of 1280x720, which results in crisp and sharp images that rival the best smartphones available today.

Samsung Galaxy Note II Widgets and Apps

In addition to the standard fare included with Android 4.1, the Samsung Galaxy Note II comes preloaded with a number of other applications. Preloaded on the device are Samsung L!ve Panel, Samsung Kies / Kies Air, Samsung ChatOn mobile communication service, Smart Stay, Screen Recorder, Quick Glance and Samsung S Suggest. In addition, there are a number of S-Pen tailored apps installed on the Note II as well, including S Note, S Planner, Email with hand-writing integration, S Pen Keeper, Quick Command, Easy Clip, Photo Note, Paper Artist, Shape Match and Formula Match.

We should note that the S-Pen is a great addition to the Note II in our opinion. The Galaxy Note II’s screen is perfectly happy with finger / gesture input, but the S-Pen adds a much-appreciated level of precision. Writing notes and/or editing images are simply better when you’ve got the additional precision offered by the S-Pen. The S-Pen also makes it easy to take screen-captures, and then edit them immediately thereafter. It’s a great feature that can make taking notes on articles, or whatever you may be viewing on-screen, quick and easy.

Since the Note II is also a phone, we should probably speak a bit about voice quality as well. We recently met with a company called Audience, who demoed their EarSmart technology. EarSmart is a real-time noise suppression—not cancellation—technology that can be tailored for specific levels of noise suppression. In the demos we say, the technology was able to essentially filter out background noise as a person spoke into a microphone, which is what a smartphone has to do when a user is speaking in a noisy environment. The Note II performed very well in that regard. When using the Note II in a car with the windows down, for example, the wind noise was blocked out to the listener at the other end of the call. Music playing in the car was also mostly suppressed. In quiet environments, the Note II’s call quality was also excellent.

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rapid1 2 years ago

Yeah; I have been watching this one for quite a while, and on my next upgrade it will most likely be the one I go for. The problem is that is not until next April by then there mat very well be worthwhile competition. I use my Sensation for now which I got a couple of days prior to release and it is as well as has been an outstanding phone. I have gotten where I process pretty consistent business over the web now in my several channels and use the GPS, programs, take credit cards etc as well as do some live web replies/conversations with perspective customers as well as onsite submissions so a little bigger display especially with the active pen input will be great to.

molanjames 2 years ago

Samsung has been relatively prompt and punctual regarding their Android 4.0 updates, which is good news for Galaxy S II and Galaxy Note owners. The international version of the Galaxy S II received it’s update in March, and now check out 5 New Features added in the AT&T Galaxy Note Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich Update

mhenriday 2 years ago

One of our retirees bought one recently and brought it round to show the populace - of course it hasn't received anywhere near the publicity provided the iPhone5, but that's par for the course here in Sweden ; I doubt that the Second Coming would inspire journalists here as much as the latest and greatest from Cupertino. Be that as it may, I hope the learning curve for this device isn't too steep - some of our club members are no doubt going to be asking me for help with this beast, and I don't even own a mobile phone, much less Samsung's top-of-the-line....


rapid1 2 years ago

We seem to be hitting a nice pocket of specialized devices now from all sides the mini iPad is out this Samsung note 2 the Surface the Fire HD etc etc and the all in many ways fit into the same area even though there just as different as alike in many ways. The RT surface and this one from Samsung both in there own way seems to be above the rest as well as special in there own unique ways as well.

TotalWattage 2 years ago

I desperately wanted the original SG Note, it reminded me of my beloved Compaq iPAQ Pocket PC. I will be getting a Galaxy Note 2 with my Tax refund!

kinggeek 2 years ago

I am always loyal to Samsung.

So will be to Galaxy Note II.:)

choibean 2 years ago

Seems legit :D

Combatd 2 years ago

How is the battery life on this phone with Juicedefender installed?

ironmann520 2 years ago

from what i hear with out juice defender the battery lasts all day long with lots of usage. so with juice defender i can possibly see battery lasting over a day

altereDad 2 years ago

Portability to me requires one thing... how long will it last?

Honestly I like the design and size. The stylus makes me think of it as much more than a phone or mobile app device.

Overall, a great design, and marvellous specs. I'd throw money in for something like this. It certainly beats my current fling. The EVO 3D. Honestly the best thing of the EVO is the Sense software provided by HTC.

electrolyte 2 years ago

I am very excited about this phone... I think I see a Note II box under my Christmas Tree!

shima ismail 2 years ago

where can i buy this , plz email me

dugwood2 2 years ago

I would love to have one. But unfortunately, it is not available with no-contract phone plans. After being with Sprint for 12+ years i left them for a no-contract plan with Virgin Mobile. I still have unlimited everything but I am paying a hundred dollars less per month. The money I am saving makes it possible to pay for a nice phone but, the Note (I or II) is not available. They have iphones but the screen is too small for me. Not to mention I am an Android fan. The best I can do is get an EVO 3D (4.3") or a Samsung Galaxy SII (4.52") Oh well, maybe in the future...

thunderdan602 2 years ago

This and the HTC DNA are worth a look for Verizon.

JarretBarber one year ago

Does anyone know how to deactivate 4g? It is absolutely smashing my battery life.. id be lucky to get 4-5 hours solid use out of it. Im amazed at how much price has come down in recent years though, really makes smart phones accessible by anyone.

digitaldd one year ago

[quote user="JarretBarber"]

Does anyone know how to deactivate 4g? It is absolutely smashing my battery life.. id be lucky to get 4-5 hours solid use out of it. Im amazed at how much price has come down in recent years though, really makes smart phones accessible by anyone.


Sprint has a guide up here

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