Camera Performance and Battery Life
The Samsung Galaxy Note II ships with an 8MP rear facing camera with auto-focus and a build in LED flash and a front facing 1.9MP camera for video-chat purposes. The mail camera also features full 1080P video recording capabilities and Best Photo, Best Face, and Low light shot utilities.
We found the Note II’s camera to be very good, but not great. There is minimal shutter lag (the Note II is capable of a 20-shot burst like many other recent smartphones) and the resolution is good. We found most of the images to be somewhat under-saturated, however. In natural light or indoors, when the flash is not used, images looks good, but as you can see in the sample above, they are not very vibrant. When the flash is used though, especially with relatively close objects, the images can look over-saturated. We’d speculate that Samsung tuned the cameras to produce images that look optimal on the Note II’s HD Super AMOLED screen, but once they’re shared from the phone, the slight deficiencies become evident.
With any 4G phone with a large screen, battery life can be an issue. Samsung doesn't make any specific battery life claims, but the 3.8v / 3100maH battery are a major improvement over the original Note. Not only is the battery's capacity increased, but the voltage is higher as well. To take the Galaxy Note II's battery to task, we fired up our standard HotHardware battery test. In this test, we set up a webpage with a mix of graphics and text and the page automatically refreshes itself every three minutes. We set the Note II's display to 50% brightness and turned off Wi-Fi for the duration.
Despite the Galaxy Note II's relatively large screen, it put up some very impressive battery life numbers, comparable to some of the best phones we tested. We should also point out that standby times are excellent. We left the phone sitting for about 1.5 days and the battery had only drained a couple of percentage points. With moderate to heavy use, Note II owners should have no trouble making it through a work day. Under light use, we'd expect two full days of usable battery life would also be possible.