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Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Review
Technology should make our lives easier
• Beautiful screen
• Very fast processing speeds
• Huge battery life
• S-pen doesn’t do a great job
Samsung seem adamant that bigger is better with the Note range, increasing the size of the second edition. The Note packs a very fast punch this time and rubs some of the errors of the original away. For anyone who wants a phablet style phone, this is your weapon of choice.
Samsung were adamant their line of Note smartphones should keep going, and they came back with a new Note 2. We’ve been waiting to inspect this device for some time, and now we’ve come face-to-face with the giant.
To start off, we should point out that the Note 2 has a screen of 5.5-inches, which is a whole inch and a half bigger than the iPhone 5. You may think that one and a half inches that much, but in phone terms, it is huge.
We found the Note 2 rather simple to use with one hand and weren’t at all spoilt by the larger size. Instead, we found it to just make using apps and emailing a lot easier, like it would be on a tablet.
The device is pretty heavy and you can feel the weight on your hand, unlike with the iPhone 5. There is substance in this device and although it doesn’t hurt your arm, you seem to use it sitting down on something, instead of holding it in the air like you would with an iPhone.
Plastic isn’t our backing of choice, but Samsung feel that this is the best way to design their products. We found the plastic to feel a little downgraded and cheap, but it doesn’t seem to be hugely susceptible to scratches or fingerprints, which is always a plus.
A quad-core, 1.6GHz Cortex-A9 processor is one of the most powerful on the market today, it comes with 2GB’s of RAM, for very smooth and fast performance.
We found this device to be one of the snappiest we’ve ever used, it is incredible for multitasking and swipes are very fast. The device, even with the beautiful display, LTE and Android 4.1, is superfast.
Android 4.1, Jelly Bean, is our favourite operating system at the moment. Not only does it beat Apple’s iOS on customisation, speed and runs with tons of our favourite Google apps, but Android seems to be moving forward where iOS sticks stale.
The problem is this isn’t stock Android, this is TouchWiz Android, Samsung’s homebrand version that has hit much criticism in the past.
We found the experience, while a little tacky at times, to be very fast and TouchWiz can be beautiful and exciting in places. Samsung are still trying to promote the whole nature phone design.
App selection is just like it would be with any Android phone that uses the play store. While there are tons of apps, some of the premium ones you find on iOS cannot be found.
Samsung have decided to keep the S-Pen, despite people using it in the past and reporting sluggish behaviour, bad interpretation and poor apps that use S-Pen.
Samsung have improved the S-Pen, it is more responsive, it is speedier, the problem is really the apps. They still seem rather pointless and at times they can be boring.
The S-Pen is a good stylus, it just doesn’t have compatibility and nobody really enjoys using a stylus for day-to-day activities.
An 8MP rear-camera is common these days and really it is for the user to delve into the software and speeds to find out if this is a good camera or not.
When we used the camera, we found speeds and shots to be very quick and clear and there are a lot of Samsung Galaxy S3 software features brought over to make the camera a lot better.
There is a 1.3MP front-camera for face chats, it works well although we don’t recommend it for photos.
A 3,100mAh on a smartphone is a lot bigger than what you get with any other smartphone, but then, you are getting a much bigger phone.
In truth, it works as well as the Samsung Galaxy S3 does, that is 10 – 12 hours of time on your phone.
The good thing about the Samsung Note II is that sometimes you can get 14 – 16 hours on it if you don’t use it as much as the average user.
There are three different options, 16, 32 or 64GB’s of storage. This is pretty good and there is an expandable SD card slot if you want to go the extra mile.
Realistically, we doubt anyone will be able to fill 64GB’s of storage on a phone without destroying the speeds of the device and having completely unnecessary apps and content on, but if you want to, there is an expandable memory slot.
The Note II is a very good device in most every category we’ve looked at, the only problem is it is a big device and some people aren’t that fond of huge phone screens.
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