The Samsung Galaxy Note II is one impressive package that blows everything else in the market out of the water. It hasn’t got the best camera or the best display or the most comfortable size. There isn’t one thing that sets the Note II apart. It is the sum of what it is that places it on a pedestal. Here is an itemised review of the Galaxy Note II. I am playing with this review format, as my study shows that when people read reviews, they more or less scan them for certain specific information that they are looking for about the devices being reviewed. I will appreciate your feedback about this review format and keep on exploring ways to make sure that you get the information that you need in the easiest possible way.
Size, Display & Hardware
- 5.5 inch display. 720 x 1280 pixels
- Very vibrant display. One of the best available
- Contrast ratio and sunlight legibility not very good though. Just fairly good.
- Corning Gorilla Glass 2 protection for the display
- Dimensions: 151.1 x 80.5 x 9.4 mm
- Weight: 183g
- You may have a problem with the size of the device. It is quite big.
Software & Apps
- Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean. Upgrade to 4.1.2 already rolling out.
- Beautiful new version of TouchWiz UI. This new verion is light and has nice, subtle animated touches that make it the best custom interface on Android. TouchWiz UI is more beautiful than the stock Android UI, in my opinion. Adds extra touches for usability.
- Access to full Android Play Store apps
- Superb video playback
- Every video file type that I threw at the Note II was played back
- Animated video thumbnails is very nice
- Audio quality and volume are superb – closely matching what obtains on the Nokia 808 PureView
- Polaris Office Viewer built-in. No editing. You can download a 3rd party alternative.
- Reading Office and PDF files on the Note II is a joy, thanks to the large display.
- Editing Office files via a 3rd party app is easy too, barring all the niggles of using a touchscreen device. I have always found editing files easier where a physical D-pad or directional keys are present.
Memory Capacity & Files
- 16/32/64 GB storage options available
- microSD card of up to 64 GB supported
- USB Host support, but accessory needed to use it, and this accessory is not supplied.
- USB Mass Storage: connect to PC with cable to copy files. Works well.
- Bluetooth file transfer
- WiFi Direct file Transfer
Web & Email
- Two web browsers bundled – Chrome and standard Android browser
- Standard built-in Gmail app
- Generic email app for non-Gmail accounts. Outlook/Live/Hotmail accounts work well
Network & Internet Connectivity
- Supports GPRS/EDGE/3G/HSDPA/HSUPA
- Full network mode options: 2G-only, 2G/3G. and 3G-only
- WiFi hotspot: Share your mobile internet plan with other devices
- 8 megapixel camera with LED flash. Results comparable to other 8 megapixel camera in the market. Nothing outstanding.
- 1080p video recording
- Calendar: modified by Samsung from stock Android calendar
- Full PIM synchronisation with Outlook/Live/Hotmail and Google Suites
Multitasking & Performance
- Quad-core 1.6 GHz Cortex-A9 and Mali-400MP GPU, 2 GB RAM. User interface is fluid all over.
- Multitasking and performance is very good
Battery Life & Options
- Superb battery life. Average use means a single charge lasts over a full day comfortably.
- Battery is removable
- Paper Artist, S Note, S Planner
- Smart Stay and Smart Rotate eye tracking
- S Voice commands and dictation
- Enhanced Stylus for carrying out a number of tasks, including taking screenshots, taking notes, drawing, cutting images, etc
- Size for some people? Some people will find this size unwieldy.
Device Class: Phone-Tablet (phablet) hybrid.
This is the only mobile that has ever earned a 10 from me. A 10-point does not mean that it is perfect, but the Note II is as close to perfect as any mobile ever.
The Galaxy Note II pushes the boundary of content creation on mobiles. I do almost all my image editing on it (via 3rd party apps), blog posts, and much more. If you can handle the size and value productivity or content creation, this is the mobile for you.