Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Review: Content Creation on the go

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.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Review

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Review: 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

Multimedia

– 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

Office

– 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
– WiFi hotspot: Share your mobile internet plan with other devices

Camera

– 8 megapixel camera with LED flash. Results comparable to other 8 megapixel camera in the market. Nothing outstanding.
– 1080p video recording

PIM

– Contacts
– Calendar: modified by Samsung from stock Android calendar
– Tasks
– 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

Extras

– 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

Cons

– Size for some people? Some people will find this size unwieldy.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Review: Mo Rating

Device Class: Phone-Tablet (phablet) hybrid.
Rating: 10/10

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.

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14 comments

  1. Excellent review format. I am in love with this format in the sense that it makes you directly review each part one will ordinarily look for in a smartphone. However, the details provided for each part are too brief compared to the way you have always attempted to create a vivid picture of the smartphone you are reviewing in the mind of your reader. Please, I would like you to include how easy and comfortable it is to read PDF documents and edit office documents in your subsequent smartphone reviews. Thanks a lot for this great job.

    1. Surajudeen,

      I have added further comments on PDF and Office documents. Thanks for the feedback. I will keep improving on this format till it strikes a good balance. Thanks.

  2. I think I like this format too. It captured most of the technical specifications of the device, but I think combining this format with the actual hands-on will make the review rather too long. Probably the better approach would be to give a rundown of the technical specifications alongside the device first impression that you give most of the time and then come back later with the actual review that delves into how things work out in real usage scenario.

    Still, if you can find a way of combining the two, using the format here, it may not be that bad given that readers may actually concentrate on the areas that interest them. Nice job.

  3. I like the format too. But I think k you gave far less hands-on experience as you used to.

    By the way. It’s not the Jellybean 4.2 that’s rolling out to the note2 but the 4.1.2.

  4. If I can understand you clearly,polaris Office on the SGN II is just a document viewer.not an editor.
    it edits on SGS 2 & SGN. why is it different for this?
    Also what third party apps do you use for editing documents?

    1. fortespy,

      Yes, sir. What comes with the Note II is Polaris Viewer 4.1. I have no idea why a productivity-oriented device like the Note II would have only a document viewer pre-installed.

  5. One ” feature” I find undesirable on the Note II is the inability to move apps to the sdCard.

    For true app Junkies, and if you make use of MANY and HEFTY apps, this could become a problem eventually.

    Luckilyy most people would not even come close to exhausting the capacious internal memory limit of this beauty.

    I suppose this is not peculiar to the Note II, and could just be an OS thing.

    Bu itt is noteworthy all the same..

  6. I noticed the inability to move apps to the sdcard on Samsung Galaxy S3 running stock 4.0.4, After upgrading my SGN firmware from 2.3.6 to 4.0.4, that feature was disabled… so I came to the conclusion it was an OS thing. meanwhile SGS 2 running 2.3.5 still has that capability

  7. Nice format Mr Mo however, I think YOUR personal experience with the device is what counts.

    A simple google search can give the specs but a simple google search on reviews will give thousands of different opinions.

    Give us that angle that’s unique to you based on your own user environment.

  8. ForteSpy,

    I noticed the inability to
    move apps to the sdcard
    on Samsung Galaxy S3
    running stock 4.0.4, After
    upgrading my SGN
    firmware from 2.3.6 to
    4.0.4

    So, what happened to the apps already on the sdCard before upgrade? they continued working, or you had to reinstall?

  9. If this happens on Version 4.x, it means if I upgrade my present version 2.3.4 to 4.x, I would not be able to move apps to sdCard any more?

    with my paltry internal memory, that would cripple the device functionality!

  10. Whenever I do a firmware upgrade, I do a total device format before I start using it.In this case I had to reinstall the apps after the upgrade.I cant really tell it they had operational problems after the upgrade.
    As long as the apps are compatible with the ICS platform, they should work

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