I have used Android smartphones. Lots of them. I have used and reviewed more Android smartphones than I have smartphones from any competing platform. To be precise, 16 droids at the last count. Simply put, the Samsung Galaxy Note II is the best Android experience that I have had so far.
Perhaps it is the size of the display (but then I have reviewed the Nexus tablet with a bigger display). Or, perhaps it is the beauty of the display. Perhaps it is the new, smooth iteration of TouchWiz and the various S-extras that Samsung has cooked into it. Also, it might be a combination of everything. Whatever it is, the Samsung Galaxy Note II is absolutely super-alluring.
Even my wife likes it. Almost every day, she returns from work and sings about how she likes it. I don’t get that. The Note II is big. She is small. Her hands are small. She barely manages to use anything bigger than her BlackBerry Bold. She croons in my ear that she wants one. When I told her how much it costs, she backed down about wanting one. Too bad she didn’t marry a rich man. But she still sings about the Note II daily though.
I have much bigger hands than my wife, and I still find the size of this phablet a bit uncomfortable. Oh, it is great for reading, web browsing, picture and movie viewing, and all that. But it does stretch my levels of comfort when I hold it for more than a few minutes. And when I hold it to my head to place or take a call, it just feels like holding a mini tray to my head.
Samsung Imprints on Android
Size apart, the customizations that Samsung has made to Android on this device is insane. You know how werewolves imprint on someone or something and that bond is unbreakable? TouchWiz is now sleek and smooth, and it is part of Samsung’s imprint on Android. No other custom interface on Android touches TouchWiz. With this version, I now prefer TouchWiz over HTC’s Sense UI. I am finally a convert. This latest version of TouchWiz makes vanilla Android Jelly Bean look ugly, makes iOS UI look old and tired, and makes Windows Phone UI look boring.
Secondly, the extras like Paper Artist, S Note, S Planner, and the animated thumbnails in the video gallery are really nice. The S-Pen, this Omnitrix (if you don’t watch Ben10, you are OYO) version of what we used to know as a stylus, is another innovation. No; it isn’t just a stylus – a piece of plastic for stabbing at the display. This has functionality built in. There is a button on it that when pushed with the pen in use executes a range of tasks including: underline and copy text, cut out images, and take screenshots. The S-Pen packs in other functions too – scribble notes, draw quick images, etc.
Lastly, for a device with a 5.5-inch display, the Samsung Galaxy Note II has incredible battery life. Oh! I am torn. While not fully comfortable with the size, the battery life is to die for, and a very basic part of me desires to own a smartphone with this sort of power management. Finally, a mobile that I absolutely never have to worry about getting through a long, hectic with. There is a God in heaven!
Apps & Multitasking
Multitasking is smooth. Leave an app open, travel around the world in 80 days, and you will return to find that app as you left it. Carrying out any task on this brute is fast and smooth. Audio quality and volume via the speaker is tops, closely matching what obtains on the Nokia 808 PureView. The 8 megapixel camera is not close at all in any way, but then…. I shall close my eyes to that. All Android smartphone apps that I use work fine on the Note II. What exactly is the weak point of this hulk?
Well, I could say the size, but that wouldn’t be fair. There are good sides to the size too, so it isn’t exactly something to mark it down for. If you are not comfortable with the size of the Note II, the Galaxy S III is there.
Forget about marketing gimmicks and hype. This is the droid to beat. Actually, this is the mobile gadget of the year 2012. This is the due that other smartphones want to be – afterall, they all keep growing in display size too. I have looked for something bad to say about this unique device (you know, it is my job to look for the good and the bad – and perhaps the ugly too), but I have not been able to come up with one. I honestly doubt that I will find any, even if I travel the lengths of the earth. If you do find kryptonite for this Super-droid, please let me know.
PS: There is that crappy built-in email app though, but I will turn a blind eye. Yes; I am biased 😉
If Mister Mo is unable to find something bad – even one tiny little one – to say about a mobile, that gadget is a 10/10. Mobile perfection. If you can live with the size and your pocket can leave with the outflow of cash, buy this one. And keep it.
Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.