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

The richest Android experience – Samsung Galaxy Note II

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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.

richest Android experience - Galaxy Note II front

Size Matters

Perhaps it is the size of the display (but then I have reviewed the Nexus tablet with a bigger display). 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. Perhaps it is a combination of everything. Whatever it is, the Samsung Galaxy Note II is absolutely uber-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.

Galaxy Note II rear

Samsung Imprints on Android

Size apart, the customisations 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.


Battery Life

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 anyway, 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?

No Weaknesses?

Galaxy Note II closeup
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.

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  1. Effusive, bubbling, exuberant and ebullient enthusiasm for this Note everywhere you go.

    I can bet AfewGoodmen has been having a bad dose of INSOMNIA since he got one.

    Well, there is a weak point for the Note II.

    An addictively dangerous device that affects your relationship with humans, because you can not put it down!

  2. Good one.

    This is more like a eulogy than a review. I think the last time Mr. sounded this way was when he reviewed the Nokia N9. I’m sure he must have been left with some good impression, no matter how short-lived that happens to be.

    The camera ought to be weak point for the Galaxy Note II but if it can perform as well as other high end smartphones equipped with 8MP, then I will say that’s good enough since 8MP is about the commonest on most high end smartphones these days.

  3. Mr. Mo, why have you reviewed this phone in this manner, there is no way this phone can be the best thing you’ve reviewed, common tell us the disadvantaged of the phone compared to others and explain exactly how the new touch wiz is better than the rest. Thanks

  4. Babangida,

    I cannot find a weakness compared to others, and I cannot lie against the phone.

    And why can it not be the best phone that I have ever reviewed? I thought I’d be the judge of that. Like it or not, this is the darn best smartphone that I have ever reviewed.

    As for TouchWiz, do wait for my special feature on that.

  5. I have been using in since last week of October and can’t just get enough if it.

    I moved from Note 1 where the battery life was not impressive but this note 2 battery is unique.

    Ah what if the smooth camera shots you won’t even notice the picture move.

    And the size that’s my best fixture I like them big really big and note 2 just fit that

  6. I have dreamed of owning one since I read the preview on GSM Arena. That’s before it was released. I’ve been salivating over it since I learnt it was available at SLOT. Now, I can’t wait to lay my hands on it.

  7. What a swell well of gushing adulation for a smart phone. Well,we know the Note 2 is a masterpiece, but it won’t or can’t be all that perfect as not to have a single weakness. No smart phone anywhere in the world is PERFECT. This is not to say that Mr. Mo is exaggerating in the Note 2 review. It just takes time to find out the imperfection. I have just got my own Note 2 over a week ago and I have not found a fault SO FAR. But I have a hunch that, with prolonged usage over time, one weakness will crop up. It has to, because THERE HAS TO BE A NOTE 3 IN 2013 that will be better than Note 2.

  8. Personally, I found the note 2 a bit heavy and unnatural to hold. One can not use it with a single hand. The phone has the following setback:

    – Uncomfortable to carry around Or put in one’s pocket.

    – While in pocket, sitting down Or walking is not convenient

    – The absence of the Android standard 4x capacitive buttons on the note 2 is another setback because the samsung own design home screen UI doen’t have multitasking button. Instead samsung uses the home button to access the multitasking tool after a long and hard press. This is particularly annoying as it requires a simple touch to access it on the Android 4x capacitive design.

    – Lastly, having a physical home button in between two capacitive back and menu buttons simply doesn’t work well because once you get used to gently touching the capacitive buttons to activate them, having to forcefully press the adjacent physical home button is odd sometimes confusing.

    I prefer note 2 biggest rival in terms of size, the optimus vu p895 made by LG which has the 4 android capacitive virtual home screen button, 4:3 aspect ratio which is odd but greatest for internet surfing, reading books and magazines, watching videos and games. Its HD IPS display is the brightest and can be used even under the brightest sun. Its slimmer at 8.5 mm and lighter at only 168 g than the outrageous galaxy note 2.

  9. What can I say. Everything bout this phone has been said, I have been fortunate to lay my hands on the note 2 and the galaxy note 10.1 and as a heavy user, I daresay both devices can boast of having the best battery life in their class, speed, performance and efficiency are their major talking points. Be you a geek, an artist, an audio person or a movie lover, you are sure to have something nice to say about these wonderful devices. Oh and not forgetting the gamers. Tons of games running without lag at steady fps.
    Kudos Samsung

  10. Attahiru,

    The absence of the Android standard 4x capacitive buttons on the note 2 is another setback

    Can you clarify please? Android Jelly Bean has 3 standard capacitive buttons – Back, Home and Menu. Thanks.

  11. Mr. mobility you are right but the presence of a physical button in between the two other capacitive buttons as found on the galaxy note 2 doesn’t comform with Android’s standard and as I said, as you get used to touching the two adjacent virtual butons, using the physical button by pressing rather than touching is a little bit confusing and odd.

  12. @attahiru,i think those are matters of personal opinion. Samsung would have done enough testing to resolve using the physical home button as the best choice. I have been using the Note2 for like 3 months now and I am yet to discover any better smartphone. Any smartphone that offers my desires better than the Note2. The size may be a problem for some, but not for people like me. In fact, a female colleague with smaller hands just bought one yesterday even though I discouraged her because of its size. She couldn’t stop borrowing mine to play with. The goodies were too inviting she just had to get one.

    I agree there is no perfect phone, however, I am yet to discover a fault with the note2 just as Mr Mo mentioned. Its does everything so good and the stylus just made a more creative person out of me. Be it taking notes, editing pictures,drawing diagrams /illustrations, presentations, multitasking, etc, it’s so easier and better now.

  13. I wonder what will now make Note III better than this one, maybe they’ll do it the Apple way, put larger screen, a bit more capable camera, a bigger battery and a bit more RAM/Processor and it’ll be the best Android ever once again

  14. I have always loved Samsung TouchWiz…don’t get the attention on HTC Sense, it sucks.

    “Oh and not forgetting the gamers. Tons of games running without lag”

    I daresay Android has some pretty terrific games; Death Space, Death Dome, M.U.S.E, Samurai Vs. Zombie, Contract Killer Zombie 2 have made me a believer.

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