Review: Samsung Galaxy Note II

By Mike Wheeler

Samsung has been a champion of the hybrid smartphone/tablet starting with its original 7-inch Galaxy Tab that was released back in late 2010, as well as the first Galaxy Note, which made its debut back in 2011.

By Mike Wheeler

Samsung has been a champion of the hybrid smartphone/tablet starting with its original 7-inch Galaxy Tab that was released back in late 2010, as well as the first Galaxy Note, which made its debut back in 2011.

Its Galaxy Note II is slightly higher, not as wide, and not as deep as its predecessor – in other words it fits nicely in the hand, is lighter, but is on the big side if you’re looking to use it as your smartphone. Still, when measured up against the boss’s Samsung Galaxy S III it doesn’t seem that much bigger than the dedicated handset.

First the guts. It comes with Android 4.1 Jellybean operating system; 2GB of RAM; 1.6Ghz quad-core Cortex-A9 CPU; up to 64GB of storage; rear and front cameras; ARM Mali-400MP GPU; the ability to Bluetooth; and microSD slot.

But what about functionality? Pretty darn good. Its Super AMOLED screen is indeed super, and this is what I really liked about it, especially when looking at clips and pictures. The user interface, which, as you would expect, is easy to use, also comes with Smart Stay. This feature keeps the Note II’s display on if it detects a pair of eyes looking at the screen. And in attempt to emulate its closest rival Apple, Samsung has also loaded S Voice, a lesser version of House of Jobs’ Siri.

As with the original note, this one comes with a stylus (which the top of the screen gently reminds you has been detached from the device when you take it out) – the S Pen – that is slightly thicker than its predecessor. I found it very useful, not least because I have very clunky hands. I also liked that fact I didn’t have to press super-hard for it to interact with the screen. Samsung seems to have found the perfect pressure point – not light enough that you are continually having to correct yourself due to slight taps causing interaction, not heavy enough that it becomes annoying at the amount of pressure you have to put on the device in order for it to work.

At the end of the day, the Note II will appeal to somebody who’s not keen to have a tablet, but likes a smartphone with plenty of features and some of the functions of the tablet. So far this has shipped about 3 million units since its release in the US in late September. Not huge numbers, but not peanuts either.

Pros: Light, not too pricey, plenty of great features, nice screen
Cons: Limited appeal; not too sure of its market

4.3 Shacks Out Of 5

RRP
$899
 

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