The Galaxy Note II is a fantastic device December 5, 2012
Reviewer: Zain (WI) -
After checking out the original Galaxy Note at Best Buy last year, I was very interested in the large screen and S Pen features, but since it was an AT&T exclusive, I decided to purchase a Galaxy Nexus. The Galaxy Nexus was a great phone, but it felt like Samsung didn't really put all their effort into making it as premium of a device as the Galaxy Note or the Galaxy S II. Fast forward a year later and Verizon has finally started selling some truly fantastic superphones. I bought the HTC Droid DNA, another phenomenal phone, while I was waiting for Verizon to put their branding on the exterior of the phone in three places, but decided to return it to get the Note II. I'll do a little comparison of both phones and explain why I chose the Note II over the Droid DNA.
Screen - Droid DNA
Nothing in the world can touch the DNA's 1080p screen. Nothing. No matter how close I got to the screen, I could never see any pixels. Text looked amazing and colors were incredibly accurate. While the Note II has a "measly" 720p panel stretched over a 5.55" display, the screen itself is still significantly better than the Galaxy Nexus. Samsung chose to remove the PenTile pixel arrangement that it chose for the Galaxy Nexus in 2011, a choice that makes text and graphics on the screen appear much smoother. As it is a Super AMOLED HD panel, it is still going to have the fantastic blacks and supersaturated colors of the Galaxy Nexus (unlike the Droid DNA's LCD screen), but I actually don't really mind the saturation. Colors really pop, and since I'm not a professional photographer, I'm not enraged by the slight dip in accuracy for the increase in color intensity. The DNA's screen is clearly better, but the Note II's screen is still very good.
Phone Construction - Tie (for different reasons)
Let me preface this section with the statement that the Droid DNA has absolutely incredible build quality. The phone feels very solid and its designers clearly put a great deal of care into its creation. The Galaxy Note II, of course, is made of Samsung's trademark plastic finish. This, unfortunately, feels less solid than the DNA. However, I quickly found problems with the DNA's build, which was one of the reasons I decided to return it. The DNA is made of a mishmash of materials: soft touch matte black polycarbonate on the back, glossy black plastic on the front, red spun metal hairline finish for the buttons, and a different shade of red for the grilles on the sides of the phone. As an aside, these grilles are entirely superfluous, they do not enhance the sound quality of the phone in any way.
After owning my DNA for 10 days, I noticed several things. First, I found several dents in the grilles on the side, something which was rather alarming for a company renowned for its build quality. In addition, the back of the phone started developing scuffs that would not go away when rubbed with a damp cloth. I did not use a case for this phone because I had assumed that the material would be somewhat sturdy, especially considering the level of care I had put into handling it. While the Galaxy Note II is indeed plastic, its exterior is much more scratch and scuff resistant. I have had the Note II for almost a week now and there is nary a mark to be found. Additionally, even if the back does get scratched up somehow, it can always be replaced with a brand new back, as it is user removable (perhaps you could even upgrade to one without two garish Verizon logos on it). I actually really like the "Hyperglaze" finish on the Note II - it looks especially handsome in dark gray. It adds something very sophisticated to the Note II's exterior that was definitely missing in my old Galaxy Nexus. The Droid DNA is slightly more comfortable to hold than the Note II, but for a 5.55" phone, Samsung really did a good job in making it as ergonomic as possible. Also, Samsung's button placement is far superior to HTC's. Who would ever decide to put the power button on the top of such a tall phone?? Oh wait, HTC and Apple...
Internals - Note II
Both phones have quad core processors (Snapdragon S4 Pro for the DNA, Samsung's own Exynos 4 for the Note II) which excel at annihilating lag. They also have 2 GB of ram, although I think the Note II utilizes it better than the DNA (which has to deal with the overly-vigilant multitask killing in HTC Sense 4+). They both have GSM/CDMA/LTE radios, which is a nice addition if you want to use your phone globally in addition to getting great LTE service in the US. I got great reception everywhere I went with both phones, definitely better than the poor radios in the Galaxy Nexus.
Each phone comes with an 8MP rear camera, both of which take excellent pictures. They both have numerous features, including a rapid shot mode, but Samsung has significantly more. These extra features may be of limited use, but they are still fun to play around with. The Droid DNA has a wide angle lens for its front facing camera, so you can have more people in your Facebook shots, but the Note II's front facing camera isn't bad by any means.
After this is where the phones really start to differ. Although each phone comes with 16 GB of storage, the Note II, thanks to its removable back, has an SD card slot allowing for a MicroSD card of up to 64 GB. I heard that Verizon forced HTC to offer only one 16 GB version of the Droid DNA with no SD card slot (unlike the Japanese version of the phone) because they want their customers to use more cloud based services (and of course rake in the money from tiered data caps). The Note II comes with a 3100 mAh battery, while the Droid DNA has a paltry 2020 mAh one, meaning that the Note II's battery is 1.5 times as large. In addition, Samsung gave the Note II a removable battery, a nice feature to have if you need a fully charged phone right after draining the battery. Fun fact, the battery of the Note II is the size of the iPhone 4S's entire screen.
The Note II does indeed come with its defining feature, the S Pen. The display was built with Wacom technology, which allows for 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity (4 times what the original Note has), so this is definitely a stylus for content creation. I am not at all artistic, so my drawing exploits were limited to making a smiley face in S Note (which, admittedly, came out perfectly). I've used the S Pen for writing text messages and other text input, but I feel like the onscreen keyboard is still faster. As another aside, the S Pen is incompatible with the capacitive buttons on the Note II, so there are two shortcuts you have to use instead of pressing menu and back. You hold the S Pen's button and make a caret, ^ for menu and a less than symbol, < for back. It's a little annoying, but I guess it makes sense.
The Galaxy Note II comes with a RGB notification light in the front. It is not hard to miss when you have a notification, and I really like it. The DNA actually has two notification lights, one in the grille in the front and another to the left of the camera in the back. These can only glow green and amber, which is sad. Also, they are very hard to see and notice if you are not looking at them head-on, as they are recessed. Notification lights are one of the best things about Android in my mind, and I am very glad to see that both manufacturers included them.
The Droid DNA includes wireless charging capabilities, which Verizon decided to remove from the Note II (literally, they covered up the wireless charging contacts with plastic), which is definitely a win for the DNA. I wanted a phone with wireless charging, but I'll live. On the other hand, the DNA has a ridiculous microUSB port door that I just wanted to rip off. Supposedly it is to make the phone more water resistant, but I don't know if that's worthwhile when the tradeoff is so obnoxious.
The Verizon Galaxy Note II has a Verizon logo on the home button, unlike the Note II on every single other phone carrier. When I went into a Verizon store to ask if the screenshots on the preorder page that had the home button logo were true, the representative told me that I should be happy that they put the logo on the phone in so many places. Do you know why? It is because I wouldn't want my friends, or even random strangers, thinking that I had a phone on an "inferior" carrier like Sprint or AT&T. They should know that I have the great 4G LTE coverage that Verizon offers...ridiculous. Fortunately, after searching for "Verizon Note 2 home button cover," I found that someone was selling stickers to cover that inane logo. I haven't received mine yet, but hopefully it will not be too much of a hassle. Spigen is also selling a set of home button covers on Amazon, but I didn't think that they matched as well as the eBay ones.
Software - Note II
After owning only the original Motorola Droid and the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, I had never really experienced carrier skins, but I knew that when I was going to choose a phone that I would have to use either Samsung's Touchwiz or HTC's Sense. Both phones are running Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean, but to me it feels like Sense is stuck in the past of Froyo and Gingerbread *shudder*. Samsung's interface feels much more modern and updated, with most things being very well integrated from Jelly Bean into Touchwiz. On the other hand, Sense feels like it just slapped some new features from Jelly Bean on top of its old interface. Samsung exclusively uses the blue accents Android gained in Ice Cream Sandwich, while Sense has a horrible amalgamation of Sense green accents with a smattering of ICS blue ones. Additionally, features that I really love about Android, like getting to see the entire body of a text message as it goes through the status bar without having to pull down the notification tray, are completely missing in Sense. Why HTC, why?
Both phones have lock screen applications, which is definitely nice, but Sense gives you a built-in series of themes to choose from that lets you change both the lock screen as well as the color of all settings menus. This is nice, but half of them were pretty ugly, so I just stuck with one for the whole time. In addition, Verizon was nice enough to permanently install a good number of applications on both phones. Many of these can be disabled by going to Settings-->Application Manager and then clicking on the list of all applications to uninstall the ones you don't want, but some of them (like Verizon's visual voicemail client) are permanent.
I think that Android has always had more features than iOS but that iOS has always had more polish to it. After Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean, I no longer find this to be true. Jelly Bean looks fantastic, and it is also very feature-rich. iOS on the other hand has stagnated. I owned the original iPhone and the iPhone 4, and other than the increased resolution (and the ability to add home screen backgrounds), the software on both phones looks practically identical. iOS, although once groundbreaking, now looks positively gaudy, with many of its apps containing over-the-top skeumorphic design - Game Center and Podcasts come to mind as particularly egregious examples. Android now offers a nice, clean interface that has finally caught up to iOS in terms of visual flair.
Jelly Bean isn't the massive overhaul that Ice Cream Sandwich was, but it definitely has some nice new features that I enjoy using. By long pressing on the home button and clicking on the Google icon, you can get to Google Now. Here, Google combines information that it already knows about you into sets of "cards" that appear throughout the day at (hopefully) the most helpful time. For instance, when I bought a case and screen protector for my Note II, there was a card that told me that my package had shipped with UPS two day shipping, and it gave me the option to track it or view the confirmation email from Amazon. Google Now also tells you the local weather for the next three days, traffic home from work and other frequently visited places, and sports scores for your favorite teams. In addition, by saying "Google" or pressing the speech button while in Google Now, you can use Google's enhanced voice actions. Here, Google uses its algorithms to answer questions about people and places. You can ask it math questions, set alarms, send texts, call people, and do a ton of other things. Somehow, Google has done something to make these voice searches incredibly quick and accurate, often much more so than Apple's voice assistant Siri. If you want to see a funny video of the two compared, search on YouTube for "Google Search vs. Siri App Judgment" and skip to 3:31 in the video, it really shows how well Google's voice recognition algorithm works. Another feature introduced in Jelly Bean is expandable/actionable notifications. When I get a text message, I can drag down with two fingers on the notification to expand it to see the entire message. This also works with emails and many other types of notifications, as long as the developer has enabled it.
Touchwiz has added a huge number of features to Jelly Bean. Here is a list of some of my favorites.
-Notification bar toggles: these are helpful if you want to turn Bluetooth on or change the screen brightness throughout the day without having to delve into system settings. Unfortunately, Verizon decided that it wanted to have a Wi-Fi notification as a separate ongoing notification instead of being built into the toggle.
-Call setting notification: when you're on a call, there is now a notification that allows you to turn on speakerphone, go to the dialer, or even end the call, which is extremely helpful.
-Smart stay: when you're looking at the phone, if the screen is about to turn off, it checks to see if your eyes are still on the screen or not. If they are, it does not turn the display off.
-Smart rotation: when you rotate the phone (like, if you decide to lay down), the phone checks to see if your head also rotated, or if you actually want the screen to change orientation.
-One handed operation: admittedly, this is a big phone. With one handed operation, you can choose to shrink the keyboard, dialer, calculator, or even unlock pattern to one side of the screen, which makes using the phone with one hand a lot more manageable.
-Blocking mode: this silences your phone at certain times during the day (for instance, if you want to sleep without waking up for calls or texts) with exceptions for certain people. Verizon decided that its customers did not need this feature, so they hid it, but it is easy to enable. Just Google "how to enable blocking mode on Verizon Note II" and there are plenty of tutorials showing how to get it back.
Of course, Touchwiz has some annoying points, but I have found that I don't really mind it too much so far. I prefer it by far to Sense, which felt like it was always treating me like a child.
The Galaxy Note II gets phenomenal battery life. On my Galaxy Nexus, I would be lucky to get 1.5-2 hours of screen on time, and I would always have to switch batteries by the afternoon. With the Droid DNA, I was getting around 3-3.5 hours of screen on time, which was enough for most days, but if I used it more than that, I was tethered to a charger. Yesterday, my Galaxy Note II was unplugged for 19 hours with nearly 6 hours of screen on time before it (and I) needed to be recharged. I just cannot believe how good the battery life is on the Note II, especially considering the size of its screen. You can buy extra batteries, but I'm not actually sure if I will, since my battery life has been so good.
The Note II has many accessories available for it, unlike the Droid DNA. This is probably because the DNA is exclusive to Verizon whereas the Note II is being sold worldwide and on all the carriers in the US. If you want to get official accessories (flip covers, media docks, etc.), you should be aware that if you register your Note II on Samsung's website that they actually give you a 50% off coupon on all the accessories on their website, which is a ridiculously good deal.
Due to its exterior, the Note II feels somewhat slippery, so I would recommend getting a slim fitting case at the very least. I got one from Amazon called the Ringke Slim and I love it. My S Pen hasn't scratched the screen (which is not surprising, considering that it is Gorilla Glass 2), but I decided to get a screen protector just in case. I'm not sure how necessary this was, but for such an expensive phone, it was worth it to protect my purchase.
I hope that in this 3000 word review of the Galaxy Note II I have been able to answer all of the questions you had about it. If you have any other questions that I can answer, feel free to leave a comment below. The Galaxy Note II is by far the best phone I have ever used, and I am positive that I made the correct decision in purchasing it over the Droid DNA.
Best gadget ever December 10, 2012
Reviewer: BadMedicineLK (South Carolina) -
First 2 questions I get when someone sees this device: is that a phone? Does it fit in your pocket? No, its a blender. No, it doesn't fit in my pocket I have to wear a backpack to carry it around. But seriously, it is big for a phone, but it fits in every pocket of pants that I wear easily. I sold my Galaxy Tab 10.1 and my Galaxy S III for this phone. I hate the word phablet, but it is truly both. The screen size allows for all types of media consumption comfortably. The hardware along with JellyBean make the Note II the smoothest Android experience to date. I mean no slowdowns, stutters, or crashes of any kind. Besides having the functionality of a phone, you get many features including S-Pen and a great camera, which in combination makes for something special, and a big battery for the long trips.
I am not an artist, but the S Pen makes it super easy to experiment with. It is really fun and easy (once you know about them) to explore through the features, although I do recommend downloading "User's Digest: Samsung Galaxy NoteII" from the Playstore. It is a basic, yet informative guide that takes you through many of the S-Pen features. And there are many!
The battery life on this device is fantastic. I am averaging 30 hours between charges with medium to heavy use (4-6 hours of screen time), and that's usually with 10-15% left (I don't like running the Li-Ion battery all the way down). There's now a battery on the market that more than doubles the capacity of the stock 3100 mah battery (obviously sacrificing bulkiness and weight) for those of you that never want to put this thing down. But for me, this is plenty of battery life and I am truly impressed considering the thickness and reasonable weight.
The camera is great. There are many features including burst mode, panorama, best picture, and many more. The camera has some trouble in low light conditions, like most cellphone cameras, but it still gets the job done. Under normal lighting conditions the results can be compared to a point and shoot. But where the magic takes place is what you can do with all of your pictures. The camera paired with the S-Pen functionality make the possibilities endless. You can hand write captions, easily crop and paste custom selections from anything that's on screen at any time by tracing with the pen, you can add all kinds of crazy effects and then easily share your creations instantly with NFC, email, text, Facebook, etc. As "slogany" as this sounds, it really does inspire you to get creative.
I do have one criticism of the Note II. And it is by no means a deal breaker. The audio from the 3.5mm headphone jack. Music is not nearly as crisp or punchy as the Galaxy S III. I compared them both side by side. Bass is not as deep and sound range is tighter in general. You can compensate by tweaking the equalizer (I use a paid MP3 player app : PowerAmp, its awesome), but it's still not the same. I checked some forums and people seem to agree; most point fingers to the possible use of a weaker DAC chip (Digital to Analog Converter). Now, don't get me wrong, I still listen to music on it all the time, but it is a minor disappointment.
Taking the time to learn and explore the features will make your experience much more enjoyable with this device. There's a lot packed in there, so be patient. Samsung deserves a lot of credit to have the balls to make a device that many people thought was too big and would never sell. I'm glad they took the risk because this is everything I've ever wanted from a phone/universal tool.
UPDATE (2/1/13): After almost 2 months with the Note II I am still extremely pleased. No dropped calls. No OS crashes. No really big problems whatsoever. A few things that I missed initially: the camera has an incredible slow motion mode that can record up to 1/8th of the normal frame rate in good quality. Very cool to see and experiment with. And it also offers a fast motion mode that is awesome for filming time-lapse's such as sunsets or road trips (mount it on the dashboard of a long road trip... very cool).
Also, since my initial review I have rooted, unlocked the bootloader, and flashed a custom ROM. Please do a lot of research before you do this and also realize this will void your manufacturer warranty. With the custom ROM I am getting ridiculous battery life. The best I've seen so far is 63 hours of time between charges with 7 hours of screen time with the stock battery. This was predominantly over WiFi and in good cell coverage when I wasn't at home or work. Regardless, without the bloatware and running an optimized ROM this phone is even more beastly and it will only get better as developers continue to pave the way for this phone. Hop on the bandwagon now!
The best by a significant margin December 15, 2012
Reviewer: Steven W. Rose (Haliimaile, HI United States) -
The Note II has many excellent features unmatched by any other product.
Due to its Verizon 4G connection and high capacity battery, it can work as a hot spot all day. My Clear (Sprint) hot spot would only run for 3 hours, so I had to carry three spare batteries. The Note II hot spot functionality takes seconds to turn on (or off). The Clear hot spot takes more than a minute to establish a connection. The Verizon 4G connection is widely available. Sprint seems to be turning off WiMax, as my coverage has been shrinking. As a result, the Note II pays for itself as I can terminate my Clear hot spot. And there is now less to carry. The iPhone 5 4G as a hotspot did not have enough battery life.
Due to its very good audio system, I was able to use it for a Skype conference the first day I had it. The Skype connection from the regular conference room setup was not working well. I connected from the Note II, and suddenly everyone could hear and be heard. The audio from the phone would have been enough, but it was easy to plug the local amp and speakers into the headphone jack, and continue to use the telephone's microphone. It saved the meeting.
Skype video conferencing is also excellent, and works really well on the go.
Be sure to buy the Samsung HDMI output adapter. There is a new standard connector -- the micro USB has 11 pins. It works fine with regular microUSB cables for data and charging, but requires a different connector than previous microUSB HDMI adapters. You will be amazed at the quality of the image on your HDTV. BTW, position matters. For Google Earth, for example, if you hold the phone upright, the image is narrow and vertical. Put the phone in landscape position, and the screen fills with a beautiful high resolution image.
The camera is excellent for a cell phone camera -- better in a resolution chart test than my iPhone 4. Due to the height of the phone, the camera lens is outside of my shirt pocket, so it can take videos while in your pocket leaving both hands free (takes getting used to -- practice first). Which brings up another point -- it fits fine in every shirt pocket I have, in spite of its size. Be sure to do something that will keep it from slipping out when you bend over, though (antislip material, or a case, for example) if you chose to carry it there.
AirDroid is a most amazing app that works really well with this phone. Call it up in the browser on your computer, point your phone at the screen and press the camera icon, and it uses a bar code to instantly log in and allow you to transfer files at high speed between your computer and your phone. This app is a breakthrough for me in increasing the utility of my phone.
In fact, the phone is almost at the point where it can replace my computer. With its quad core cpu, excellent graphics, and 64GB of external (microSDXC) storage, the addition of a bluetooth keyboard and external monitor turns it into a computer, with the phone functioning as a multitouch mousepad and Wacom graphics tablet (thanks to the S Pen!)
It is easy to go on and on about this telephone and the apps available, like afterfocus and fast boot, and the fact that the video camera offers both fast motion and slow motion (240 frames/sec at standard definition). While the still photo resolution of telephone cameras in general is not up to say a Canon SD780is pocket camera, the Note II's still quality is still excellent, and the video is wonderful. Every day there is something new to discover about this great device (and an excellent series of tutorials on YouTube).
Huge - and AWESOME! Powerful amazing device December 11, 2012
I really am loving this device. More than I thought I would. The screen is beautiful and big, fast, smooth, and bright. Very little downside for me.
--Fringer Print coating - I haven't heard anybody talk about the coating on the screen, but it is one of my favorite feature! It is like working on silk, and it doesn't pick up finger print even close to what my previous phones did. REally has a luxury feel.
--Battery life - HUGE factor for me. I can get through a regular moderate use day, and still have 30-40% batter when I get home. CRAZY GOOD! This can even be improved with tighter control over the settings for sure.
--Removable battery - AND if the giant 3100mAh batter isn't enough, you can swap it out!
--Speed - FAST FAST FAST!
--SD card slot - up to 64BG on top of the 16GB on board
--Android 4.1 Jelly Bean - I think they have finally passed iOS with this version. Super fast smooth, and TON of cool gesture features available.
--LED light on the front is great for notification without having to turn on the phone
--Home Button - At 1st I didn't like it, but with such a big phone, it is really handy to beable to wake it up with the home button, and not have to reach up the side
--Design- much improved over the Note I - thinner, buttons are more reachable. Very premium feel, even though it is all plastic. I'm surprised how much I like it.
--Camera - lots of cool features and effects, and it is SUPER FAST
--Touch Wiz - lots that I'm not a huge fan of, but the lock screen widgets are great. Otherwise, I switched to Nova Launcher, and LOVE IT! This really sold the device for me. Touch wiz isn't great, but not horrible either. Nova Launcher erases most of the annoyance for me (including having to look at Verizon Bloat ware in the app drawer) - SO EASY TO CUSTOMIZE!
--S-PEN - I almost forgot! Very easy to use, needs more apps, but the ones that work well are beautiful. It writes almost better than a regular pen.
--Phone - volume on the speaker and ear piece are fine. Very load and clear.
LOVE THIS PHONE!
--Touch Wiz - The settings are scattered all over, some in the settings, some in the individual apps. More centralized would be better. customized notification bar is so-so. Wish I could re-arrange the icons and shrink them. Pure JellyBean is much better (ESPECIALLY on 4.2).
--Size - NOT A CON for me! I used my old iphone last night and it felt like a tiny little toy. Almost unusable. I love the giant screen, but if you have small hands it will probalby be too big. I'm 6" with large hands, but it is easier to drop...
--Very Slick - I had to get a case because it is so smooth and slippery. Very easy to drop. I found a decent bumper case that isn't too bulky, and adds enough grip to feel more comfortable.
Anything else..... NOT REALLY! Android apps aren't always the best available, but the level of customization is so huge, It is worth breaking out of the Apple and Microsoft walled gardens. (Yes, I said Microsoft too! - just spend two years with WP7, and it is just as closed as apple...IMO)
I Made Fun Of It, Then Hung My Head in Shame January 9, 2013
Reviewer: T.C. (Dallas, TX USA) -
One of my friends got the original Galaxy Note a while back. She was rather petite, and I thought it was hilarious! Whenever she held it up to her face to talk on it, all you could really see was this big phone tablet lovechild...thing. Then, her sister got the Galaxy Note 2 last month. It was even bigger! I unleashed a barrage of playful jesting at her as well. Who would want such a big device for a phone?
It then came time for me to upgrade. I had been using a HTC Thunderbolt, so most anything would have been an upgrade. I even had the extended battery, the one that stuck out from the back like it was a hideously deformed hellspawn and belonged in the bell tower at Notre-Dame Cathedral. All in all, it wasn't a terrible phone...but the battery would barely last a day with moderate use (and that was the extended), and the phone itself was prone to quirks that caused problems now and then. In addition to that, the processor is a few generations old now and it certainly showed! I was extremely ready to upgrade.
I had it narrowed down to a few phones...I wanted a Nokia 920, but Verizon didn't have it yet. So I looked at the Droid DNA, and the Razr Maxx HD. I wasn't even CONSIDERING the Note 2.
The more research I did though, the more it got frustrating.
I loved the size, look, and feel of the Droid DNA, but I already had been burned by one HTC phone with an under-powered battery. To add insult to injury, with the Droid DNA the battery wasn't even replaceable and I would be stuck with 16GB of non-expandable memory. I could make it work maybe, but battery life and storage are important to me. The answer was nein.
Razr Maxx HD...Motorola makes solid phones. It was rugged, it had lots of nice bells and whistles, was a good size, and the battery life looked great! I've never had a phone with above average battery life, the possibilities were tantalizing. But..it was only dual core (not a big deal, but to a techy guy like me it's enough to make me hesitate with more quad processors coming out and all), and the camera wasn't very impressive. Not terrible, but meh. I do take pictures a lot, so I ideally wanted the best phone camera I could get to save me from perpetually having to carry around my 7D. This was the stronger contender of the two, but it was disappointing that I would have to compromise so much either way. Plus, after holding it, I just didn't dig the shape of the phone. I could have certainly made it work and I probably would have been happy with it-- but that didn't mean it was the best choice for me.
Then I read more about this thing and got to play with it.
I fell in love. It does everything well. Why compromise when, if I can deal with .5" increase in size from the Droid DNA, I could have a phone that wouldn't lack in any of those previously mentioned departments?
That's the bottom line with the Note 2: "If you can deal with the size." Personally, I think a 5" phone is ideal, but 5.5" is definitely manageable for me.
It's not for everyone. I have big hands, and I can operate the thing with one hand pretty easily (Samsung's one handed mode keyboard helps). It's a good size for me, and even my female friend who is considerably smaller than me can operate it well. It takes some getting used to though. It fits in my jeans pockets, but I bought a Seido ACtive case w/holster just in case (hah! Get it?). Been using that with no problems.
I do not regret getting it.
This is the best phone, or phablet, or whatever it is, I've ever had. I'm on my third day of one battery charge here, with light use in addition to using this thing as a music player while I drive. I bought a 64 GB card and use this as my music player now, rather than pay an extra few hundred for a 64GB ipod which I was originally intending on doing. The interface doesn't skip a beat, games run flawlessly, the s pen is surprisingly useful, and the camera is very good! No connection issues either. 4G runs fast, wifi works just fine, but I haven't tried bluetooth yet. I'm optimistic this phone may actually make it so I'm not yearning for my next upgrade date.
So to put it plainly... I'm sorry Galaxy Note 2. I'm sorry for making fun of you.. *sniff*. People may make fun of you for being a phablet, but I know better. You were just made awesome.
DO NOT BUY THE VERIZON VERSION. March 4, 2013
Reviewer: Clayton J. Knight (DC Metro) -
This review pertains to the Samsung Galaxy Note II, model number SCH-I605, or the Verizon Wireless variant of this device. Your mileage may vary with the unlocked version, or with versions from other carriers in which features weren't blatantly stripped making for a more miserable user experience.
The first thing I want to start with is the fact that wireless charging has been completely stripped from the device. I'm not referring to not just including the inductive charging plate in the back panel, I mean they've completely removed the terminals from the logic board and covered them with part of the case. This means if you have ANY dreams of owning a wireless charger for this device, either buy from a different carrier, buy the unlocked version, or be prepared to void your warranty by disassembling the case, soldering terminals to the leads, cutting the case, properly measuring and cutting the leads, then installing the inductive charging plate in the back panel lined up perfectly with the terminals you just soldered. Why on earth would they take such a premium phone and neuter this feature? 6 words: Nokia Lumia 822, and Droid DNA. These two devices are a burden on Verizon's inventory right now, and they're doing everything they can to push inferior technology on unsuspecting customers who desire premium quality and design.
My second big gripe, just like the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Google Wallet has been removed. With the Galaxy Nexus, it was as simple as side-loading the application. With the Note 2, it's hours of frustration down a rabbit hole that lead you nowhere near a working solution. You'll have to root your device, voiding your warranty (again,) install Root Explorer and edit your Build.prop file in the root of the filesystem. You have to tell the phone to basically believe it's a different model on a different network, install Google Wallet, initialize it, set it up, then go back and restore the settings in the Build.prop file to the original settings so your phone functions properly. This resolution works on other devices, but still causes issues with Google Wallet on the Verizon flavor. Once again, why?! With Verizon's Motorola relationship, and Google's ownership of Motorola, what, pre tell, would drive them to these means? Isis. The Isis mobile payments system, which Verizon is a parent investor in. Verizon claims it's due to the fact that Google Wallet accesses a secure part of the hardware, and is somehow a risk to users (hence calling it a "secure" part of the hardware?) Funny thing is, Isis does the exact same thing. Unfortunately, Isis doesn't work with all NFC payment terminals. Google Wallet doesn't either, but acceptance is MUCH more prevalent than it is for Isis. In fact, I live in the DC Metro area, and there isn't a single Isis payment terminal that I've seen. Google Wallet, on the other hand, is everywhere, all the way down to Macy's department stores.
Third on the list is the bloatware. You come to expect certain apps on Android devices to be prepackaged with carrier-sold phones, but Verizon takes the cake on the list of Verizon apps included, taking up storage space and mucking up system-wide defaults, such as trying to open an address in Google Maps. Sure, you get the option to use "this app by default," but I've actually found it only applies to the app you're using. Example: open an address from a web browser in Google Maps, tell it use Google Maps by default instead of Verizon Navigator, and you're set for the web browser. Open an address from a text message, you'll be asked the same question. This applies to same actions in any app.
Still not convinced? What if I told you Verizon disabled MOST of the apps for split-screen viewing? I counted a list of 8 or so apps I could use split-screen view. Most of which were apps I wouldn't use. I installed a custom rom on my device, and unlocked EVERY app and everything from Skype, to Polaris Office, to Email, even to Angry Birds worked fine.
Sadly, Verizon disabled a LOT of S-Pen functions as well, not to mention the entire suite of S-Cloud functions. You'll constantly be nagged to trust Verizon with your contacts using their contact backup crapware that never syncs properly, and they've also castrated the call/messaging blocking function. What's that? Well, it's the equivalent to "Do Not Disturb" on the iPhone, but with more features such as whitelisting or even blacklisting numbers from telemarketers and the like. One could speculate that was removed as it competes with their pay-for-use services to lock down phone use between certain hours for your kids.
The phone its self in an unmolested fashion is amazing. Sadly though, in spite of what is blared into my ear everytime I call Customer Care, customers DO NOT come first. After this mess, you can believe once my two-year contract is up on my other line I'm gone.
You've been warned. It's your money. Spend it wisely.
everything you'd want and (maybe) more than you need January 6, 2013
Reviewer: Tara "peacefulseraph" (USA) -
I just bought this phone and it's really amazing. The instructions that come with it are minimal, so you may need to look up what certain functions do online... The s-pen is astoundingly practical, compared to what I imagined- a flimsy Blackberry stylus, and unintuitive screen. How wonderfully wrong I was! I downloaded Autodesk Sketchbook Mobile app and it really takes drawings to another level. I have an old 12" Wacom tablet, and this is as good as it ever was. I also have a Cintiq for work, but it's not quite at that level (in case you were wondering).
I think the main drawback is hidden options. You have to go through many a menu just to do anything.There are almost too many options as well like: how do you want your phone to vibrate when different people call you... there are 5+ options including a heartbeat, jingle bells, and the waltz- who needs that stuff? I'm happy when you can personalize ringtones to separate personal and professional calls.
Even though its length is approximately the length of a dollar bill, it's much lighter than it looks even with this big of a phone. I didn't have any trouble with the keyboard despite having broad fingers... there was more than enough space to hit the letters on the keypad with accuracy.
Great phone for $199!
Some quick notes after a month of owning this phone February 13, 2013
Reviewer: Mike Tarrani "Jazz Drummer" (Deltona, FL USA) -
There are already some excellent reviews, so I am going to try not repeating what has already been written. Instead, I am going to list a few reasons why I love this phone, plus one big caveat. The caveat first: when I got my first smartphone - a Motorola Droid X - I was equally pleased at this point in the ownership cycle. At month 18 that phone became a nightmare. So, factor that in as I gush about how great this phone is.
My comparisons are going to be to the Droid X:
- I cannot believe the battery life! I am no longer tethered to a charger. One three hour phone conversation dropped my battery to 73 percent. And it charged back up to 100% when I did plug it into a charger in less than 20 minutes. Note: this is a relatively new phone with a new battery. I doubt I would get the same results a year from now when the battery is worn by numerous charging cycles. Still, since I routinely go the entire day without charging it, only putting it on charge when I go to bed, the wear and deterioration of the battery will probably be far less than for other phones.
- Boot-up time is amazingly quick. My previous phone took what seemed to be forever to come up in a ready state after restarting it or powering it back on. This one does it in literally seconds.
- Signal strength is as good, if not better, than the phone it replaced. That was a relief because I had heard horror stories about this and the S III. In fact, the Motorola phone was legendary for it's antenna and receiving/transmitting systems and this phone is certainly its equal.
- Speaker volume and reception are vastly superior to the Motorola.
I transferred my SD card directly from my Droid X to this phone and all of its contents were immediately recognized by the Note 2. I did have to recreate my play lists for my music, which may have been stored in the internal memory of the Droid X. Still, that was a relief to not have to recreate everything.
Although this phone is supposed to be locked down I have added apps to it with no problems, so for me that aspect is not an issue.
One accessory that I found to be essential to protect the phone is an [[ASIN:B009VKSVTC Evecase Leather Wallet Case with Stand and Credit Card Holder for Samsung Galaxy Note 2 II N7100 - Black]].
As for the size - it is not a problem for me. In fact, I an getting older and the larger form factor - while not cool or trendy - suits me perfectly.
The phone is, if anything, too responsive. The screen is sensitive to your every touch. Sometimes my finger lands or overlaps areas adjacent to where I wanted to touch and the phone responds before I can correct it. That is a minor issue and many folks will probably not experience it.
Since this phone is practically a tablet I purchased an [[ASIN:B009ISLOQE HDE® Silver Wireless Bluetooth 3.0 Keyboard]], which makes it super-easy to use for web surfing and creating and developing documents with Polaris Office 4.0 that shipped with my phone.
If there is anything to complain about it's Verizon itself. I had to change from my unlimited data plan to their far more restrictive one in order to upgrade. I am not pleased about that and consider it to border on unethical. I've been with Verizon since 1999 and have been very loyal - until now. And since this reviews is about Verizon's version of this phone I think my comment about this is valid.
On the iPhone vs. Galaxy comparisons: I have friends who have iPhones and they have admired my Note 2, but are not about to switch. I can see their point. They are comfortable with that device's interface and features and have no compelling reason to switch. I mention this because that comparison seems to frequently crop up and it truly has no relevance in my opinion. Most folks who are used to Apple are probably going to stay with that platform, and the newer ones seem to have close to the same features judging from one of my friend's 4S model.
As I mentioned above, time will tell about this phone. Right now I am thoroughly pleased with mine, but who knows? Latent flaws could surface in the future that change my opinion. If so I will come back and update this review.
Best phone of 2012 and one device to rule them all December 6, 2012
Reviewer: GoTheDistance (Orange County, CA, USA) -
With Galaxy Note II and Smart Dock you no longer need a tablet, portable game console, home game console, media streamer, laptop/desktop PC, notepad and pen, etc. This device has the power, versatility and features to do it all with industry leading battery life while still fitting in your pants pocket. This is the future of mobility.
Note 1 Legacy to Note II February 2, 2013
I have the Note I and wanted to mention something for those who are thinking about buying the Note II.
After almost a year, I wouldn't trade my Note for anything else but the Note II. Everytime I go into a store, I don't see anything else I would rather have.
People sometimes ask about the Note size, and I respond by telling them the device seems to get smaller and smaller each day. It's just that most ppl are used to a teeny tiny screen. It fits nicely into jean front pockets and my jean jacket shirt pockets.
The Note is more than a phone and with its size, it is actually usable without a magnifying glass. Videos, pics, e-mails, txt msg, games, etc are all very easy to use and see.
Dialing is a snap without fumbling on the keys. The audio is loud for playback. I hope Samsung does not take away the stylus since is very useful to make a quick note, pointer or drawing. I wished the Note One had the LED notification indicator like the Note II. So that is a selling point for me on the Note II.
The 8Meg camera takes the best pics and videos ever. I rarely use my still camera anymore. I just pull out the Note and use it for all pics.
We could go on forever talking about the Note and Note II. They just keep getting better. I'm running Android ICS on the Note One and it is great. I hear the Note II battery is very long lasting -> Li-ion 3,100mAh...
(HSDPA 21Mbps / HSUPA 5.76Mbps)
4G LTE: 100Mbps / 50Mbps
1.6 GHz quad-core processor
Standard battery, Li-ion 3,100mAh
16/32/64GB User memory + 2GB (RAM)
microSD slot (up to 64GB)
Main (Rear) : 8 Megapixel Auto Focus Camera with LED Flash, BSI
Sub (Front) : 1.9 Megapixel VT Camera, BSI
Best Photo, Best Face, Low light shot
Codec: MPEG4, H.263, H.264, VC-1, DivX, WMV7, WMV8, WMV9, VP8
Format: 3GP(MP4), WMV(ASF), AVI, FLV, MKV, WebM
Full HD(1080p) Playback & Recording
Codec: MP3, OGG, WMA, AAC, ACC+, eAAC+, AMR(NB,WB), MIDI, WAV, AC-3, Flac
Music Player with SoundAlive
3.5mm Ear Jack
Content / Services
- Game Hub
- Media Hub (US only)
- Learning Hub / Music Hub / Video Hub
¦ The availability of each Samsung Hubs may
differ by country
Accelerometer, RGB Light, Digital Compass, Proximity, Gyro, Barometer
On Device Encryption (H/W)
Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync
VPN(F5, Cisco, Juniper)
MDM(Sybase Afaria, MobileIron, SOTI, Good)
Connectivity / Sharing Features
Bluetooth® v 4.0 (Apt-X Codec support) LE
USB 2.0 Host
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 & 5 GHz), Wi-Fi HT40
Samsung AllShare Play & Control
Samsung AllShare Cast (WiFi Display)
- Mirroring & Extention
Samsung AllShare Framework
S Pen Optimized Features
S Pen Experience
- S Note, S Planner, Email with hand-writing
- S Pen Keeper
- Quick Command, Easy Clip, Photo Note,
- Shape Match, Formula Match
Samsung TouchWiz / Samsung L!ve Panel
Samsung Kies /Samsung Kies Air
Samsung ChatOn mobile communication service
Smart Stay, Direct claa, Screen Recorder,
Samsung ChatOn mobile communication service
Samsung S Suggest
iPhone slayer December 17, 2012
I've had this phone for a few days now and have absolutely fallen in love with it! I moved from iPhone 4 and was a little worried about the size of the phone. But now it just seems normal. The screen is enormous!!! It eats iPhones up with room to spare. It responds super fast and has awesome features. I can't put the phone down. Battery lasts forever! I had to actually make myself play with it until about 1 a.m. after a full days use just to get it down to 5%.
If you're coming from an iPhone without any experience with a droid. it might be awhile before you get the hang of the different OS but it is well worth it! S-pen features are great! This phone may actually make it past my next upgrade date.
Cons: nothing other than you have to pry it out of my hands.
Great Phone! April 24, 2013
Reviewer: rpv (San Francisco, CA) -
I have an unlocked phone and use with ATT and T-Mobile. Same phone with a different chipset is used for Sprint/Verizon.
When one opens the box, there is a sense of awe. People ask "Is this really a phone" was one reaction I got. It is an amazing piece of hardware. I have used Android devices starting from Cupcake version, used iPhone, HP Veer with webOS, Windows 7.5 HTC Titan 2. This phone is the sleekest and one of the best so far. It is fabulous! I find the big size to be very good and not a problem at all. Will the Galaxy Note 3 be 6" ?!
The manual pdf is definitely a must read, there are lot of tips in the manual that comes in handy. For example motion based sensors are extraordinary. Closing the phone with palm silences it. Sliding palm takes a screenshot. There are several such examples. Read the manual.
Out of the box, connect to wireless and get the phone logged into Google account. The advantage of Android phones is that once you are logged into Google universe, everything gets synced up especially if you have been using Android. The position of power button is at an excellent position for your hand on this Note 2. The additional LED for notification on top is very handy. Listen Apple? The camera serves some really futuristic ideas also. It can check if you are looking at the phone and disable screen lock (even if you set timeout to say 30 sec). Also it can serve as password unlock. Amazing! These can be set from Settings Menu.
The Android version as of Oct 26 2012 is Jellybean 4.1.1. Kernel version is 3.0.31-259982. Model GT-N7100. I got the 64 GB microSD card. Get this mobileUltra, it is the latest as of Oct 2012. ([[ASIN:B005V7WIA2 SanDisk 64GB Mobile Ultra MicroSDXC Class 6 Memory Card with SD Adapter - Retail Packaging]]. Settings show an available space of 59.45 GB. So along with 16 GB built (system shows only around 10.46 GB), my Note 2 has 80 GB memory. With music in the Google Music cloud, I intent to use the memory for video/pictures as a camcorder/camera.
I strongly suggest going through Settings and customizing many things as per your desire. I did Voice Input, Keyboard (this comes with English(UK), change to English(US) for example. Fiddle around the settings and you will be amazed how much you can customize. I also did Battery % to appear in notification bar.
One thing I found the default keyboard did not show Mic button. I realized it was next to Sym button. Long press it and choose Mic. And then on, it will appear in default keyboard. Also customize the accent. It can do magic for typing. I type paragraphs at a time effortlessly. This is Google backend servers at work. The Mic on Samsung Galaxy Note 2 does a fantastic job!
S-Pen, Ah.. I was truly impressed. You have to use these to believe it. The note taking was very fluid. Samsung seem to have nailed it. I wrote up an equation in Equation mode - x^5 = x^2 + 2x + .... Something completely random, another one d/dx(an equation) and it recognized perfectly and asked it to search, it went to Wolfram Alpha and solved it. It is at first unbelievable and then it starts to sink in this is a computer program made well. Like it should be in first place! Export to pdf is very good. The main thing is the pen is very fluid and feels like a fountain pen writing.
Overall, the phone feels very smooth and snappy. The screen is crisp and clear. Apps can even be multi screened. Samsung approved apps can be placed two in a screen. Eg. Maps on top and email on bottom portion. I doubt I will use this, but handy.
One gripe I have with this phone is speaker is on the back. Typically if you lie the phone down, the speaker is blocked on bottom. I wish the speakers were in the side. This is a design decision and not sure why phones have speaker on back. But the speaker volume is very high, so I am not complaining too much.
One big pain point with Android is once you purchased/downloaded for free Apps, they cannot be permanently deleted. So even if you get a junk app, and delete immediately they are permanently there in your Google Play store. From the phone's play store I got 300+ Apps. One cannot choose 50 apps and say get all these. You have to do one by one. After getting one, the screen resets to beginning. So I went to a computer browser and pushed apps to pone. This is easier and faster.
UPDATE: In Jelly bean, you have a circle with a / and pressing it prompts a pop up to delete. After delete it reverts to top of the list again. Why dont they go to same spot. I have hundreds, so it is a pain, nevertheless good feature. I will delete few every day!
Some of apps I have as of now :
[[ASIN:B004GJDQT8 Amazon Mobile]]
Android Status : Android Status app shows ARMv7, Max Freq 1.6 GHz, BogoMips 1592.52 Memory 1.79 GB, Free 365 MB, Internal Storage 10.46 GB Free 7.18 GB. Total Process running 271! Kernel 159/User 112 Interface has IPv6 as well as IPv4 address
Angry Birds (Space/Seasons)
Amazon App Store
[[ASIN:B004TU1AGU Car Maintenance Reminder Pro]]
Google Currents (nice way to read News)
FM Radio (needs headphone)
[[ASIN:B00850NK6I OverDrive Media Console: Library eBooks & Audiobooks]] (public library consumption of media)
Microsoft One Note (legacy docs, skydrive of 25 GB is good)
[[ASIN:B006LRRIJ2 Subsonic Music Streamer]]
Terminal Emulator (still need to use vi, yes this is it)
[[ASIN:B004KAL2BC TweetCaster Pro for Android]] (excellent twitter client)
Plenty of Widgets
Ask questions, the review cannot do justice to Note 2, I find something new always. I will be glad to answer any questions.
Perfect phone, if you can get used to its size April 24, 2013
Reviewer: Norman J. Pieniazek "Orchid lover" (Suwanee, Georgia, USA) -
I was thinking about upgrading from our Motorola Photon 4G phones with Sprint. I looked only at phones which had replaceable battery and being able to use an external micro SD memory card. My wife went to the local Verizon shop where a very nice representative demonstrated several phones to her. She spent some time testing the Samsung Galaxy s3 and the Samsung Galaxy Note II. She thought that these two phones had the best readability of the screens in direct sunlight inside the store.
About two weeks later we took the advantage of a price drop and got two Note II phones. So far, I found only one weak point with the phones, but I found a workaround very quickly.
Like all phones from Korea and Taiwan, the Samsung phones play a music when shutting down the phone and a longer sequence of sound when booting. To make matters worse, Verizon added its own annoying sounds. Fortunately, there is a free app on Google Play called Silent Boot. Check all options except the the box to disable the Airplane toggle and presto! - you get a silent boot as well as shutdown.
Great phones - nothing comes close at this point in time.
Added April 28, 2013
Purchased the following accessories
2 batteries per phone with wall charger (eBay)
SanDisk 64GB Mobile Ultra MicroSDXC Class 10 UHS-1 30MB/s Memory Card with SD Adapter (NEW VERSION) from Amazon
iBOLT xProDock Active Car Dock/Holder/Mount for Samsung Galaxy S 3, S4 & Note 2. Works with all cases. from Amazon
Bolse® Micro USB Charging Dock Cradle with audio output for Samsung Galaxy s2/s3, Note 2, Note i9220 and table PC from Amazon
Still testing which case is the best for using, charging, and inserting into the car dock.
Best phone ever made!! April 16, 2013
Reviewer: The Mailman (Alabama) -
This is, without a doubt, the best phone I have ever used. I love the speed, the size, MOST of the additions from Samsung, the S-pen is cool, and the phone is stylish. I used to have an original HTC Evo with Sprint. This phone beats it in every possible category by at least quadruple. The screen is bigger, thus being much easier to use. The screen is brighter, with better color saturation. It can even be read in daylight with ease. The touch is more responsive. The phone itself is thinner and weighs less. The phone runs everything faster, and has a boatload more storage than the old Evo. The battery last forever. I haven't seen it drop below 43% yet. The wifi is faster. The 4G service on Verizon kicks Sprint's butt. Verizon has more widespread coverage, better coverage, and faster speeds than Sprint. There is nothing, not a single thing, about this purchase that I regret. Let me reiterate my previous points: The screen is gargantuan, super bright even in daylight with good color saturation, the battery lasts all day, everything on the phone runs super fast with no slow down, the wifi is super fast, the touch is very responsive, there is gobs of storage, and the service with Verizon so far is spectacular. ALSO, for anyone afraid of this phone's size, I am about 6' about 200 lbs, and I have learned to use the phone one handed within two days of having it.
The " Cadillac" of the Samsung phones! April 15, 2013
This is my second smartphone, and am very impressed with this phone! It is fast with virtually no lag time. Easy set up, sleek and lightweight, and the added bonus of an onboard s pen storage make this a must have! It is a little bigger than the Spectrum, but has the same sleek clean line look but performance has it hands down for this product! I originally had looked to get the Samsung Galaxy lll, but after much research and preferences decided on this and I am glad I did! This will probably be very hard to top, and the price was just irresistible! I purchased this from Amazon, and got it for nearly a hundred dollars cheaper than Verizon, and had no problems follwing the directions! Follow the instructions, and you will have this phone up and running in record time! I do recommend you purchase your screen protector and case at the same time, however, as you will find it harder to clean your screen after a few days use. I did an alcohol wipe down, but still had a few dust specks, which make it difficult to achieve a smooth application! This phone has all the bells and whistles that any techie would enjoy, I am still having fun exploring! I highly recommend this for anyone, though, not just the high tech person! I use my phone for my work, too, so this was the best buy! I have truly not regretted this purchase!
Outstanding Android Phone March 12, 2013
Reviewer: Jeremy Worrells (Florida) -
The Note 2 is my second smartphone. My previous device was a Moto Droid X and I loved it. My life was changed when I got my Droid X - I had almost instant access to every bit of data that I could possibly need. I'm not a particularly organized person, and having a smartphone helped me keep up with a busy life.
After nearly 2 years, the Droid X was showing its age. 512MB of RAM and a single core processor isn't much these days. I was stuck on Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) with no upgrade in sight. ICS based roms were available, but Motorola's decision to lock down the phone meant that functionality was missing from ICS roms. It was time to shop for a new phone.
The Note 2 caught my eye immediately. The large screen was a huge draw. I have a tablet, but it was too big to carry on a daily basis. My Droid X had a 4.3" screen, but reading documents on it caused eyestrain. The 5.5" Note 2 screen was just big enough to be a decent e-reader but small enough to fit in my pocket. It also weighs almost the same as the Droid X.
The battery was another big plus. The battery in this phone is gigantic by smartphone standards. 3100 mAh is nothing to scoff at, compared with the Droid X's 1540 mAh. Many users have reported full-day performance with the Note 2. With my Droid X, I learned quickly to have a charger at home, at work, in the car, and in my backpack. In my first couple of days with this device, I have been using it heavily and going to bed at the end of the day with 20% or so left on the battery. That's impressive.
The construction feels solid. Not as solid as the metal body of the Droid X, but well put together. All of the buttons feel great, with no wiggle or soft actuation. For such a large device, it fits into my hand well. The finish is slightly slick, and I'm handling it with kid gloves until I can get a case on it.
Internally, the phone is well laid out. When you pop off the back cover, the battery, SIM, and MicroSD are all immediately accessable. A plastic overlay covers and protects the other internal components. I particularly like that I can insert and remove the MicroSD card without taking out the battery - A big gripe of mine with the Droid X was that I had to remove the battery to do that.
Software-wise, I'm impressed with both Jellybean and Samsung's Touchwiz. Jellybean brings a lot of small but important updates to Android, and Touchwiz is a functional and nice looking software suite. Contrast this with Motorola's Blur, which I never really liked. The S-pen is amazing. I've not used it for anything "serious" yet, but for drawing, taking notes, and navigating the UI, it's pretty slick. I'm still experimenting with the split window functionality, but that's a neat feature as well.
Performance wise, the phone is a hotrod. Apps download and install in seconds. Launching apps is nearly instantaneous. Switching between running apps is seamless. When streaming bluetooth audio to my car, I used to get pauses and interruptions in the audio. Not any more. It just plays.
The display is equally impressive. The colors are bright and text is sharp. There are 4 color "levels" that you can choose from, from oversaturated to muted. I'm still deciding which level I prefer.
This phone won't change my life as much as my first Android phone. The Droid X was a huge shift for me. The Note 2 is all that and a bag of chips. The larger screen, longer battery life, and scorching performance just make a great thing into a fantastic thing.
tl;dr Great phone!
Love this phone! March 11, 2013
Bit of getting used to it due to it's size, but after a while is like second nature, won't buy anymore phones with smaller screens from now on. Great for txting on panoramic view, persons with big fingers will enjoy typing on this screen, reading twitter feed is a breeze and watching youtube is awesome as well.
Battery is amazing, had an htc incredible and a galaxy nexus in the past and on both occasions an extended battery was a must, not the case in the galaxy note 2, not a power user, but more of a moderate to heavy user and I can go up to two days without running out of juice.
Sadly Verizon has disabled many of the functions that made this phone amazing, the other carriers have not done the same to their models of the galaxy note 2. Wished that I had known this before buying the phone for the Verizon network. My next phone will be in a different network.
This is a BEAST March 6, 2013
This device is a BEAST!!! I love how zippy it is (coming from a Droid Razr Maxx) and the battery life is almost on par with the Razr Maxx too. I love the screen size, S-pen, and the audio playback...it actually has some bass to it & it's loud.
I am actually a little more impressed with Amazon Wireless customer service; I received a defective device 1st and contacting customer service was a breath of fresh air. They shipped me a replacement via one-day shipping after they received my defective one back. If I would have purchased through Verizon and this happened it would have been a long drawn out ordeal.
I will no longer purchase devices straight from the carrier I will stick with Amazon. This is where I get all of my cases, accessories, and now my smartphones.
The only thing I do not like about this phone is how plastic cheap it feels and how Verizon has limited the multiview apps (for now until the update is released) while Sprint has not. (I have both).
Outstanding multipurpose device February 20, 2013
Reviewer: KJHawkeye1 (Murray, KY) -
Upgraded to the Note 2 from the Motorola Atrix and its an outstanding difference. The main reason for the upgrade to the Note 2 was for the extra screen size. Most of the time I hardly use my phone for making actual calls. Instead, I am surfing the net, texting, watching videos, etc. and thus the reason for wanting the bigger screen. Having the larger screen makes everything easier to see and the AMOLED screen in general is excellent for quality.
The operating system is super smooth and lightening quick, while the S Pen gives me some extra useful features for note taking during meetings. On the Verizon network, the 4G LTE is plenty fast for everything I need.
Highly recommend this phone!
Samsung Galaxy Note 2/ Verizon December 8, 2012
Reviewer: Jed B. Zimmerman
Love this phone!
BEWARE about chatting with the support people on the Samsung site for this product.
The two different times I chatted about technical issues were disappoinging. The people are not trained well and frankly they don't know what they are talking about. I have not called the help number 1-888-987-4357. They may be more technical.
The support people on the chat will go through a procedure with you. If it is not resolved they will tell you to DO A SOFT RESET. If that does not work, they will tell you to do a HARD RESET. Don't do a HARD RESET, unless you want to start over again with all your settings.
Issue number 1,
I have recored video on the phone. (even small amount of video can create large file). I wanted to share it via email. So I clicked on my Yahoo email account and went through the process of figuring out where the file was stored. For me it was on my external micro sd card. So you must attach it. With yahoo email, I could not attach it. The chat person asked me to do a soft reset. This is shutting the phone off and removing the battery for thirty seconds and then starting up the phone. This did nothing for the issue. When the chat person told me to do a hard reset, I exited the chat conversation.
I also have an gmail account. The file easily attached to this email account. But remember it can take a long time to process a big file.
Issue number 2,
I bought an external case that gives support to the phone. Nothing on the display. I started to adjust the "motion settings" on the phone. I thought it would be cool when the phone is sitting on my desk to just move my hand over the proximity sensors to awaken the phone to see if there were messages. I could not get it work. There are other cool "motion settings" as well that I adjusted that would not work either.
Same answer as above from the chat person. But went so far to tell me that the "motion settings" have to be activated first by enabling the power button on the phone. Not only is this untrue, but it goes against the purpose of developing the "motion settings".
When I had removed the case to do a soft reset, the "motion settings" worked. Yes everything worked without the phone in the case. I do not know why since the proximity sensors are on the outside top and not covered by the case. But never the less, my "motion settings" will not work with my case. I would rather have the case on for protection.
If you have discovered RESOLUTIONS to issues, please post.
Update- as soon as I posted the above, the "motion settings" now work in my case. I swipe from left to right. Sorry for the confusion. But it is all about the awareness and being able to figure things out as you go. Enjoy this fabulous phone. BTW if you are on a limited data plan, make sure in your home you have the "wifi" turned on.