Hands-On with the Samsung Galaxy Note II

We know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but the second you see the Samsung Galaxy Note II, it’s hard not to. Still, Samsung’s second phone tablet hybrid is something you don’t want to miss, as it’s quite impressive.  From hardware performance to software tweaks throughout, the Note II is quite a ways ahead of its predecessor – to a surprising extent.

The Note II is Samsung’s 5th “iconic” device for the past year, which wouldn’t necessarily be a lie if we’re talking the US market. (Galaxy S II, Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy Note, Galaxy S III, Galaxy Note II) The Galaxy Note II is better, faster, and stronger, while keeping a majority of the original’s physical footprint.

Rocking the faster 1.6GHz Exynos quad-core CPU, it’s the fastest device (up to 25%) faster than any existing Samsung mobile device today, which is nothing to scoff at. Samsung has also updated its Super AMOLED display with the Note II, which is a real treat. The non-pentile display is crisp and lush with great color representation. The display itself has also been tweaked slightly to a 16:9 aspect ration opposed to the 16:10 the original Galaxy Note toted. This lends to a slightly more narrow design, even with the extra .3 inches of screen real estate.

Samsung was also nice enough to throw in a 3100 mAh battery inside of the Note II, which we’re sure no one will complain about. Unlike LG’s upcoming Optimus G, Samsung hasn’t squeezed more mAh into an existing battery, but rather done some engineering magic to keep the Note II as thin as the original, while adding 600 more mAh inside the device.

Basically, Note II owners should be more than satisfied with the hardware specifications of the device.

The S-Pen is Better Than Ever

If you played around with the original Note, the novelty of the S-Pen likely faded away in a short time. Sure, it had some interesting capabilities, but Samsung has been hard at work to make one of the most defining characteristics of the Note line better, and it’s done just that.

First off, the S-Pen is no longer circular in shape, but asymmetrical, which allows for a much more comfortable feel when holding it to write. There are several new tweaks with the S-Pen this time around, and we won’t be able to cover all of them until the official review, but here are some of the highlights.

    • When the S-Pen has been taken out of the slot on the bottom, the screen will automatically switch to the S-Pen panel, which provides a handful of templates to get your Note on.
    • If you forget to put S-Pen back into its slot and walk away, after 15-30 seconds, you will be notified that the S-Pen isn’t detected so you won’t forget it.
    • The tip of the S-Pen works much better when writing at an angle, allowing for a more natural writing experience.
    • You can now hover over objects to get more information with the S-Pen. You can even hover over the top or bottom of a list to scroll up or down.

There are a ton of new features in the new Galaxy Note II that we haven’t covered. Some are simple and make your life easier, and some are just plain fun. Stay tuned for the official review soon!

  • Anonymous

    Knowing that the Galaxy S3 is such a wonderful product simply the best smartphone on the market period. I know the Galaxy Note 2 is simply a great balance of both and with the quadcore 1.6 Exynos processor and jellybean as well as that 3100mAh battery, the Spen technology, as well as the software alone in that device it will be Samsung’s biggest seller. I am the very proud owner of the Samsung Galaxy S3 but on day one of launch on Tmobile I will be purchasing this Galaxy Note 2 adding it to my Galaxy S3 happily. Nothing will beat this device the next 6months.

  •  When am close to the router (0-35ft) Wi-Fi
    reception on my Galaxy Note is usually excellent however, when i step
    outside the 35ft mark, bars completely drop and I can’t even establish a
    connection to the router even if one bar is showing.

    Is this normal for the Galaxy S3 or is my set defective?

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