Samsung Galaxy Note II Review: Bigger and Better

By Andrew Kameka on November 15, 2012, 1:30 PM

The Samsung Galaxy Note II is big. Colossally big. Comically big. Write down any adjective you can think of to modify how to describe something large and it will most likely fit the description of the Galaxy Note II. It's important to get that inescapable description out of the way because anyone who sees or holds the Galaxy Note II will have no choice but to be taken aback by how large is the phone-meets-tablet.

The same predicament made doubters believe that the original Galaxy Note was too big to succeed, but millions of phones sold later, that proved to be a false prediction. Despite the magnitude of its build, the Galaxy Note II is not excessive in everyone's eyes or hands.

The Samsung Galaxy Note II is actually slimmer and thinner than its predecessor. Despite increasing the screen size to 5.5 inches, the phone's dimensions are 80.5mm x 151.1mm x 9.4mm (3.14in x 5.94in x 0.37in). That's slightly smaller than the original Galaxy Note, but the latest Note does not compress enough to be mistaken as anything but a juggernaut. Next to a Samsung Galaxy Nexus, the Galaxy Note II looks larger than normal; next to a Motorola DROID RAZR M, it looks larger than life.

Read the complete review.




User Comments: 13

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jizzyburnizzy said:

The Note II excites me but now I can't decide between the Note II, S3 or Maxx HD, or just wait to see what's released in the next few months. My contract is available for an upgrade on Dec 16th and I'm sick of my Thunderbolt!

lmike6453 said:

As an owner of the phone, I personally disagree with your overall rating of a mere 85 with the con being screen size, but that's just me.

It's easily the best phone ever produced to date performance-wise, and probably with the most amount of features/capabilities.

jizzyburnizzy said:

As an owner of the phone, I personally disagree with your overall rating of a mere 85 with the con being screen size, but that's just me.

It's easily the best phone ever produced to date performance-wise, and probably with the most amount of features/capabilities.

I've read reviews from people saying they've had reception issues. have you noticed any problems with yours? how has your battery life been?

VitalyT VitalyT said:

I have been an owner of Note 2 for 10 days now, switching from iPhone 4, after 2 years.

I wanted a change, to use the pen to jot meeting notes, a bigger screen, a better battery. I also wanted a phone and a tablet in one, to avoid carrying two devices with me all the time.

Turns out that perhaps it was too much of a change, more than I wanted, and too much hope that I put into such a change.

For one thing, this device cannot replace a tablet, not by a far shot. And as a regular phone, it is quite awkward to use:

1. I still cannot put up with the necessity of swiping an image just to answer a phone call;

2. The pen isn't that practical, you won't really use it like they show in the Ad-s, it is overrated;

3. Tons of apps shipped on the phone, which I don't need, and cannot uninstall them either, they are embedded;

4. You will constantly activate and touch controls on the screen and buttons when you do not mean too, as the interface ergonomics is horrible, no matter how big your hands are.

At this point I think perhaps I made a mistake buying it. After using iPhone 4 for 2 years I'm too used to the perfect and concise ergonomics, consistent quality and simplicity.

When they try to make a device that does everything, it ends up doing all that with compromises. As a phone, iPhone does not have compromises. I may go back, and swap it for iPhone 5. I don't need an all-in-one communications brick, I want something simple and a pleasure to carry.

My 5 cent, first-hand.

lmike6453 said:

I've read reviews from people saying they've had reception issues. have you noticed any problems with yours? how has your battery life been?

I'm on AT&T LTE in Philadelphia where I ride the train to and from work everyday, no issues whatsoever when playing online based Spades the whole way.

Battery life is amazing (at least 5-6 hours of SCREEN ON time alone), but still varies depending on usage. For accurate readings, please refer to:

[link]

pmshah said:

What I still fail to understand is the fact that what Compaq did with their Transflective screen in iPaq PDAs in the 90s, can't be replicated / duplicated with the current crop of LCD technologies. My biggest grouse with the color LCDs , bar NONE, is extremely poor visibility / legibility in higher than indoor room light environment. If anyone works on this aspect of the LCDs 90 % of all battery life issues would be resolved.

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I have been an owner of Note 2 for 10 days now, switching from iPhone 4, after 2 years.

I wanted a change, to use the pen to jot meeting notes, a bigger screen, a better battery. I also wanted a phone and a tablet in one, to avoid carrying two devices with me all the time.

Turns out that perhaps it was too much of a change, more than I wanted, and too much hope that I put into such a change.

For one thing, this device cannot replace a tablet, not by a far shot. And as a regular phone, it is quite awkward to use:

1. I still cannot put up with the necessity of swiping an image just to answer a phone call;

2. The pen isn't that practical, you won't really use it like they show in the Ad-s, it is overrated;

3. Tons of apps shipped on the phone, which I don't need, and cannot uninstall them either, they are embedded;

4. You will constantly activate and touch controls on the screen and buttons when you do not mean too, as the interface ergonomics is horrible, no matter how big your hands are.

At this point I think perhaps I made a mistake buying it. After using iPhone 4 for 2 years I'm too used to the perfect and concise ergonomics, consistent quality and simplicity.

When they try to make a device that does everything, it ends up doing all that with compromises. As a phone, iPhone does not have compromises. I may go back, and swap it for iPhone 5. I don't need an all-in-one communications brick, I want something simple and a pleasure to carry.

My 5 cent, first-hand.

You sound like someone who would love a Nokia 920.

Android, in general, is actually not very "people-friendly" in the sense that it's main strengths (the diversity of the ecosystem, the openness of the operating system, the high amount of options it gives to the user, etc.) are actually detrimental to the kind of person that needs a phone like you do. You know, a device that focuses on simplicity and usability; where consistency and reliability are priority.

I've always used iPhones, went to Android and loved it for what it was, but realized that software-wise there were still many holes (holes which can be fixed easily by Google if they became really serious about it), then went to a Windows Phone, but went back to Android when I learned WP8 wasn't coming to WP7 devices. After using a GSIII for a few months, I tried the 920, and forget about it, I went back to WP. Seriously, just try it.

PS. This is not a paid employee. Just a suggestion. People on the internet are rather quick to pick sides, as if my income depended on some multi-billion dollar company's success.

PPS. (I actually still have the GSIII for work, but use my 920 for personal. My point is if I were to choose, I'd go for the latter.)

Why0Why Why0Why said:

I had the first 5 iPhones. I decided not to get the 5 because I didn't like the direction Apple has been heading in. I knew I was going to buy a Lumia 920 in November, so I decided to trade my 4S for a Note + $50. I used the Note for 2 months and really liked it. My one complaint was the lag. Sometimes it felt like something wasn't even going to open. This was my first android phone. Apple was smooth, but the 920 is butter smooth, nothing like it.

I am interested in a Note 2. I am going to give my 920 some more time, but I do miss the huge screen. From all of the reviews I have read it sounds like the lag problems have been handled in the new one. Maybe it is the 2 GB of RAM. As one of the above commenters posted, I can't believe that at version 4, Google is just getting this handled. Apple and Windows have had smoothness for years.

Most of the reviews of the Note 2 I have seen list the screen size as a con, I don't see how you can do that. That is like buying a pickup truck and saying it has too much cargo space. That is the reason you bought it.

Guest said:

Nice explanation ,I was very confused bet'n iphone and note 2 ,as I have not used any of the android or ios before ,but decided to go with iphone ,very proud

Guest said:

So you wanted all in one , but now that it's in your hands there's complications with tooo many options ?? Sounds to me like your not ready to let go of the Iphone sheep syndrome ! Go back to the Iphone and tablet !

mojorisin23 mojorisin23 said:

I love the SIII and Note but will never buy one. Its just too big. as a guy with no man-purse, the only logical place for it is my front pocket. I dont need another 6" bulge in my front pants...

I was forced to get an iphone 5 with its large 4" screen. I will never ever get a phone larger than this. I still waiver in thinking I shouldve got a 4S only because the screen is 3.5". Please please please please make an SIII with a small screen (4" or LESS)!! I don't need a tablet in my pocket!

killeriii said:

I also had an iphone 4 and upgraded to a note 2. I don't like the direction (or lack thereof) that Apple is taking either.

I don't regret it for a second. I found the learning curve small, and the amount of customization on an android device seals the deal for me.

I think the note 2 is the best functioning android phone to date. Little to no issues so far. I've officially been converted.

Guest said:

You have to remember that it is not about what size the phone is, but it is about the quality of what the phone is. The reason why is because the quality will determine if the phone will work great for you or will be your enemy. For the Samsung Galaxy Note II, the quality of this phone is wonderful because the many things that you can do is use the pen to doodle on the photos you take or to just simply use it for Facebook. If I were you, the Galaxy Note II would be the right phone.

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