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Samsung Galaxy Note II Review

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
In a smartphone market that’s expanding at a breakneck pace and offers a wide variety of choices, Samsung’s Galaxy Note II is somewhat unique. For the longest time, companies were offering phones which sacrificed performance sets in order to achieve the smallest hardware footprint possible. Now, features are literally crammed into the latest designs and screen sizes have ballooned to proportions that would have been considered ridiculous not too long ago. Where the current “standard” screen size typically hovers somewhere between 4” and 5” the Galaxy Note II bumps things up to a staggering 5.5”.

Unlike many other Android-based phones, this one isn’t meant to compete with today’s iPhones and Windows Phone 8 devices. Rather, it is carving out a unique niche which strides within the grey space between tablets and smartphones. Samsung has also included features that are uniquely designed to take advantage of the additional real estate.

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The original Galaxy Note was deemed a game-changer by many pundits but the integration between its large screen, included applications and stylus S Pen never seemed totally fleshed out. In short, Samsung didn’t come to grips with the myriad of possibilities they designed into the Note. Subsequent updates and software additions improved the Note’s prospects over time but the Note II aims to do things right from day one by improving upon its predecessor in a number of ways.

With about a year separating the first and second generation Notes, a number of technological improvements have been built into the new device. By using a new Exynos 4412 processor, it doubles up on the number of cores while operating at the same nearly identical clock speeds and consuming slightly less power. 2GB of RAM should keep the Jelly Bean OS running along at a good clip as well. From screen size to storage space, nearly every one of the Note’s specifications were massaged when designing its successor, making the second iteration one of the most powerful smartphones currently available.

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With its graceful lines and ergonomically perfect rounded corners, the Note II cuts striking figure despite its oversized dimensions. This sample was graced with a clear white Lucite-like finish which reduced its visual footprint, even when taking the massive 5.5” screen into account. Unfortunately, the black version does tend to look a bit slab-like by today’s minimalist standards but at least Samsung offers both color options.

The white fascia is bordered by imitation chrome “bumpers” which look great but also gave the Note II an infuriating tendency to slip out of my hands without notice. You’ll certainly want to buy a bumper case for this thing, if only to add a minor amount of gripping resistance.

The entire front is covered in a pane of second generation Gorilla Glass (seriously, what did we ever do before Corning invented this wundermaterial?) which protects against scratches and also seems to repel finger grease better than other materials I’ve used in the past. This is no idle boast as most touch-input devices end up looking like a CSI’s wet dream after I’m done with them, but not Samsung’s Note II.

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The front’s bottommost portion is dominated by a large physical Home button which can also be held down to switch between a list of active programs or browse through various system settings. On this model at least, Samsung’s Home button interface is well implemented and goes about its business without any of the onscreen Home button shenanigans that marred our Nexus 7 experience.

Flanking the center-mounted Home button is a pair of capacitive areas which house Menu and Back functions. Unfortunately, when using the Note II with a single hand, reaching across the overly large screen usually resulted in one of these buttons being pressed inadvertently.

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Even with Gorilla Glass imparting a feel of rigidity upon the phone, Samsung’s Note II still feels a bit on the cheap side. Some corners obviously had to be cut in order equip it with bleeding edge specifications and a great list of features. As a result there’s just too much plastic which leads to eerie creaks and groans from the expansive rear casing in colder weather, mostly emanating from the areas around the rear-facing camera / LED flash and S Pen holster. The white material is also quite prone to scratching.

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Before using the Note II for the better part of a month, I detested large phones. You see, my hands aren’t the largest around and I have an unhealthy obsession with physical buttons. And Samsung’s Note II is big. Huge is actually a better word to describe this behemoth so I should have hated it…..right? Not quite.

Samsung has used the Note II’s size to make it eminently accessible on a number of levels and its deceptively slim 0.37” thickness helps out in this respect. The screen size allows for a large keyboard that cuts down on accuracy errors normally associated with touchscreen typing and the side-mounted volume and power buttons won’t be inadvertently touched by a wayward finger.

All in all, the Note II provides a surprisingly seamless experience with very few hurdles to overcome, although, for some, its mere dimensions will become a hindrance. Using a device this large with a single hand is next to impossible but Samsung did include a number of well implemented voice-activated features that will ensure hands free operation becomes second nature.

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While holding a 5.5” cell phone up to your face may look somewhat ridiculous, the Note II does prompt a good amount of inquiring stares and it will start conversations with complete strangers. However, from my vantage point, Samsung may have a bit of an identity crisis going on here. They’ve created a “superphone” which rides a thin line between being too large to be a smartphone and too small to be a tablet. This tends to alienate a large portion of the smartphone market but it could also open up new venues for innovation.
 
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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
The Little Stylus that Could: S Pen & S Apps

The Little Stylus that Could: S Pen & S Apps


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Samsung’s Wacom-powered S Pen is neatly tucked into the Note II’s chassis and uses a high definition on-screen digitizer for input recognition. When removed, the onboard software automatically switches over to pen mode while the Home screen brings up a stylus-centric landing page, populated with supporting applications. An experience as seamless as this is hard to come by these days.

The stylus itself is brilliant in its battery-free simplicity, features a mind boggling degree of accuracy and will feel right at home in large and small hands alike. Unfortunately, it won’t be registered by the touch-sensitive Back or Menu buttons so you’ll need to perform a delicate juggling act every now and then.

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Most phone manufacturers have struggled to differentiate their offerings from the competition’s and Samsung thinks their S Pen is enough to win people over. Will it? That’s debatable in my eyes. The S Pen is far from a pointless gimmick as far as text input is concerned but, as with the original Note, its everyday uses are rather curtailed due to the limited selection of apps that natively support stylus features.

Throughout the first few weeks of ownership, you’ll likely use the S Pen and use it a lot but after the novelty wears off, it becomes something of a forgotten relic. This is mostly due to the Note II’s excellent voice recognition rather than any major issues with the versatile pen input options. Sure, the S Pen comes in handy for professionals –I used it extensively on business trips for deficiency annotations during construction site visits- and Samsung’s handwriting recognition is stellar but yanking out the stylus for text messaging doesn’t always suit an on-the-go lifestyle.

With that being said, Samsung sure makes the S Pen easy to use. From app selection to browsing to gaming, every element of the TouchWiz UI can be controlled by the stylus in some way or another, making it an intuitive input method. Much of this simplicity comes from the admittedly sparse selection of pre-installed apps on the Note II which have native support for the S Pen.

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Samsung’s original Note was initially released without much to recommend S Pen use but Premium Suite’s launch earlier this year turned things around. Its enhanced functionality has been ported en masse onto the Note II. However, this generation’s seamless application of stylus input has helped make some of these apps worthwhile even though they still focus upon two primary uses: notes through S Note and a day calendar program called S Planner.

Once the S Pen is removed from its cradle, a number of predefined templates can be selected, none of which is particularly useful. Luckily, creating your own note or calendar item is relatively straightforward even though the clunky interface can be infuriating. S Note itself has a number of separate sub-programs which allow for the creation of sketches, simple memos, calendar events or other handy items.


Regardless of which program you are using, the S Pen input can easily switch between stylus input and a standard keyboard with the touch of a button. This comes becomes invaluable when the otherwise uncanny handwriting recognition fails to differentiate between letters, numbers and symbols….which happened to me every now and then. More importantly, the pen works just as well within third party applications like Polaris Office so you won’t have to put up with Samsung’s somewhat lackluster software stack for every conceivable function.

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While every one of Samsung’s apps allows for text input and freehand sketching, Idea Note seems to be the most versatile. It includes options for voice to text, keyboard writing, picture import functions and geolocation tags without becoming cluttered with unnecessary buttons. Hitting the Add Picture icon actually enables the rear camera for quickly adding annotations to a live photo or importing some of your past creations.

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There are some inclusions here that are filler and provide very little substance (Paper Artist comes to mind immediately) but for the most part, Samsung seems to be moving in the right direction with their stylus focused application stack. Some may argue that additional resources should be put into developing S Pen focused apps but I have to disagree. With the digitizer’s software allowing for lightning quick transitions between stylus and traditional onscreen writing methods, any program can take advantage of the S Pen.

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Samsung’s somewhat lackluster pre-installed programs can (and should) be supplemented by excellent third party software which may not offer native pen support but they come alive when used in conjunction with the S Pen. A good example of this is the aforementioned Polaris Office or AutoCAD WS, which both take on a whole new dimension when using the Note II’s tools.
 
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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Joined
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Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
A Stunning 5.5” Screen / Expansion & Connectivity

A Stunning 5.5” Screen


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In moving away from the original Galaxy Note’s 1280x800 layout, the 5.5” screen of Samsung new flagship has lost a few pixels to become standardized at 1280x720. Its 16:9 ratio is perfect for HD videos, which completely fill the space and a pixel density of about 267 ppi looks great despite being lower than some other devices. All told, there may only be .2” of extra screen real estate but the Note II is both longer and narrower, allowing for a bit more real estate when viewing web pages in a vertical orientation.

Many will likely be rejoicing about Samsung’s use of an advanced AMOLED screen rather than the PenTile-type display used on previous generation devices. While AMOLED does allow for crisp and bring images, its color accuracy leaves much to be desired. There is a distinct blue shift which is quite noticeable when viewing predominantly white backgrounds, forums or photos, where skin color takes on an unnatural hue.

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For all of its color reproduction faults, this is still a stunning screen that can compete with some of the best. Everything from backlight output to viewing angles to contrast is top notch and the seamless transition between bezel and display is a feat of engineering that few other smartphones have accomplished.

While the Gorilla Glass coating isn’t as reflective as some may fear, it is still glass so viewing the Note II in broad daylight will be an issue, even with the brightness pumped to the max which drains the battery faster than you can imagine. There is a handy auto brightness feature which uses the Note II’s front facing camera to determine optimal backlight output but I found it focused on battery savings in low light rather than improving visibility outdoors.


Expansion & Connectivity


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In keeping with the designs put forth by most other high-end Android devices, Samsung has included a MicroSD slot within their Galaxy Note II. This allows you to install up to 64GB of additional storage space which can be accessed through the on-device browser or as a separate folder when hooked up to a computer. All external device communication interactions are done through the almost industry-standard microUSB connector or through wireless Bluetooth transfers.

There’s also NFC radio which comes in handy when transferring data between Android devices but be aware that Samsung has modified the standard Beam function present within Jelly Bean. For some reason, the integration of a proprietary “S-Beam” application conflicts with the Note’s interoperability and handoff with certain phones. For example, I was able to successfully transfer a video to a Galaxy SIII with S-Beam and Android Beam enabled but performing the same operation with a Galaxy Nexus required S-Beam to be turned off.

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A 3.5mm headphone / mic port rides atop the Note II’s slim profile but it doesn’t seem to be all that well designed. The jack on my Ultimate Ears earbuds and Sony noise cancelling headphones refused to make a good connection and constantly fell out while at the gym. Luckily, my beloved pair of Westone 3’s remained securely in place but this does point to a fault in Samsung’s design.

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LTE coverage is expanding throughout Canada’s metropolitan areas and the Note II is more than ready to take advantage of its blazing speed. Higher bandwidth 40Mbps+ service hasn’t migrated to my area of Montreal but the slightly slower 28Mbps is still quicker than most people’s landline internet connections. There is however one small issue here: by taking a drink from a firehose-like LTE connection, you’ll likely burn through your data plan in no time.

Call reception was also exceptional. Throughout my time with the Note II, it never once dropped a call regardless of the network it was on. Even in my usual reception dead zone -on the elevator up to our offices- it consistently remained at two or more bars which is an accomplishment of epic proportions and resulted in jealous gazes from coworkers.
 
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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
Jelly Bean and TouchWiz Do the Tango

Jelly Bean and TouchWiz do the Tango


TouchWiz. In the minds of Android faithful, that name conjures up cringe worthy images of Motorola’s sometimes-horrid Motoblur and with good reason. This UI has gone through some tough times since its inception but the latest iteration with its Nature UX backbone finally feels mature and ready for prime time. It also looks great and offers several user-friendly tweaks that make navigation through Jelly Bean much easier. In some markets Samsung and wireless carriers have begun pushing out an 4.1.2 OTA update for the Note II but this review is done with the standard 4.1 software.

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At its heart, TouchWiz is a proprietary Samsung user interface which wraps around Google’s Jelly Bean OS like a tailored glove. It isn’t intrusive or obnoxious and in many ways Samsung has actually improved upon Google’s carefully crafted environment without taking a scorched earth approach. Instead of replacing great features with pointless fluff, they’ve augmented Jelly Bean’s already impressive list of attributes while building in additional functionality. Sure, there are some faux pas here and there but for the most part, Samsung has very much retained the core Android 4.1 experience.

While the lock screen’s water effects may be a bit kitschy for some, the Note II’s main Home screen can deliver a wealth of information if set up correctly. In addition to the main section, there is a quartet of other pages which can be loaded with your most-used apps and widgets. Meanwhile, notifications and settings can be seen at the top bar or expanded upon by dragging a finger vertically down the screen.

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The swipe-down information screen holds a wealth of handy items like the ability to toggle on or off power saving features, wireless connectivity, screen rotation and a number of other features without having to drill down into the somewhat complicated Settings section. For those of you that want to fine tune your experience even more, the gear-shaped icon in the upper right corner brings up Android’s full list of options.

Below the Screen Brightness slider is an area which shows primary background tasks (like ongoing connections or media playback) along with a space depicting high and low level system notifications such as incoming email messages or Facebook updates. Touching upon any of the items will open up the associated application or swipe to the right and the notifications can be cleared one at a time.


Holding down the Note II’s Home button for three seconds will bring up a multitasking screen which can be used to browse between running applications. Once again, swiping to the right will remove an application from the list. Be aware that within Android, applications multiply faster than ticks on a junkyard dog so visit this area frequently to avoid system slowdowns. There is also a built in task manager for control over individual processes, applications can be deleted or system resources managed.

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Apps and Widgets on the Note II can be moved onto the five primary pages with a straightforward drag and drop method. Above and beyond this basic function, the height and width of Widgets can also be modified as they are brought forward into the useable zones. The actual onboard Widget selection is somewhat limited but there are plenty of additional ones available online. Just waiting for an opportunity to take advantage of the Note II’s ginormous screen.

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Interacting with this massive cell phone is nearly impossible without two hands but Samsung has included an option that switches some user interfaces (the keyboard and number buttons) to either left or right justification. This makes it possible to input text or dial a number without reaching too far across the overly large screen. Unfortunately, the feature doesn’t extend to the home screen so mistaken touches will still be a regular occurrence when browsing through apps.

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When taken as a whole, TouchWiz is a straightforward addition to Jelly Bean and throughout my testing, it never showed a hint of instability. However, there are some underlying issues that start and end with the phrase “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”. Some applications which work perfectly well under Google’s stock ecosystem have been supplemented (but luckily not completely replaced) with generic Samsung apps that just don’t work all that well.

One example of this bewildering move away from functioning programs is S Voice, a Siri-like app that needs some serious work before it can be considered a bona fide competitor against Apple’s option. Luckily, Google Now delivers markedly better functionality without any unnecessary frills. Samsung also preloaded their GPS Navigator which proves to be lesson in frustration when trying to get straightforward directions so we recommend sticking with Google’s excellent Maps or Navigation instead.
 
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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
An Epic Camera (Stills & Video)

An Epic Camera (Stills & Video)


To download the raw pictures please CLICK HERE (~26MB file)

Samsung has equipped the Note II with a high resolution 8MP camera and an LED flash that can illuminating a whole room. For the most part, I came to respect this setup and it quickly became the go-to option instead of the trusty Canon Elph that’s typically hanging out in my satchel. Under no circumstance can the Note II replace a point and shoot but it may cause some reevaluations of what’s possible with a smartphone camera. In order to properly adapt to nearly every conceivable situation, there is a dearth of shooting options included here as well.

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Click on images to enlarge

In well-lit environments, it’s tough to find any faults with this camera system. Colors are well saturated, subject edges are crisp, the depth of field options can make for some great stylized shots and focal performance is lightning quick and deadly accurate. Just the right amount of punch is given to an image in order to retain three dimensionality while retaining a relatively neutral color pallet. Even with the Dynamic Contrast setting enabled I found that contrast did fall by the wayside, but that’s to be expected since the Note II’s smallish sensor size constrains its shots in these areas.

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Click on images to enlarge

There are some limitations here that became more evident as time went on. Both lens flare and blooming become a very real problems if the sun or another bright light source is pointing at the camera. I also noticed an odd halo effect around open tube fluorescents but once again, this was likely due to reflections playing havoc with the lens’ glass covering. Macro shooting wasn’t the easiest with extremely slow focusing times (up to 2 seconds in some cases) but we can’t expect miracles….can we?

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Click on images to enlarge

Low ambient lighting conditions have always been the Achilles’ heel for smartphone cameras but the Note II handles these situations with a surprising degree of accuracy. With vibration reduction enabled, the sensor was able to actively compensate for longer shutter times but only to a certain extent. Granted, a certain amount of graininess is added to the image due to higher Auto ISO settings that are supposed to overcome the limited aperture size but we can’t expect miracles. Once again, the images produced by the 8MP sensor defied my expectations.

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Low Light Off / Low Light On
Click on images to enlarge

For nighttime shooting without the flash enabled, this smartphone (or should we call it a superphone?) has another trick up its sleeve. When using the custom Low Light mode, the Note II implements a secondary post-processing routine which increases ambient light reception. As a result, images that would normally be an inky black mess become fully visible, if slightly blurry.

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Video quality very much follows in the footsteps of still life captures; that’s to say it is nearly above reproach. With its capability to record full motion 1080P on top of stellar image quality, the Galaxy Note II provides a new benchmark for Android phones. The anti-vibration algorithm does need some work but otherwise I couldn’t find any real show-stoppers in this area.

Smartphone cameras have come a long way in a short period of time and, if anything, Samsung’s Galaxy Note II shows where they’re going. It may incorporate several advanced features but the crowning achievement in this domain is consistency. Regardless of the environment, subject, or lighting conditions, Samsung had a setting which took every shooting eventuality into account and the Auto mode was surprisingly capable as well. Even the front facing 2MP camera was impressive in both picture and video mode. As a result, great looking images or video were always within reach and could the achieved without much effort. In a world that lives by quick draw photography, I can’t think of a better platform than this.
 
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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Joined
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Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
CPU Performance Testing

CPU Performance Testing


A smartphone “experience” can be defined by any number items from the operating system’s fluidity to app load times. However, the only way to accurately show how factual performance is through the use of benchmarks which compare one phone to another. While this may not ultimately tell you how quick a given product will feel (for example, its processor could be lightning quick but a poorly optimized OS will drag the entire experience into the gutter) it will lay out performance in theoretical terms with freely synthetic benchmarks.

In this section we are benchmarking the CPU only through the use of several scripted apps which test processing capabilities across a number of different disciplines.


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At this point, we may not have a huge number of products for a competitive analysis but the Galaxy Note II is undoubtedly fast. Its quad core Exynos 4412 processor not only doubles up on original Note’s core count but it also incorporates higher clock speeds (by 200MHz) and has access to additional onboard memory, allowing for much higher performance. The result is fairly spectacular showing even against the 1.2GHz quad core Tegra 3 within the Nexus 7.
 
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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
GPU Performance Testing / Battery Life

GPU Performance Testing


The graphics subsystem testing very much follows the same methodology as processor testing but in this case 3D benchmarks are used in order to replicate a standard gaming environment. Once again, the phone is put into High Performance mode and compared directly against other devices using freely available programs.

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While the Note II may have the same Mali 400MP as its predecessor, cell phone graphics performance is still primarily determined by processor speeds. The quad core processor and 2GB of memory allow for less bottlenecks which results in better overall gaming performance. With that being said, ASUS’ Nexus 7’s Tegra 3 is able to close the gap in some instances.


Battery Testing


The most important aspect of any mobile device is how long it can remain in use on a single charge. The last thing anyone wants is to have their brand new smartphone running out of juice half way through their work day but in an age of increasing screen sizes and processing horsepower, battery life has become a serious concern.

In order to conduct two different yet repeatable tests; we settled on two scenarios. The Web Browsing benchmark involves refreshing a Flash webpage (or HTML5 site if the browser doesn’t support Flash) every 30 seconds. The video playback test uses a 720P Youtube video on a continuous loop. All of these benchmarks are done with the phone’s (or tablet’s) standard power profile.


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Despite its large screen and powerful processor, the Note II was able to post some extremely respectable numbers here. At just under nine hours for web browsing and over seven hours of video playback, the enlarged 3100mAh battery seems to be doing its job. More importantly, Samsung has been able to dramatically improve upon the original Note’s somewhat lackluster times by a significant amount.

In day to day usage for calling, emails, social networking, a bit of navigation and web browsing, the Note II lasted about two and a half days on a single charge.
 
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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
Conclusion; Everything You Could Possibly Want?

Conclusion; Everything You Could Possibly Want?


In today’s smartphone marketplace the Galaxy Note II can be considered something of an oddity, a freak of nature even, but it also forges a new path for anyone seeking a unique mobile experience. With the original Note, Samsung took a risk and for the most part, it paid off but also fell flat in certain cases. This time around, the ideas behind the Note II’s existence have been refined, polished and released as a truly unified product that seamlessly blends size and style with everyday functionality.

This experience all starts with the 5.5” screen. At first glance the Note II looks like the byproduct of an illicit relationship between Samsung’s Galaxy S III and a Tab 7.0, hence the loving “phablet” moniker some have given it. Holding it up to your face will likely result in some odd glances but a curved design and slim profile make handling relatively easy despite such a massive footprint. With this amount of display real estate on tap, it was great to see a high resolution 720P AMOLED display which looks stunning, can pump out a ridiculous amount of brightness -somewhat compensating for the reflective Gorilla Glass- and features relatively accurate colors. As with all AMOLED screens, this one had a slight blue shift but that’s a small tradeoff in exchange for stellar viewing angles.

To make the most of its expansive screen, the Note II incorporates a vast suite of applications and tools which make one-handed operation eminently more user friendly. However, the S Pen remains the superstar here since without it, this would simply be a regular smartphone, albeit supersized to a ridiculous degree. To their credit, Samsung has melded stylus input perfectly into their latest device. Sliding it from the well-integrated holster results in subtle, brilliant changes to the TouchWiz interface which help immeasurably when getting accustomed to an alternate input form. These changes include a handwriting recognition panel appearing in the standard onscreen keyboard’s place, speedy access to the handy S Note application and a reimagined photo editor layout. Unfortunately, there’s a very limited number of first party apps that natively support the S Pen input but with its pinpoint accuracy, quick response times, shockingly accurate handwriting recognition and intuitive interface, this could become the input method of choice for many Note II users.

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While there’s a lot to like about the Note II, it still tends to stray in some areas. With an off-contract price just north of $700, it is one of the most expensive phones currently on the market but that doesn’t necessarily translate into a high end material selection. Its plastic chassis doesn’t exhibit an undue amount of flex but my sample made some alarming noises when the mercury fell below the freezing point and the fake chrome side bumpers do look a bit cheesy. Thankfully, the use of Gorilla Glass does firm things up a bit and the material seams are hair thin, almost –yet not quite- negating the overabundance of plastic. The decision to move away from its predecessor’s form factor by lengthening and narrowing the screen may have worked wonders in the ergonomics department but an overly glossy finish makes finding a secure grip nearly impossible. Buy a third party case and thank me later.

From an interface perspective, there’s very little to criticize. TouchWiz’s changes to Jelly Bean are tasteful and don’t go overboard by adding unnecessary features onto an already well-rounded OS. Granted, S Voice needs to be reworked if it has any hope of competing and widget implementation is a bit clunky but the backbone was rock solid and, when combined with Google’s Project Butter, provided a fluid experience with nary a hitch.

Speaking of performance, the quad core Exynos processor and Mali GPU proved to be beastly combination; posting benchmark numbers which ran circles around the original Note. Those results are supported with good wireless reception for 3G, 4G and Wifi spectrums alongside the one thing we all wish more phones would implement: expandable MicroSD storage. Surprisingly, the Galaxy Note II’s substantial brawn is backstopped by phenomenal runtimes courtesy of a massive battery so you won’t have to run around looking for a charger every six (or less!) hours.

With the original Note winning high marks here at Hardware Canucks, Samsung had a lot to prove this time around. They did exactly that. The Galaxy Note II builds upon its predecessor’s successes by becoming a phone that is innovative, refined, intuitive and most importantly, easily accessible for first-time Android users. It hides most shortcomings behind an ample helping of software tweaks while also providing an excellent platform for regular users and professionals alike. At first, the Note II’s gargantuan size may be a turn off, but it has the capability to provide a fundamentally rewarding and engaging lifestyle experience for almost anyone.


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