Samsung is going bigger and better with Galaxy Note 2. The size has gone up slightly from original Galaxy Note’s 5.3 inch to 5.5 inch and it now resembles a bigger S3. But, despite the size, I didn’t find it cumbersome at all due to the thin bexel.
Its features are awesome. It is powered by 1.6GHz quad-core Exynos chip and runs on Jelly Bean software. One big advantage is that Samsung has boosted its RAM to 2GB instead of 1GB in most handsets.
The 1,280 x 720 pixel resolution is actually lower than the 1,280 x 800 resolution of the original Note. But, with the same resolution as the Galaxy S3 on a bigger screen, the Note 2 makes it easier to read as you can see more text without decreasing the font size. Another advantage of the screen size is that, in the Gmail app, you will get a split view if you turn you note on its side.
Samsung’s regular keyboard is ok, although they are too small for me despite Swype function, which makes the Note 2 faster to use.
For those who prefer voice dictation instead of keyboard, Google’s voice dictation is excellent. The beauty is that the words appear as you speak, which gives you a little more confidence to dictate longer messages.
Most of the features in Note 2 are same as Galaxy S3 except the S-Pen. The Note 2 has a revamped and redesigned S-Pen. The stylus tip provides a little friction and feels like you’re writing on paper. The S-Note app pops up automatically once you remove the stylus from its dock.
Users will benefit from Airview, Quick Command and Easy Clip. Easy Clip lets you crop images, then share them or send them into different apps. You can preview messages and videos with Airview by hovering over them with the stylus. For some it’s going to be just a gimmick, but if you need to make notes or sketch ideas, then it is extremely compelling.
Open the S-Planner app and you can hover the pen over an event to see more detailed information without touching the screen. There’s a similar preview feature in the email application.
To find the micro SIM card slot and micro SD card slot, you have to peel away the back. The Note 2 ships in with 16GB. Opening the back also allows you to replace the battery.
The Note 2 has a 8MP camera and a 1.9MP camera facing the front. The quality of snaps yielded was brilliant. In daylight and perfect lighting conditions, they looked amazing. It has got Best Photo, which identifies the best out of several taken in quick bursts, Face Detection, Panorama, Smile Detection and Buddy Share, which identifies commonly viewed friends and will even send them pictures featuring them. These features are also available on the S3.
The Note 2 also excels with video due to the Super AMOLED Plus display. You can simply snap the camera button that appears and you’ll be able to take photos while videoing, without having to stop recording.
Watching videos is a pleasure on the Note 2. It can play most video types, with support for Xvid, Divx and MKV. The only files it failed to play were our high bit-rate 1080p MKVs, but files like these can be watched using a third-party media player like MX Player available from the apps store. With Note 2’s micro USB-sized port you can also output video directly to a TV using a MHL cable.
The Galaxy Note 2 has a 3,100mAh battery, which is a step-up from the 2,500mAh battery in the original Note. The battery is actually the same as that on the Galaxy S3, in terms of what it delivers with average use. Most of the power is guzzled by the large screen. I surfed the internet, watched HD videos and browsed my mails and the Note 2 managed around 12 hours before reaching critical levels. It lasts for around 36 hours with normal use.
The Galaxy Note 2 is priced at Dh2,699.
• Fast processor
• Super screen quality
• Improved handwriting recognition
• S Pen is becoming legitimately useful
• Enormous battery
• S-Pen is complicated
• Slow camera shutter
• Size may be a barrier
• Scarcity of good stylus apps
• S Planner is a downgrade from default Calendar app