titleWhen it comes to productivity while on the go, everyone is trying to get just a little bit of the growing mobile market both on the smartphone and tablet front. The problem is that not everyone can or even wants to carry around multiple devices to meet their mobile needs such as reading, writing and playing games. there is a huge growth in the mobile games market, especially in mobile slots. visit this gaming portal for more details. That is where Samsung jumped in with its Galaxy Note; its large size falls right in between a small tablet and a large phone. The Note wasn’t the first device to do this; Dell did have their Streak, but the Note was the first to do it and be successful. We recently had the chance to put the latest version, the Note 2, to the test. Is it ready for prime time?

Product Name: Samsung Galaxy Note 2

Review Sample Provided by: Samsung

Written by: Wes

Pictures by: Wes

 

Specifications

Network

4G LTE, CDMA/1xEVDO Rev A, (800/1900 MHz)

Global Ready (GSM/EDGE: 850/900/1800/1900; HSPA/UMTS: 850/900/1900/2100 MHz)

Processor

1.6GHz Exynos Quad–Core Processor

Memory

16/32/64GB User memory + 2GB (RAM)

microSD slot (up to 64GB)

Display

5.5” HD Super AMOLED™ Screen, 1280x720

Dimension

5.94 (H) x 3.16 (W) x .37 (D) inches

OS

Android 4.1.1

Battery

3100mAh Li–Ion

Usage time – up to 22 hours OR

Standby time – up to 250 hours

Camera

Camera: 8.0MP rear–facing camera, 1.9MP front–facing camera

Video

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

Audio

Codec: MP3, OGG, WMA, AAC, ACC+, eAAC+, AMR(NB,WB), MIDI, WAV, AC-3, Flac

Music Player with SoundAlive

3.5mm Ear Jack

Sensor

Accelerometer, RGB Light, Digital Compass, Proximity, Gyro, Barometer

GPS

A-GPS

Glonass

Enterprise Solutions

On Device Encryption (H/W)

Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync

VPN(F5, Cisco, Juniper)

MDM(Sybase Afaria, MobileIron, SOTI, Good)

CCX

VMware MVP

Content / Services

Samsung Apps

Samsung Hub

- Game Hub

- Media Hub (US only)

- Learning Hub / Music Hub / Video Hub

S Pen Optimized Features

S Pen Experience

- S Note, S Planner, Email with hand-writing

  integration

- S Pen Keeper

- Quick Command, Easy Clip, Photo Note,

  Paper Artist

- Shape Match, Formula Match

1 Step tasking / Multitasking features

Air View

Popup Note, Popup Video

Page Buddy / Tag Buddy / Word Buddy

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

Wi-Fi Direct

NFC

S Beam

Samsung AllShare Play & Control

Samsung AllShare Cast (WiFi Display)

- Mirroring & Extention

Samsung AllShare Framework

Other

Samsung TouchWiz / Samsung L!ve Panel

Samsung Kies /Samsung Kies Air

Samsung ChatOn mobile communication service

Smart Stay, Direct claa, Screen Recorder,

Quick Glance

Samsung ChatOn mobile communication service

Samsung S Suggest


Packaging

Let’s be honest, the packaging of your phone isn’t exactly something you see sitting on the shelf unless you are looking at a pre-paid phone generally. Normally they are hidden behind the counter with the actual phone out for you to check out. This is obvious when you see the packing for the Galaxy Note 2, Samsung kept everything simple with a white box with the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 logo and the carrier’s logo as well.  Around back there is a short list of what you can actually expect inside the packaging for you to reference if you think something might be missing. Beyond that all of the information is the normal required info from everything including the FCC, nothing to see here really. The sleeve slides off with yet another all white box, this time the only thing going on is the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 logo right in the middle.

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Inside when you open up the box you will be greeted with the super-sized Note 2 right on top. You actually have to dig past the phone to get to everything else that the Note 2 comes with. Under everything you will find a white AC to USB adapter that matches our white Note 2, a white USB charging cord, and a Verizon “Start Here” book.

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Features

Let’s just get to the elephant in the room right off. The elephant being this gigantic phone we have sitting here. Unless you are coming from a tablet, the Note 2’s size is going to be the first thing you will see. At 5.94x3.16 it’s considerably larger than any other phones on the market.  Our phone came in white, but you can also get the Note 2 in a Titanium Gray color currently. There are rumors of more colors including black upcoming, but as of right now we are limited to those two colors. The white color looks great though and is a nice change from the typical black phones that we see. Unlike my Nexus 4, the white color makes it very obvious where the screen ends, that is the one thing that I do like about a black phone.

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Starting on the front of the phone right up top there are three dots and the earpiece of the phone. I love the chrome finish of the earpiece: it goes great with the white finish. The three “dots” to the right of the earpiece are the RGB light sensor, proximity sensor, and the 1.9MP front facing camera. There is a forth dot hidden on the left side of the earpiece under the white that houses the full color LED for notifications as well. We all know what the front facing camera and proximity sensors are for, but what the heck is the RGB Light sensor? This is a new addition that watches your ambient light in full color to help adjust your screen brightness better. This is said to improve how well the phone adjusts to fluorescent lighting for example. Down on the bottom half of the front of the phone we have a Verizon branded button that functions as home button. To the left and right there are hidden buttons that light up as well for menu and back. The order of buttons from left to right is menu, home, back. This is a little different than what you will see from a stock Android phone for example (back, home, menu).

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Around back, there are a few things going on as well. Up top we have the 8.0MP rear facing camera and the LED flash as well. Verizon has its branding here along with a 4G logo also. Down on the bottom half we have two vents for the phones speaker. We have the Galaxy Note 2 logo as well, it’s a little more muted than Verizon’s branding. Then down on the bottom edge we have the phone’s built-in stylus. I love that the Note 2 comes with a stylus, and this of course is how the phone got its name. You can slide it out by sliding your finger nail in between it and the phone itself; otherwise it blends in well with its chrome finish that matches the chrome finish around the end of the phone. Also on the bottom edge you have the micro USB charging connection and a small pinhole for the microphone as well. At this point everyone is used to having micro USB charging ports on their phones, but I just wanted to point this out again. This is much more convenient than what you find from some tablet manufactures and Apple as well. Having multiple devices in a house or office, it’s great to be able to share a charger, even if you don’t have the exact same device.

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I already mentioned the chrome finish around the outside edge of the Note 2 but if you look around that edge you will find a few other tidbits. For example, on the left side of the phone you will find the volume up and down buttons, they are also chrome finished plastic just like the ring around the phone. The power button is on the right side of the phone and also has a small power logo next to it as well. It’s worth noting that both the power and volume buttons are mounted a little lower than normal; something that I’m sure Samsung did to make them easier to reach due to the Note 2’s size. Up on top of the phone you have the headphone port and another microphone port.

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If you haven’t played with a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 or S3, there is something very interesting about their back cover. Sure the plastic may not really make the phone feel of the highest quality, but it sure is durable. You can take the rear panel off and literally bend it into any shape you want without worries. It is very thin but resilient plastic. Under the cover we can see the phone’s 3100mAh Li–Ion battery to power its extra-large screen and 1.6 GHz quad core CPU. You have microSD and sim card slots, this is a global compatible phone meaning you can use it on GSM networks overseas when traveling.

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Booting the Note 2 up for the first time we are greeted immediately with the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 logo that leads into a Samsung animation. I love that they keep it simple here and show the model name right off the bat. After that, we get a colorful splash screen for Verizon’s 4g as well; obviously models from other carriers will use this space to drop in their logos.

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Frankly everything looks in proportion on the Note 2 when you see it in photos. To really get a feel for it you need to get it in hand or put it up next to something. We put it up next to the Google Nexus 4, with a 4.7 inch screen itself it’s not really what most would consider a small phone. But next to the Note 2 it looks tiny. The Nexus 4 is a small amount thinner as well but it is so close that you can’t really see it in our photos. Comparing the two side to side, the Galaxy Note 2 feels plasticy and cheaper than the all glass Nexus 4, but on the other side of that I didn’t feel like it would be as easy to bring the Note 2.

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Performance

Our performance testing is broken up into three sections; we are going to look at the phones actual performance, the software, and then how it all goes together as an overall experience. Together we hope you will be able to get an idea of what to expect from the Samsung Note 2.

Starting with actual performance, we went through a few different benchmarks trying to cover each aspect of the Note 2’s performance. We did the same testing on the Nexus 4 and the Nexus 7 as well to give you an idea of where it stands. You can actually do each of the tests yourself if you would like on your current phone to see how it compares.

Our first benchmark is an overall benchmark that is browser based for easy testing on any device called BrowserMark v2. The name may sound familiar to those of you who have seen our CPU benchmarks; we run other tests from the same company Rightmark. Browsermark v2 runs through 2d and 3d benchmarks, WebGL benchmarks, Javascript benchmarks, and general benchmarks that test web page resizing and load times. Put up against the Nexus 4 and the Nexus 7 the Note 2’s performance was very impressive.

wm browsermark

Octane V1 is a JavaScript benchmark created by Google. The benchmark goes through a whole selection of real world JavaScript tests ranging from OS kernel simulations to tests involving how quickly PDF’s can be rendered. The list of tests ran is so long that I highly recommend everyone take a look at the link above to check them all out. Once again the Note 2 stood out against the other devices tests. I suspect that the results from the Nexus 4 are a little low due to it coming with a new version of the Chrome browser rather than the normal android browser, but out of the box the Note 2’s performance is impressive!

wm octane

SunSpider is another JaveScript benchmark but what sets it apart is that it is designed to test the core JavaScript. It’s actually designed to test different versions of browsers against each other, but it is also a perfect way to see how phones perform as well. This is one of the only benchmarks that having the lowest result is a good thing; this is because it is measured in Milliseconds. Our results once again have the Note 2 way ahead. The Nexus 4 results are once again low for a quad core phone but most likely related to the different browser and rumored throttling at higher temps.

wm sunspider

Our last three tests come from the GLBenchmark 2.5.1 benchmark suite. This runs through OpenGL testing to show how well a device will handle most gaming situations. Proving that our previous benchmarks before were affected by the Nexus 4 running on the Chrome Browser, the Nexus 4 was the star of both the fill rate and Egypt HD benchmarks. The Note 2 was also powerful but was a little lacking when it came to FPS in the Egypt benchmark. The last benchmark was the battery life benchmark and I was especially impressed with the Note 2 here. At over four hours the Note 2 outperformed the others considerably. This is especially impressive when considering the screen size especially. Obviously you will see much more than 4 hours of use, but this benchmark was putting the phone under full load with the screen on the entire time.

wm glbfillrate

wm glbfillrate

wm glbbatterylife

Moving on to the software, the first thing we need to address is what version of Android the Note 2 is running. The Note 2 came with 4.1.1 Jelly Bean, so it is up to date for the most part with the Nexus 4 we put it up against sporting 4.1.2 that is also called Jelly Bean. The Note 2 is running a few modifications from Samsung as well, mostly features that can also be found on the popular S3, but there are that are specific to the Note 2’s S Pen as well.

The Note 2 specific software like S Note make the Note 2 much more than a normal phone. You have the ability to draw, write, type, add photos, add graphs or anything else needed to take your notes. I tossed together a quick example here including a photo I took while putting it all together. As you can also see, you have multiple options when writing or drawing. You can pick from a pen, multiple brushes, a pencil, and even a highlighter. On top of that you can adjust the thickness and colors as well.

drawingoptions

drawing

 

One of the other S Pen features is the ability to press the button on the S Pen and cut out anything on your screen at any time. I cut out the LanOC logo on my home screen as an example. Once you cut out something you can add it to your notes or even edit things together. This is perfect for cutting out someone else’s head and putting it on a different body for example.

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A quick side note as well is that when you have the S Pen out, you have a shortcut listing on the notification panel.

shortcuts

The performance of the Note 2’s 8 mega pixel camera was hit and miss. I found the low light and inside shots to be darker than I would prefer and a little blurry. I took the picture below inside but in my office with four 100 watt lights making it more like an outside photo. Outside and high light performance was great though.

photo

So we know about the software and the phones benchmarks, but how does it all go together? The biggest adjustment going to the Note 2 will be its size. There aren’t many phones that even come close to the size of the Note 2 and frankly when you put it next to a normal phone it looks huge. As a fairly big guy I found the Note 2 to feel a little on the large size, but a very usable size. Where the size does affect things is when you try to use your phone with one hand. Even holding the phone and trying to drag the notification bar down to check your messages is a stretch with your thumb. With two hands using the Note 2 is great though, I found it to be a good mix between a small tablet and a phone.

 


Overall and Final Verdict

I’m sure a lot of you are up in the air with the Note 2, its size really limits the market. The truth is, Samsung has the Galaxy S3 for people who don’t want/need a larger device. The Note 2 fills in a hole in the market that other manufactures have ignored. Some people, like me, love the idea of a phone large enough to take the place of my tablet. Not having to carry around multiple devices is great. Not only does the Note 2 fill that hole in the market, it also does a great job of integrating the S Pen both into the hardware as well as the software integration. Even after spending a month with the phone I was still finding features that I never noticed before.

I love that Samsung is staying on top of their flagship phones like the Note 2 and the S3 as far as software updates. Generally I would much rather have a Google Experience Device like the Nexus 4 and the Nexus 7, only because I prefer to continue to get the updates. The additional software that Samsung packs into the Note 2 and there fairly quick updates combined make this a good option as well.

Although the model we tested was using Verizon, the Note 2 is available on just about every carrier with a price on contract that can be found for as low as $140 and no higher than $200. Considering the off contract price, these are great prices for the Note 2. If you are considering the Note 2, I would highly recommend getting your hands on the phone. There isn’t any question that it’s a fast phone packed full of features, but you need to make sure that the larger size is going to work for you. If you are considering the Note 2 for its stylus integration then you really aren’t going to find a better option on the market, nor would you want a smaller phone.

Pricing as of our review (on contract)

Note 2 Titanium (Sprint) $139.99

Note 2 White (Sprint) $169.99

Note 2 Grey (AT&T) $199.99

Note 2 White (AT&T) $199.99

Note 2 Grey (Verizon) $149.99

Note 2 white (Verizon) $179.99

fv2tophonors

Author Bio
garfi3ld
Author: garfi3ldWebsite: https://lanoc.org
Editor-in-chief
You might call him obsessed or just a hardcore geek. Wes's obsession with gaming hardware and gadgets isn't anything new, he could be found taking things apart even as a child. When not poking around in PC's he can be found playing League of Legends, Awesomenauts, or Civilization 5 or watching a wide variety of TV shows and Movies. A car guy at heart, the same things that draw him into tweaking cars apply when building good looking fast computers. If you are interested in writing for Wes here at LanOC you can reach out to him directly using our contact form.

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