The original Galaxy Note was a huge gamble by Samsung. Who on earth would want something so big to call people and browse the internet?? But it was a work of genius. It was sold like hot cakes, and now Samsung is back with the second generation note or officially called as The Samsung galaxy Note 2. What improvements does the Note 2 has ? Will it repeat the magic the original note casted?? Read on…
HARDWARE OF GALAXY NOTE 2
If you found the original note too big to handle then I’ll break this to you now, the note 2 is even bigger than the original. But its not necessarily a bad thing due to ergonomically designed curves , it’s actually quite easy to hold; for moderate palm size people that is. It now measures 151.1 x 80.5 x 9.4 mm from Note’s 146.9 x 83 x 9.7 mm. It also weighs around 182 grams which may give a feeling of heavy but in actual usage and considering the size of the phone, its quite acceptable.
The original Note had a squared design but for the Note 2 Samsung has gone for a curvy exterior much like the Galaxy S3. Its more of a curvy rectangular look. Its definitely more attractive than the note but is still a very large device.
Samsung decided to opt for the polycarbonate body much like the Galaxy S3 for the Note 2. Many people argue that the polycarbonate makes the phone feel plasticky or cheap and it may be so, but when it comes to practicality, this kind of body is quite durable as compared to glass or metal casings. The phone comes with a removable back cover which provides access to the battery, sim tray and micro-SD slot. The device also supports NFC and the chip is housed in the back. The wireless charging kit is also supported. The one thing which made the original note a super hit was the stylus. So, Samsung has included a revamped stylus for the note 2. It neatly stays inside a holder carved under the phone.
DISPLAY OF GALAXY NOTE 2
The the most striking feature of the galaxy Note 2 is its humongous 5.5 inch Super amoled display. With a resolution of 1280 X 720 pixels which equates to around 267 ppi, the display offers crisp and vibrant colors. Watching videos on the screen is absolute joy. The display offers deep blacks. If we consider the pixel density of 267 ppi, it may look very less as compared to other smartphones offering 300+ ppi, but the difference is barely noticeable. Only we look very closely the pixels are distinguishable. Due the amoled panel, the device offers excellent viewing angles and virtually unlimited contrast. This gives the display the wow factor. Under sunlight display is also fairly acceptable.
Coming to the disadvatages, the Display suffers from the usual cons of amoled panels. The over saturation of colors doesn’t work always. Reds become painful-to-the-eye Red. Also whites are not white but tinted blue. This is most noticeable during surfing websites. Problems are also being reported that the edges of the screen has a tendency to turn yellow overtime. This may be a manufacturing defect. People who prefer natural colors should refrain from amoled displays.
To counter the over saturation of colors, Samsung included a feature to adjust the color tone of the device. With the natural option selected, the colors appear very washed out and if the next level is selected i.e. standard the colours again become over saturated.
Overall the display is awesome. If you primarily plan to use the phone to play games and watch movies, you are in for a treat..!!
CAMERA OF GALAXY NOTE 2
The note 2 comes equipped with a 8mp shooter flanked by a LED flash. They are also capable of recording 1080p videos. The front cam is of 1.9mp. It is capable of recording 720p videos.
Samsung has provided many filters and modes to shoot with the cam
era. In terms of photo quality it fared better than its ancestor. The new Note produced more natural colors and a smidge more detail. The Note 2 is also a winner in managing the dynamic range, bringing out the best contrast and natural colors in shadows. The LED flash also does a good job in illuminating near objects. The phone also excels in capturing low light images.
Coming to Video performance, the phone recorded decent videos for daily home use. It did well at capturing detailed motion without getting choppy, and picked up voices loud and clear. The noise cancellation feature also helped cut off unnecessary noises. The only problem I faced was that zooming in or out during recording made the videos choppy.
Overall, the camera in the Note 2 is excellent.
PERFORMANCE AND BATTERY LIFE OF NOTE 2
The Note II has a shiny 1.6GHz quad-core Exynos 4412 running the show with 2GB RAM and a Mali-400MP GPU to help things along, the performance section almost writes itself. The difference between S3 and note 2 is that the latter comes with a faster CPU and 2gigs of RAM. To clear any more queries regarding the performance, the table below should suffice.
|Samsung Galaxy Note II N7100||Samsung Galaxy Note N7000||Samsung Galaxy S III (I9300)|
|SunSpider 0.9.1 (ms)||1,023||1,761||1,460|
|GLBenchmark Egypt Offscreen (fps)||114||69||99|
Note: Sunspider scores: Lower the better.
The score of 13,500 in Antutu benchmarks may be less than the current flagships ,but in real world performance, the device will run anything without hiccups. I believe the lower scores are due to the aging Mali-400 GPU (which can be found in Sony Xperia U too).
Powering the above specs is the immense 3100mAh battery. In my standard rundown test, which consists of looping a video at 50 percent brightness, WiFi turned on (but disconnected from any networks) and regular push notifications for social media and email, I was able to snag 10 hours and 45 minutes of life out of it — up just around an hour from the last Note. This kind of backup is awesome and if you are a light user the phone will have no trouble lasting 2 days.
The loudspeaker earns its name, as it’s on the top end of the sound spectrum — it’s plenty loud, regardless of whether you use the earpiece or speakerphone. This resulted in a great audio experience for me when listening to music or watching movies as well.
The Note 2 comes preloaded with jellybean 4.1.2 and 4.2 coming in a few weeks. If the rumors are to be believed then it also has been confirmed to get the android key lime pie a.k.a android 5.0 update. The stock jellybean is skinned by samsung’s nature touchwiz UI.
I’m not a big fan of the Touchwiz UI. It looks very cartoonish and the previous iterations had a lot of bugs. But for the note 2, sammy has done a good job of optimizing the UI to be used with the S-pen.
The UI has a lot in similarity with previous versions. Samsung has done a good job in ironing out the bugs resulting in a smooth and linear experience. A nice feature called “S-Suggest” recommends apps which use S-pen. Its a nice addition which keeps the user from hunting stylus oriented apps.
On power management front, sammy has included a feature called Power Saving. It works by limiting the CPU speed, limiting background apps, reducing brightness and adjusting color tone. Since amoled consume almost no power when displaying black, the UI has predominantly black background. This too helps reduce power consumption.
The “Samsung Apps” app which comes installed is a waste. It offers very bad suggestions for apps and is riddled with bugs. If you ever root the device, removing this app must be a top priority.
On media front, the default video player supports every common video format. It played every video i throwed at it. This is nice though we could always download a third-party app. The music player is also very good. It has a lot of features to enhance sound quality like surround sound effect, reverb etc. The Equilizer also comes pre-configured with a no. of settings.
To answer the question I posed at the beginning of this review, this thing is the real deal, and it’s surely better than the device that began the whole phablet craze. To do so in a package that’s actually thinner and narrower than the first Note is a tremendous accomplishment, and one that’ll be hard to match.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is available in Flipkart for Rs.36645. It’s a bit on the pricey side, but for good reason: it offers superb performance, an S Pen experience that blows its predecessor out of the water, a solid OS in Jelly Bean and plenty of other features that will make this a tempting offer to even the most selective individual.