Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

The Note is back, bigger and better

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Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review


You can access contacts on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 either through the phone or the contacts section - both of which have shortcuts at the foot of the screen.

Considering they both ultimately lead to the same app, you may as well delete one of these shortcuts and give yourself some more space for another app.

And once you're in there, you're treated to the standard Samsung-Android contacts display with tabs for favourites, groups and so forth.

It's really no different to what we've seen before, and does the management bit very well indeed.

Samsung throws in a few nuggets too - such as swiping left on a contact to message them and right to call them or just having you lift the phone to your ear when in a contact to call them automatically.

Though, in practice, we'd be interested to see how many people remember that feature is there and actively use it.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

Contacts are brought across with pictures and then you get a huge thumbnail when you call them or they call you.

Yes, we know that's a small thing and it's something that's been around for years, but there's just something nice about seeing a nice big shot of Mum when she calls.

It's amazing how many OEMs tinker with this most basic of functions, unfortunately.

And we hanker still for some kind of HTC emulation so that contacts are linked automatically.

We have some people with six or seven entries in our phonebook and frankly, Samsung, life is far too short to have to do this manually for 2,000+ people.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

There are also loads of things you can play about with in the menu - such as a block list for callers you don't like (those who clearly aren't clever enough to use 141 before they dial you) and the ability to add shortcuts to individuals to your home screen.

It all makes for a nice, easy, fluid experience.

Social networking fiends won't feel much love on unboxing the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, because there isn't really any kind of functionality built in there apart from Samsung's own ChatON app, which is a bit of a poor man's WhatsApp in terms of how many people are aware of its existence.

This is both a plus and a minus - a plus because you can always go hunting around and install relevant apps yourself without being forced to sign into endless screens automatically.

But also a minus, because most users will, by default, install the standard Facebook and Twitter apps, unaware that there are some far superior third-party solutions.

For example the amazing Twicca frankly wipes the floor with the abomination that is the official Twitter app.


Samsung very helpfully provides you with the facility to scale down items such as the phone keypad (and other bits of the UI) to lean towards your right or left hand so that you can use the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 with one paw.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

This is a great idea if you're a bit of a Hagrid, though we admit, although possible, we clutched the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 firmly with both hands because we were terrified we'd drop it if we showed off too much.

And that leads us nicely to the big elephant in the room. The size of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2.

Yes, this is a phone (Samsung has itself admitted the Samsung Galaxy Note is a smartphone, rather than a tablet) and yes, you can make calls on it.

But seriously, would you want to hold this up to your head? We did - and got laughed out of the room.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 has some fantastic abilities, but to hold something the size of a breeze block up to your ear in public all feels a bit 80s.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

That said, it's obvious when you buy this that it is a big handset, and we are sure that the target market will not be averse to using a Bluetooth device or car kit the majority of the time.

And anyway, how much time do we spend actually making calls these days? That's soooooo 2003.

If you do feel that crazy urge to call someone, we'll say this: you'll enjoy it.

It is a very pleasant experience to make calls on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 as, indeed, it is with the Samsung Galaxy S3.

Calls connected easily and signal appeared to be well represented.

Calls were very clear at our end and the recipients said it sounded great to them - although the conversation could have been more titillating, which we can't blame on Samsung.

And once in a call, you can even take a note. It's a really simple idea that helps enormously in those moments when you need a pen. Because don't forget - you also have a pen of the 'S' variety included in the Samsung Galaxy Note 2.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
Wireless LANYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported64 GB
Built-in Memory16 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyEDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA, UMTS, HSPA+, GPRS
SAR Value0.17 W/kg
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationYes
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyGalaxy Note II
Cellular Generation4G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 850, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100, LTE 700, GSM 850
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution8 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
ColourTitanium Grey
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameSamsung
Battery Talk Time1 Day
Product ModelGT-N7100
Screen Size14.1 cm (5.6")
Screen Resolution1280 x 720
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)182.5 g
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Processor ManufacturerSamsung
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0
Operating System VersionAndroid 4.1.1 Jelly Bean
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Pixel Density267 ppi
Height151.1 mm
Width80.5 mm
Depth9.4 mm
Radio TunerYes
Battery Standby Time980 Hour
Product NameGalaxy Note II GT-N7100 Smartphone
Processor Speed1.60 GHz
Processor TypeExynos
Product LineGalaxy Note II
Screen TypeOLED
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Magnetometer, Gyro Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor, Proximity Sensor, Barometer
Manufacturer Part NumberGT-N7100TADBTU
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Unbeatable viewing experience - See more clearly in one view
The Galaxy Note II features a 5.55" (141mm) HD Super AMOLED display providing brilliant visual clarity. Its 16:9 screen ratio ensures an immersive and enriched movie theatre-like video viewing experience. Its larger screen allows users to see content clearly and vividly, which enhances readability. In addition to the rich content consumption experiences, users will also be able to do more tasks efficiently and create content freely, whilst on-the-go, as Galaxy Note II comes with a thinner, lighter, but yet bigger screen.

Advanced S Pen & S Note usage
Everyday tasks on Samsung Galaxy Note II are made easier and more intuitively using S Pen enabled features. Air View allows you to hover with the S Pen over an email, S Note, S Planner, image galleries, or videos to preview the content without having to open it. This gives you quick access to search and view more information in detail without screen transitions; and the device's new gesture pad feature called Quick Command lets you use to the S Pen to take shortcuts.

The S Pen's advanced features also provide enhanced capabilities to capture ideas and inspirations instantly or to combine handwriting with any digital content directly on the screen. By simply pressing the dedicated S Pen button, it magically recognises that you want to clip or edit the selected content on the screen. This action allows you to instantly crop the screen or its contents in any shape required-ready to save, share or paste-and you can also edit Web or digital images instantly with colouring, shading, or your own personal handwriting. It is as quick and easy as pen and paper but better because there is more functionality. Users can also capture screen-shots for instant copying or sharing, or use the Screen Recorder feature to record a whole sequence of actions on their screen- for example, a demonstration of how to use an application-and then share it with friends for comment, or just for fun.

Seamless multitasking

Whether you're watching a video, texting a friend or sketching an idea, the Galaxy Note II makes multitasking seamless and intuitive with three new features:

Popup Note lets you open an S Note instantly as a pop-up window anywhere on the screen. For example, you might watch a soccer game on the display while looking up a player's statistics at the same time. Or you can take notes on S Note while your friend gives you directions over the phone, or even sketch the directions as a map during the conversation. Whatever the task, Galaxy Note II has the right tools to keep you active while on-the-go.

Another new multitasking feature is Popup Web. You can now open a web browser anywhere on the screen and open a web link without having to switch between screens.

Thanks to the breadth of Galaxy Note II's amazing viewing experience, a feature called Popup Video extends the concept of 'Pop up play.' While watching a video, with the touch of a button, the video will become a floating window on your display. The video will continue to play and it can be repositioned to any part of the Galaxy Note II's screen. This versatility means you are free to load other applications beneath it to browse online, connect with friends or plan your day.

Limited Warranty2 Year