Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

The Note is back, bigger and better

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Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

This being an Android handset, you cannot fault the amount of messaging options in the Samsung Galaxy Note 2.

Firstly, there's Mail, and the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 comes with two flavours built in.

One is the standard, excellent Gmail app found on all Android handsets.

The second is Samsung's own Mail app, which accommodates Gmail as well as virtually every other POP3/IMAP and Exchange option you care to chuck in its direction.

The Gmail app is brilliant.

It was overhauled for Android Ice Cream Sandwich, so if you have the original Samsung Galaxy Note (and you haven't updated from Gingerbread), you'll very quickly notice the difference.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

It looks better, it acts better and it gives you a widget too.

The search facility on this app is great as well, and could pick out the smallest detail from more than 10,000 emails in our inbox.

The only thing it lets us down on is the reformatting of HTML emails to fit the screen.

You can now zoom out to get a whole page view - which was an Achilles' heel on the app since the very beginning - but it's hidden away in the Settings menu by default, so many won't know it is there.

The Samsung Mail app is excellent, and gives you the option to tweak various aspects, from the font size to the colour of the inbox display.

Turn the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 on its side and you'll get a split view, which is a nice touch. A Mail widget gives you one-touch access to all the messages in there.

And you can - sort of - achieve a full page view of HTML emails in this app, although sometimes it wasn't quite 100% and more 75%.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

On top of that, you can always add your own messaging solutions too. There are the obvious ones such as Facebook and Twitter (plus third-party versions) and then the other excellent additions such as Viber, Tango, WhatsApp, Windows Live Messenger and Skype.

The beauty of Android is that once these apps are installed, they all show up as options within the contact card when you call up a person's name.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

We can't say we're distraught to see the back of Samsung's Social Hub app - this was an aggregator first seen back in the Samsung Galaxy S2 that brought all of your emails, tweets, Facebook messages and so on together.

On the face of it, it sounds helpful. But frankly, when you're as popular (and modest) as we are, it just all gets a bit too much.

For tapping out messages, you're really spoiled for choice. Samsung's included keyboard is OK, but not the best.

Keys are just a little too small for us, though it does include some functionality similar to Swype, which makes for a faster experience.

Google's voice dictation is also brilliant, and you can use that in place of a keyboard.

Don't confuse what we said before about parts of Google Now being a faff, because that still stands. But when dictating messages on Google Voice Typing, it's really quite good.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

The beauty is that the words appear as you speak, which gives you a little more confidence to dictate longer messages.

There is a problem in that punctuation can be a bit of a headbanger. Saying 'period' (US English) instead of 'full stop' (British English) is fine - we got used to that easily enough.

But saying 'comma' can lead to anything from 'mama', 'kama' or 'korma' appearing when you're just trying to punctuate a damn sentence.

And if you hit delete, the entire message goes and you have to start from scratch, whereas if you tap the screen to make a manual correction, nine times out of 10, the standard keyboard appears and you have to faff about going back to the voice one.

It's enough to make you want to head out of this world sooner rather than later.

So, again, it's horse for courses. Those looking for a direct comparison to Siri will find the quality of the service (ie the actual voice recognition) much more accurate on Apple's product. But by no means unbearable on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

And don't forget the S-Pen, which enables you to tap out words by just scribbling them on a virtual pad at the bottom of the screen.

This is scarily accurate, and relies on actual handwriting rather than weird shortcuts like the older days of Palm graffiti.

It even manages to decipher cursive writing. Really.

In fact, our only criticism of the experience is that you have to have the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 flat on a desk. That's because when you're holding it in your left hand, and the pen in your right, there's a tendency to tilt the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 a bit.

And as your hand goes across the screen, there's nowhere to rest it at the end of a line, which means you end up clutching the S-Pen in a weird way.

Remember, you're typing in a small area at the bottom. Still, it's easy enough to get used to.

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