Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

The Note is back, bigger and better

Hands on with the Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Hands on with the Samsung Galaxy Note 2

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Of course, there has to be a low point for a gadget that does so much. And here's where you expect us to tell you that the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 fails dismally, right?

Well, actually, we're not going to, because this device manages to put a good effort in.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

We're not going to tell you that battery life on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is thoroughly amazing, because it's not.

But on the table of expectations, it certainly sits at the end of 'better than average'.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

Powering it is a 3,100mAh battery, which Samsung reckons will provide standby time of some 890 hours on 3G.

We're not going to dispute that, but just point out that such estimates are pointless, because nobody will use their Samsung Galaxy Note 2 the way these experiments are carried out.

Remember, these are results obtained in optimum lab conditions. Life's too short to try to replicate those.

In fact, it's not even worth mentioning the quoted talk time, because if you're buying the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 just to use as a phone, then something is not quite right.

Here's where we found our usage left us: we took the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 off charge at 8am.

It was all set up with Facebook and Twicca updating, one Gmail account (email plus calendar) and one Exchange Mail account.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

Dropbox was also set up to automatically sync all photos taken to our account over Wi-Fi.

Over the course of the day, we surfed the internet for around two hours in total.

We tweeted a dozen or so times, sent one email, made about 30 mins worth of phone calls, shot 36 photographs and 11 videos and had Wi-Fi and GPS enabled constantly.

By 8pm, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 was gasping for juice, down to 4%.

Our conclusion with this is that the battery is actually the same as that on the Samsung Galaxy S3, in terms of what it delivers for average usage.

Yes, it is bigger. But don't forget that the screen is also larger. And that's where you'll find most of the juice being guzzled.

Plus, we were really testing the battery here, and as is always the way, once you've had the device for a few weeks and stopped playing around with your new toy, you are more likely to see your usage levels drop a little.


Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

Connectivity runs through the Samsung Galaxy Note 2's blood, so you won't struggle anywhere here. We've mentioned how well DLNA works, and you've got full internet capabilities - especially LTE if you're lucky enough to have access to that.

Remember though, LTE will be even more taxing on that battery.

NFC is also included, and while we're happy to see this, we won't get out the party balloons yet. This technology really needs less of a tap against a reader and more of a kick up its backside to get it working well.

Apple didn't buy in with the iPhone 5, which would have brought it mainstream, and only now is Orange offering the NFC payment scheme to some new British Samsung owners.

This could be a great selling point, but the sad thing is that it's currently just a bit of an also-ran that few will know even exists on their Samsung Galaxy Note 2, until operators invest in the technology properly.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

Speaking of this though, the S-Beam functionality enables you to tap your phone against other enabled devices to transfer files quickly. We had limited success, but when it works, this is a great feature.

If you're connecting to your computer to get media across and you're a Windows user, you'll have few issues.

Connecting to a Mac is slightly trickier, since you have to use the Android File Transfer app to make it compatible, which can be flaky.

There are various other apps that can do the work for you in a much easier way. For example, AirDroid enables you to send media across and control your Samsung Galaxy Note 2 using a browser-based interface.

We're big fans of this, though you can only transfer to the internal memory this way, and not to an external SD card.

Then there's the iSyncr app, which is available for both Mac and PC. Or you can use Samsung's own Kies app, but frankly, we'd rather microwave our own heads. Painful doesn't come close.