Samsung Galaxy Note II N7100 – Review
What we like
What we don't like
It’s been a year since the original Galaxy Note unveiled to the world by Samsung Electronics. Samsung had put together a great combination of technical modernism and performance into the Galaxy Note. But the only eyebrow raising question across tech critics (Including me) was its over-sized and stylus-equipped physique. However, the question of being single-hand operation of ‘Note’ is still at its place. But one can admit that its full list of talents have made the tech world say, Yeah!
So after selling more that 10 million units worldwide, what comes next? Even bigger Samsung Galaxy Note II. According to Samsung, the Galaxy Note II is slimmer, faster and better in every aspect as compared to its predecessor.
Samsung Galaxy Note II – Features
Let’s have a quick look over to those features that new Samsung Galaxy Note II offers
- 5.5″ 16 million color Super AMOLED capacitive touch screen of HD (720 x 1280 pixel).
- Exynos 4412 Quad chipset, 1.6 GHz quad-core Cortex-A9 CPU with 2GB of RAM
- Mali-400MP Graphic Processing Unit
- Android 4.1 operating system with TouchWiz UI
- 8.0 megapixel wide-angle lens autofocus camera with LED flash, 1.9MP secondary video-call camera
- 1080p HD video recording at 30fps
- S Pen active stylus
- 16/32GB internal storage capacity, microSD slot included
- Dual-band Wi-Fi, Stereo Bluetooth v4.0, GPS with A-GPS connectivity; GLONASS, NFC support
- Massive Huge 3100 mAh battery
Design, Build & Look
Note II is 151.1mm tall 80.5mm wide, 9.4 mm thick and weighing 183 grams whereas the original Galaxy Note has dimension of 146.9 x 83 x 9.7 mm weighing 178 grams. It has to be the biggest display area ever released on a smart phone. As we told you about the criticism that Samsung has faced due to original Galaxy Note massive size and mentioned in our Samsung Galaxy Note review. In order to avoid such negative analysis again for Galaxy Note II, Samsung did a smart thing. They made new Galaxy Note II curvy and rounded corner, minimizing the feeling of being big, thanks to a slimmed down bezel. The Galaxy Note II is available in Marble White and Titanium Grey.
But as I said, just minimizing the feel, because Note 2 is a hair narrower and skinnier than the original Galaxy Note. Galaxy Note II is still big enough to hold in palm and something to consider before you buy.
Once again we have seen rounded corner in this new Galaxy Note brother, identical the Samsung Galaxy S III. In fact, you will not find any difference look wise until you decide to grab Galaxy Note II into your palm (yes, due to same thing, size does matter).
Samsung continues to rely on its plastic tradition. Galaxy Note II comes with high gloss poly-carbonate body with a shiny, chrome-colored plastic rim, which is much nicer looking.
- The front panel and button placement of the Samsung Galaxy Note II is identical to the Galaxy S III.
- At the top most is the earpiece, with the 1.9 megapixels frontal camera along with proximity sensor to the right.
- The ambient light sensor and the status LED are on the left side of the earpiece. You can change the behavior of LED status like charging and low battery, missed calls etc in the settings. Samsung Galaxy Note II is notably got the same RGB sensor as found in Galaxy S III. So what does this RGB sensor is to detect the complete spectrum of the ambient light.
- A rounded rectangle hardware Home button is flanked by Menu and Back (Considering Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, it looks quite weird). Long pressing on the Home button brings up the Recent Apps list.
- On the top, Samsung Galaxy Note II features the 3.5mm audio jack along with the secondary microphone which manages stereo sound recording as well as noise reduction.
- The Power button is mounted on the upper right edge of the Note II along with the Volume rocker on the upper left.
- Regular mic along with microUSB port is placed on the bottom side of the smart phone.
- On the back side, the Samsung Galaxy Note II is featuring an 8.0 megapixel auto-focus camera with LED flash which is capable to shoot 1080p videos.
- Peel-off the back cover rests the microSD card slot, which can hold up to 64GB in external memory and a massive, 3100mAh battery.
There is no doubt that every Galaxy series phone’s main attraction is its display quality and Galaxy Note II is not an exception. AMOLED is known for its vibrant and bright viewing angle. The 5.5-inch HD Super AMOLED screen of Galaxy Note offers 1,280×720 pixel resolution. It is bigger than the original Note’s 5.3-inch display.
Another difference comes out in the aspect ratio as it is offers 16:9 as compared to the 16:10 aspect ratio in the original Note. Alternatively, the Note II is equipped with a 720p (1280×720 pixels) screen, whereas its predecessor used WXGA (1280×800 pixels). So what it does is an increase in surface area with additional 2% than the original Galaxy Note but strip down 80 pixel width. Result, Galaxy Note II has a slightly lower pixel density – 267ppi as compared to 285ppi in Galaxy Note.
Samsung finally let down the idea of putting PenTile matrix screen on the Galaxy Note II after faced a lot of criticism in first Galaxy Note. To display the 1px-wide line, the Galaxy Note II display lights up individual pixels. The new matrix makes a better use of the space allotted to each pixel and there’s less left to waste. The output resulting due to this is more vibrant display. All in all I like its high contrast output and wide viewing angles. However, when I talk about outdoor visibility, the Galaxy Note II disappoints a little bit as the display is hardly viewable in direct sunlight.
Bigger S Pen
The new Stylus is 11.3cm in length and 7mm in thickness, slightly bigger than the old one as Galaxy Note II also grew up in size which makes it easier to handle. The old one is about 10.4cm tall and 5mm thick. One good thing about its S Pen is despite being bigger in size as compared to Previous Galaxy Note that it easily blends into the handset when it’s not in use.
More than that, the new S Pen is more responsive and accurate than the older one. A plastic tip on the Pen makes writing on a slick surface more comfortably. One very cool feature comes out with the new stylus; Galaxy Note II would notify us if we’ve forgotten to put the S Pen back into its slot.
The Galaxy Note 2 comes pre-loaded with the newest version of Android 4.1 “Jelly Bean” and once again covers the interface with its own skin called TouchWiz. In fact, it’s one of the few smartphones on the market which offering the most up-to-date version of the mobile platform. With the deadly combination of Samsung’s new Exynos processor and magic of “Jelly Bean”, the Galaxy Note II looks amazingly responsive. It’s processing and graphical capabilities comes out evident right from the moment you start-up the Galaxy Note II. A
As the previous Note did, the new one also offers Samsung’s usual S Voice, S Beam, Smart Stay, etc plus lot more which blends well with Jelly Bean. The extra number row on top of the onscreen keyboard makes good use of the supersized (or oversized) display.
There are a few new things in the notification area. Notifications now take more than a single row to display information that covering more advanced controls on them. There is a clock with the date and a Settings shortcut on the top of display following the usual toggles – Wi-Fi, GPS, Silent mode, Screen rotation and Power saving. Further going down will see the Brightness slider comes with an Auto checkbox, enables to adjust the brightness even in auto mode.
Samsung Galaxy Note II also offers a handy Blocking Mode, which allows you to determine which notifications you want to disable and when. You can set a specific timeframe for them to be turned off. More than that, you can set up a white-list of allowed contacts that can sidestep the block and even let you notify with a sound when they call you. Just like Apple’s welcomed Do Not Disturb feature which looks a good attempt but not as good as iOS implements.
If we talk about Android’s Jelly Bean then one can expect Google Now, a cool assistant app, in Galaxy Note II. The feature is accessed by long-pressing the Home button.
The Galaxy Note II boasts an 8.0 megapixels camera. Galaxy Note II borrows the same module (known in the code as the s5c73m3) and sensor from the Galaxy S III which showed the remarkable camera results. Both S III and Note II use maximum resolutions of 8.0 megapixels (3264 x 2448), f/2.6 aperture and 3.7mm focal length in stills. The frontal cameras are also identical as well and give 1.9 megapixels. But there is small list of features I could find in Galaxy S III and Note II provides. Samsung seems more interested in quality than megapixel count. That’s why we find tremendous results in their camera shots.
Galaxy Note II offers a new “best face” mode that lets you choose the best face out of five group photos taken by Note II. For instance, if one blinks in the first shot and another does in the second. Note II would take the best of each person and put them together in one perfect photo.
Galaxy Note II also offers “Low-Light” mode. As the name itself suggest, is meant to deliver an improved performance in dimmed light area.
In addition to this, the camera also offers a plenty of expected camera features including burst shot (with Best photo), Share shot, geo-tagging, touch focus, HDR mode, Panorama, face and smile detection with Best faces, low-light mode, digital image stabilization, scenes, effects and more. The Galaxy Note offers considerably better LED flash than the previous, giving more light and color saturation.
As we mentioned earlier, the new Galaxy Note is packing the biggest display out there on a smartphone. So a big screen requires a big battery and Samsung didn’t disappoint. Samsung went with a 3100mAh battery in the newer Note II which Samsung claims will offer standby time of some 890 hours on 3G. But those speculations are in standard conditions sets by company itself. But yes, you can find some really pleasant surprises from the new Note’s battery. The Galaxy Note II delivers promising battery back-up. We have witnessed a good battery performance with the old Galaxy Note and this one reaffirmed those credentials.
No doubt that premium price tag is associated with the new Samsung Galaxy Note II but still the new Note II is a marvel in almost every aspect. From its hardcore specification sheet to its stunning 5.5-inch HD Super AMOLED display. From its ultra fast processing power to it’s never before viewing experience thanks to the Jelly Bean. TouchWiz along with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is undoubtedly the most functional combos around and adds a whole new dimension to the user experience.