Samsung Galaxy Note II Review (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint)
- 1 Introduction and Design
- 2 Interface
- 3 Functionality, Internet and Connectivity
- 4 Camera, Multimedia and Software
- 5 Call quality, Battery and Conclusion
- Samsung GALAXY Note II T-Mobile specifications
- Samsung GALAXY Note II AT&T specifications
- Samsung GALAXY Note II Sprint specifications
- Samsung GALAXY Note II Verizon specifications
We’ve got an 8-megapixel shooter on the back of the Note II, and the camera interface is the Nature UX one. Things like zero shutter lag, and burst shot when you keep the on-screen button pressed come standard, plus this thing is almost instantaneous when it comes to focusing and taking a shot. We also have 12 effects to choose from and a variety of scene and shooting modes like HDR, Best Shot, which takes eight shots is rapid succession and suggests the best one, Best Face, Panorama and smile recognition – the works. Adding even more appeal to its arsenal, the Note II is graced with slow and fast motion video recording, which is something that we don’t normally find too often.
With its high-end status and all, it’s quite nice to find the Note II producing some likeable shots with its 8-megapixel rear camera. As a whole, it’s undeniably sharp when it comes to snapping photos outdoors under sunny conditions – a bit over-sharp with its details to tell you the truth. Meanwhile, its color reproduction rides on the fine line of being on the oversaturated side, which makes for an appealing gesture at first glance, but the handset luckily manages to handle dynamic range pretty well. Under low lighting situations, however, there’s some diminished qualities with its results – like some noticeable degrees of noise and its softer details. Yet, the LED flash manages to counteract some of those deficiencies, especially when it turns on prior to snapping the shot for proper focus.
1080p video recording is also very good, considering that it has the balance appeal to make it stand out. With its 29 frames per second capture rate, sharp details, and minimal artifacting, there’s a lot to like about its satisfying quality – even more when its continuous auto-focus manages to refocus very quickly on the go. However, we have to say that its audio recording quality is a bit coarse, but it doesn’t degrade the overall quality of its results.
Samsung Galaxy Note II T-Mobile Sample Video:
Samsung Galaxy Note II T-Mobile Night time Sample Video:
The Nature UX music player supports categorization by artists, albums and playlists, and has easy access to a plethora of sound modes like faux 7.1 channel surround sound and Concert Hall, as well as equalizer presets. You can share the tunes you are currently playing to your buddies with the AllShare Play app on the other Samsung phones around, and the Music Square tab places your discography in a mood matrix to choose from. In terms of audio quality put out by its speaker, it’s without a doubt very strong with its output, but there’s a small presence of strain at the loudest volume setting.
The gallery takes a good advantage of the large screen real estate, splitting the screen in two while in folder view, offering easy access to all folders on the left, and swift scroll through the pictures they contain on the right. You can also preview the folder content with the S Pen stylus Air View functionality.
There is a choice of 3D views in the Gallery app - Timeline makes the pictures march towards you in an increasing order chronologically, and the Spiral View is suspiciously like the spiraling Gallery we saw prepped for Samsung’s Tizen OS. Individual photos can be edited with a pretty rich number of functions besides the usual crop, rotate, and annotate scenarios.
When it comes to watching videos, a bigger screen is naturally more preferred, right? Indeed that’s the case here, as the Samsung Galaxy Note II shows its worth in this particular category. Of course, it’s enabled to play a wide array of video codecs out of the box – like DivX, H264, MPEG-4, and XviD. Playing one that’s encoded in DivX 1920 x 1080 resolution, the Note II captivates our interest thanks to its smooth playback, large screen size, and vibrant colors. Just like on the Samsung Galaxy S III, we can choose to use the Pop Up Play feature to overlay the video on top of whatever we’re doing, but its mightier processing power enables us to resize it to our liking. Oh yeah, the Air View feature is incorporated as well by giving us a preview by simply hovering over a section in the video timeline.
Naturally, both Samsung and T-Mobile’s presence is found throughout the handset in the form of various applications – these include Kies Air, Game Hub, Media Hub, Music Hub, S Suggest, Samsung Apps, T-Mobile My Account, T-Mobile Name ID, T-Mobile TV, and Visual Voicemail. Aside from the usual set of third party apps preloaded with the device, there are a few noteworthy ones that manage to pique our interest. Specifically, there’s the app called Paper Artist that allows us to make some cool looking adjustments with our photos – again relying on the use of the S Pen. Not only are we given a depth of image filters to apply over our photos, but we can use the S Pen to highlight and enhance specific portions to give it a neat sketching effect.
1. dr_fajardo12 (Posts: 107; Member since: 26 Aug 2012)
its difficult to pick one: LG optimus G or Lumia 920 or Note 2. My money dont know what to do D:
5. -box- (Posts: 3470; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)
Just a 9, PA? I would have thought it'd get 9 and change (equivalent of an A, rather than an A- or B+) but short of A+ (9.6+).
That said, I'd still get the Lumia 920 over anything and everything out this year, and probably into most of next year.
8. sheik (Posts: 249; Member since: 12 Sep 2012)
Hey do you know windows os well? I have a question to ask
12. -box- (Posts: 3470; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)
Yes, I own a Lumia 900 and use it for my daily phone if you're referring to Windows Phone. I also am very familiar with WIndows for computers as well. Feel free to ask anything!
16. sheik (Posts: 249; Member since: 12 Sep 2012)
What's the difference between windows 8 between windows RT? I googled a lot only to find that even tech websites columnists have confusion about their difference. Is win RT a hybrid between win 7 & win8? Also whats the point of Win Pro? can you enlighten me on that?
28. Mobile-X-Pert (Posts: 565; Member since: 20 Dec 2010)
Windows RT is developed under the ARM architecture, so therefore it does not run any of the windows xp, vista, 7 programs. Windows 8 pro on the other hand, is developed under the X86/X64 architecture and it runs all of the legacy programs and apps from previous operating systems.
Note: Windows RT and Windows 8 pro share the same Native code (kernel) and both have the full desktop environment in the background.
61. jshan (Posts: 146; Member since: 25 Dec 2011)
Hey man I'm asking you this cz it's like your a xpert on mobile industry eh ? K so give me your idea bout iPhone and android (iOS and android ) which is the best between em ?
69. shandesilva (Posts: 73; Member since: 28 Mar 2012)
jshan my friend, you still havent made up your mind? :)..its android !,,,and the galaxy phones are much better than iphones in lots of aspects.
70. Mobile-X-Pert (Posts: 565; Member since: 20 Dec 2010)
I like both Android and iOS operating systems, they have their cons and pros.
Android is an open source operating system developed under the linux core, it gives you almost the same freedom as a linux operating system on a PC, many customazion options, the ability to root it and great third party support. But all this comes at the cost of performace in some cases, most Android phones lag at a certain point, and they are not the easiest phones to use. But I think they finally got it right with Jelly bean.
iOS: It's a well built ecosystem all around, music, videos, movies, apps...almost everything you need. However it is a closed ecosystem, meaning that everything you do or use has to come from Apple. Third pary support is great too. The operating system is very simple to use, but sometimes boring and that makes you wanna upgrade your phone every year. There is no lag at all, at least 98% of the time.
In my case, I trust the finns more (Nokia), finland has the highest student achievement rate. They always come up with great stuff, I also like their designs and build quality of their products,I like their maps system (which is the best), and finally the great support that they're giving to their Lumia line.
79. -box- (Posts: 3470; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)
Between ios and android, Android hands down. Better ecosystem, better phones, cheaper to own/operate, and upgrade.
That said, I've moved from Android to WP and haven't looked back. It's a good system, just not for me, and, really, probably not for most general non-enthusiast consumers. iphones have had their day, the world is moving on.
14. -box- (Posts: 3470; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)
Seriously, there are no "cons" listed here, how is this not a 9.3-9.5?
19. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 4736; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)
"Seriously, there are no "cons" listed here, how is this not a 9.3-9.5?"
63. OptimusOne (Posts: 694; Member since: 22 May 2012)
oh tyou want to be like the palm pre at 9.9?
6. sheik (Posts: 249; Member since: 12 Sep 2012)
Wait for nexus or Go with Note II. You will never regret for choosing that. Want reasons? Note comes with JB out of the box where as Opt G still runs ICS not to mention that 4.2 is gonna be released in next week. And note II is still lighter than 920 with its gigantic 5.5 screen and has better eco system compared to windows store.
7. The.Dark.Knight.Rises (banned) (Posts: 72; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)
Pick note 2. You don't have to insult yourself by buying LG.
13. -box- (Posts: 3470; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)
LGs are just fine, and Nexus devices have a nice aspect to their ownership in terms of getting the newest OS versions sonner than anything else (typically, unless you're on verizon).
43. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3394; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
You can root & not have to deal with Verizon. I am on Android 4.1.2 & I have Verizon.
80. -box- (Posts: 3470; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)
True, but you void the warranty on it, and I wouldn't do any rooting until after the warranty was up.
21. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3394; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
My thing with the Galaxy Note II will be the root scene. I root because I get total control of customization, features & performance. I know the source have been released but I am really interested to see how it does.
If the phone proves to have GREAT developer support on both the phone & processor then I am there. If not I am really hoping for this rumored HTC Nexus 5 to be a reality.
I have to admit that if I didn't root & would be ALL over this sexy/beast called the Samsung Galaxy Note II. For a stock phone this is REALLY hard to beat. The battery life is really, really impressive. Droid Razor MAXX HD who? lol
30. ZEUS.the.thunder.god (unregistered)
dont worry about Dev support as Sammy has already confirmed on twitter that they are looking into problems concerned with the proper documentation related to exynos. so I guess it will have great Dev support.
31. remixfa (Posts: 13885; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
The phone is one sexy piece of hardware for sure. But is it worth nearly double the cost of the Nexus4.. that's my issue. And unless the N4 just sucks, I cant find many reasons that it's worth the extra cost. Have to wait to see N4 reviews to find out for sure though. Sammy definitely hit a high end home run with this thing though, that's for sure.
40. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3394; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
The Samsung Galaxy Note II has the S-Pen, the 3100 mAh beast of a battery, the support of up to a 64GB MicroSD card & the real stunner that beautiful 5.5" RGB Super AMOLED HD screen. All those things equal better than the LG Nexus 4. Plus more functionality.
To me the price is justifiable. Now add GREAT developer support as ZEUS.the.thunder.god is saying & I really thing this phone has no rival.
I just really hope what ZEUS.the.thunder.god says really pans out.
44. ZEUS.the.thunder.god (unregistered)
48. XPERIA-KNIGHT (Posts: 2375; Member since: 08 Aug 2012)
that 5.5 inch rgb screen is still amoled in which i am sure the IPS LCD on the N4 is much clearer and brighter plus its a quad core nexus for gods sakes! Gonna have key lime pie, a better processor S4 pro, and to top it off........THE PRICE MAY ONLY BE 400 DOLLARS!!!
sorry but no bueno for me.....
nexus all D way lol
49. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3394; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
Hey that's you. I respect that. The Qualcomm quad-core S4 Pro is indeed the best, no doubt. The Exynos 4 quad-core @ 1.6GHz is not to shabby either. The screen is debatable, they are BOTH 720p screens just that one is 4.7" & one is 5.5".
You will be able to see & read things better on a larger screen so the advantage has to go to the bigger screen always.
You are right about the price point. Sure the LG Nexus 4 will be cheaper but it won't be able to do what the Samsung Galaxy Note II can, but the Samsung Galaxy Note II WILL be able to do what the LG Nexus 4 can.
Also about Key Lime Pie, I ALWAYS root. To me if you own an Android & you can follow steps like in a cook book, then you can most definitely root. If I get the Samsung Galaxy Note II, I will root that beast. I will make it how I want & make it perform better than Samsung could ever do, thanks to the GREAT Android developer ecosystem that is out there. I will have Android 4.2 Key Lime Pie. Maybe not the same day the source is released but as early as a couple of days to a full week after the LG Nexus 4 gets it. That is how fast rooted non Nexus phones get the most up to date Android versions.
So when I root my Samsung Galaxy Note II in theory I will be turning the phone into a 5.5", S-Pen powered, 3100 mAh battery & up to a 64GB MicroSD card reading Nexus. As always with the ability to put a custom ROM & Kernels that I choose.
That is the beauty of Android, plain & simple.
41. ZEUS.the.thunder.god (unregistered)
well I have to disagree with you Remix on the price. I think Sammy has justified it. As much as I love my GneX, I have to agree that this phone is a beast and real value for money. But thats just my opinion.
45. ZEUS.the.thunder.god (unregistered)
thanx bro. and yeah I read about Sammy taking care of Exynos documentation issue. They are always very supportive when it comes to Dev community. Lets hope for the best. But I was really looking forward to GneX II this year so may be wait for next year or might go for Lg Nexus if price is right here in India.
39. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3394; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
That is good to hear. I love the LG Nexus 4 BUT the HUGE 5.5" screen is so epic.
50. MobileCaseReview (Posts: 239; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)
SuperAndro, I agree. As a Note owner in the US, I've been very forunate to have amazing dev support. I've been running liquid smooth on my note since its release and this is straight out butter. The note 2 I'm sure will have plenty of dev support. As much as I love all the innovations Samsung put in, I'm gonna turn that beast into stock android regardless. Crossing my fingers there's a HTC nexus 5. I would hop all over that within seconds get myself into debt haha.
53. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3394; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
Dude that makes me feel really good about purchasing the Samsung Galaxy Note II.
55. MobileCaseReview (Posts: 239; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)
I'm in the same boat as you. Just sitting and waiting. Having this gigantic screen has spoiled me. I won't accept anything less than 5 inches now. One of my devs said he may be getting the Note II. He's done amazing work withe Gnote 1 so far. ManelScout4Life waiting to find out if he's going with the Gnote 2. Sadly, that will strongly sway my decision lol.
77. moronman66 (Posts: 145; Member since: 09 Jan 2012)
I dunno, from what I understand developers have a harder time developing for phones running Exynos processors, for some reason? I would get the phone if that is false, or just wait for either the HTC Nexus 5 or the HTC J Butterfly or whatever it's called, 5 Inch 1080p Screen with 440 pixel density, quad core Snapdragon S4 Pro and 2 gigs of RAM, count me in!
25. richardyarrell2011 (banned) (Posts: 510; Member since: 16 Mar 2011)
Case closed... As I have been stating for the last month nothing will be better than the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 for the next 180 days period. This review proves my point 100% this device is worth any amount. And will be mines come November 1st.
62. imkyle (Posts: 911; Member since: 18 Nov 2010)
I am rocking a Galaxy Nexus and I love Samsung products, but the Optimus G has my attention.
68. winsaki234 (Posts: 63; Member since: 30 Mar 2011)
Galaxy Note 2
Optimus G = LG never update their phone
920 = bad ecosystem
73. enGet (Posts: 23; Member since: 19 Oct 2012)
Excatly my problem too, and the same phones as well :)
I am putting the Note in third place though because of the low quality case and screen, but I love the size. The Lumia is well-built and has Win 8 so it should be damn good. The Optimus looks awesome as well - high quality parts, awesome screen, etc, but I am a tad worried that Android hasn't fixed their wifi connectivity issues such as having to use a static IP address to connect to a wifi hotspot/modem/router (2 out the last 3 Androoid devices I have owned had this issue).
Right now I am waiting to see what the Nexus 4 (LG) looks like, then I'll make my final decision.
2. sheik (Posts: 249; Member since: 12 Sep 2012)
You are wrong. The GN II front camera is 1.9 MP, not 1.3 MP
3. PhoneArena Team (Posts: 237; Member since: 27 Jun 2006)
You are right, this has been fixed. Thanks
4. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 4736; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)
VZW, stop f*cking around.... RELEASE your version of the Note II!!!!
11. PAPINYC (Posts: 1834; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)
I know, I can't take it anymore (I feel like one of those people who habitually stand on-line when a phone is released; of course, this is different because it's 'the Next Big Thing', unlike the same old small thing that those other people wait on-line for [dangle preposition...]).
17. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 4736; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)
November is my decision month. Specifically, early November (9th). If VZW hasn't announced for late November shipping, I may have bite the bullet and go with the AT&T edition. I am not going to wait into December for VZW to ship something this good.
22. PAPINYC (Posts: 1834; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)
Patience... Verizon will not release this in the same 2-week return window as the RAZR HD/RAZR MAXX HD launch. My educated guess is a November 8th release date on Verizon. "You can quote me on that."
27. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 4736; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)
Yeah patience.... Ever walk around with a small pebble in your shoe? At some point, you just have to stop and remove the shoe to get rid of the pebble. For me, that point will occur when the AT&T edition of the Note II ships.
9.0. What a joke, PA!
37. PAPINYC (Posts: 1834; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)
No one knows more about that proverbial "pebble" than I. After all, I dealt for years with Microsoft Windows phones after Windows Mobile 2003SE hoping that they would continue to evolve
but, instead experienced the steady spiraling devolution of Windows Mobile 5,
5.1, 6.0, 6.1, 6.5, etc!
So, I truly feel ya'
23. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 4736; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)
Edit: I am 'justifying' AT&T by trying to convince myself that it would be good to have a second carrier for those times when VZW doesn't have coverage.... Lame, I know, but still, that is how bad I want this toy.
Come on VZW!!!! Your version has already received certification from the FCC, so it is nothing more than you f*cking with the market.
9. PAPINYC (Posts: 1834; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)
"John V." this phone deserves a "10" solely based on that video posted yesterday demoing the use of the S-Pen to paint on top of all the other hardware that completely blows anything else, including that teeny-tiny "other" phone with the headphone jack now on the bottom' (which is half a phone compared to the G-Note II).
15. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 4736; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)
Yeah, I would agree that PA has down-rated the Note II. If the iP5 gets a 9 with all of its 'issues', the Note II rates at least a 9.5.
20. PAPINYC (Posts: 1834; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)
Thank you, I didn't want to point out all those issues for fear of getting another "warning". But, you're right that "other" phone (if you can call it a phone) has a host of hardware and software issues and it, too, got a "9". Someone at PhoneArena (cough, cough Michael H.) should review, revise and update "John V's" atrocious rating.
24. Berzerk000 (Posts: 3278; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)
Yes, the Note II deserves a 9.5 at least. Especially since there is no cons list if you look.
10. FranksGT (Posts: 167; Member since: 29 Aug 2012)
"Regardless of that noteworthy item, it’s still a bit unwieldy to hold in the hand, making it more suitable for two-handed operation."
OH WAIT IPHONEARENA.
The Ipad Mini 7.9 can be used with 1 hand but a PHONE can't?
Are you mental?
Your stating a 5.5 inch phone is more sutible for 2 hands, and a Ipad mini is comfortable with 1 hand at 7.9?
35. PAPINYC (Posts: 1834; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)
Yeah, but you forget, the MiNiPad has this new feature called "Thumb Detection"; an entire article devoted to it was posted here last evening.
Here's to "Big Thumbs" on PhoneArena.
18. darkvadervip (Posts: 242; Member since: 08 Dec 2010)
Well I'm tired of Android bring on wp8. All Androids are the same just different specs. Getting to childish for me. Apple is OK just tired of the same ios.
81. -box- (Posts: 3470; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)
I did the same thing in April (for WP7, of course, not 8) and haven't looked back. No crashes, no restarting launchers, no random reboots, great signal and voice quality, and the data and memory isn't being hogged by a bunch of poorly written apps
26. ChrisG (Posts: 34; Member since: 22 Aug 2012)
"Discrete" vs. "discreet." Look it up. Basically, you used the wrong term throughout the article. Otherwise, nice review!
29. redmd (Posts: 761; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)
John V is this year's Ray S for the Note. Score of 9 without a con, where did the 1 go? The absence of fruit logo probably hid it. Seriously I've been using the Note 2 for a week now and I think it's the most fluid android yet both hardware and software. coming from Note 1 I'm impressed to the maxx.
32. lzsbleach (Posts: 154; Member since: 20 May 2012)
I think he gave it a 9 because of the size; everyone doesn't want a mini tablet for a phone but other than that this phone is like a 9.7 with people who don't mind the size.