Samsung Galaxy Note II Review
strong volume, to the extent that we had to tone it down halfway, so it didn’t blast our eardrum, and the voices sounded clean as a whistle.
On the other end they could hear us very well, too, with the sound having more than enough volume, and the dual microphone noise-cancelling setup relayed our voices loud and clear, with no audible distortions. It still feels dorky to talk with such a large slab, but as far as call quality goes, you are covered.
Armed with a beefy 3,100mAh battery, the Galaxy Note II makes way only to the 3, 300mAh one in the MAXX and MAXX HD phones of Motorola, but here the unit is easily removable and replaceable.
There are no official talk times yet from Samsung, but we made one very unscientific test to check how the Note II stacks up against the Note and the Galaxy S III during the HD Super AMOLED’s most frugal consumption times - video playback. We charged all three phones to 100%, put them in airplane mode, pumped up the brightness to the max, and ran the same HD video for an hour. At the end the Note showed 83%, the Galaxy S III showed 87%, while the Note II’s monster battery discharged only 8%, bringing it down to 92%. If we can extrapolate from that, the Note II might very well reach the RAZR MAXX’s 14-hour video playback at half brightness with this battery.
If the Galaxy Note II has attracted your attention in the first place, that means you know the downsides that come with its size, and are willing to sacrifice pocket comfort and one-handed operation for its sweet screen real estate, so the size can’t really be held against it.
It is not that much more compact, compared to the original, and it could hardly be, considering we have an even larger display now. That screen alone, however, is worth the upgrade - it is the best phone screen Samsung has ever produced, and addresses all weak points of Super AMOLED displays so far in one fell swoop.
The 24% increase in battery size alone is worth the upgrade, too, as it brings top-notch endurance to the handset, and the juicer is on top of that replaceable.
Or, if you are buying a Note for the fact that it sports a stylus silo, you’d be happy to hear that the S Pen is much improved now - easier to handle, with a more natural ink flow, and a number of handy new features like Air View and Pop Up Note.
These three in aggregate make the Note II worth it both for those that are upgrading from the original, and for first time buyers. When we throw in the very good pictures and video capture, the excellent loudspeaker, the good call quality, and the expandable memory, that subpar audio capture when recording video becomes just a small fly in a big bucket of honey. While we are at the sweet tooth metaphors - you get the latest Android Jelly Bean, too.
There is not much competition to go around in the gargantuan screen category, but the LG Intuition and the first Note, of course. The advantages before the original Note are apparent, as far as money is not a problem, since the Note II will come more expensive. Regarding the LG Intuition, its stylus is an extra you have to carry with you, it is stuck with Android ICS for now, and the squarish form factor makes it even more unwieldy to handle than the Note II.
Software version: JRO03C.N7100XXALI5
- Best HD Super AMOLED screen from Samsung to date
- Significantly improved S Pen ergonomics and performance
- Excellent battery life
- Powerful quad-core processor
- Very good photos and video
- Stellar call quality
- Strong, clean loudspeaker
- Subpar sound recording with video footage
34. AppleHateBoy (Posts: 178; Member since: 29 Feb 2012)
I bet the SGS4 will have 5.3" screen.
108. phonerobbie (Posts: 3; Member since: 26 Sep 2012)
lets hope that phone doesnt come out a month after the note 2 and that it doesnt come with a quincore processer and 4gb of ram.
119. mills0806 (Posts: 37; Member since: 13 Nov 2011)
Lets also hope it is not going to be $300 on a 2 year contract in the U.S.
120. someones4 (Posts: 607; Member since: 16 Sep 2012)
5-5.1 inches is the limit for me. i wish they would have the stylus as a bonus too.. but it would look like a mini galaxy note if that's the case
37. ZEUS.the.thunder.god (unregistered)
what a phone..!!! good job done sammy.
btw now we can take back our thums up/down here on PA. if you thum down sone one by mistake just thumb down again and that comment will no longer have your red thumb. then you can also give it a thumb up. good job PA.
40. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 4705; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)
Now all that PA needs to do is not block edits for something like 2 minutes after posting.
41. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 4705; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)
I tested the function just now on your post - it works! I gave you a thumb up for mentioning the feature.
49. ZEUS.the.thunder.god (unregistered)
thanks bro. one more good thing about SAMMY i would like to mention that here in india their phone are priced almost equal to the States however on the other hand apple and htc always price their phones way higher than the international prices. no wonder they are undisputed market leader in India as well which is very crucial for their future success.
57. 23nikki1 (Posts: 45; Member since: 25 Jul 2012)
I agree...iphone 4s was about 54k (~$1000) when it was released...even now, it is piced around $800 ...I guess iphone 5 would be $1200 or atleast $1000...
58. ZEUS.the.thunder.god (unregistered)
exactly. thats the reason apple has not seen much success. while S2, note2 and s3 are selling like hell.
87. SmartGadgetS (Posts: 20; Member since: 06 Sep 2012)
LOL.... 5 Million iPhone 5's in 3 days. But Samsung is selling like hell as well :)
106. ZEUS.the.thunder.god (unregistered)
i was talking about india bro. yeah apple sells real well.
70. AppleHateBoy (Posts: 178; Member since: 29 Feb 2012)
Really? The SGS3 costs more than 40k in India. and it's worth only about 30-35k.
BTW i hope they improve the performance of the storage subsystem. Because that is the one and only bottleneck of today's superphones.
P.S.: I live in Rajasthan, India.
72. AppleHateBoy (Posts: 178; Member since: 29 Feb 2012)
But I agree that they have became a top contender in India. Thanks in no small parts to their good value for money Android Phones.
Btw I am only 14 years old and I own the Galaxy Pop.
107. 23nikki1 (Posts: 45; Member since: 25 Jul 2012)
SGS3 costs 36k in INDIA... I'm from Hyderabad
48. ZEUS.the.thunder.god (unregistered)
no offenses to Ray but this phone really deserves a rating of 9.7 and is clearly a much better phone than anything currently available in the market.
80. Martine (Posts: 102; Member since: 20 Oct 2011)
I totally agree with you. This device has only one con and yet it was scored 9!
9.5-9.8 would have been a fairer score for this monster.
Surely, my next phone
60. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 2951; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)
Now, i want to see iP5 heads on with this monster!!
Both have the same rating... But we all know who's gonna win!
38. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 4705; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)
VZW, WHEN are you going to be offering the Note II?
59. mandkeee (Posts: 78; Member since: 27 Feb 2009)
i cant believe that this phone has 9/10
using cheap plastic phone....
102. Jericho (Posts: 300; Member since: 12 Nov 2011)
Hey mate dont worry, Phonearena Give it 9 because it didn't wanted to angry the s-Sheeps cause the iphone 5 got 9. Phonearena rates its reviews on the basis of the phones Popularity. Its a popularity Contest. The First note didn't get a good score cause phonearena thaught it wont sell that much but it did and So now Phonearena knows That Note II will sell well so their giving it 9.
Its about The sales and Popularity More Than it is about the Performance of the device.
103. g2a5b0e (Posts: 1375; Member since: 08 Jun 2012)
Sounds just like something Y2J would say.
116. m_hemanth7 (Posts: 1; Member since: 01 Oct 2012)
Wake up Jericho! Almost every person who has ever owned or wanted an iphone could never really have a sound reason or justify as to why they'd prefer/want one! A majority of the Apple aficianados and patrons could only come up with just one cliched response - "BECAUSE IT IS AN I-PHONE". I am not an anti iPhone/apple guy. Given its reputation for standards, I'd love to work for that company as a design engineer. I really do. But let's face the fact - It's darn too pricey and somewhat overhyped for what it brings to the table. I've been following apple events for few years now and one thing that explains its popularity has to do with the way apple products get advertised. They're very catchy and enamouring! Believe me and that's the reason why you can't have more to say than what's been aesthetically presented by the Apple's big guys! I like one in particular who really steals the show - Jonathan Ive, The vice president of Design.
84. Jelly_Bean (Posts: 109; Member since: 11 Sep 2012)
It should have got 10/10 :(
Can't wait for ma beast now :(
89. lsutigers (Posts: 558; Member since: 08 Mar 2009)
5806 on Quadrant, that's about what my EVO LTE gets with the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Dual-Core "Krait" processor.
115. IHateApple (banned) (Posts: 122; Member since: 26 Sep 2012)
I am still waiting for PHOLED to be used in Sammy's OLED displays.
P.S.: PHOLEDs will initially be 2 times more efficient than current OLEDs. But they will become 4 times more efficient after the technology matures.
124. Intelligence (Posts: 4; Member since: 08 Oct 2012)
I'm so excited to own one too. Getting it the day of. Currently have an iPhone 4S. I needed a break from android and am excited to dive back into it with such an amazing device. So I'm currently sitting on an upgrade, hopefully it'll come in late October.
4. loken (Posts: 462; Member since: 09 May 2012)
so how this get a 9 and xperia t got an 8... ?? sony haters..
10. eisenbricher (Posts: 918; Member since: 09 Aug 2012)
Xperia T is a good product but doesn't have much 'personality' if you ask me.. Sony seems to be lost in alphabet jungle!! They need to innovate their product naming.
56. mukrenol (Posts: 90; Member since: 03 Sep 2011)
i own a sony... but unfortunately... i do agree with you there = =
90. tmcr7 (Posts: 131; Member since: 02 Nov 2011)
But Xperia T is James Bond's phone. It should get a 10 solely for that.
17. tluv00 (Posts: 134; Member since: 18 Oct 2007)
Because reviews are opinions. Not eveyone is going to have the same one as you.
5. kshell1 (Posts: 1112; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)
Good Job Samsung on another excellent device
31. AppleHateBoy (Posts: 178; Member since: 29 Feb 2012)
Make the battery bigger and it will destroy an Ultrabook.
6. lee480 (Posts: 141; Member since: 24 Sep 2012)
At least it is much better than some rotten fruit.
7. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3394; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
Look at the cons & it STILL only got a 9 out of 10. The Apple iPhone 5 had more cons & can expand its memory, has more RAM, has a more powerful processor, & not to mention the innovation that is the S Pen. I am sorry but PhoneArena.com's reviews are very suspect!
If the Apple iPhone 5 is a 9 out of 10 then the Galaxy Note II is a 11 out of 10. Get my drift PhoneArena.com?
13. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3394; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
The iPhone 5 had more cons & the Galaxy Note II.... Yeah I am having a bad day today. I can't type for the life of me. & I hate I can't edit because some posted right after I did.
PhopneArena.com PLEASE CHANGE OR FIX THIS!!!!!! I want to EDIT at anytime or at least for 5 to 10 min after even if someone posts right after me! lol
18. neutralguy (Posts: 1152; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)
9.4 for me. Better than s3. But needs more improvement. :)
19. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3394; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
Thank you. lol I really was exaggerating just to make my point. To me it's a 9.75 because the loud speaker actually has some bass with it. To me that is VERY sweet. I can't remember the last phone that can make that claim.
Also the battery life is phenomenal EVEN with a 5.5" screen. Also the VERY excellent photo & video quality is awesome feature. We all know that the poor sounding recording can be fixed in a future update so that should be squashed fairly quickly.
Also the innovation that is the S Pen can be made even better once 3rd party apps take advantage of its tech. I can keep going but to me the Samsung Galaxy Note II legitimizes that "phablet" category & it will now get more & more mainstream.
Basically another thing Apple will copy from Android & Samsung. lol
28. neutralguy (Posts: 1152; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)
9.75 for me is too much given the fact that there's more room for other technology to fit on this device such as S pen as a mic and earpiece for calling, wireless charging and many more.
But I'm so excited to have this one. :D
35. AppleHateBoy (Posts: 178; Member since: 29 Feb 2012)
I agree. How about putting Quad Core S4 Pro? Or maybe a SGX 543MP2 instead of Mali-400MP? Or how about a Mali-T604?
A15s are basically useless for mobiles according to me. Go either Quad A9 or Custom design.
50. ZEUS.the.thunder.god (unregistered)
exactly. this phone clearly deserves 9.7
53. remixfa (Posts: 13882; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
Agree. I'd go with a 9.25-9.5... taking off for its sound issue while recording. If it has great call sound quality for the user and the person on the other end, then its obviously a sound glitch while recording video which can be patched, I agree.
If we start getting apps/games that use S-Pen in an intuitive way, that would make this device even more sweet. Prepare for the return of the stylus lol.
67. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3394; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
lol YES Samsung is bringing sexy back with the S-Pen. The return of the stylus IS in full effect!
47. g2a5b0e (Posts: 1375; Member since: 08 Jun 2012)
I also think this phone deserves a higher rating than the S3, but whatever, we're all entitled to our opinions.
8. eisenbricher (Posts: 918; Member since: 09 Aug 2012)
s**t! Only if I had money Q__Q
Well I have it reserved for Lumia 920 :)
But clearly, this is an awesome product. I love the way how android is customizable..
25. JKING_25 (Posts: 49; Member since: 12 Sep 2012)
Same here. I am loving the Galaxy Note II, but the Lumia 920 seems to have stolen my heart. This phone sure is a beast though.
9. Mozarrt (Posts: 285; Member since: 08 Oct 2011)
Now I bet nobody is going to criticize the mark it got. (I really love PhoneArena for this reason)
Nice phone in my opinion, but I always get the feeling most users are actually compensating for something having one ;)
11. neutralguy (Posts: 1152; Member since: 30 Apr 2012)
Finally! a full review, gotta read this later. This will decide whether I'll have this or other phone.
12. nofear (Posts: 146; Member since: 22 Jun 2012)
iPhone 5 has nothing to compare with this lovely beast.
14. g2a5b0e (Posts: 1375; Member since: 08 Jun 2012)
9/10? As if I wasn't already sold on the fact that this is the phone for me. Can't wait.
20. henrickrw (Posts: 402; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)
Well, the Iphone 5 score the same rating & it's light years behind the S3 & the Note2
Well, I would have given a 9.5 to the Note2.
21. Mozarrt (Posts: 285; Member since: 08 Oct 2011)
The iPhone has more premium materials, it's got a blazing fast processor, a very nice screen with high PPI and an optimized OS. How is it lightyears behind?