Samsung GALAXY Note II hands-on

Samsung GALAXY Note II hands-on
Just when you thought the Note’s display couldn’t get any bigger, Samsung has done it again. We got a hands-on look at the Samsung GALAXY Note II - this device is alllllllll screen.

The Samsung GALAXY Note II is slated to make its U.S. debut in two choices of paint jobs – Titanium Grey and Marble White. The physical body design takes cues from the GALAXY S III, which makes it minimalistic and clean. It sports a headphone jack at the top, USB charging at the bottom, volume rocker on the left and a power/sleep button on the right edge. All the buttons have a nice tactical response and their locations felt intuitive.

On the rear of the device is an 8-megapixel camera that also shoots 1080p HD video at 30 fps. The devices is expected to be available in stock configurations of 16, 32, or 64GB, but the backplate of the device is removable, which gives you access to a microSD expansion slot if your need for storage increases. Also under that cover is a 3100 mAh battery that should keep you powered for a full day.

Taking a look at the front of the device we have a 1.9-megapixel camera for video chat, the home button, earpiece, and, of course, that huge display.

In comparison to the original Note, this display kicks up to 5.5 inches. Now if you felt like the form factor of the first Note was pushing the boundaries in terms of physical size, you’ll be happy to know that Samsung slimmed down the bezel while enlarging the screen. The result is the Note II is actually a tad thinner width-wise than its predecessor and weighs the same even with the larger battery.

This time around the Note II sports a Super AMOLED 16:9 True HD display. The colors are bright and beautiful while text is nice and crisp. When snapping photos and video and playing with some of the new editing and playback features on the Note II, the larger display coupled with a generous resolution makes this device a joy to edit and view various types of media on.

The Samsung GALAXY Note II comes with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and the overall user experience is fantastic. Being powered by a 1.6GHz Exynos 4412 quad-core CPU with 2 GB of RAM really lets you fly. We weren't able to test the data connectivity, but Samsung promises that this device will be "LTE Optimized" therefore, depending on carrier, you should have a super fast Internet experience as well.

Some of the really exciting things about the new GALAXY Note II are the improvements to the S Pen. Let’s face it, most people commit to a device for 2-years. While the bells and whistles are nice, it's the day to day usability that really counts during those long contracts. Samsung really made some great improvements to the S Pen that will benefit the average user in everyday tasks.

As you can see in the video below, when you remove the S Pen, the device actually wakes from sleep and goes to a special S Pen screen. It also utilizes the onboard accelerometer to determine when the device has been moved away from the S Pen and will sound an alert to notify you that the S Pen was left behind.

The physical design of the pen itself has changed as well. It is thicker, longer, and asymmetrical, which makes it much more comfortable to use. The tip material has also been re-engineered to create more friction, which in turn gives the user a closer experience to a pen on paper rather than plastic on glass.

The GALAXY Note II uses a technology called Air View that allows it to detect the S Pen when it is hovering over the screen. This now allows you to hover over the screen to scroll through lists and text fields such as your email, as well as preview various types of media such as emails, calendar events, photos, and videos, without actually launching them.

Samsung S-Pen Demo Video:

Overall the Samsung GALAXY Note II is a great device. It’s biggest downside is that its size makes it almost completely unusable with one hand, but those that enjoy the stylus experience – particularly with the new S Pen improvements - will love it. We don’t have specific carrier information just yet, but hope that Samsung will reveal more details regarding carrier availability and launch dates soon enough.

Samsung Galaxy Note II Hands-on:

Related phones

  • Display 5.5" 720 x 1280 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.9 MP front
  • Processor Samsung Exynos 4 Quad, Quad-core, 1600 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3100 mAh(16h 3G talk time)



1. imsickwithphone

Posts: 76; Member since: May 17, 2012

Cant wait!!!!!

111. Jelly_Bean

Posts: 109; Member since: Sep 11, 2012

Be mine asap :( can't wait

2. Mightymack

Posts: 74; Member since: Jul 16, 2010


3. unbiasedcommenter

Posts: 11; Member since: Aug 29, 2012

shut up and take my money

37. SleepingOz unregistered

Waiting for reviews first..

4. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

Yep this device is looking VERY sexy. I just need to see this rumored HTC 5" phablet so I can make a decision.


Posts: 2315; Member since: Jul 30, 2011

All I know is that I'm out of Kleenex at this point.


Posts: 4851; Member since: Apr 13, 2012

i'm out of iKleenex at this point.

25. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

the feature demo is really cool. I could see myself using a lot of that regularly. Im still turned off by the gargantuan size though... I'll have to play with it extensively before making a decision. What's intriguing to me is that they say its "LTE" but they make no mention of chip switching for the US version.. hopefully they really are not just forgetting to mention that part and are bringing Exynos to the US finally.

43. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

I think your dream of an Exynos that works with U.S. LTE towers is about to be realized. From what I am making of all these rumors the Samsung Galaxy Note II will have the 1.6GHz Exynos 4 & will play nice with LTE here in the good old U.S. of A.

44. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

that gives me a lil happy tent. :) What would make me even happier is if they got one of those SGS2+ devices in the US with exynos and the newer HD screens. A 4.3-4.5 inch SGS2+ / SGS3 would be fantastic. Crap I was just on Ebay looking at SGS2 international devices. Not gonna actually throw money down on international until i know for sure that Tmo has 1900 3g/4g up and running around here.

84. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

just wanted to mention, that until we have confirmation of US exynos quad, I'm going to assume the traditional chip switch out. Thankfully, if the rumors of quad persist, that means it should be the S4 quad Pro if not the exynos.. which is an acceptable trade instead of the normal horrid crapdragon power downsizing that the SGS2 and SGS3 got.

87. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

But the T-Mobile version is said to be equipped with quad Exynos remix.

95. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

that is all rumor at this point with zero substantiation. the rumor is that it remains "quadcore with LTE". nothing has ever pointed to one chip or another. I'd love for it to be Exynos, but I'm just assuming its the traditional Qualcomm chip switch until we hear something official from samsung.. At least the Krait quad pro is a decent chip. it runs the same if not slightly better in the GPU aspect anyways. Still not as strong in CPU though.

123. lsutigers

Posts: 832; Member since: Mar 08, 2009

Actually, the Sprint SGS2 got to keep the dual core Exynos processor and the big 4.5" display. Seriously though, can you please stop it with the crapdragon stuff, we all know you're a Samsung fanboy and that the Snapdragon processors aren't crap, it's just getting really old, you say it on every spec post.

129. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

yea sorry but you are who? we know who I am. The AT&T got the exynos as well.. what is your point? Neither were "big sellers". The Skyrocket came out shortly after with LTE and made the SGS2 irrelevant the the traditional buyer that has no idea of the benefits of a stronger processor.. and no on cares about Sprint.. sorry.. its true. Besides, they got the i4s shortly after which hurt all sprint phone sales. You dont have a fact. You have an opinion. Your opinion is baseless and stupid. Period. Whatever opinion I espouse is backed up by fact verified by multiple sources.

78. Sprintfan

Posts: 68; Member since: Nov 18, 2011

Same here. HTC needs to deliver on this. Once people go to a larger screen they usually won't turn back. *from my own experience*.

124. lsutigers

Posts: 832; Member since: Mar 08, 2009

The HTC phablet may be a better choice, if the screen comes in between 5" - 5.5" it will be for many. As much as I like the Note II, it looks way too big. I guess I will have to reserve my final judgment until I see it @ the store but even with large hands, I just don't see myself getting used to it.

144. Jeradiah3

Posts: 1149; Member since: Feb 11, 2010

Id assume that you have Verizon SO your decision may have to depend on actually looking at the device. I dont know how Verizon operates because I have AT&T, but i think that the concept on choosing the right phone remains the same I dont like HTC anymore so im biased towards Samsung, but i think that both phones will do you justice

6. iamcc

Posts: 1319; Member since: Oct 07, 2011


9. SamsungFan

Posts: 201; Member since: Apr 16, 2012

Samsung rockzzzzzz

10. shnibz

Posts: 509; Member since: Sep 18, 2011

Too big for me. I really can't imagine people carrying around such a giant phone. My Gnex us borderline to big

77. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

It's the same size as the OG Note. This may seem to shock you a bit, but the Note can fit into pockets.

127. shnibz

Posts: 509; Member since: Sep 18, 2011

OG note seems ridiculous in person to me as well. not saying it isn't a great phone, I just can't imagine talking on it or carrying it all the time. I'm just a bit surprised at how popular the Notes are is all.

128. shnibz

Posts: 509; Member since: Sep 18, 2011

Especially people that are smaller. I'm 6'0 but my wife is 5'4 that thing would look like a Nexus 7 in her hands!

130. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

My wife is 5'1 and she loves her n7. Its no quite "that big"... but yea.. its pretty darn big.

139. Ric1511

Posts: 26; Member since: Dec 28, 2011

I'm 6'1" and wife is 5'3", she has seen the note and says it's too big for her. Perfect for me though! I agree it looks silly talking on it, but I use hands free headsets most of the time. I'm definetely getting either the Note 2 or the HTC Phablet.

12. hosker unregistered

Doesnt this phone looks to you a little bit (just a little) like the galaxy s3?

19. YaIphoneiscool

Posts: 27; Member since: Aug 29, 2012

More like a iphone than any thing.

27. SmartGadgetS

Posts: 20; Member since: Sep 06, 2012

You can like apple... but dont be a dumb...

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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