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Samsung Galaxy Note II Review (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint)

Samsung GALAXY Note II T-Mobile
Call Quality:

Samsung Galaxy Note II Review (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint)
Rounding things out, the Samsung Galaxy Note II excels in the call quality department. Setting its volume to the maximum setting, voices through the earpiece are natural in tone. In noisier environments, however, we’re pleased to know that there’s an “Extra Volume” option available to us, which cranks up the volume even more. As much as we’re pleased by it, there’s a hint of distortion to voices. On the other end of the line, our callers have no issues in making out our distinct voices. And finally, we didn’t encounter any issues using the speakerphone.

In high coverage areas, the Samsung Galaxy Note II manages to give us an average signal strength of -89 dBm – with no evidence of major fluctuations in the same area. In addition to that, we didn’t experience any dropped calls during our testing in the greater Philadelphia and New York regions.


Whoa! Can we just say that we are astounded by the Note II’s impeccable battery life, especially knowing it’s packing the largest display out there on a smartphone? Packing along a higher than normal 3,100 mAh battery, we’re able to push out two solid days with normal usage on a fully charged battery – albeit, the results are based on HSPA+ connections. Regardless of that, we’re blow away by its longevity!


Sure, there’s a premium price attached to the Samsung Galaxy Note II, but there’s a very good reason for that. In T-Mobile’s case, they’re asking a mind-blowing $369.99 for the Note II – and that’s with a 2-year contract ($649.99 outright), while AT&T and Sprint are selling it for $299. At one point not too long ago, the threshold seen with cream of the crop smartphones topped out at the $300 mark, but with this, it totally kicks down the door and establishes a new tally. However, there's a point in paying a slightly higher upfront cost, considering that T-Mobile's plans tend to be cheaper in the end, compared to the competition. No doubt, it’s still an expensive thing to own, but as we’ve seen, this isn’t your typical smartphone – as it embraces the best aspects of both tablets and smartphones all around.

Continuing to show us why the stylus isn’t dead, Samsung has managed to reaffirm to us why it’s a core feature with the Note II. With the original model, the S Pen showed us that it’s capable of replicating the paper and pen experience. This time around, however, Samsung improves this and extends its functionality to a totally new level to make it even more compelling – while being practical at the same time.

Beyond that, this is one beastly of a smartphone in every way, shape, and form. From its hardcore specs sheet, to its lovely looking 5.5-inch HD Super AMOLED display, it’s donning hardware that’s no doubt fitting for any top-shelf smartphone. And just like with the international version, we have to give a mention to the handset’s 3,100 mAh battery, which has proven itself to us in being more than equipped to handle our needs. Ultimately, it’s the heavy incorporation of the S Pen combined with the deep features of the TouchWiz Nature UX that truly makes the Note II a one-of-a-kind device at the moment – mainly because there’s nothing close to it right now. Simply put it folks, it’s in a level of its own!

Software version of the review unit:
Android Version: 4.1.1
Build Number: JR003C.T889UVALJ1
Kernel Version: 3.0.31-260018

Samsung Galaxy Note II Video Review:


  • Best HD Super AMOLED screen from Samsung to date
  • Excellent battery life
  • Deep integrated S Pen features
  • Perfect for browsing the web
  • Powerful quad-core processor
PhoneArena rating:
User rating:
9.86 Reviews

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posted on 24 Oct 2012, 08:09 13

1. dr_fajardo12 (Posts: 118; 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:

posted on 24 Oct 2012, 08:18 9

5. -box- (Posts: 3991; 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.

posted on 24 Oct 2012, 08:21 2

8. sheik (Posts: 249; Member since: 12 Sep 2012)

Hey do you know windows os well? I have a question to ask

posted on 24 Oct 2012, 08:32 3

12. -box- (Posts: 3991; 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!

posted on 24 Oct 2012, 08:42 3

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?

posted on 24 Oct 2012, 09:13 8

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.

posted on 24 Oct 2012, 22:32 2

61. jshan (Posts: 200; 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 ?

posted on 25 Oct 2012, 12:52 1

69. shandesilva (Posts: 80; 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.

posted on 25 Oct 2012, 16:48 3

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.

posted on 29 Oct 2012, 15:49

79. -box- (Posts: 3991; 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.

posted on 24 Oct 2012, 08:35 7

14. -box- (Posts: 3991; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)

Seriously, there are no "cons" listed here, how is this not a 9.3-9.5?

posted on 24 Oct 2012, 08:49 8

19. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)

"Seriously, there are no "cons" listed here, how is this not a 9.3-9.5?"

iP(hone/ad) bias?

posted on 24 Oct 2012, 23:14

63. OptimusOne (Posts: 694; Member since: 22 May 2012)

oh tyou want to be like the palm pre at 9.9?

posted on 24 Oct 2012, 08:18 2

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.

posted on 24 Oct 2012, 08:18 3

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.

posted on 24 Oct 2012, 08:34 1

13. -box- (Posts: 3991; 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).

posted on 24 Oct 2012, 11:12 2

43. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4888; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)

You can root & not have to deal with Verizon. I am on Android 4.1.2 & I have Verizon.

posted on 29 Oct 2012, 15:50

80. -box- (Posts: 3991; 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.

posted on 24 Oct 2012, 08:54 4

21. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4888; 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

posted on 24 Oct 2012, 09:19 1

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.

posted on 24 Oct 2012, 09:27 3

31. remixfa (Posts: 14605; 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.

posted on 24 Oct 2012, 10:30 5

40. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4888; 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.

posted on 24 Oct 2012, 11:56

44. ZEUS.the.thunder.god (unregistered)

totally agree.

posted on 24 Oct 2012, 13:01 3

48. XPERIA-KNIGHT (unregistered)

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

posted on 24 Oct 2012, 14:09 1

49. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4888; 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.


posted on 24 Oct 2012, 10:33 1

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.

posted on 24 Oct 2012, 11:07 1

42. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4888; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)

Hey that is my opinion also.


posted on 24 Oct 2012, 12:05 1

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.

posted on 24 Oct 2012, 10:24 1

39. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4888; 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.

posted on 24 Oct 2012, 14:47 1

50. MobileCaseReview (Posts: 242; 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.

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PhoneArena rating:
Display5.5 inches, 720 x 1280 pixels (265 ppi) Super AMOLED
Camera8 megapixels
Samsung Exynos 4 Quad, Quad-core, 1600 MHz, ARM Cortex-A9 processor
Size5.94 x 3.16 x 0.37 inches
(151 x 80 x 9 mm)
6.34 oz  (180 g)
Battery3100 mAh, 15 hours talk time

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