- Reception and call quality Good but not mind-blowing.
- Display Very sharp display 1280x720 true HD resolution display at 267ppi. 5.5" display is always crystal clear to the eye even in sunlight.
- Battery life Insanely long battery life with a 3,100 mAH replaceable battery. Even with LTE on with moderate use, the G. Note last over 24 hours on a full charge.
- Camera Very sharp 8 MP camera. Nice 1.9 MP front facing camera.
- Ease of use Strong use of icons & system tutorials for the SPEN & gestures system.
- Design and form factor Very lightweight & sturdy construction. Doesn't have the plastic-y feel of my old Nexus S 4G. Materials are slightly improved over previous devices.
- Portability (size / weight) It's size & light weight makes the G. Note a very easy to carry device. It fits well in the pocket or works well in a carrying case.
- Media support Good standard support of industry standard & open source formats for both audio & video content.
- Durability No comments
- Ecosystem (apps, accessories, etc.) Google Play Store plus additional options in Amazon, Samsung's Widget Gallery & Media Hub gives this a strong robust ecosystem rivaling the competition.
The battery life is absolutely mind-blowing. It is absolutely on par with the battery life of an iPhone or an iPod Touch. Even with the 4G radio going gangbusters all day, the Galaxy Note manages to hold on to its battery life. The phone itself is slick & responsive. I've yet to feel this phone bog down in executing operations. The UI is very responsive. Even on 3G the data connection feels pretty rock solid. On LTE, the bits just fly quickly & you notice the speed of a FiOS-like connection in your pocket.
The large 5.5" display running at 1280x720 gives you true 720p HD resolution graphics. The 267 pixels per square inch gives you a display on par with any retina display. The screen is plenty bright & has amazing color contrast. Colors are extremely vibrant & the blacks shades are very deep. The Galaxy Note has one of the most impressive displays on the market only to be outdone by it's sister phone, the Galaxy S III.
My phone came with 16 GB of internal storage but has expanded storage capacity up to an additional 64 GB. This would put you far past any iOS device in terms of storage. Additional cloud storage is available from Google & Dropbox. This allows you to stretch just the internal storage or the expandable memory considerably.
Ecosystem wise, the Galaxy Note benefits from both Google Play & Samsung's budding ecosystem for it's Android devices. Like any Android device, it also has a third option in the Amazon market. There are tons of music & video options from many different players.
The S-PEN docks well with the Galaxy Note 2 & enhances the functionality of the tablet without feeling like a clunky add on. There are plenty of tutorials & onscreen instructions to help guide new users & the device automatically senses when the phone is out of it's dock. If you go too far away from your S-PEN, an alarm activates to notify the user. It really feels like Samsung really thought very well about how a stylus truly goes hand in hand with a smartphone. It feels like Samsung took the best parts from our old PDA's of yesteryear & brought them back with 2012/2013 relevance. From simple note taking, image notes, to sketching & full document editing, the Galaxy Note 2 is definitely innovative in how it treats the stylus as a companion piece to the device. This kind of true innovation is what sets the Galaxy Note 2 apart from the it's main competition the iPhone 5/4S/4.
Bottom line, the Galaxy Note 2 is clearly one of the best phone on the market in the fall of 2012. It clearly makes the iPhone 5 & iOS 6 look dated. Using an 4th generation iPod Touch, I'm not excited or inspired by its 2007 design. However, the Galaxy Note with it's Jelly Bean Android OS, Google Now Voice or S-Voice, S-Pen star studded apps, high pixel luxurious screen, expanded screen real estate, multiple source ecosystem, & insanely fast performance? The Galaxy Note 2 clearly expands & creates a unique experience that feels like nothing I've ever seen on iOS. If the Galaxy Note II & the iPhone were cars? The Galaxy Note would be a Chevy Camero ZL1 & the iPhone 5 would be a Shelby Mustang GT500. It comes down to style. But as many reviewers of those vehicles went with the Camero? Put a Galaxy Note in your hands & use it for a few hours. This is a phone that must be experienced to really get how much better it is.
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Updated detailed review
Updated detailed review