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Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

The Note is back, bigger and better

Our Verdict

Still a little too large for some, it's still a great device to help users enter the phablet market at a reduced cost.

Product features

  • Built-in Memory : 16 GB
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 8 Megapixel
  • Battery Talk Time : 1 Day
  • Screen Resolution : 1280 x 720

View full specification

For

  • Enormous battery
  • Expandable memory
  • Amazing screen
  • LTE capable
  • Blazingly fast

Against

  • Expensive
  • S-Pen is still complicated
  • Slow camera shutter
  • Size may be a barrier

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

This is the exciting bit - this is the part of the review we've looked forward to writing the most. Because, if you're looking for a portable internet device, then you have come to the right place.

For browsing, we think the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is an almost unbeatable handset.

Where the size may be an Achilles' heel in the calling section, here it's perfect. That screen is big enough to display web pages beautifully without being too cumbersome to hold.

And the colours and sharpness of the display make pages pop out. It's brilliant.

Speeds are lightning fast. Don't forget, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is LTE compatible (if you get the right version - because many providers are offering the standard HSDPA+ flavour by default), but just browsing over Wi-Fi or good old HSDPA is quick as a flash too.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

The Daily Mail website (which we used to test because it's data-heavy, not because we're desperate to learn the health benefits of a square of chocolate a day) loaded almost instantly over Wi-Fi.

It was under two seconds after we hit 'go' before we could actually pan around.

And using 3G only added a second onto this, if that.

The grunt from that processor makes such a huge difference.

In fact, one of the updates as part of Android 4.1.2 was to increase the browsing speeds.

We can't imagine how or why they needed updating, but it's still lightning fast.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

Pages zoomed out look amazing. And when you zoom in, you can see text right up to a gnat's level without having to view individual pixels.

You can have the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 reformat pages when you zoom in but it doesn't do this by default, which is slightly annoying.

In fact, you have to go into the advanced section of the settings menu to dig this little gem out, which we weren't overly impressed with having to do.

Lots of people won't be aware of this - and that could lead to a second rate experience for no reason at all.

Something else that makes the experience second rate is its lack of Flash support.

Yes, we know that the world is moving on from Flash and even Adobe has stopped supporting it (hence why it's not in the Google Play store).

We knew it was going to happen once Jelly Bean landed. But hear us out.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

The fact of the matter is that even if the world is moving to HTML5, and even if Flash is buggy as hell, there are an awful lot of websites out there that aren't/haven't changed.

Updating billions of pages will take a long time, and so it would have been nice to have it rather than not.

Yes, there's an argument that by removing it, it forces web developers to change their sites, but that's a whole different debate.

For us, it's about the fact that one in, say, six sites we look at no longer work properly, which can't be a good thing.

Flash can still be added if you know how to 'side load' - but it's not official, alas. RIP.

On another note, don't forget you can always change the browser if you don't like it.

Samsung's effort is a valiant take on the standard Android browser - but we're also massive fans of Chrome, which Google is actually bundling now as its default internet app.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

The experience with Chrome is just that little more fluid - but it's all down to personal choice.

As for the bookmarking system, it's very similar to what we've seen before on the Samsung Galaxy S3.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 signs into Google, and syncs across your web favourites, so they're always there in your pocket.

You can also save pages for offline reading, which is handy for those of us who travel on the underground or in areas of poor reception.

However, it appears to save the page as an image, which means that links don't work.

So if you want to then follow a link once you get back into civilisation, alas, you can't do so without digging around menus to enable Online Mode again.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported64 GB
Built-in Memory16 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyEDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA, UMTS, HSPA+, GPRS
SAR Value0.17 W/kg
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationYes
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyGalaxy Note II
Cellular Generation4G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 850, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100, LTE 700, GSM 850
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution8 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
ColourTitanium Grey
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameSamsung
Battery Talk Time1 Day
Product ModelGT-N7100
Screen Size14.1 cm (5.6")
Screen Resolution1280 x 720
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)182.5 g
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Processor ManufacturerSamsung
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n
Operating System VersionAndroid 4.1.1 Jelly Bean
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
RealtoneYes
Radio Tuner TypeFM
Call FeaturesCall Log, Call Waiting, Call Holding, Caller ID, Conference Call
Pixel Density267 ppi
Height151.1 mm
Width80.5 mm
Depth9.4 mm
Radio TunerYes
ManufacturerSamsung
Product NameGalaxy Note II GT-N7100 Smartphone
Processor Speed1.60 GHz
Processor TypeExynos
Product LineGalaxy Note II
Screen TypeOLED
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Magnetometer, Gyro Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor, Proximity Sensor, Barometer
Manufacturer Part NumberGT-N7100TADBTU
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.samsung.com/uk/
Marketing Information

Unbeatable viewing experience - See more clearly in one view
The Galaxy Note II features a 5.55" (141mm) HD Super AMOLED display providing brilliant visual clarity. Its 16:9 screen ratio ensures an immersive and enriched movie theatre-like video viewing experience. Its larger screen allows users to see content clearly and vividly, which enhances readability. In addition to the rich content consumption experiences, users will also be able to do more tasks efficiently and create content freely, whilst on-the-go, as Galaxy Note II comes with a thinner, lighter, but yet bigger screen.

Advanced S Pen & S Note usage
Everyday tasks on Samsung Galaxy Note II are made easier and more intuitively using S Pen enabled features. Air View allows you to hover with the S Pen over an email, S Note, S Planner, image galleries, or videos to preview the content without having to open it. This gives you quick access to search and view more information in detail without screen transitions; and the device's new gesture pad feature called Quick Command lets you use to the S Pen to take shortcuts.

The S Pen's advanced features also provide enhanced capabilities to capture ideas and inspirations instantly or to combine handwriting with any digital content directly on the screen. By simply pressing the dedicated S Pen button, it magically recognises that you want to clip or edit the selected content on the screen. This action allows you to instantly crop the screen or its contents in any shape required-ready to save, share or paste-and you can also edit Web or digital images instantly with colouring, shading, or your own personal handwriting. It is as quick and easy as pen and paper but better because there is more functionality. Users can also capture screen-shots for instant copying or sharing, or use the Screen Recorder feature to record a whole sequence of actions on their screen- for example, a demonstration of how to use an application-and then share it with friends for comment, or just for fun.

Seamless multitasking

Whether you're watching a video, texting a friend or sketching an idea, the Galaxy Note II makes multitasking seamless and intuitive with three new features:

Popup Note lets you open an S Note instantly as a pop-up window anywhere on the screen. For example, you might watch a soccer game on the display while looking up a player's statistics at the same time. Or you can take notes on S Note while your friend gives you directions over the phone, or even sketch the directions as a map during the conversation. Whatever the task, Galaxy Note II has the right tools to keep you active while on-the-go.

Another new multitasking feature is Popup Web. You can now open a web browser anywhere on the screen and open a web link without having to switch between screens.

Thanks to the breadth of Galaxy Note II's amazing viewing experience, a feature called Popup Video extends the concept of 'Pop up play.' While watching a video, with the touch of a button, the video will become a floating window on your display. The video will continue to play and it can be repositioned to any part of the Galaxy Note II's screen. This versatility means you are free to load other applications beneath it to browse online, connect with friends or plan your day.


Limited Warranty2 Year