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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

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


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

There are two snappers bundled with the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 - an 8MP one around the back and a 1.9MP camera facing the front. Eight megapixels may not rock your world if size matters, but if quality does, you've come to the right place.

The camera is extremely capable, comprehensive and intuitive. Firing it up is super quick - even quicker if you put a shortcut on your lock screen, so you can swipe into it from a standing start.

The camera is constantly seeking a lock to focus automatically - but you can alter that point with your finger by tapping anywhere on the screen.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

The flash is extremely strong, just like on our Samsung Galaxy S3. We found ourselves in the rather hilarious situation of being in a dark bar with friends who were all snapping with their iPhones.

When we fired the flash up on this, the comments were unprintable. It actually is blinding if you're not expecting it - but the beauty is that it is also very good at what it does, and can match some point and shoots in that respect.

Lots of headline features from the S3 have been brought across. They're really quite intuitive and include elements such as Best Photo (which identifies the best out of several taken in quick bursts), Face Detection, a very good Panorama (contrary to iOS 6 fans' belief, Apple did not invent panorama), Smile Detection and Buddy Share (which identifies commonly viewed friends and will even send pictures featuring them on to them).

If you're a tinkerer, you can also change a plethora of detailed settings, such as ISO and exposure. Most people won't bother - but for the more discerning snapper, it's nice to be able to do it.

On top of that, you have several scene modes, which enable you to tailor the look of your photos. Included are things such as Negative mode, which we seem to see on phone after phone yet can't understand - do people actually take photos in Negative mode? And if so, why are they not in some kind of special jail?

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

Although it's nice to have these customisation options, we're not that fussed, considering apps such as Instagram give us even more anyway.

Taking photos itself is an easy affair - you can take two per second if you're in a hurry, but there is the issue that the shutter speed can't keep up. So if you're trying to get an image of your dog running around or your child on the trampoline, you're more likely than not to end up with a bit of a blurry mess.

That won't be fun when you're digging out childhood pics to embarrass them with, come their 18th birthday party.

The golden rule here is to take photos of inanimate objects. Stick to trees and lampposts and you'll be fine.

One other gimmick we liked - if only for boasting reasons - is the fact that you can take photos by simply talking to the camera. We never tire of saying "cheese" and seeing the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 do the leg work. But it only worked 90% of the time, and usually failed when we were trying to put iPhone-toting friends back in their iBoxes by showing them how cool we were (read: uncool when it doesn't work.)

The quality of photos yielded was brilliant. We were really happy with the results. In daylight and perfect lighting conditions, they looked amazing.

Even in darker conditions, the flash gave them that extra bang that was needed. And with that huge display for a viewfinder, it made the whole experience so much more enjoyable.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

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Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

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Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review
In perfect light, images are spot on and beautiful.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review
Unfortunately, the zoom is optical, so not ideal.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

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Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review
You can use the inbuilt effects to enhance the warmth of your pictures

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You can use the inbuilt effects to enhance the warmth of your pictures, make them look cooler in temperature or simply play with them to make them look a little more cartoony or funky.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review
Just moving our hand around fairly quickly led to blur. The shutter speed isn't perfect.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

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Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review
HDR mode

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HDR mode works - but we found that a lot of pictures didn't need it, because they look so good anyway.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review
There is even an effect to make your photos black and white except for certain bits.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review
The Galaxy Note 2's front snapper is good, but no match for the one round the back.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review
The flash lights up pitch black situations well.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
Wireless LANYes
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
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
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 Address
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