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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

Battery

Of course, there has to be a low point for a gadget that does so much. And here's where you expect us to tell you that the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 fails dismally, right?

Well, actually, we're not going to, because this device manages to put a good effort in.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

We're not going to tell you that battery life on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is thoroughly amazing, because it's not.

But on the table of expectations, it certainly sits at the end of 'better than average'.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

Powering it is a 3,100mAh battery, which Samsung reckons will provide standby time of some 890 hours on 3G.

We're not going to dispute that, but just point out that such estimates are pointless, because nobody will use their Samsung Galaxy Note 2 the way these experiments are carried out.

Remember, these are results obtained in optimum lab conditions. Life's too short to try to replicate those.

In fact, it's not even worth mentioning the quoted talk time, because if you're buying the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 just to use as a phone, then something is not quite right.

Here's where we found our usage left us: we took the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 off charge at 8am.

It was all set up with Facebook and Twicca updating, one Gmail account (email plus calendar) and one Exchange Mail account.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

Dropbox was also set up to automatically sync all photos taken to our account over Wi-Fi.

Over the course of the day, we surfed the internet for around two hours in total.

We tweeted a dozen or so times, sent one email, made about 30 mins worth of phone calls, shot 36 photographs and 11 videos and had Wi-Fi and GPS enabled constantly.

By 8pm, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 was gasping for juice, down to 4%.

Our conclusion with this is that the battery is actually the same as that on the Samsung Galaxy S3, in terms of what it delivers for average usage.

Yes, it is bigger. But don't forget that the screen is also larger. And that's where you'll find most of the juice being guzzled.

Plus, we were really testing the battery here, and as is always the way, once you've had the device for a few weeks and stopped playing around with your new toy, you are more likely to see your usage levels drop a little.

Connectivity

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

Connectivity runs through the Samsung Galaxy Note 2's blood, so you won't struggle anywhere here. We've mentioned how well DLNA works, and you've got full internet capabilities - especially LTE if you're lucky enough to have access to that.

Remember though, LTE will be even more taxing on that battery.

NFC is also included, and while we're happy to see this, we won't get out the party balloons yet. This technology really needs less of a tap against a reader and more of a kick up its backside to get it working well.

Apple didn't buy in with the iPhone 5, which would have brought it mainstream, and only now is Orange offering the NFC payment scheme to some new British Samsung owners.

This could be a great selling point, but the sad thing is that it's currently just a bit of an also-ran that few will know even exists on their Samsung Galaxy Note 2, until operators invest in the technology properly.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

Speaking of this though, the S-Beam functionality enables you to tap your phone against other enabled devices to transfer files quickly. We had limited success, but when it works, this is a great feature.

If you're connecting to your computer to get media across and you're a Windows user, you'll have few issues.

Connecting to a Mac is slightly trickier, since you have to use the Android File Transfer app to make it compatible, which can be flaky.

There are various other apps that can do the work for you in a much easier way. For example, AirDroid enables you to send media across and control your Samsung Galaxy Note 2 using a browser-based interface.

We're big fans of this, though you can only transfer to the internal memory this way, and not to an external SD card.

Then there's the iSyncr app, which is available for both Mac and PC. Or you can use Samsung's own Kies app, but frankly, we'd rather microwave our own heads. Painful doesn't come close.

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