Its enormous screen, innovative stylus, và emphasis on NFC make Samsung"s stepped-up Galaxy cảnh báo 2 "phablet" the philosophical opposite of Apple"s i
Phone 5.

Jessica Dolcourt"s career with CNET began in 2006, & spans reviews, reporting, analysis and commentary for desktop software; thiết bị di động software, including the very first Android and i
Phone apps & operating systems; & mobile hardware, with an emphasis on i
Phone and Samsung. Jessica was one of the first people in the world to lớn test, reviews and report on foldable phones & 5G wireless speeds.Jessica began leading CNET"s How-To section for tips & FAQs in 2019, guiding coverage of practical advice on expansive topics ranging from personal finance lớn phones & home. She holds an MA with Distinction from the University of Warwick (UK).

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Jessica Dolcourt
Oct. 22, 2012 12:01 a.m. PT
17 min read
You"re probably wondering how good the massive, tabletlike Samsung Galaxy cảnh báo 2 is, & if the điện thoại cảm ứng can fulfill important tablet functions.


Samsung Galaxy note 2

The Good
Oodles of screen real estate make the Samsung Galaxy lưu ý 2 terrific for videos, games, và reading; và its improved stylus sida productivity. A blazing quad-core processor, a great camera, and strong battery life round out the advantages of this apk 4.1 phone.
The Bad
The huge display makes the Galaxy cảnh báo 2 unwieldy lớn carry, và hiccups in the S Pen stylus và apps can slow you down. The pricey cảnh báo 2 isn"t a suitable tablet replacement across all categories.
The Bottom Line
Samsung delivers a powerful, boundary-pushing device that gets a lot right. Yet its complicated features and high price raise questions about its purpose.
You may also wonder if the cảnh báo 2"s 5.5-inch screen makes it too unwieldy to hold & carry as an everyday device, và if its battery quickly drains in service khổng lồ the quái nhân screen. Can the quad-core processor keep up, and will it defeat the purpose if you never slide out the Note"s digital pen?

My answers are mostly positive. Yes, the second cảnh báo is huge in the hand và awkward at times to lớn hold, but I quickly grew used to it. In specs, it"s Samsung"s highest-end phone, with game android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS, a speedy quad-core processor, an extra-large battery, và an 8-megapixel camera.

Samsung Galaxy chú ý 2 hands on (photos)

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The chú ý 2"s more comfortable, natural, and sensitive S Pen stylus & smarter software reveal a more evolved device than before, but it still can"t shake some of the complaints that hounded the original Galaxy Note.

And while better-equipped for creating và consuming media than other smartphones, the cảnh báo 2 is still small compared with a 7-inch tablet. Really, only those who could truly take a tablet or leave it will consider the cảnh báo 2 a replacement. Those who really want a tablet will likely still want one.

Editors" note: I won"t delve into every feature in this review, but I will cover the most important aspects. Portions of the reviews are taken from my earlier First Take.

The S Pen defines the Samsung Galaxy Note, và acts as its major differentiating feature. Stephen Shankland/CNET

Pricing and availability The Samsung Galaxy lưu ý 2 supports 4G LTE & HSPA+, and will be available on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon. Sprint will begin selling the "phablet" on October 25 for $299.99. AT&T will ship theirs on November 9, also for $300. U.S. Cellular"s will go on sale October 26 for the same price. T-Mobile, however, is selling the phone for $369.99 with a two-year service agreement; it"s available now.

Design and build If you"ve seen the Samsung Galaxy S3, then the Samsung Galaxy cảnh báo 2 holds few surprises. Start with the Galaxy S3"s round corners, high-gloss surfaces, scant bezels, and bubbled-out screen, then blow it up a kích thước and add a stylus slot.

Samsung unabashedly carries on its plastic tradition in the face of rivals that have much more premium-looking, & possibly heartier, build materials. Though attractive, the cảnh báo 2 wins no awards for construction, and the highly reflective surfaces sometimes tỷ lệ thoát back light in distracting ways.

Oh yeah, it"s big. Josh Miller/CNET

This is a large phone: 5.9 inches tall by 3.2 inches wide by 0.37 inch thick & weighing 6.4 ounces. That"s a handful khổng lồ be sure, but the weight feels proportional khổng lồ the phone"s dimensions, và any lighter could mean a smaller battery, which is one trade-off I don"t want. Like the Galaxy S3, the note 2 manages khổng lồ look relatively sleek & slim despite its girth. Side by side, the chú ý 2 isn"t a whole lot larger than the original Samsung Galaxy Note, & is much more palmable than a 7-inch tablet.

Still, I won"t blame anyone for feeling anxiety over the note 2"s in-hand feel or portability. As with all phones, your ultimate judgment of what feels right depends on your hands. Over the course of testing, the note 2 moved through a range of hands and pockets. Mine are fairly small, và I wanted khổng lồ see what people had to say about its kích cỡ and comfort. Most of the women I spoke with had no trouble fitting the cảnh báo 2 into a bag or purse, but questioned the phone"s usability and their ability lớn reach the corners of the screen one-handed.

Of the men who tried out the phone, responses were 50/50. Some felt fine slipping the lưu ý 2 into a front pants pocket, others didn"t. Some enjoyed holding the larger phone once they got used to lớn its size; others found it too expansive, even with their bigger hands.

I myself was able khổng lồ slide the note 2 into my back jeans pocket and go about my day. It stuck out và looked terrible, but it didn"t impede my walking around and most of the time I didn"t really notice it. I even sat on the phone a few times; it wasn"t especially uncomfortable, & the phone didn"t break.

The Samsung Galaxy note 2 (center) dwarfs the already-large Galaxy S3 (L) & Apple"s i
Phone 5 (R). Josh Miller/CNET

I also became quickly accustomed to lớn the phone"s size. After a day or two staring at its screen, the Galaxy S3"s looked small in comparison. The i
Phone 5"s 4-inch screen looked shockingly tiny, which just proves that device form size is all relative.

If you don"t have one already, you"ll want to lớn invest in a công nghệ bluetooth headset for answering calls. The cảnh báo 2 looks comically large at the ear.

Beyond the phone"s physical properties, you"ll find helpful hardware buttons và ports. There"s a front-facing camera above the screen, along with a light & proximity sensor. There"s a physical hardware trang chủ button below the display, sandwiched between touch-sensitive buttons for Menu and Back. The power nguồn button is on the right spine, the volume rocker is on the left, and the Micro-USB port is on the bottom. The đứng top houses the 3.5mm headset jack.

The slim profile keeps this shingle of a phone light "n" lean. Stephen Shankland/CNET

On the back, you"ll find the camera lens & LED flash. At the bottom of the back panel is the stylus slot with S Pen. Behind the back cover rests the micro
SD card slot, which can hold up lớn 64GB in external memory.

Screen và OS The lưu ý 2"s 5.5-inch HD Super AMOLED screen (1,280x720-pixel resolution) is bigger than the original Note"s 5.3-inch display. That translates into a wide-screen 16:9 aspect ratio rather than the 16:10 aspect ratio of the first Note. That helps it fit right in with more standard graphics and đoạn clip playback.

Colors look vibrant on the Galaxy chú ý 2"s humongous screen, though not as sharp as on HD phones with smaller displays. Stephen Shankland/CNET

The lưu ý 2"s vast HD AMOLED screen is as lovely as ever, with deep blacks & vibrant colors. However, the resolution isn"t as tight as on the Samsung Galaxy S3, which puts more pixels on a comparatively smaller screen. The naked eye would be hard-pressed to lớn detect the looser resolution while watching videos và reading text, but when you hold the phones side by side, the fine details don"t look as sharp on the cảnh báo 2. This is especially noticeable compared with an even smaller HD screen, like the i
Phone 5"s 4-inch Retina Display.

Galaxy cảnh báo 2 Galaxy S3 i
Phone 5 hãng nokia Lumia 920
Display 5.5-inch HD Super AMOLED 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED 4-inch IPS LCD 4.5-inch Pure
Motion+ (IPS LCD)
Resolution 1,280x720 pixels 1,280x720 pixels 1,136x640 pixels 1,280x768 pixels
Pixel density 267ppi 306ppi 326ppi 332ppi

The S Pen stylus is an integral part of the complete cảnh báo 2 experience, but khổng lồ control the phone, fingers are all you really need. Android 4.1 Jelly Bean runs the chú ý 2, with Samsung"s Touch
Wiz interface on top. I"ve said it before: Touch
Wiz mostly adds terrific functionality that extends Google"s game android vision, but it"s getting a little outdated và lacks the elegance or edginess of competitors" overlays.

There"s a great deal of customization, from lock screen shortcuts to lớn a wide variety of motion controls -- some which I love, and others that I completely ignore. You"ll be able lớn access system settings from the notifications menu, which, by the way, offer Jelly Bean"s deeper interactions.

Seven home screens are fully customizable, & Samsung even gives you the option of booting up "easy" mode, which drops in widgets of most-used apps, settings, & contacts on the trang chủ screen. It"s all editable, of course.

You can also enable Page Buddy, a context-relevant trang chủ screen that temporarily pops up when you vày things lượt thích remove the stylus, plug in headphones, và dock the phone. Pull out the stylus, for instance, & you"ll see a page with shortcuts lớn S note files và templates.

Easy mode (left) loads trang chủ screen widgets for you. Page Buddy offers context-sensitive apps when you pull out the cảnh báo 2"s S Pen. Screenshots by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Samsung"s default virtual keyboard lets you touch-type or trace words. I love that numbers get their own row, and I appreciate predictive text. Unfortunately, there"s no spell-checker, và mistakes require manual correction. This oversight bothers me on all Samsung phones, but with the cảnh báo 2 being so focused on writing, the lack of a default spell checker is really inexcusable. I"m also put out that there"s no one-touch way lớn insert commas và question marks.

On the plus side, each navigation button also doubles up on functionality. Hold down Menu to get the revised Google search App with the newly designed Google Voice Actions và Google Now. A long press on the home button pulls up your menu of most recent apps; a double-press activates Samsung"s own take on a voice assistant, S Voice, which I still don"t think is very good. Pressing the back button on this global version pops up the menu for split-screen multitasking (more on this below.)

S Pen stylus If you never unholster the the phone"s signature stylus, you can still enjoy full use of the lưu ý 2 and all its Android-given glory. However, if you vày wield the S Pen, drawing and productivity tools await.

Square S Pen edges and a grooved button địa chỉ stability and control over the original. Josh Miller/CNET

The S Pen itself is redesigned from the original Note"s. Like the Galaxy lưu ý 10.1"s, the cảnh báo 2"s stylus has four distinct surfaces and squared-off sides. Its button is ridged so you can click by feel. Compared with the Note"s round, thin twig of a wand, this stylus is more comfortable, less likely to lớn roll away, & less prone to accidental button presses. Of course, I mistakenly pressed it anyway, which led lớn its own phối of issues while using the device.

Samsung licenses Wacom"s technology to brings its S Pen 1,024 levels of pen-pressure sensitivity, which means you can press lightly or hard for different results. Lượt thích the lưu ý tablet, the note 2 điện thoại cảm ứng thông minh merges pen-and-paper sensibilities with a healthy dose of cursor-and-mouse functionality.

Take air view, a cursor/mouse combo that reveals tool tips & drop-down menus when you hover, & also pops up thumbnail previews for photo và video. You can also scroll up and down, và from side to side.

Manipulating the S Pen Zoom also zooms in & out, takes a screen shot, and opens a new, blank memo on any screen. You can also highlight text và lasso objects to capture them.

Writing with S Pen The S Pen is a natural, comfortable extension of your own hand, và using it gives your fingers a break. Dig a little, & you"ll find quick commands & gestures of all sorts. Gestures can be faster và more efficient; other times not. You can also create some of your own.

The S Pen sequel is more comfortable to hold and use. Stephen Shankland/CNET

Any time a keyboard pops up, you"ll be able lớn use the S Pen to hunt-and-peck, swipe words, or handwrite them. After tinkering with some settings, you"ll also be able lớn handwrite directly into apps like Gmail, và virtually flip over photos to jot on the back.

No matter which phầm mềm I"m in, the S Pen renders my already questionable penmanship even more scrawling, which can throw off the mostly impressive handwriting recognition software. The chú ý 2 even recognizes cursive script for some languages.

Numbers get their own row in the Galaxy note 2"s virtual keyboard (left) You can also write directly on the keyboard in your own hand. Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Still, to lớn rely on the handwriting software day in và out, recognition must be consistently accurate, reliable, và fast. The Note"s isn"t quite there yet, which leads to frustrating moments defined by pauses, corrections, and rewrites.

S Note Samsung"s S note app is both one of the best arguments for the S Pen, & also one of the phone"s weak points. I"m a natural note-taker, so I scribbled lists aplenty during my testing period. I also sketched pictures to entertain some bored kids.

I liked the flexibility & naturalness of using my own note-taking style & work flow with arrows và underlines & all the rest. I found that my penmanship improved when I used the fine-point pen tip on the smallest setting, but erasing and rewriting scrawls took time. My style is simple, but you can also use the S Pen khổng lồ enter typed text, & adjust the kích thước and colors of each digital pen stroke.

A 4-year-old girl had fun changing pen colors & types on the Galaxy cảnh báo 2. CNET

S lưu ý also supports voice dictation and photo and đoạn clip inserts, & can record your actions. It"ll transform your sketches into math formulas or shapes, insert đoạn clip art, & pull up extra art images based on your keyword search.

One of my favorite settings makes S chú ý sensitive to lớn the S Pen only. In other words, if you hit the screen with your finger or the heel of your hand, you won"t leave unwanted marks. However, pen strokes sometimes spontaneously halt, và accidentally hitting the S Pen button can toggle on the eraser or switch pen types as you write. Handwriting-to-text is rife with usability snags.

S cảnh báo is great for jotting and doodling, but hiccups can make strokes unintelligible. On the right, the word before "symbol"; is actually "this." Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

In addition, S chú ý has problems clearly organizing your notes, you can"t intuitively create templates, và you can"t open a blank document by default.

Multiview mode One of my favorite S Pen features splits the screen to xuất hiện another app. First seen on the cảnh báo 10.1, the multiview mode gets much greater support for third-party apps in the note 2. Unfortunately, it isn"t coming to the U.S. Versions of the phone, at least not yet. This is a major let-down at launch, but I"ll describe what you"ll miss out on stateside, & what you get if you acquire the global model.

You can, for instance, view tin nhắn or the web while also surfing Maps, or simultaneously scan Facebook while also keeping tabs on a You
Tube video. Multimode worked well in both portrait & landscape modes on a little more than a dozen apps.

I really liked the split-screen option on the unlocked Galaxy chú ý 2. Screenshots by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Even more features and apps Samsung has loaded up the lưu ý 2 with even more features. Truly, when you địa chỉ cửa hàng up the S Pen apps and features with Samsung"s gestures và the extras laid out here, the cảnh báo 2 isn"t a phone for people who crave intuitive simplicity.

There"s S Beam, for example, which is Samsung"s riff on the NFC-sharing feature called app android Beam. Blocking mode keeps you from seeing incoming calls and alerts between the hours that you set. Smart Stay keeps the screen from timing out as long as it detects your gaze.

Pop-Up Play và Pop-Up Browser are independent movable, resizable windows that either play back đoạn phim or mở cửa a website page independently of the main browser or video player. Pop-Up Browser can be useful for quickly opening a window before diving back into whatever you"re doing.

You can pinch and zoom lớn resize the Pop-Up Play video clip window. Stephen Shankland/CNET

There are also settings for one-handed operation, a mode that shrinks a handful of apps (like the keyboard) & moves them khổng lồ the left or right gutter where your fingers can reach. You can program the chú ý 2 to flash notifications if you wave your hand in the right spot và with the right speed over the proximity sensor; địa chỉ a Facebook or news ticker lớn the lock screen; & take a screenshot of an irregular shape by using the S Pen as a lasso tool. The phone also serves a portable hot spot for up khổng lồ 10 devices.

Samsung"s All
Share & Kies apps transfer content from the cảnh báo 2 to other devices through the DLNA protocol or over Wi-Fi, respectively. Samsung has also released version 3.0 of its Tec
Tiles app, companion software that lets you program NFC stickers khổng lồ instantly carry out any number of tasks.

Don"t forget about the Android điện thoại cảm ứng thông minh essentials: Wi-Fi, GPS, công nghệ bluetooth không dây 4.0, a calendar, a music player, a calculator, & all the usual Google apps và services.

Camera & video The Galaxy note 2 carries on Samsung"s legacy for high-performing 8-megapixel cameras. Photos look just as crisp and colorful on the Galaxy chú ý 2 as they do on the GS3, especially those taken outdoors.

Not all pictures will turn out ready for a frame, but that"s true with any camera. Some indoor photos looked less crisp và colorful than I expected, but on the whole, I"d be happy using the Note"s camera for those impromptu shots, và leaving the better camera at home.

Samsung likes to showroom a lot of special features to lớn the usual bevy of lighting adjustments & effects presets. Burst mode is one that integrates into the onscreen shutter button to take up to 20 shots in quick succession. Related lớn that is Best Photo, a mode that lets you choose the best single image of eight.

This outdoor photo catches the light flare, but overall defines edges well. Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

The Best Faces mode also snaps đôi mươi shots so you can choose the one that makes mugs look their most flattering. Share Shot and Buddy Photo mô tả are two ways to lớn fast-track photos to friends. Nội dung Shot now connects with compatible phones through NFC & Wi-Fi Direct -- in other words, just tap the phones together to tóm tắt photos while you"re within radio range.

CNET editor Antuan Goodwin, taken indoors with mixed lighting. Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

HDR, panorama, và low-light settings are other shooting modes. The phone also has geotagging, antishake, và the option to lớn take photos triggered by a voice command, lượt thích "Smile" or "Cheese."

In addition to the rear-facing camera is the front-facing lens, which takes decent 1.9-megapixel front-facing photo & video, also with shooting effects and several shooting và sharing modes.

The Galaxy lưu ý 2 misbehaved a bit in this standard indoor studio shot, taken with flash. The edges appear browner than expected. Josh Miller/CNET

On đứng top of limiting the video"s length for MMS, you"re able lớn capture in slow motion or fast motion, add effects, geotag, correct the trắng balance, và turn on antishake. The "outdoor visibility" setting boosts screen brightness so you can see what"s happening on the display.

Check out comparison shots in this gallery.

Performance Samsung"s first quad-core smartphone, the chú ý 2 contains the company"s own 1.6 GHz quad-core Exynos 4 processor. Most importantly, it"s also LTE-optimized, even in the U.S.

Speeds will vary by carrier, but the note 2 does tư vấn LTE & HSPA+. I tested for diagnostics on the AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint versions of the phone. Here are somes results using the diagnostic app in San Francisco: results for Samsung Galaxy chú ý 2 on three models. Click for a larger view. Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Processing power was much more impressive. The phone excelled in diagnostic benchmarking tests lượt thích Quadrant, but in real life, gameplay and video clip looked about the same on the note 2 and on the GS3, which runs on Qualcomm"s fastest dual-core chipsets. Both dished up smooth, rich, & immersive experiences without delay. CNET will run more-detailed benchmarks of our own và publish our performance findings.

Samsung Galaxy cảnh báo 2 boot times
Boot time khổng lồ lock screen 18.8 seconds
Camera boot time 1 second
Camera, shot-to-shot time 0.2 second
Load up phầm mềm (Quadrant) 1 second

Like the Galaxy S3, the Galaxy cảnh báo 2 comes in 16GB, 32GB, & 64GB storage variants with up to lớn 64GB of external storage. It also has 2GB RAM like the GS3. We"re not in the least surprised, since the two handsets are so similar.

Samsung is particularly proud of the cảnh báo 2"s 3,100m
Ah battery (up from 2,500m
Ah on the original Note), which Samsung hopes will chug along for 10 to 12 hours of life. Battery life was fantastic on the unlocked model, though it certainly wasn"t as long-lived as Motorola"s Droid Razr Maxx series. However, this thử nghiệm device wasn"t using LTE, I had mix the screen time-out to lớn 30 seconds, and I mostly avoided battery-sucking apps lượt thích S Voice & Smart Stay.

Benchmarking results for the Quadrant ứng dụng on the Galaxy note 2 (left) & the Galaxy S3. Screenshots by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

The brighter your screen, the longer it"s on, and the more features you use, the faster your battery will drain before the projected 10-hour mark. I tested the Sprint version of the Galaxy chú ý 2 using a battery chạy thử that CNET developed in-house for apk phones. The test results show 12.5 hours of video clip playback.

Call quality I tested call chất lượng on both AT&T"s Samsung Galaxy note 2 in San Francisco, and on the unlocked phone using an AT&T SIM card. What was interesting khổng lồ me was that the phones sounded slightly different despite riding the same network. In both cases, the callers" vocal warmth và richness came through, và there was no background noise.

However, voices were a little thick & muddied around the edges on both phones, và a sharp twang of distortion sometimes accompanied the audio on the unlocked version. On the AT&T-optimized handset, my caller sounded a little robotic around the edges. Volume was strong when I slide the dial to maximum, especially when I tested in a room with some ambient noise. Medium volume would be too quiet, but the note 2 comes with Samsung"s audio-boosting software, which amplifies the volume. Boosting immediately changes the audio character. The AT&T version sounded less warm and more hollow. This boost mode wasn"t necessary during a normal hotline with the TV on.

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On his end, my chief testing partner said I sounded mostly natural & loud on both phones, but with some vocal muffling & a little distortion. I was slightly tinnier on the AT&T-optimized version, và not quite natural. He thought it was a pretty good phone overall, clear of any background noise.

Samsung Galaxy note 2 (AT&T) call unique sample Listen now:

Samsung Galaxy note 2 (Sprint) call quality sample Listen now:

Samsung Galaxy lưu ý 2 (T-Mobile) call chất lượng sample Listen now:

Samsung Galaxy lưu ý 2 (Unlocked) call quality sample Listen now:

Speakerphone was also satisfactory at maximum volume without the volume boost. Most of the time, it sounded great for a speakerphone, but the naturally louder volume did cause the entire hunk of hardware lớn buzz in my hand. However, it didn"t rattle or vibrate when I set the phone on a hard surface.

On my tester"s end, the chú ý 2 also sounded good, and fairly clear, with normal levels of echo, and no added distortion. The global version of the phone offered strong volume, but the AT&T-optimized version dropped several decibels in volume, he said, making me quieter và harder to lớn hear.

Where it stands & who should buy So can the Samsung Galaxy note 2 take on the i
Phone 5? How about a tablet? It certainly has the chops to attract potential i
Phone 5 customers, but with its sheer size, its out-of-the-box stylus, & a mountain of customization options, the lưu ý 2 is about as far from the much simpler, smaller i
Phone as a premium điện thoại cảm ứng can get.

As for the tablet argument, my personal position is that the chú ý 2 is no slate replacement, even if you solely locate a tablet"s purpose in its more expansive screen. Large for a phone, but small for a slate, the lưu ý 2 absolutely showcases content like movies and text, but it lacks a tablet"s purposeful book-size screen và dedicated HDMI-out port.

What I really see in Samsung"s second cảnh báo is an attempt lớn make phones more active tools than ever before, with help from the S Pen stylus, multimode, and a few new software extras. The S Pen and apps are ambitious, và mostly useful, but as I said before, usability sometimes stutters in small but constant and frustrating ways.

Regardless, I think the cảnh báo 2 could appeal to lớn students, lớn artists, khổng lồ business professionals, and, yes, even khổng lồ those who aren"t invested in tablets, but would like a larger screen. I would definitely consider carrying a lưu ý 2 as a personal phone. However, many people won"t feel drawn to lớn use the S Pen, and the chú ý 2"s extra-large form size and expense will turn others off -- quad-core Jelly Bean or no.

The Galaxy chú ý 2 isn"t for everyone. Stephen Shankland/CNET

Those who vì choose the chú ý 2 will be rewarded with top-notch features và plenty khổng lồ show off at parties và in the workplace. Ultimately, the handset stands on its own even without the S Pen, but its size, higher price, và stylus keep it from being a universally appealing device in the same category as the Galaxy S3, the i
Phone 5, the LG Optimus G, & the htc One X.

If you lượt thích the idea of an S Pen and a larger screen, & aren"t put off by the high price, by all means buy the cảnh báo 2. It"s different, & with its internally stored stylus, faster processor, và more mature software, it beats the pants off its closest competitor, the LG Intuition. However, if you"re not convinced you"d use the S Pen and you find the screen size ridiculously large, then back away. There are plenty of other premium phones vying for your attention.

Key Specifications

Review Price: £549.995.5in HD amoled screen1.6GHz, quad-core processor
New S Pen stylus with 1024 pressure levels2GB RAM720 x 1,280 px resolution
Read the latest news on the Samsung Galaxy chú ý 3

Samsung Galaxy chú ý 2 Introduction

Think the i
Phone 5 is a weakling of a mobile, and that even the Samsung Galaxy S3 could vị with gaining a few curves? The Samsung Galaxy cảnh báo 2 may be what you’re after. Thanks to its 5.5in screen, it’s a phone so large that some people can’t decide whether it’s a phone or a tablet.

It does demand man-sized hands or a handbag to slot into your life easily. But the large screen & its great stylus make it one of the most desirable điện thoại devices around. At around £549.99, it’s £50 more expensive than the Samsung Galaxy S3, but you can’t complain too much given the extra features and screen inches you get here.

Samsung Galaxy cảnh báo 2 clip Review

Samsung Galaxy cảnh báo 2 Design

The Samsung Galaxy note 2 looks và feels a lot like a larger Samsung Galaxy S3, with aesthetic trimmings closer to the điện thoại flagship than the first Galaxy Note. A host of little thiết kế tweaks have been made lớn bring the note series to lớn bring in-line with Samsung’s 2012 devices.

Its soft key is a little sleeker, và while it its toàn thân is still palm-worryingly big, the Samsung Galaxy cảnh báo 2 is a little longer và less wide than its predecessor. The result is a phone that looks a bit leaner & less stubby, & is a little comfier lớn hold. 

There’s no sugar-coating the truth, though. If you have small hands or wear femur-hugging skinny jeans the Samsung Galaxy cảnh báo 2 will pose a logistical problem or two, and may have to lớn be consigned to lớn the handbag for transportation.

However, Samsung has made some seriously handy design improvements that minimise the size issues for most people. The buttons along its sides, which control volume & power, have been lowered a little. Those bearing at least mid-sized man-hands will be able lớn operate the basics without shifting grip. And we couldn’t say that about the original Note.

The Samsung Galaxy note 2 is also a little slimmer & lighter than its forebear. It’s 177g in weight & 9.4mm thick. That’s a smidge thicker than the 8.6mm of the Samsung Galaxy S3, but this is presumably khổng lồ enable the phone khổng lồ pack-in a seriously impressive 3100m
Ah battery. Excuses for a tiny bit of back fat don’t get much better than that.

The basic construction of the Samsung Galaxy note 2 is typical Samsung. Its rear is covered with a thin plastic battery cover, và while the sides are metallic in finish, they are made of plastic.

Just like the look, the feel in-hand is much like a Samsung Galaxy S3. It doesn’t have the hard, cool touch of a metal-backed phone like the i
Phone 5, and the back is made of familiar, ultra-thin plastic. The không lấy phí flexing of the thing as it’s removed doesn’t exactly fill you with confidence about the phone’s strength, but technically its physical credentials aren’t too bad.
The lưu ý 2 battery cover – keeping it bendyFor one, you can replace the back cover should it get scuffed or scratched to lớn matt oblivion, & the front is covered by a sheet of Corning Gorilla Glass 2. Corning’s toughened glass has become the smartphone industry standard, & the second generation makes it thinner, & even stronger.
Other benefits of using a removable battery cover include being able to remove the battery, và east-to-design custom covers-cum-cases. Samsung includes a second rear with the Samsung Galaxy note 2, one that apes the Pebble xanh finish of the Samsung Galaxy S3 and has an integrated front flap screen protector.

The cover also hides a micro

The Samsung Galaxy cảnh báo 2 is a phone that looks less geeky than its predecessor, while keeping the kiến thiết nods that techies will love. However, these days it doesn’t need that many connectors to keep up its tech cred.

There are just two here, a micro
USB port on the bottom và a 3.5mm tai nghe jack up top. The bottom socket is used for charging, transferring files và to pipe video out using Samsung’s MHL-compliant cable. Samsung does not include one in the box, though. What you bởi get are the USB cable, power adapter và a pair of basic IEM-style earphones with an integrated handsfree kit/remote.

The most important accessory of all, though, is one that slots perfectly into the Samsung Galaxy lưu ý 2 – the re-designed S Pen stylus. Unlike the original S Pen, it features a triangular stem kiến thiết for improved ergonomics, has a select button on one of its sides và has a rubber tip. Its tech specs have been significantly improved too.

It lives in a little cubby hole at the bottom of the device, & the lưu ý 2 even notifies you with a bleat if you leave without it. This is done using a clever bộ combo of the Wacom digitiser that makes the stylus so clever, and the phone’s accelerometer judging when you’ve walked away with the device. We’ll cover the positive effects of the other S Pen changes later.

Samsung Galaxy note 2 ScreenThe leading feature for any phone this kích thước has lớn be the screen. The Samsung Galaxy chú ý 2 display is a giant 5.5in across, up from the 5.3in of its predecessor.

Some aspects of the screen are a little surprising. Although larger, it’s actually lower in resolution than the first Galaxy chú ý – 720 x 1,280 pixels rather than 800 x 1,280 pixels. That’s the very same resolution as the Samsung Galaxy S3.

The subpixel structure has been changed, though, with some positive effects on image quality. The Samsung Galaxy note 2 uses a Super AMOLED Plus screen. Almost all earlier OLED-type điện thoại thông minh screens used a Pentile subpixel arrangement, a red-green-blue-green array, but not here. This made screens look significantly less sharp & well-defined than an RGB screen of the same resolution.

The Samsung Galaxy note 2 hasn’t gone full RGB in its subpixel array, but there is a radical difference. Now, a thin blue subpixel and red/green subpixels khung a little box. With no subpixel syncopation – so to lớn speak – there are no real clarity problems. With 267dpi, you can just about discern px structure if you get your eyeball right up close to the Gorilla Glass, but in anything approaching normal use it’s no problem.

Maximum brightness of the Samsung Galaxy cảnh báo 2 isn’t quite dazzling in normal lighting conditions, but compares well with the Galaxy S3. And, of course, it comes with all the benefits of the OLED tech running the show.

AMOLED screens bởi not use universal backlights, giving the tablet effectively infinity contrast as black areas stay completely black. Colours are slightly oversaturated, but take into a darkened room, the benefits of an OLED screen are obvious. With LCD-based screens lượt thích the i
Phone 5’s, black parts of an image always look a little grey in a darkened room, but not so here.

It may thua trận out on resolution khổng lồ some of the top-end smartphones of today, but in uses where top-quality screens come into their own, the Samsung Galaxy note 2 is a complete star. A 5.5in screen offers a much more satisfying movie-watching experience than an i
Phone 5’s 4-incher, and the rich contrast of Super AMOLED Plus makes dark movie scenes in particular look fantastic.

Colours are a little less natural than those of something like the IPS screened điện thoại htc One X in the phone’s standard setting, but delve through the Settings menu & you’ll find some indispensable colour temperature/saturation settings. There are four, including two far less saturated than you’ll see fresh out of the box.


Samsung Galaxy cảnh báo 2 Interface and UsabilityWith android 4.1 Jelly Bean working at the heart of the Samsung Galaxy note 2, this giant điện thoại is impressively up-to-date. It’s also very quick.

The Samsung Galaxy chú ý 2 uses a powerful quad-core 1.6GHz Exynos 4412 processor that’s a mite faster than the 1.4GHz CPU of the Samsung Galaxy S3, and has 2GB of RAM while the other big players made vị with 1GB.

When this spec teams-up with the Project Butter initiative of apk Jelly Bean, what results is one seriously smooth phone. Project Butter’s aim is to lớn maker more intensive use of processor power nguồn during moments of strain, to make app android run at 60fps.

Aside from the occasional very, very slight slowdown, performance here is perfect. Without seeing a quad-core “vanilla” Google phone to compare the Galaxy note 2 with, we can’t confirm whether the Touch
Wiz UI laid on đứng top of Jelly Bean has slowed things down, but there’s honestly barely any lag here. In our opinion, 95 percent of momentary gaps between operations, such as skipping between the apps menu and the home screen, is deliberate.

Those who have owned a Samsung điện thoại in the last few years will be familiar with the basic parts of Touch
Wiz here. The Samsung UI does not change the basic parts of android Jelly Bean 4.1 – you have seven home screens và a largely vanilla apps ‘n’ widgets menu.

Wiz brings its own mix of app icons, a few handy widgets including a nice-looking clock & weather combo, & a custom lock screen. These are all minor changes compared to lớn the additional apps & stylus functionality Samsung has packed-in.

Samsung Galaxy note 2 S PenSamsung has completely redesigned the S-Pen for the Samsung Galaxy note 2. The term S-Pen was introduced with the first Note, shorthand for the digitser styluses that make phone-tablets in this range so special.

The S-Pen is capable of so much more than a standard stylus because of the Wacom digitser built into the Samsung Galaxy note 2. This lets the phone sense differing levels of pressure from the pointer, and pinpoint the stylus’s position when it is some way away from the screen surface.

Both these aspects have improved significantly in the second-generation Note. The first cảnh báo can sense up lớn 256 levels of pressure, the Samsung Galaxy note 2 can discern 1,024 – the same number as the Wacom Bamboo dedicated graphics tablets.

The Samsung Galaxy note 2 stylus can also be identified around a centimetre from the screen, letting it double as a mouse cursor. In use the new stylus is fantastically responsive.

Arguably more important than these pure specs are the more experiential tweaks Samsung has made. The S-Pen is now an ergonomically-carved, triangular-stemmed kiến thiết rather than a smooth cylinder, there’s a button on one of its sides and – here’s the real game-changer – the kết thúc is a rubberised nib with a little give to lớn it. This softens its handwriting action, offering a much more smooth & natural feel than the original cảnh báo was ever capable of.

The Samsung Galaxy chú ý 2 S-Pen stylus is a joy to use, simple as.

Samsung has done a great job of integrating its skills into the interface too. What’s most impressive is the sense of immediacy the S-Pen manages. Whip it out of its rabbit hole và you’re automatically taken khổng lồ a bespoke S-Pen home screen. As standard this includes a quick to lớn the S-Note app, but like any home screen you can dress it as you please.

The S Pen trang chủ screen

The S-Pen is at its best when used with the Samsung apps built into the phone. For example, the Samsung Galaxy note 2’s ability khổng lồ identify the pen away from the screen is only presently useful in a fistful of apps. Samsung calls this functionality Air View.

In the S-Planner calendar, it brings up info about calendar events. In the thư điện tử app it pops-up the first few lines of an email. It brings up similar previews in the Gallery and đoạn phim player too.

The partnership of the powerful hardware of the Samsung Galaxy cảnh báo 2, the decent software and the honed, optimised Wacom digitiser makes these little feature nuggets feel lượt thích a natural additions khổng lồ the UI, rather than superfluous, frivolous add-ons.

The excellent S-Pen does serve khổng lồ highlight that a few parts of the Samsung Touch
Wiz UI are a a bit flimsy and unnecessary, though. For example, you have the option to use accelerometer motion controls to control things such as the movements of trang chủ screens và pages within the Gallery.

Thanks to the Samsung keyboard OCR, the stylus can be used throughout Android

These things have tip-toed along the thin border between pure gimmickery and neat extra features at the best of times, but in the Samsung Galaxy chú ý 2 they fall right into tech trash can as over-the-top bits of fluff khổng lồ switch off within the Settings menu as soon as possible.

The S-Pen, though, is an almost unadulterated success. Even in apps without full implemetation of its abilities, it can be used as an alternative lớn a finger – including casual games lượt thích Angry Birds Space. The one issue is that only a very small number of apps can fully appreciate what it’s capable of.

Samsung says that the only apps fully certified for the new S-Pen stylus are some of those of the Samsung Apps portal, the secondary tiện ích store that sits alongside the Google Play ứng dụng store within the Samsung Galaxy lưu ý 2. However, we did find a number of Google Play apps that support pressure sensitivity, including relatively high-profile drawing tools lượt thích Sketchbook Mobile.

S-Note is the S-Pen’s “flagship” phầm mềm though. Its lightweight name is also a bit misleading as it’s now quite a fully-featured suite – although one with an eye on lighter uses. Other than making notes using the Samsung keyboard’s optical character recognition, it’s intended khổng lồ let you make mind maps, presentations & little works of art.

You can insert videos, pictures, text boxes và shapes into your notes, veering the phầm mềm close khổng lồ something lượt thích Microsoft Power
Point. Samsung supplies a bunch of templates for quick-but-organised notes for things such as meeting minutes & recipes. S-Note also lets you record the creation of a sketch as it’s made, in Draw Something-like fashion.

It’s also kid-friendly in parts. As well as adding photos and clip art khổng lồ notes, you can use something called Idea Sketch. This lets you write the name of an object, and then pick a pre-drawn representation of it. The Samsung Galaxy note 2 offers three different cartoon cats, for example.

Which is faster? cát bus or whale train?

That’s not the kết thúc of the “S-flavour” features, either. We can’t forget about S Voice, the hãng apple Siri equivalent that was partly responsible for getting Samsung dropped in $1billion’s worth of hot water in a recent court case.

A double tap on the central trang chủ button makes the S Voice app pop up. Ask it a question and it’ll vày its best to work out what you’re saying, as long as you have a network connection. All the calculations grunt work is done by Samsung’s servers.

A typical S Voice result – not that great

The Samsung Galaxy note 2’s S Voice isn’t quite up lớn the latest version of Siri seen in i
OS 6, though. Anything vaguely taxing will send you straight khổng lồ a web search, making it of limited use.

Samsung Galaxy lưu ý 2 Contacts, Calling and BrowserThe Samsung Galaxy cảnh báo 2 features what is by 2012 measures a fairly standard address book. Once the phone is hooked-up with Facebook & Twitter apps, you can harvest your contacts from those social networks, and any profile pics are automatically linked lớn those people.

It’s easy enough lớn merge duplicated contacts from different networks too, making cài đặt a doddle. If you’re already an apk user, the Samsung Galaxy lưu ý 2 will also grab contacts linked to your Google account. Extra ways khổng lồ organise your contacts include groups và favourites.

The call unique of the phone is great. It uses active noise cancellation with a pinhole microphone on the đứng top of the handset khổng lồ remove some ambient noise to make you sound clearer khổng lồ whoever you’re talking too, và the earpiece speaker is remarkably loud. It’s much louder than the điện thoại thông minh average.

Earpiece sound focuses on the low and mid-range frequencies, making people’s voices sound nice & beefy. However, the Samsung Galaxy note 2 could arguably vì with a slight treble bump lớn make its hotline experience shine even brighter.

Also, holding such a giant phone against your head does feel odd for the first few times. It’s just something you’ll have to lớn embrace, or forever live in mild embarrassment.

One part of the Samsung Galaxy cảnh báo 2 that only benefits from the phone’s size is web browsing. Whether using the stylus or a finger, the browsing experience here is universally excellent.

Its screen is large enough to vày justice lớn just about any full desktop website – as opposed khổng lồ a cut-down sản phẩm điện thoại browser version – it’s quick and although the screen isn’t quite as tightly pixel-packed as an i
Phone 5, small text is legible.

Unlike most game android Jelly Bean 4.1 devices, the Samsung Galaxy cảnh báo 2 doesn’t use Google Chrome as its inbuilt browser. Instead, it uses a Samsung alternative, with some visual bits consistent with the rest of the UI. Chrome is readily available to download from Google Play if you’d prefer, but according lớn the Sunspider benchmark, both a similar level of performance. Và both have “advanced” features including saving pages for offline reading & forced desktop mode.

Neither offers Adobe Flash support, though, which was officially crossed off the android checklist when Jelly Bean was introduced. Adobe announced that it was stopped development for the app android platform, và now you can’t even tải về the version of the Adobe Flash player that used lớn be available on Google Play. The result – Flash-heavy websites won’t work.

Samsung Galaxy lưu ý 2 CameraUsing exactly the same camera sensor hardware as the Samsung Galaxy S3, the Galaxy lưu ý 2 has an 8-megapixel main camera, và a 1.9-megapixel user-facing one. The main sensor is also has an LED flash to lớn lean on when it’s not too sunny. For the real camera geeks, it uses a fixed f/2.6 aperture with a focal length of 3.6mm. Notably, this isn’t quite as good as the f/2.4 aperture of the i
Phone 5. A wider aperture sensor will give better low-light performance, as it can harvest more light in the same exposure window. However, camera performance is excellent given good lighting conditions.


Macro performance is decent, although minimum focusing length is around 15cm, which is far from the best among smartphones. Give the sensor enough room, though, và the cấp độ of detail it can render is respectable. 

This px crop shows the màn chơi of detail khổng lồ expect from the Galaxy lưu ý 2

Autofocus speed is very good, although the Samsung Galaxy note 2 occasionally appeared to lớn fail lớn save shots when the phone was not held steady enough, suggesting the camera may be a little slower than the near-instant shutter sound effect may suggest.


Another pixel crop, for good measure

The Samsung Galaxy lưu ý 2 offers standard features such as cảm ứng focusing, and control over ISO, metering và scene modes. Other modes you don’t get everywhere include a decent HDR mode, which merges together multiple exposure types khổng lồ reveal more detail in very dark or light areas, a so-so panorama mode, burst mode and face detection.

The HDR mode works well, exposing extra detail in shadow areas

Panorama isn’t a patch on the full-res mode of the i
Phone 5

The flash is fairly standardThere are a couple of new bits that didn’t feature in the recent Samsung Galaxy S3, too. There’s a burst group mode that uses multi-face facial recognition khổng lồ pick the photo where the most number of people are looking directly at the camera.

Using a simple LED flash, the Samsung Galaxy note 2’s low light performance isn’t too remarkable, but it’ll suffice for the obligatory late-night BBQ and tiệc ngọt shots.

Samsung Galaxy cảnh báo 2 MultimediaThe large screen of the Samsung Galaxy note 2 makes this giant phone an obvious choice as a personal đoạn clip player, and it excels at the task. It can play most video clip types, with support for Xvid, Divx và MKV. The only files it failed to play were our high bit-rate 1080p MKVs, which it spat out before even hitting the first frame.

Files like these can be played-back using a third-party truyền thông player like MX Player, although performance will depend on which one you use và whether it offers hardware support for the chú ý 2’s chipset. Even the quad-core 1.6GHz Exynos 4412 struggles with 42Mbps 1080p MKVs using software rendering.


Get your video clip library in order, though, và both movies & TV episodes look fantastic. In the normal colour saturation mode, skin tones and bright clothing look thoroughly over-egged, but switch to the Natural or Movie mode within the main Settings menu and it’s hard to lớn beat as a movie buddy that fits in your pocket.

Like the Samsung Galaxy S3, the Galaxy cảnh báo 2 also features đoạn clip multitasking. From within the video player app, you simply need lớn press a button within the transport bar to lớn make the video pop-up as a resizeable overlay on top of your home screen. It’ll stay there no matter what you’re doing, & can be zapped with just a couple of taps, much lượt thích an tiện ích window in Windows.

Music tư vấn is much better than average too. If you’re a bit of a music fiend và have OGG và FLAC files in your library rather than just standard AAC & MP3 jobbies, you’ll have no problems with the Samsung Galaxy chú ý 2. 


The music player ứng dụng is clean, clear và effective, avoiding any 3 chiều nonsense to slow navigation down. You do get a fairly comprehensive selection of equalisation and sound tweaking options, though.

The Music Player app offers a simple 7-band EQ, và extra controls for more involved bass và clarity modulators, plus reverb and 3D options (which we wouldn’t recommend touching with any brand of pole.) Samsung calls this the Sound
Alive engine, và it comes with a dozen presets as well as a custom mode.

There’s also a strange secondary function in the app, called Music Squares. This analyses your tracks, rating them on whether they sound passionate, calm, exciting, joyful or something a bit in-between – based on things lượt thích tempo và changes in volume. Controlling a bit like a Korg Kaosspad, you can track a “mood trajectory” for a playlist to take by dragging your finger along these Music Squares. It’s a bit silly, but it normally works reasonably well. Ish.

Much more importantly, the Samsung Galaxy cảnh báo 2 outputs clear, clean audio at a decent volume, so you won’t have to lớn max out the volume as soon as you start listening anywhere other than a quiet room.

The bundled headphones aren’t much khổng lồ write about, but we rarely expect much of such things. They use an IEM-style kiến thiết with not-all-that comfortable silicone tips, và have a fibrous-sounding treble that’s prone to tripping over into harshness. However, bass response isn’t too bad, & we imagine that if you’re willing to lớn spend £500 on a phone there’s a good chance you’ll already have your own pair of earphones or headphones anyway.

Samsung Galaxy note 2 Battery Life & ConnectivityOne of the most impressive specs of the Samsung Galaxy note 2 is its 3100m
Ah battery. That’s a full 600m
Ah more than the original Galaxy Note, & it supplies this new model with impressive stamina.

Set khổng lồ playing a đoạn clip file at full screen, with Wi-Fi và 3G switched off (this is out standard chạy thử for tablet battery life) và screen brightness set lớn 50 per cent, the Samsung Galaxy cảnh báo 2 lasted for just under 12 hours. That’s enough lớn keep you entertained over the period of most long-haul flights, and is hugely impressive given how small & light the phone is. In normal use, as ever, the stamina will depend on approximately 376,000 thousand factors. Make judicious use of 3G và you can expect to lớn get a minimum of two solid days out of the Samsung Galaxy lưu ý 2. Only switch on connections when they’re needed and you can stretch that out even longer.

There are a great many connection types on offer here, raring khổng lồ zap that power. It’s LTE-compatible, but that’s not of much use yet in the UK until the first networks get their 4G offerings of the ground. EE will be the first, due to kick off its 4G offering towards the end of the year.

Advanced connections we can use right now include high-speed 21 Mbps HSUPA, Wi-Fi Direct & NFC. Wi-Fi Direct lets you connect directly lớn other Wi-Fi Direct devices và trade data without actually having an internet connection.

NFC stands for Near-Field Communication, & was one of the most notable absences from the i
Phone 5 – hence making it a thing for the chú ý 2 & Galaxy S3 lớn bear proudly. It can be used in various food outlets on the high street khổng lồ buy small items lượt thích cups of coffee, & Samsung has made sure it’s of some use even if you have no interest in such transactions – enter S Beam.

S Beam is Samsung’s marrying of the NFC and Wi-Fi Direct technologies. Put two S Beam compatible devices back to back và they’ll be able khổng lồ pair over NFC, before transferring files over the much faster Wi-Fi Direct standard. If that all sounds a bit too much like the tech version of a saucy nature documentary, Wi-Fi Direct also stands alone within the tệp tin transfer sections of apps lượt thích the Gallery.

The Wi-Fi connection can also be used to lớn transfer video, over another Samsung standard called All
Share. This has been around for years, & connects all sorts of Samsung products including TVs, Blu-ray player, tablets and phones. It’s actually little more than a branded version of the DLNA streaming standard, there to lớn make the tech a bit simpler for non tech-heads to lớn use. With it you can share, videos, pictures và music.

The Samsung Galaxy cảnh báo 2 will also be able lớn output video clip directly khổng lồ a TV using a Samsung MHL cable. That micro
USB-sized port on the bottom may look like a standard tiddly USB slot, but it’s actually cleverer than that. MHL can transfer HD video and surround sound up to lớn 7.1. Samsung Galaxy chú ý 2 Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy note 2 improves the series formula in several important respects. It looks better, the stylus feels better & the tech has been bumped-up in almost every respect. The only slight downer is that as the original cảnh báo proved a commercial success rather than an entirely niche device limited khổng lồ geeks/freaks/giants, this second edition is a bit pricier.