Samsung Galaxy Note 2 – First Impressions

January 11th, 2013 at 12:46 pm by speters

 

Recently Telecom were kind enough to send me [note author is Stuart Peters, not DPF] the new Samsung Galaxy Note 2 to play with. These are my first impressions of the device.

The first thing that struck me on opening the box was just how ENORMOUS this phone is – 80.5 x 151.1 x 9.4 mm apparently. I’m not sure if it’s the biggest smartphone on the market but it’s certainly the biggest I’ve ever seen, and dwarfs the iPhone. In fact my immediate thought was that it was far too big, and would be a pain to carry around all day. On this I have been pleasantly surprised – the Note 2 is reasonably slim and light (182.5g), and I haven’t had an issue carrying it in my pocket.

The upside to the size of the phone is the fantastic display. I understand the Note 2 is being marketed as a sort of hybrid device that combines the functionality of a phone and a tablet, and the impressive 5.5-inch (140.9mm) HD Super AMOLED display (the iPhone 5 has a 4-inch display) is key to this. I thought the iPhone was easy to navigate but the extra space that the Note 2 provides makes navigating the device an absolute delight.

I was surprised to find the trim and battery cover are entirely made of glossy plastic, with no metal surfaces. The plastic battery cover feels flimsy and cheap when you remove it (I thought I was going to break it the first time I took it off!), but seems solid enough once attached. While the Note 2 is undoubtedly well-constructed and the phone feels robust in the hand, the full plastic case still feels a bit cheap and nasty for such a high-end phone. The glossy plastic case is also a fingerprint magnet!

This was my first experience with an Android, and the UI was initially a bit daunting. The Note 2 runs a modified Samsung-specific version of Jellybean, the latest (I think) Android OS. I can’t comment on how the OS compares to other Android systems but it certainly doesn’t hold your hand quite as much as Apple’s iOS does! On turning on the phone I was immediately presented with the option to pick “Basic Mode” or “Easy Mode”, without much explanation as to what each offered. I initially went with Easy Mode, which I later realised automatically populates your home screens with what it thinks you will want access to. I switched to Basic Mode fairly quickly and found that much more useful.

Actually manipulating the device is brilliant, the touchscreen is highly responsive and everything happens smoothly and fluidly. Having used Androids belonging to friends to send texts and the like, I’ve always found them highly frustrating to manipulate compared to iOS. The Note 2 is the first Android that seems to match Apple for smooth navigation, and might even better it.

I’ve been impressed with what I’ve seen of the Note 2 so far, and will be posting further thoughts on the device once I’ve had more time to play with it.

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15 Responses to “Samsung Galaxy Note 2 – First Impressions”

  1. Redbaiter (9,478 comments) says:

    “This was my first experience with an Android,”

    Really?

    That’s amazing. (I thought you’d got a bit slow lately.)

    That phone in version 1 has been out for about 2 years now. I have one and I also have had the Tab 2 (7″) and the Note 10.1 for a long time. Before that I had some Huawei tablet/ phone thing or something that featured an Android OS.

    Samsung/ Android leaves Apple in the dust, and has been in the lead for some time now.

    [DPF: Did you not see the note saying the post was by Stuart, not me]

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  2. Jim (398 comments) says:

    Samsung makes nice hardware – for sure. As for the software, it ticks all the feature boxes and a whole lot more, but overall it sucks.

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  3. Griff (8,108 comments) says:

    I use
    Samsung Galaxy xcover
    The rugged one
    Slightly smaller than the mainstream smart phones
    Bounces well and has had a couple of swims
    Has stood up to life in a landscapers pocket well
    Survived a year now with no probs a record for a phone for me

    I would recommend one for the trades or the terminally sporty

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  4. Nigel (517 comments) says:

    The note 2 is a nice phone, though unlike the galaxy ii, it’s not so keen on being dropped on concrete, whilst not as bad as an iPhone, but I do have a crack in the glass now.
    I’d probably go a touch smaller next time around physically, though I have found my hand is more flexible now & swype makes the size of the keyboard manageable ( swype is more responsive than the samsung drawing keyboard ).

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  5. hinamanu (2,352 comments) says:

    This simply reinforces the need for the man’s message to be heard against the western persistence with consumerist gratification which cannot be sustained

    Uruguay’s Jose Mujica: “The poorest president in the world”

    The President of Uruguay Jose Mujica has been dubbed by international media as ‘the poorest president in the world’.

    In his latest official declaration of wealth, he says he owns just two vehicles, a small amount of property and his farmhouse. He donates 90% of his salary to charity.

    Mujica became president of Uruguay after a landslide victory more than two years ago. After a half a term in power, he is now backing a bill to legalise the use of cannabis.

    http://www.brasschecktv.com/videos/good-guys-1/hail-to-the-chief.html

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  6. Kea (13,224 comments) says:

    I have one and I also have had the Tab 2 (7″) and the Note 10.1 for a long time. Before that I had some Huawei tablet/ phone thing or something that featured an Android OS.

    Redbaiter, you do realise all that stuff is made by communists ?

    You wet liberal homo loving god hating sell out…

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  7. Fletch (6,479 comments) says:

    On a sidenote about phones – I see that there are rumours all over the internet that Apple could launch an iPhone Mini to combat all the cheaper touch phones around now.

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  8. tvb (4,487 comments) says:

    Let the smart phone battle continue. It will do apple no harm to have serious competition. But where is Nokia?? They used to dominate the cell phone market but lost the plot. I liked their ease of use. But their software was horrid, it never seemed to work properly so I gave up. Got an iphone now as do nearly all of my colleagues and friends.

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  9. dog_eat_dog (788 comments) says:

    The smartphone battle isn’t really on until the issue of upgrade paths is addressed by Google. Until then it’s sadly one-sided, and I’m rocking an S3.

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  10. Fletch (6,479 comments) says:

    tvb, yeh, I had a Nokia N95 before I got my iPhone.
    It was quite nice. Had a very good camera and a radio, but yeh the iphone is much easier to use.

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  11. Scott (1,817 comments) says:

    I have the S3 and love it. Interestingly it has got very popular and many people have them. Much bigger screen than the iphone and the new Jelly bean software upgrade means it works very smoothly. I would definitely recommend it.

    Like the look of the Note 2 which seems to be basically an even bigger S3 with a pen. But I am happy with the S3 as it is a very good device and more than a match for the iphone 5 in my opinion.

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  12. Scott (1,817 comments) says:

    With regard to Nokia the new CEO has put all his eggs in the Windows software basket which is a huge mistake in my view. They should also have put out some Android phones. The windows phones seem good but the salespeople at Telecom are not pushing them and the public don’t seem to buy them. Big mistake by Nokia.

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  13. Raphael (88 comments) says:

    Nokia panicked and then got Elop in as CEO from Microsoft.
    Elop canned all their existing plans, ditched a whole heap of their engineers and put all their eggs into the Windows Phone basket.

    You’ll notice Samsung, HTC, Huawei, ZTE, Acer etc. all make phones that run Android and Windows Phone, and I saw that ZTE is making a Firefox OS phone this year.

    It’s a safer bet….and for Samsung is paying off in a huge way. They made a cool US$8.3 billion in the last quarter (operating profit of US$7.6bn).

    And I’m on my second Samsung Galaxy (first was the original S, and now the SIII) and the way they are going I’m likely to stick to their product line for a while.

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  14. pq (728 comments) says:

    I am having trouble with the range and finding prices for these things.
    Noel Lemming buy here Christchurch want to sell me Galaxy 3 for $NZ1089

    It says on google
    Samsung Galaxy [GT-N7100] note 2 white $865. at price me.

    How does the note 2 compare to the Galaxy 3,
    Sorry there is just a battery of confusion in google.
    I like the idea of a big screen in note 2

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  15. Azeraph (607 comments) says:

    The note is light years ahead of it’s poor cousins called apple. Apple was silly to let samsung develop too much of their brand but business is business.

    Uruguays President is a great man, he appeals to the man on the street and he isn’t going nowhere anytime soon. Mind you Monte Video is the hidden jewel of South America, I don’t know why our farmers tried to teach them anything, their meat is 5 grades higher in quality than ours.

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