Just a week after losing the legal battle to Apple, Samsung has bounced back with the much-awaited Galaxy Note II.
Unveiled at the ongoing IFA consumer electronics fair in Berlin, the updated version of Samsung's popular Galaxy Note, the updated version comes with a larger 5.5-inch Super AMOLED HD screen, Android Jelly Bean, and S Pen - its signature feature. While critics are awaiting the price details to give a final verdict, they unanimously recommend the Galaxy Note II to consumers who love large screens.
If you're planning to buy the Galaxy Note II, here're first impressions from critics across the world to help you make the right decision.
Samsung Galaxy Note II comes with a stylus
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is the follow-up to last year's enormous Galaxy Note. With an even bigger screen and a powerful quad-core processor, this could be the ideal smart phone for anyone who values screen real estate above all else. Excellent and surprising news is that the Note 2 will arrive running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, which is the very latest version of Google's mobile operating system. Apart from the warm glow of having spanking new software humming away under the bonnet, Jelly Bean brings an improved frame rate for silky smooth menu surfing, plus smarter widget organisation and a revamped notifications bar. I'd recommend having a hands-on with the Note 2 before splashing your cash. Give it a go in the shops and see how comfortable you find typing on the great big screen.
The Galaxy Note II inherits dozens of improvements from the Galaxy S III flagship smartphone and the Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet, both of which we have awarded Editors' Choice in their respective categories. The new 8-megapixel camera app is especially fun, as you can overlay complex filters in real-time.
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One looks like a black and white pen drawing, which you can see previewed as you move the viewfinder around the room. It's like creating instant artwork; snap the picture and it's done. If you want a big phone—and despite our earlier instincts, lots of people do—the Galaxy Note II looks to be a seriously good device.
The Galaxy Note II speaks the same design language as the Galaxy S III, with a glossy shimmering plastic finish that envelops the back of the device, plus the same slim bezel. Physically, there aren't many changes to talk about here - ports and buttons are where you'd expect to find them, which is mostly a good thing.
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A great addition is the ability to recognize when the S Pen is removed from the device, which can trigger the app of your preference or the default note creation screen shown above. Equally, if you leave the stylus on a desk somewhere and try to walk off, the phone - courtesy of its accelerometer - alerts you to the fact that it's being moved without its buddy. As we burrowed into the Galaxy Note II's new features, it all felt simpler and more cohesive than the original - less business and more pleasure. Big phone fans will just have to wait until we can put the new Note through a full test later this year, but so far so good.
Take the DNA of the original Galaxy Note, add the style of the Galaxy S III, and throw in a more comprehensive understanding of what digital pen-users want, and you’d come up with the Galaxy Note II. Samsung’s second-gen “phablet” manages to deliver a larger screen in a more pocketable form-factor than its trail-blazing predecessor, including making the digital S Pen itself easier to wield.
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What you can argue over is whether the Note II is still too big. If you felt that about the original, then this new version is unlikely to change your mind. Still, we can see the new phablet finding a similarly enthusiastic audience as its predecessor, and in a marketplace filled with me-too phone slabs, its S Pen functionality remains a welcome diversion from the norm.
The speed of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is phenomenal. This is, hands down, the best media and internet browsing portable machine we've seen in ages.
It's too big still to be used as a normal phone – people will still think you're more than slightly odd holding it to your face – but for texting, browsing, emailing, watching movies and more, we haven't seen much better than this. We'll reserve proper judgement obviously until the price emerges – if it's anything like the first Note, we're in for a high-priced shock. However, get this to the £30 mark and, coupled with some serious marketing again from Samsung, we should have a winner on our hands.
PHOTO COURTESY: Reuters