SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE II (AT&T) FINAL ANALYSIS - DOES IT PASS?
It is with great pain that I write this post. My test of the Samsung Galaxy Note II (AT&T) has concluded, and it has left my longing hands to go back to AT&T St. Louis. I will try my best to get through this without getting emotional.
This is the second day of my Galaxy Note-less life, and I'm considering grief counseling. I've never been hooked to a more fabulous device than this phantastic phablet. It has forever changed my smartphone experience. Why?
It is because I must now take a step back in time and return to my once-beloved Samsung Galaxy S2, which is a far cry from the larger-than-life magical device called the Note II.
No more will I effortlessly whip through websites and tremendously fast picture downloads with the quad-core-packing Galaxy Note II. No more super-sized 5.5" Super AMOLED HD display. No more convenience of popup video windows and superior multi tasking. It's all over... until I can upgrade.
The Galaxy Note II suprirsed me, and then spoiled me. I had serious reservations about the size of the device since I have smaller-than-average man hands. But when I first unboxed the Note II phablet, I knew that its largeness would be a plus, not a detraction.
I did not predict that I would be able to operate the Galaxy Note II with one hand, but found that it was never really an issue. In fact, I quickly adjusted to the large display and wider, taller form factor. It happened almost instantly.
My brain set a new reference point for how a smartphone should fit and feel in my hand. Now that my test period is over, my Galaxy S2 feels like a toy in my hands. It's almost the same feeling I had when I switched from the iPhone 4 to the S2, only worse.
The Note II erased any desires that I had for a 7" tablet. There's really no need for an in-between device when you have a display that is large enough to be a tablet, yet small enough to be a smartphone. I found that I am definitely in the "phablet" niche.
After reading all of the blog posts and comments about the Note II being ridiculously big, I've decided that the people who enjoy this device make up a niche to be reckoned with. The global sales of this device prove this to be true.
Last year, I had a brief opportunity to review the Galaxy Note 1st generation device, and the Note II makes huge strides over its predecessor. With a slightly slimmer width and taller height, plus the thinner body, it makes the device much more ergonomic.
I enjoyed the 1st generation Note, but that ever-so-small difference in width made it nearly unusable to my small hands. I'm surprised that such a small change in dimensions would make a huge impacct on my user experience. But it truly does.
One-handed operation with the first generation phablet was not good. I couldn't reach the letters on the virtual keyboard, and it cramped my hand after extended periods of time. The Note II never caused me any grip fatigue, and having the added feature of the compact soft keyboard solves any issue of reach.
The biggest things that stuck out in my mind were the smoothness and speed of loading apps, the blazing fast graphics processing, and the apparent quality of the build. Many writers downgraded the Galaxy Note II for feeling "cheap", but I can honestly say I don't understand why.
The device is light enough that it won't self-destruct when it is dropped. But the plastic housing is pretty enough to give the appearance of quality. The silver color was my favorite of all available choices.
I've got 5 months left before my next upgrade. I don't think I will make it. When my finances allow for it, I think I will be purchasing a Galaxy Note II off-contract. I may even consider buying a used or refurbished device once they are readily available.
In my opinion, I think Samsung has set the mark with the Note II when it comes to the hardware, the features, innovation, and overall design. I can't find a valid complaint after heavily using the device for a period of two weeks.
There have been several devices that I have tested that I gave high marks. But the Galaxy Note II is clearly may favorite of anything that is available on the market today. I won't be surprised if other manufacturers start releasing devices that are similar in size and also including some type of smart stylus like the S Pen.
I did find myself using my laptop a lot less while using the Note II. Plus I cut back on taking notes at work and at home with paper and pen. I'm a sticky note addict, and this is the first device that can cure me of my bad habit of cluttering my desk with notes.
For me, the Galaxy Note II has high utility. I found it extremely useful for a much wider variety of tasks. Reading content on the web was purely enjoyable, taking notes was a snap, and having the stylus available is the next best thing to a mouse with a computer or laptop.
But the "fun factor" of the Note II is off the scale. Watching YouTube videos, viewing pictures, and using the drawing applications makes for endless amounts of enjoyment. Plus the speed of the camera "shudder" had me taking more pictures than I ever have with any other smartphone.
2 weeks was definitely not enough time to discover all of the amazing tricks and features of the Galaxy Note II. There were so many creative and innovative things you could do that probably would take a few months just to get through.
I would be willing to pay a premium for the Note II, and recommend to anyone that it is well worth the extra amount you'll shell out to get your hands on one. I leave you with a solid "two thumbs up" if you are on the fence with choosing this device.
The Galaxy Note II is the future in the present time. I only hope that Samsung doesn't distract me with their "next big thing" before I'm able to make my move and get one. Finally I can say that I hope that technological advance would slow down enough to let me enjoy this to the fullest, once I get my very own Note II.
Until then, it's sad, slow mobile computing for me... and all I can do is hold on to my precious memories.