CAPE TOWN, South Africa – The Samsung Galaxy Note II succeeds a device that fits between the smartphone and tablet segment, and PhoneRPT took it for a hands-on review last week at its local launch.
Convergence is the key in today’s technological world, and just as tablets came in to bridge the gap between smartphones and netbooks, “phablets”, such as the Samsung Galaxy Note, came to bridge the gap between smartphones and tablets. A device that serves as a tablet and as a smartphone, with a screen big enough for web browsing and movie playback, but still small enough to fit into pockets – at least some of them. Samsung isn’t the only one in this game, as LG as demonstrated with its LG Vu, and HTC with the HTC J Butterfly.
The Samsung N7100 has a bigger screen than its predecessor, at 5.5″ instead of the 5.3″, but its size remains almost the same, only the bezel was eliminated – one can’t immediately tell them apart from the picture below:
Although the screen resolution and pixel density may have decreased, the battery capacity increased from 2500 mAh to 3100 mAh, and so did the processor speed from 1.4 GHz to 1.6 GHz and RAM size from 1 GB to 2 GB.
The Galaxy Note II pockets on the changes reflected on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, the second “Note” device from the South Korean manufacturer. Samsung is now experienced with utilizing the stylus to its full potential, and graphic designers will be especially interested in testing the touchscreen’s 1024 pressure points.
The S Pen can now be used even without touching the device’s display, by simply hovering emails, the S Planner, image gallery or video to preview their contents. S Note, an app that allows for images, text and scribbled notes to be freely recorded, can now be opened on top of any app, as a pop-up window.
The pen is now integrated throughout the UI, and users can simply press the S Pen button to enable note-adding to whatever is currently shown, be it a website or a PDF document. Just like on the Galaxy Note 10.1, inserting and removing the stylus from the device can execute a function, such as starting up S Note.
Photos themselves can have notes added to their backs with the S Pen, and can be shared with other users. Other apps can be started with a simple S Pen gesture, effectively making the stylus an integral part of the Galaxy Note II.
One of the highlights, at least for me, is multi-window, which attempts to bring the Galaxy Note II to the same level as actual computers, and now in this handset it can be utilized as well, thanks to the big screen.
In my Galaxy S III review I had noted that videos can be stacked on top of other apps – the same feature exists here, and it adds the possibility of resizing the video window. It’s another advantage of the big screen, even though the speakers don’t seem to be placed appropriately for movie-watching (nothing that can’t be fixed with a decent telephone headset).
The camera has also been improved in terms of software, with Best Face, allowing each person in a group shot to have their pose and faces chosen from a series of burst photos taken of the same subjects.
The Samsung Galaxy Note II N7100 builds on the risky-yet-successful Galaxy Note N7000, adding a plethora of features to its characteristic S Pen, which could very well become the reason consumers choose Samsung instead of other brands for their Android devices – it’s a must-have device for those who are tired of having to carry a smartphone and a tablet at the same time, without the compromise.