On Galaxy Note II

The Note started as a controversy, but in the end, it was a resounding success. Contrary to many initial reactions, people actually liked the big screen. More than 10 million were sold. I’ve been using the Note for over 8 months and was constantly asking myself, is it even possible to come up with a better phone? Turns out, it is. Welcome the Samsung Galaxy Note II.

Yes, it is!

Thanks to It’s About Gadgets by Etisalat, I got the chance to use the new monster for a week. And, ugh, I forgot to take any photos or screenshots, so all the photos in the posts will be stolen ones from the interwebs.

The initial reaction when I got the Note 2? This guy is fast! Of course, it goes without saying that Note 2 is one of the fastest phones currently on the market (specs here, comparison with Note here). With a quad-core 1.6GHz Exynos processor and 2GB RAM, it’s got more power than my previous laptop. The transitions are pretty slick. Could play Max Payne without any lag whatsoever. Note that (no pun intended) I tried everything in the stock TouchWiz launcher and without many third-party apps running in the background, so yeah, you get my point.

Samsung Galaxy Note II

Jelly Bean comes pre-installed in Note 2 with better camera, actionable notifications and all. (Even though the Note comes with Gingerbread, it’s upgradeable to Jelly Bean.) There’s this pop-up video player thingy and other fancy apps.

All the nonsense aside, let’s talk about the size. The Note’s screen was 5.3″, whereas it’s 5.5″ in Note 2. However, it’s less wide than the Note. Which means it feels better in the hand. Several of my friends who hated the original Note’s dimensions said they like the new design. Then how come the bigger screen? Yes, Note 2 is longer than the Note. It’s like some idiot took the Note and pulled it from either side. This has made the resolution to go down to 720×1280 (as opposed to 800×1280 in the Note). And less pixel density. I personally prefer what it was like in the original Note.

Note 2 (on the left) vs the Note

S-Pen functionality is much better with the Note 2. There’s some kind of sensor in the S-Pen slot, so when you take it out or put it back in, the phone knows. Taking the stylus out automatically takes you to a screen with many S-Pen-capable apps. Also a notification icon appears in the top bar saying that the pen is not on the slot, reducing the chances of losing it (as happened with my Note. Had to buy a replacement and it wasn’t cheap). It detects when you hover the pen above the screen as well. For example, if you hover the pen over the pictures in the Gallery (or events in the calendar), they will quickly zoom in and zoom out once you move the pen away. And stuff.

Hovering the pen over Video Player’s progress bar

Regardless of how much I hate the new screen and the dimensions, I prefer the Note 2 to Note. I would buy if I could. Apparently you’d be able to grab one from Etisalat itself in a few days. And there’s this small video interview I had with them about Note 2 which will be available in their Youtube channel in a few days.

UPDATE: Here’s my interview with Amitha on the Note II.

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