Samsung Galaxy Note II: Review

Samsung’s slogan for its new, hotly anticipated Galaxy Note II is: “Be creative, be different”. And, after getting our hands on one of the new devices, we can confirm it is definitely both of those things.Galaxy Note II

The original Galaxy Note, launched last year, was a huge hit, selling more than 10 million units. Consumers were attracted by the fact it was the most powerful phone on the market.

But, it wasn’t all plain sailing for the Korean electronics giant. The Galaxy Note came under fire for being too big as a smartphone but too small for a tablet, with some saying it was struggling to find its place in the market, and its stylus sometimes did not work as smoothly as it should have.

Surely though, most will agree those niggles have been put to bed with the new Galaxy Note II, which hit the shelves just a few days Galaxy note IIago. It is better and faster than before with an impressive HD Super Amoled 5.5” display and a 1.6MHz quad-core processor which makes the device super-quick.

The S Pen now works just as it should and the battery life is longer. It’s not a lot bigger than Samsung’s flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S3, with just a 0.7” increase in size, but it feels a lot different and, just as Samsung intended, it truly is different from anything else on the market.

Problems with the first device meant it sometimes didn’t recognise handwriting fast enough, but that has been resolved. You can make notes with the S Pen while reading documents or looking at photographs.

There are a couple of features that we particularly like – Air View, which means you can see previews of emails or calendar appointments, without having to fully click into a new tab, just by hovering the stylus over your item. It makes multi-tasking easy, making it particularly useful for taking into business meetings when you perhaps need to make notes while keeping your own information on the screen so you can contribute too.

Given that we always forget where a picture was taken, or exactly when, we also love the new facility for allowing you to make a note on the “back” of a digital photograph. It means we can label our family snaps properly or, if we’ve taken a quick shot of something inspiring for work, we can jot down a few ideas.

Customer reviews have also been equally positive. “I’ve only had one a few days,” says one new owner. “But it has blown me away compared to the iPhone 4S I moved from. It makes the iPhone feel like a kids’ toy in comparison, partly down to the operating system and partly the physical product.” However they add: “Performance has been a little slow to respond on two occasions, probably due to prioritising other apps running.”

Another fan writes: “Wow – bigger screen, superb specs, perfect for gaming and watching HD movies. The features are excellent.”

Given that the price point is competitive with Apple’s latest gizmo, the iPhone 5, costing around £30 a month, or around £500 if you simply want it unlocked, it looks as though Samsung will have another success on its hands.