SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE 2: FIRST IMPRESSION

A year ago, Samsung had unveiled, what many called a phablet: The Galaxy NOTE. It was not the first tablet-smartphone hybrid, there were many before it. Critics of the device said that the device was too big and is not practical to use. But, a 5.3inch SuperAMOLED screen, 1.4GHz dual-core processor, an 8MP cam and the S-pen, made people to fall in love with the device. The note was the most successful phablet to-date. By august this year, over 10 million devices have been sold. Few weeks back Samsung unveiled the much awaited Galaxy Note 2. It is much better and more powerful than the previous Galaxy Note. One can say that it is the most powerful smartphone till date.

DESIGN

Design wise, the Note 2 is not at all similar to the older Note. It, more over looks like an oversized Galaxy S3. Samsung have used the same design principles used on the s3 (mainly to avoid another patent infringement case from Apple). The back cover sports the same glossy look of the S3. The bezels have been reduced in size compared with the previous Note. Another major difference (I would say improvement) over the previous Note is the dimension of the phone. A larger display has been introduced, which many would expect will make the device more difficult to hold. But Samsung has made the display longer, which makes it easier to hold than the previous Note. The thickness of the device has also been reduced. Hence the new device is thinner, better looking and more user friendly in terms of design, than the previous Note

HARDWARE

As I said before, the Note 2 sports a bigger display than its predecessor. The new Note 2 has a 5.5inch Super AMOLED HD display, which is far better than Note’s 5.3inch Pen-Tile display. Breath wise the device is slimmer, giving the display a 16:9 ratio, which helps it fit right in with more standard wide-screen graphics and playback. Likewise the Note 2 is more powerful, with a 1.6 GHz quad-core Exynos 4 processor, which is the same as one on the Galaxy S3, but has been overclocked to 1.6GHz. The S3 one is clocked at 1.4GHz. It also has 2GB of RAM, which is a lot , the S3 just has 1GB of RAM !

The device also sports an 8MP cam, which is the minimum sported by high-end phones these days. There where speculations that it might sport a bigger 13MP cam, which have now been proven wrong. I would like to add that it’s the same cam that is used in the Galaxy S3.

Now onto to something which was first seen on the Note, you guessed it, the S-Pen. I would say, personally I felt that the S-Pen on the previous Note was just a normal stylus with a button on it. It had really few functions overall. I had seen a friend of mine take it out only to draw some stupid thing on the S-Memo, whenever he was bored. A reason for this was the fact that only few apps supported the S-pen and the S-pen was too thin, you could not get that feeling of holding a pen, although Samsung did provide an accessory to make the S-pen feel like a real pen. But the point was you already had a huge phone in your pockets and you now had to carry an extra accessory along just to use a few apps. Luckily, Samsung have learnt from their mistakes and have made the S-Pen thicker and taller. They have given it a more pen like feel by replacing the hard plastic tip with a different one. The new tip gives a feeling of writing on a rough surface like how we do on paper. There has been a lot of new functionality add to the S-Pen in terms of software which I will talk about later.

On the connectivity front, Note 2 has 4G LTE and NFC which are now must haves on any new smartphone. It has a micro-USB at the bottom, which also functions as the charging port. The Note 2 comes in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB variants will and option to expand it upto 64GB using micro-SD card.

Now you might think, it is a big device with lots of power consuming hardware and so it will have a huge battery backup. And you are right, it has a 3100mAh battery. It is a lot bigger than the 2100mAh battery the old Note had.

SOFTWARE

On to software, the Note 2 runs the latest Android Jelly bean. Samsung has brought in lots of new features into the new Note 2 compared to its flagship model the Galaxy S3. The gallery had been changed, now it comes with different views. You can view the contents of the gallery based on the time period it is taken or like a spiral or in form of albums. The pop-up-play, the one seen on the S3, has been improved upon. It is now possible to resize the video box according to your convenience.

As I said before, there are lots of new functionality added to the new S-Pen. Like the Galaxy Note 10.1 tab, when the S-pen is removed from its holster, a list of compatible apps is displayed to the user.

Samsung also have introduced something new, which they call “Air view”. Using the S-Pen, you can hover over an object, like your email, and get relevant information, in this case the content of the email. The Air View function can also be used to check contents of an album or check for certain scenes while watching a video.

Samsung have also introduced a function for copying any part of the display, by clicking the S-Pen button and circling around the area that you need. Samsung calls this “easy-clip”. Another feature that I liked is the ability to write a personalized note on the back of a photograph using the S-Pen. Other features include, “Quick command” where you can use customised commands to run apps using the S-Pen. Then there is the “popup note”, click the S-Pen button and double tap the screen to display the S-Note. With all these new features, Samsung have made the S-Pen an integral part of the device.

The Note 2 is going to be available in Titanium Grey and Pearl White. It is expected to be Out by October this year.