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Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Review

When Samsung first introduced the original Galaxy Note, there were plenty of tech pundits that giggled, poked fun at the product, and then proceeded to make up as many ridiculous tablet-hybrid names as possible. Little did they know that Samsung had a new star on their hands, that would compliment the already massively successful Galaxy S series. So when the Galaxy Note 2 was announced, there were fewer jokes, as it was obvious that Samsung had carved out a special niche in the smartphone game.

In this review, I’ll talk about its unique features that help set it apart from others. But most importantly, we still need to talk about the size, since that’s still the deciding factor here. Is it too big or are you ready to buy into the super-sized phone market? 

The Good:

  • Specs:  The specs on the Galaxy Note 2 are second to none. The device has a quad-core Exynos processor clocked at 1.6GHz, 5.5″ HD Super AMOLED display, 2GB RAM, 16GB internal storage, microSD slot to expand the storage, 4G LTE (except on the T-Mobile version), 8MP rear camera, 1.9MP front camera, built-in S Pen, NFC, and a 3100mAh battery. If you were looking for “high-end” and “future proof,” this is the phone that meets both requirements.
  • Display:  The 5.5″ HD Super AMOLED display on the Galaxy Note 2, at 276ppi, is gorgeous. G.O.R.G.E.O.U.S. It’s no longer PenTile, is obviously massive, and produces vibrant colors in such clarity. It may have more of a cartoonish look than an LCD panel, but I don’t care, it looks amazing. The panel seems to float towards the top of the display, so as you touch it, it sort of feels like you are actually touching it. Touch sensitivity is where you’d expect it to be as well, and with it being so big, almost anything you do seems like it is coming to life. And because we like to, here are a couple of macro shots of the display.

  • Performance:  Thanks to the quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM, there are few tasks (if any) that can slow the Note 2 down. In my couple of weeks with it, I don’t know that I have even experienced more than a couple of stutters in the UI or while task switching. The processor and GPU combo handled all of the games I played, jumping between apps is buttery smooth, and all of the add-ons like Pop-up Play and Browser, run without hiccups. No benchmark scores needed here, this phone passes all of the tests with flying colors.
  • Device Tour and S Pen Features:  Since the Galaxy Note 2 is more than just a super-sized phone, I thought it was only proper if I put together a super-sized video tour of it. In the video below, I’ll walk you through the outside, briefly talk hardware, and then dive fully into the software side of things. The S Pen and its new list of features are the star of the show on the Note 2, so take a look at this 19-minute video to soak almost all of it in.


  • New S Pen:  As mentioned a number of times in the video above, the S Pen on the Galaxy Note 2 has been greatly improved over its predecessor. It has this slick hovering feature called AirView that acts as a mouse (pictured below), while also showing you previews in apps like email and gallery. You can use the S Pen to quickly screenshot items, draw around the specific parts you want, write a note, quickly access apps or tasks using gestures, and more. Samsung is doing things with the pen that I don’t think any of us had imagined. It also feels like the sky is the limit here, and that S Pen features will only grow substantially over the next couple of years.

  • More Software Highlights:  Since that first 20-minute video of software highlights didn’t cover it all, here is another short video. Again, the S Pen and new bundle of joy that Samsung including in TouchWiz for the Note 2 are impressive.


  • Jelly Bean:  We love it when phone manufacturers release phones running the most current version of Android. Since that’s Jelly Bean (Android 4.1), for now, Samsung gets major props. Android 4.2 will be released to Nexus devices in the coming weeks, but for Samsung to already have a phone hitting stores with 4.1, you should be impressed. Motorola, who is owned by Google, just dropped the RAZR HD on us a couple of weeks ago and couldn’t even get their phones updated to Jelly Bean before launch. As you know, Jelly Bean includes all sorts of enhancements like better notifications, Google Now, advanced Search, Project Butter for improved performance, and more.
  • Camera:  The 8MP camera in the Galaxy Note 2 is probably one of the better smartphone cameras that I have used to date. It’s definitely up there with the Galaxy S3’s camera, and rightfully so, as it’s likely an identical sensor. It bests the camera in the RAZR HD by a mile. Pictures are far less noisy and washed out, the focus actually works, and the sheer number of camera features is sort of astounding. There are panorama modes, burst shots, facial recognition tech, sharing modes, filters, and more. Samsung takes its smartphone cameras seriously, something that is obvious with the Note 2.

(Samples are untouched, other than being resized a bit.)

  • Battery Life:  Battery life has been more-than-acceptable. I apologize for not having screenshots, but so far, the Note 2 has powered through each and every day that I have used it. Now, I should point out that the T-Mobile version doesn’t have LTE, so my battery life tests aren’t going to matter much at this time. Once I get a hold of the Verizon version with LTE, we’ll revisit this subject. So far though, the 3100mAh of juice is plenty.
  • TouchWiz:  Ahh, TouchWiz. Your nature them and noises drive me nuts, but your feature set bests everyone else in the business. I love your buttery transitions, infinite scrolling loops, massive list of customizable features, gesture movements, S Pen add-ons, minor system tweaks (like quick toggles in the notification bar), and stability. But why do you have to put a damper on the situation with these damn water noises?
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  • Keyboard:  I’m usually the ultimate stickler when it comes to OEM keyboards. In other words, I hate almost all of them. I’m a huge fan of the stock Android keyboard, as well as Swiftkey. But when reviewing phones, I usually try to use the OEM installed keyboard throughout my time, because not everyone knows about 3rd party keyboards and I feel like these need to be reviewed. To me, the keyboard is one of the most crucial pieces to a smartphone’s OS, so I’m actually thrilled to admit that Samsung has done a fine job with their keyboard on the Note 2. It has gesture typing (similar to Swype) built-in, but it also holds up to rapid tapping much better than others. In an added bonus, since the phone is so big, they were able to include a dedicated number row at the top, something I wish almost every keyboard had. I wish it were a little faster when long pressing to get to extra characters, but the rest of the pluses outweigh that one negative.

  • Gaming:  If you were looking for the ultimate portable gaming device, the Galaxy Note 2 may be it. With the massive display, it feels like you are holding a mini-gaming center in your hand. It sits between a tablet and normal smartphone in size, so it’s still ultra-portable, but also big enough to change the gaming experience. With a quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, a decent GPU, and one of the most gorgeous HD displays we’ve seen, the top HD games only get better on the Note 2.

The Not-so-Good:

  • Size:  Don’t hate me for saying this, but when it comes to size, the Galaxy Note 2 is too big for my liking. Now, that doesn’t mean that you won’t love it and find the form factor optimal – I’m just saying that I prefer a regular sized smartphone. I found myself fumbling with the Note 2 far too often, as it really is a two-handed device. Making calls on it is a bit awkward because of the size, reaching anything with one hand is almost impossible without major hand placement adjustment, and unless you are carrying a bag or purse around, it may feel incredibly odd in your pocket. Again, just my opinion, many of yours may be very different.
  • Hardware Navigation Buttons:  It’s almost 2013, a year ago Google introduced the first phone with on-screen navigation keys, in the Galaxy Nexus. As you all know, that phone is made by Samsung. For whatever reason, Samsung has decided that with their two flagship devices – Galaxy S3 and Note 2 – that they would not adopt the new Google standard and instead stick with hardware Menu, Home, and Back buttons. It drives me nuts. While these aren’t adding bulk to the body as they do on some phones, it just seems like we aren’t moving the smartphone game forward. I also can’t stand having to physically press in a home button to get out of an app. On-screen keys on more responsive and flexible. And good luck accessing Google Now in an efficient way.

  • Where is Multi-window?:  When I sat down with Samsung a couple of weeks before they announced the Galaxy Note 2 for the U.S., they took me on a software tour of the S Pen and some of the other advanced features that were new. What they didn’t show, was this really cool new multi-window feature that would later be outed in a Korean promo video for the phone. The feature allows you to multi-task like a pro, by splitting up the display into two resizable sections that can use multiple apps at a time. It’s quite brilliant and very well done. Unfortunately for me and this review, the T-Mobile version of the phone does not have this multi-window feature, and it’s disappointing. There is a pretty good chance that it will come at a later date via OTA update, but Samsung seems to be holding back on announcing anything. The good news is that a software leak of the Verizon version showed files that reference “multi-window,” so it may have the feature out of the box.

  • No LTE on T-Mobile:  All of the Galaxy Note 2 variants for the U.S. contain an LTE chip. Since T-Mobile doesn’t actually have an LTE network, this version of the phone can’t take advantage of it. Once I get my hands on an LTE-ready AT&T or Verizon version of the phone, I’ll be sure to update many of the sections of this review. Or better yet, we’ll probably just post up a mini-review to reflect any differences.
  • Bloatware:  On the T-Mobile version of the Galaxy Note 2, I counted between 15 and 16 bloatware apps. There is a suite of T-Mo’s junk, but Samsung is also at fault here. While their S Note and S Voice apps aren’t going to offend many, they have plenty of others like Samsung Apps, Paper Artist, and Game Hub that I have absolutely no use for.


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vs. Galaxy S3

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The Verdict:

Oh, boy, the verdict. This is a tough one. The Galaxy Note 2 is an incredible smartphone, there is no denying that. What you will all have to decide is whether or not you can deal with the size on a daily basis. I personally, couldn’t wait to get back to my “smaller” Galaxy S3, but that doesn’t mean that the majority of you won’t love the 5.5″ display and large body of the Note 2. There really are few negatives to this phone. It’s powerful, polished, stable, and Samsung’s best work yet. It’s just one of those hybrid products that there is no way for me to say one way or the other if you are going to love it. You are the one buying your next smartphone, so if you think the Note 2 may be it, I suggest you go get your hands on one. Pocket it. Caress it. Use the S Pen. Snap photos. Navigate around the UI. Hold it up to your head and look in the mirror. Like what you see and feel? Then I think you have made your decision.

  • danalynette

    Just got mine-I LOVE IT thus far!
    Sound is phenominal

  • JulianMyers

    This phone is a beauty, but it’s probably good that I didn’t go for it. I’m on AT&T here in Austin, the 4G LTE network, and as a real estate agent I’m always on the go. My biggest fear in having a phone this big is dropping it. Doodling on it would be great, though, because I could write notes on property photos to keep track of client comments. But that 180 grams – that’s heavy! Now Samsung is coming out with an even bigger one (6.3”). Really?

  • Ms.EmilyR

    That’s a great review. I’m living in New York doing some work as a graphic artist, so I decided to switch to AT&T’s 4G LTE network. My iPhone isn’t really doing it for me anymore… can’t wait for a new one that will give me a better view of my work. The iPhone screen is just too small.

  • Tim

    Remember the old brick phone? All you could do was call with it. This “phablet” does so much more and actually does fit in most pockets due to its slim feature. I’m not afraid of looking like a hobbit with a phone as I read in other reviews. Once people see what this device does and how quickly it does it, I think we’re going to see a lot more crossover devices. Samsung just blazed the trail.

  • sgtguthrie

    Me wants to leave VZW and get this on T-Mobile 😉

  • Antti Eskelinen

    Umm, what dont I understand “And good luck accessing Google Now in an efficient way.” just long press menu button = profit
    Also did you actually try long press back button? It opens the menu for multitasking. Yep, took me also 2 weeks before found it.

  • hunkoman

    Only thing I miss is smart actions! Is there an alternative that sammy puts out?

  • Simmu

    Unreliable Phone. Gorilla Glass is worst than normal Glass. you need to buy bulking bumber guards. overall phone is useles.. No care available like apple care…

  • John Scott

    Does this have Gorilla Glass? I have read yes and no, any confirmation?

  • KevinW

    I just bought this phone 3 days ago on the Sprint network. By far, the best smartphone I have ever owned. Disclaimer: My hands are large enough to palm a basketball so the size does not bother me. The size is actually one of the reasons why I bought it. 5 Stars!

  • If you are thinking to buy Samsung Galaxy Note II , check this offer first


  • chris125

    Kellex how does the performance of the verizon version of the note 2 compare to the verizon sgs3? Is there a noticable difference in performance?

  • I love the T-Mobile variant. I love the device. I actually prefer the hardware home button over all touch screen remedy Clearly a opinion not a design flaw or “holding back” the cellular growth mechanics. As far as LTE. The T-Mobile variant has LTE just needs to be updated upon release of aforementioned network….not to mention T-Mobiles current “4G” offering is quite satisfying if in good market I rarely see speeds BELOW 15mbs and that is fine for a damn CELL PHONE. LTE is OVER hyped OVER priced I want cost conscious reliable service not price gauging “fast” remedial differences for high percentage yields in difference. Be Smart consumer..This review was biased and poorly based.

  • bob

    I have mine for about a month. After age 40, the idea of the smaller screens went out the window. I see a lot of middle age people reaching for their reading glasses when using some of these devices. The note II seems to eliminate a lot of that. This is by far the best phone I ever owned and when i consider my first phone, The motorola Brick, it really isn’t that big.

  • SSHGuru

    We sell the best screen protector for the Note II – Just Like Glass – clear and completely hard. Better spen responsiveness than the glass. http://www.dbacases.com

  • cole hartman


  • Nazzi_Muhammad

    After 2 weeks with this phone all I can say is wow! Silky smooth, gorgeous display, amazing battery life.

  • disastrousrainbow

    Recently got to try this phone out. I gotta say, I was so impressed my opinion of it switched from “stupid” to “this phone is pretty badass.” I was pleasantly surprised to find the phone wasn’t as big of a chore to hold than an S3, although it was pretty heavy compared to it. Still, the really fast performance and improved screen, despite the lower ppi, really wowed me.

    I never, ever, EVER, thought I’d buy a phone like this, but after my play time with one I gotta say I’m sold.

  • jc

    kellex, I would like to know more about voice to text features with both the Note 2 and S3

  • Great! I’m getting the Note 2, hands down.

  • sexydredlocs

    Thank you for this review. I’m new to the Samsung family having been an HTC fan girl for years. This review helped me to learn a number of features that may have taken months to figure out otherwise and to better appreciate the touchwiz which I was hating (HTC fan girl what can I say change is hard lol!)

  • vitriolix

    God I hate TouchWhiz.

  • gizmodoc

    I feel the display could have been better…having used S3, this seems a bit low on contrast ratio.. also the resolution shoud’ve been higher to push the display ppi to 300. ..

  • ChuckB

    Do you think it will have the same problems as the S3? particularly the “No Sim” error that I get when trying to send texts or place calls about 20% of the time. It seems to be just a few towers that have this problem… but VZW at one time had told me they’d let me trade phones…this is my 3rd S3 and 3rd sim card…

  • David Wilson

    I like this samsung galaxy S2, superb feature. Thanks for sharing with us.

  • lmt1718

    This is a live chat from samsung.com about multi-window. Hope this answers some of your questions. I know i pre-ordered the Note 2 and then heard the US version did not have multi-window and was very un-happy because I think that is one of the coolest features on it. So I think if enough people post on samsung.com they will push that update out sooner rather then later.

  • OMGU

    Holy crap, Jelly Bean wallpapers and the Samsung Clock are one FUGLY combination.

  • zeum

    Sounds like someone has baby hands and tiny pockets. Not all of us are little petite 5’0″ kids.

    • Dain Laguna

      so what does that mean? you have giant hands and rock jncos?

  • Damon Aldora

    I’m having a tough time deciding between the Galaxy Note II and the
    SIII. I’ve heard great reviews on both, so I will definitely be looking forward
    to trying them both out. I will be sticking with T-Mobile since they are the
    only carrier with an unlimited plan and useable internet speeds. In most cases,
    the 4G on my current phone than the LTE phone that one of my DISH coworkers
    has. We use the DISH Remote Access app on our phones to stream live and
    recorded shows through the Sling Adapter that we have on our home receivers.
    His phone buffers so much that it hardly seems worth paying extra for LTE. It
    will be nice being able to stream as much as I want without hitting a cap. I’m
    leaning towards the Note II!

  • How To Show Shub Keyboard Symbols like on your Screenshot?

    I try to find it on setting but the Sub Symbol didn’t show up… any guide please?

  • zandra

    i agree with the navigation. why is the undo button on the right side. but i’m still buying this. i love the s-pen, the many customizations and the size. it’d be a joy to accessorize this device. i’ll have that flip cover case and another one which is a purse/wallet type.

  • kdsmanu

    No word on the protective hard case? Anyway, I found a link that has reviewed it – http://mobilityupdate.com/phones/galaxy-note/2-protective-hard-case-review/

  • Twisted247

    You guys complained on the physical home button and the other 2 softkeys. I would GLADLY take a physical or softkeys vs the implemented buttons like the lg optimus etc..

  • Hammerfest

    My only disagreement’s with this article:

    I love the size of my OG Galaxy Note, Got to get my hands on the GNote 2 for a bit as well, no issue with size at all!

    As for the other “bad” issue when it comes to the hardware buttons, Im sorry, but I TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY disagree with you! I own a tablet, and cant stand the on-screen buttons, just taking up screen space, and in some cases, getting in the way (certain apps), I tried a phone for a week with the on screen buttons and they did nothing but manage to piss me off…

    I will take hardware buttons ALL DAY ANY DAY over onscreen software buttons…

  • Kevin Rees

    Just ordered my 16gb unlocked gray for 589 on newegg. Can’t wait for it to arrive!

  • ogurlpls

    Getting this on Verizon ASAP!!

  • SolipsisticPsychologist

    Wow! So when you touch it, “it actually feels like you are touching it”! Remarkable! When I normally try to touch things on my phone, I usually just breathe in what I’m trying to touch. This feature will be a game-changer!

  • geocab

    How good is the speaker on this thing? How noticeable is the notification light? The Razr HD is very impresssive in both of these aspects.

    • geocab

      Anyone know the answers to these? I held a mock version of this phone at Best Buy and I’m pretty sure I can deal with the size. I like everything about this phone except being unsure about the speaker, notification light, and maybe the screen compared to the HTC DNA. if I’m giving up my unlimited plan, it needs to be a worthwhile phone for me. This is a great contender!

  • sam

    Please note, this review is all over the place as I’m just writing stuff down that I love about the phone as it comes to me:

    I bought the Note 2 last week, Tmobile version – it is a great device. And it DOES come with an LTE chip, so once LTE is rolled out for Tmobile the phone will automatically be able to use it! There is A LOT of bloatware on the phone, I’m not going to count how many apps, but its dumb. No one cares about Tmobile tv or tmobile movies. That being said, all that bloatware does nothing to actually… bloat the phone. Its very fast and speedy about everything, the camera takes pictures so quickly I don’t even realize its taken the picture and I end up taking 3/4 shots. Focuses fast and is awesome. The s pen seems very sensitive with air view, when I pull it out to navigate through the menu it opens any app that it sits on for more than a millisecond, and its very ahrd to navigate, but there are settings to change for this, i’ve just not gotten around to that. Wi fi calling is amazing, as wifi texting is defacto as well:) I hate swype because swype keyboards always suck, but the stock swype keyboard is so amazing I’ve actually abandoned swiftkey for it. Only the occasional longwinded-complex words will it sometimes not catch, etc. Though I am VERY dissapointed that the tmo version doesn’t have pop up view, I’m sure I can root the phone very soon for a cyanogen version that will have it. Its a very big phone, but its tall, not wide!! so when you talk on it, the speaker is at the ear and the mic is at the mouth, not cheek or sideburn. I got used to the sizeVERY quickly and now it seems just as normal as my previous 4 inch phone (the incestual stepchild of the galaxy s series: galaxy s 4g). Its a great phone. Really is. IT has “pages” on it, which is an additional home screen that is connected to various actions, such as pulling out s pen, or when you plug in headphones it creates a temp new home screen with eq and everything. I just can’t stop raving about it.

    Also with the tmo value plan, I got 500 mins, unlim texting, 5 gig data with hotspot for $60 a month, and then I was able to get the phone for $250 down payment and $20 a month for 20 months. Yes, tmo coverage isn’t the best…. But with wifi calling and these insanely cheap plans it definitely makes up for it!

    One last thing that is a detractor, but not hte phones fault.. several apps, such as Pulse, have set words per page it seems, so even with a large screen its the same amount of words as a small screen, just a lot bigger. Again, might be able to change that as well, I’ve not really loooked into i

  • JDog

    To me, this shouldn’t be caled a pone, tablet or phablet. It’s really the first practical pocket computer.

  • turfgrass64

    lol, no multi-window on t-mobile…

  • I got multi window on mine and I modded it so I can splitscreen any app. Best device I have ever owned. including my s3

  • I don’t understand how Hardware buttons is a negative. I prefer it because the STUPID onscreen buttons takes away part of what you can see visually. I hope samsung continues with the soft buttons on the outside so I can get what I pay for and get to see the WHOLE screen. I think onscreen soft buttons are a step back. For anyone to think otherwise is wrong and needs to stop complaining because there is NO positives to it. Prove it to me what are the positives from having a 5.5 inch screen when you can only see 5.2 of it. You drive me nuts saying you would rather have on screen buttons.

  • Nazzi_Muhammad

    Bought the unlocked/international version of the Note 2. Lacks LTE, but that’s fine. HSPA+ is fast enough, LTE hasn’t fully saturated my home area and battery life will not be affected. LTE is great, but it’s a battery draining situation. A ton of new features in JB, a new learning curve I guess.

    Couple of things I noticed regarding Google Now. You can access it from the unlock screen and you don’t have to go through the task manager on the home page to get access to it either.

    Multi window is fully functional on this version of the Note 2. Way cool. No bloatware, display is amazing, this thing is fast and huge….

  • Hopefully Verizon is last to release because it will have multi window already. If not I’m sure it’ll take forever for them to send an ota like normal. Or maybe it’s late so they can brand the home button ugh. I held the sprint one, put it in my pocket and I’m definitely getting it. Just can’t decide if I want to pay etf to Verizon and go to Sprint or just hang on till December.

  • David Williams

    I have owned the Note 2 for two weeks now and I love it. I wouldn’t swap it for any other phone, even ones rumoured for the future. I have a 64 Gb micro SD in so 80 Gb in total. I’m putting some of my favorite films on it.
    The size is an advantage rather than a problem and it happily fits in my pocket.

  • Tyler Casilio

    oh..I came for the HTC Droid DNA……..well this is embarrassing

  • Mw

    Multi Window looks nice but Prolly won’t work with a launcher.. Which I will have after a week…

    • shill1986

      That’s a mistake in itself. I love launchers, but the take away from the speed and slow a phone down so bad it never ends up being worth it. Like a boss.

  • George

    How does the size of this compare to the LG Intuition? I ask because I saw the LG fr the first time in the store the other day and it was way too big for my liking. Which is making me second guess wanting the Note 2.

  • 1 week! come ooooooon

  • While I typically either roll my eyes at reviewers who have a problem with the size making me less prone to want to follow anything else they post, or just think they’re effeminate wusses (cough *Aaron from phonedog*) to use a nicer term, while the first video on it seemed a tad bit negative, I appreciated the way you handled yourself with the review verdict on it. Had two questions. Any idea if/when Verizon is getting the 64GB version since apparently they dropped the ability to install apps to the Micro SD Card? Also do you happen to know when or if they will make it available in black and other colors like they did with the S3 at a later point? A 64GB one in black would be fantastic.

    • “they’re effeminate wusses”

      My, how misogynistic.

      • I don’t hate men or women, and that’s not what I was trying to say. I can’t say he has the hands of a gerbil because he doesn’t so I didn’t say that. Since you couldn’t figure out that I was using another round about way to say “gay” in the sense of saying I think it’s stupid or lame I figure I should clarify that for you. I could have just said wuss or wimp but where’s the fun in that?

    • Samuel

      Whoa Whoa Whoa Whoa Whoa ….
      Aaron from phonedog is great 😛 who actually listed the Note II as his #1 device.

      • I like Aaron but yea that won’t last long. Yep as figured he is not sticking with it after his 30 day challenge because he’s a wuss.

  • billy

    If this didnt have the stupid hardware buttons and was onscreen like my verizon galaxy nexus…id buy. I will only buy a phone with on screen buttons nothing else going forward.

  • M.R

    I was was wondering, does the AT&T samsung galaxy note 2 be ready out of the box with Multi-window ?

  • Bionic

    Guy at work got one. I’m very impressed. But I’m still sticking with motorola.

  • James Hill

    Damn, kellex your making me jealous.

  • michael george


  • michael george


    • Yeah people getting their panties all tied up about the size, as long as it fits in my jeans pockets (it does) it doesnt matter

    • Mw

      Gotta be all caps?

  • I’m glad some of you aren’t going to get this phone, means that I will be able to walk into a Verizon Store and get one on release day. (Hopefully).

  • SoCal Dave

    On the hardware buttons I could not disagree more! Taking them off the screen makes that real estate available to show content and programs instead of simple buttons that can be built in below. I have the G Nex and GIII and this was the single biggest IMPROVEMENT as far as I am concerned!

    • Paul

      Though a physical button isn’t as nice as soft touch still.

    • rcro

      Yep. I don’t care for the movement to on screen buttons. Right up there with embedded batteries and sim cards. Don’t understand the trends.

      • SolipsisticPsychologist

        Embedded batteries and storage is about two things only. Taking away consumer choice and being able to buy super cheap batteries and cards. And, making a bunch of money by selling more than one version of a single phone or tablet. Manufacturers saw that Apple was making a killing at selling variations of the same device, and they got greedy and didn’t care about taking away a huge part of the freedom and choice that came from owning an Android device instead of an Apple closed down piece of trash.

        Sure, there are still a huge amount of choices and freedom with an Android device, that you would never get on a policed Apple prison phone or tablet. But I won’t support or condone the device makers, taking away any bit of our Android freedom and choice, and it’s a sad situation when so many Android owners are either, uninformed, apathetic or stupid, and don’t see this move for what it truly is – good ol’ fashioned greed.

        • rcro

          Yep. I know it’s greed. Just funny because once upon a time it was about differentiating from Apple. One of the reasons we chose android. Now companies are doing what they can to be like them. I’ll never buy an HTC or Motorola product until they changed that trend. Try not to be a Sammy fanboy, but they give me choice and options. Now it’s my f*ckin’ carrier crippling my device for their own greed. And in case of the note 2, taking away features that just affect usability and have zero to do with lining their pockets.

      • cooksta32676

        Or my Gnex which has button burn in already.

        • rcro

          Didn’t think that was possible. Figured it was a plasma thing.

    • GNex Stan

      OMG I love hardware buttons! That would be the SINGLE biggest selling point that’ll make me ditch my GNex for a Note2! – Even price almost becomes irrelevant! (I’d easily pay up to 40% price premium for the same spec device for the one with hardware buttons!) On-screen buttons are “cool” but they’re the most impractical concept ever invented! They’re very prone to accidental touches.. especially the ones near the corner like on the GS3! Merely holding the phone upright will have part of your palm “touching” the back button which is why I didn’t get the GS3! On the GNex the buttons are further up so there’s less accidental touches but still annoying. If the Note2 uses “touch” hardware buttons then it defeats the purpose but if they’re traditional pressure and click hardware buttons then I’M SOLD!!!

      • cynicist

        The GS3 doesn’t have any on-screen buttons. It has the same button configuration as the Note2. (one physical, 2 capacitive) Personally I have no issues with accidental presses on my Galaxy Nexus. In fact it seems like it would be less likely while playing video for example, since the buttons are hidden instead of directly on the device.

  • Adam Estep

    Definitely getting this phone. This fits me fine as I keep my phone in my front pocket w plenty room to spare. This gets me a portable tablet and I’ll have my nexus 10 as my primary one.

    My advise, though, especially those on Verizon, is to get it a Costco when it comes out. First, if its too big, then you can take it back in 14 days, no problem. Also, if you are on VZW and disappointed there was no nexus 4, there are some rumors pointing to a delayed launch in January. Well, Costco does have a 90 return policy as well. The catch from day 15 to day 90 is you need to get a phone they cell. Since Costco sold the galaxy nexus, it would be likely they’d sell the nexus 4 as well. I know it is all speculation, but those of us on big red because we don’t have a choice because gsm carriers are awful or want to hold onto unlimited data, it’s a hope worth having.

  • joejoe5709

    I hope someday that Samsung will convince Google to offer native stylus control in stock Android. I’m not saying every phone needs a stylus, but it’s obviously a pretty cool, innovative idea. I would love my Gnex to have a stylus.

  • joejoe5709

    I think I would agree with Kellen. My Gnex is plenty big. I occasionally find myself fumbling with the phone as it is. Holding my 4 month old son in one arm and using the other to surf the web, it can get a little cumbersome. That’s also why I’ll never give up my browser quick controls. The screen is already impressive to anyone with a mid-grade Android phone or an iPhone. So I think I’ll stay around the 4.5-4.7 range – maybe 5.0 if the bezel was none existent ;-).

  • Ch Bush

    I do agree with you about the physical button. Going from a Droid 1 to Droid 3 to an S3, the ONLY complaint I have about the S3 is the physical button. It’s a minor thing but it takes away from the flow of the phone in my opinion. I don’t like it.

  • “as it really is a two-handed device”

    I guess you have little hands. My coworker let me try hers out today and it fits PERFECT in my hand, and in my pocket. Now I got to wait for the VZW version to come out and shell out the $700 + tax for it. 🙁

    • Umm no. I have pretty average hands, can palm a basketball. 😛

      Two-handed means you have to hold it one hand and touch the screen with your other. You cannot hold this form in a normal fashion and reach up to the notification bar. You would be adjusting your hand constantly, which is not fun.

      • SpikedRed

        Re: Multi-Window. As mentioned before, Kellex, please look at the Samsung.com website and do a comparison of carriers with the Note 2. It specifically lists Verizon as carrying the Multi-Window function, and not on the other carriers. Thank you, and please drive through.

    • Diablo81588

      I don’t care how big your hands are, there is no way you could use this phone one handed. Try holding it with one hand and be able to reach the home button and the notification bar without adjusting your hand position. It won’t happen.

  • JMonkeYJ

    very curious about the multi-window functionality. i’ve heard it does not work well at all on the Galaxy Note Tablet

  • Spoken Word™

    There is no number between 15 and 16. Either it has 15 or 16 bloatware apps. Which is it?

    • interstellarmind

      Yeah, Kelle× really dig your reviews/ posts but this threw me for a loop.

    • Pedro Pedro

      Actually, there are an infinite number of numbers between 15 and 16.

      • jmsbwmn

        Infinitely many real numbers, yes, but not whole numbers, and since the number of bloatware apps is not continuous, you are technically incorrect. 😉

        Just bustin’ your balls, Pedro! Funny post!

    • Lambo Morino

      I counted at least 16 on the ATT version and I was able to disable every single one of them in a few minutes. I did leave S-Note enabled.

  • Droid Burgundy

    The Ladies love tha touch wiz

  • yarrellray

    Great review no question your honesty is greatly appreciated. I’ll say the bloatware apps on this device is probably to much Samsung but I understand the fact that they are trying to provide extra features to it’s customers. I to applaud Tmobile for having a future proof device yeah they might not have a current LTE NETWORK like At&t and Verizon. They do have a device that has LTE so when Tmobile flips the switch on it’s Lte advance 10 network the Galaxy Note 2 on Tmobile will be ready for the deal all it will take is a software update. Otherwise this is a device that is in a league of it’s own that won’t be matched by any smartphone on the market here in 2012 and half of 2013. I will be purchasing this device on November 15th for Tmobile and i am happy that Tmobile left the device alone from a cosmetic standpoint unlike Verizon the odd ball carrier. Generally everyone will be very happy with this device on all carriers and Samsung will sell way past 20million within the next 60 days. That multitasking feature better be on the way in a software update before November 30th I have been hitting up Samsung’s site directly and pounding it’s twitter/facebook/ and Google plus pages.

    • Lol You post the same thoughts No one Cares what date Your buying You Sound and &to old to be so hyped for a phone you don’t even OWN. Hide Ya kids hide Ya Wife

    • Barb Nagle

      Maybe the Note 2 seemed to big for reviewer because he is used to holding his tube steak in that hand. 😉

    • Barb Nagle


    • Charlie

      Every time I read one of your post, I feel like AdBlock stopped working and a T-Mobile ad got on my screen.

  • svenedge

    I want this phone so bad. Its gonna be hard to fork over $700 for it though 🙁

    • SolipsisticPsychologist

      Stay strong, don’t give into Verizon’s callous greed! Remember, over the long-run, you’ll be saving money, and not having to watch your monthly data package like a hawk and you will never have to pay an overage charge. I’m rooting for you and in the same camp when it comes time to upgrade my device.

      Though, with so many new devices coming out without both a removable battery and removable storage. Well, needless to say, I’m pretty sure that I will be using my Rezound, until it turns to dust. And when that happens, I’ll just be buying a used version of some phone that has both removable storage and battery. Plus, I can always fall back to my Droid X or if need be, my Droid. At the end of the day, though, I’d rather revert back to a dumb phone or no phone, if my only choices are a phone with non-removable storage and battery, and or losing my Verizon unlimited plan. A smartphone is now, and will always be a luxury, not necessity. And if it’s needed for work, then they pay for it or you make enough that you pay for it. If you don’t make enough or they don’t pay, it’s a luxury.

  • billy routh

    Verizons website and samsungs website all say verizons version has multi-window. Samsung, att sprint,and T-Mobile web sites don’t say anything about it any of theirs having it.

    • sonicbrew2

      I’d rather have AT&T without multi window and have the ability to surf the net and talk at the same time.

      • DC_Guy

        You can surf and talk at the same time with the latest Android phones. I can do it with my S3 so I’m sure I’ll be able to do it with my Note 2. You can’t do it with iPhone because Apple was more concerned about saving space rather than putting in the extra chip like others do.

  • Akashshr

    The not-so-Good / Turly terrible :
    Touch Wizzed all over jellybean!

  • berini

    Not a bad review, but:

    -No LTE for t-mo: Well, it’s not there yet, but if t-mo coverage works for you, the note 2 is future-proof, so not really a con there.
    -Multi-window: I don’t know how t-mo prioritize the update, but it’s already there and many t-mo note 2 owners already have it, just didn’t get on yours yet.
    -Too big to hold for calling: use a headset

    I agree that it is big though. If you always have a bag with you, it would not matter, but if you are used to have it in your front pocket and wear fitted clothes (i.e. doesn’t mean skinny), it can be challenging and uncomfortable at times.

  • hfoster52

    The boombox of smartphones….

    • New_Guy

      More like the PDA =)

      • jian9007

        True. It’s almost identical in size to the Compaq iPAQ 3835 I used to have in 2001. It’s a bit thinner, with a bit less width but more length (G-NOTE 2- 5.95 x 3.17 x 0.37 – iPAQ 3835- 5.20 x 3.30 x 0.60). I guess the PDA was the first big thing before Samsung’s next big thing. O_o

  • Manuel

    Where is the AT&T version? I want this phone and I want it now!

    • diehardbattery

      Available for preorder now and will release on Nov. 9th

      • Bob Gladrey

        wow… and a full 20 days later, VZW gets it. I’m in between contracts; perhaps I should go with AT&T. We have 4GLTE here in Atlanta, so it might be time to give VZW the boot. I’m looking forward to taking notes about the styles I create.

  • Great review Kellex but could you clarify one thing between the screen on the GN2 vs GS3. How is the brightness and color compared to the S3 – as the S3 tends to have an overall blue cast to it? Thanks!

  • jeff3yan

    Just a slightly bigger screen and I wouldn’t need my Nexus 7 anymore. Hoping for 6″ in the Note 3!

    • Diablo81588

      No, its big enough.

  • AK

    I probably wouldn’t have considered this phone if the new Nexus had an LTE radio. Now I can’t wait to have this device. It’s an improvement on the Galaxy Nexus in so many ways. Thanks for the review. . Samsung is doing great work.

    • Mark Monk

      I wouldn’t have considered this device either had the N4 had LTE and not been sold out despite being in my basket on the G site. This looks like like a great phone. When I saw it in the store today I was amazed at the stunning display and could already picture myself on the treadmill watching a Netflix movie. Thanks for the the review.

  • MotoRulz

    While its not a deal breaker for me I am not happy with Verizon putting their logo on the home button. That’s like putting a mustache on Megan Fox, your just ruining what would otherwise be a beautiful work of art..

    • Nyko

      you need to look at the entire art piece… have you not seen her thumbs? #EW http://assets.nydailynews.com/polopoly_fs/1.376933!/img/httpImage/image.jpg

      • MotoRulz

        You are focused on the wrong thing in that photo…You just might be the only guy to read the articles in Playboy.

        • Nyko

          Nah… Once you’ve actually had vag, you realize it’s OK to kick the mags to the curb and that it’s OK to be picky. #QUALITYOVERQUANTITY

          • Live2Rootz

            Easy there shallow Hal. Even if her thumbs do look a little funky she’s still a babe. The funny thing is I bet you have the face that goes with those thumbs and you’re making comments like that. How ironic.

          • Nyko

            Shallow because I have taste/preference? Rokay! You really got me buddy, I’m mad! #NERD

          • SolipsisticPsychologist

            Nyko, you can’t blame Rootz, because if you’ve never had contact with a female your whole life. Every woman starts to look like that person’s idea of a dream-girl, and your standards are obliterated! I personally think Megan Fox looks like an anorexic biotch. She was apparently born with a disease that makes impossible for you to smile, and not look like the only that you had to eat during the entire day, was a Tic-Tac.

          • Aaron Burroughs

            are you 2 Nyko and Psychologist. Megan Fox looks like a beautiful woman by many standards. You two sound like friggin dorks who are salty because this type of girl laughed at you in high school. your saying her thumbs are ugly? THUMBS? Im guessing Nyko you must date super models and have women get the uncanny urge to blow you on sight to have the right to be so critical. and Psychologist? Im sorry, anyone who calls a woman a “biotch” has to be the biggest dork in the world. Both you guys go back into your moms basement and play world of warcraft. #fuckinglosers

      • michael arazan

        Sad, but i never even noticed her thumbs inb that picture

    • john

      nicely said. lol try an scratch it off. im sure it can be scratched off with out ruining the button

  • Now the crappy touchwiz interface is BIGGER!

    • billy routh

      Touch wiz is better and more polished than Motorola’s UI, and sense, and after having a gnex and nexus 7 I can proudly proclaim that TW is better and adds more features than stock android. Down votes convene.

      • Colin Zack

        You’re probably the only person who thinks that.

        • Me

          Lol tell that to the upvotes

        • You vastly underestimate the number of Samsung fanboys. Just as bad as Apple except they worship benchmark and chip specs instead of quality hardware.

          • Colin Zack

            I absolutely love Samsung, and for the most part their hardware. However, their UI is not as good as stock UI.

          • cooksta32676

            Or maybe because the s3 alone has out sold Moto, LG, and HTC…..combined this year. Numbers don’t lie.

  • mustbepbs

    Great review. I like that you left it up to people to judge the size, not imposing your preference.

    • Barb Nagle

      The Note 2 may have seemed too big because he is used to holding his dick in that hand. Just kidding, that was a great review!

    • Melissa Pentman

      The reviewer probably thought the phone seemed big because he is used to holding his tiny pecker in that hand 😉

      • JB


      • Mel Pentup

        I suppose the zoom function of the Galaxy Note would be able to find that mosquito bite you call your boobs

    • Check Samsung Galaxy Note II offers on amazon here . . .


  • MotoRulz

    I’m all in on this phone, and when Google decides to put LTE back in the Nexus I will be all in on that..

  • microdot

    Seems like you had to really think hard to come up with some stuff for the “not so good” section which just tells me this is an awesome device. The size is what makes it unique and a note, the bloatware is on every phone (besides nexus) and we are use the the buttons by now. Not bad if that all that negative.I want it

    • There really are very few things that I dislike about the Note 2. Size is really all that bothered me. Great device.

      • dangolds

        That’s the very reason why I could never get this phone. Love the GS3, love the incremental features Samsung has added to the Note, but just too big for my taste to use as a phone.

      • FAL_Fan

        I, personally, love the size. I went to the T-Mobile store just to play with it and it was very comfortable to hold and use one handed, keeping in mind that I’m 6’2″ with an XL glove size. But like you I could find nothing wrong with it, so again good review!

      • Alan Paone

        This is definitely a two-handed device, but so is every flagship phone for most people – OneX, S3, Nexus. If you’re resigning yourself to using two hands anyway, you might as well just get the biggest phone you can possibly hold.

      • cooksta32676

        Forgive me for not snapping the main draw screenshot. But I promise this is true and authentic. Smack down to my Razr MaXX.

    • New_Guy

      It’s pretty much settled for me. Contract is up soon and I’m all in right now.

      • cooksta32676

        How’s this? 7 hours screen time and 32% left?

  • end of the day get here sooner so I can BUY MINE!

  • Tom

    Not bad