on October 7, 2012
First, a little backstory: As of two weeks ago, I didn't know I needed this phone...hadn't even considered it. I was reasonably happy with my GSM Galaxy Nexus. Sure, the screen on my GN had that grating pentile "quality," but it ran stock Android with aplomb. Then, on a whim, I purchased the Nexus 7. I was quickly enamored with its screen - both the size and quality. Android really shines once it is freed from the sub-5 inch form factor of most phones. I started using my N7 for almost all my mobile device needs - content consumption/creation, email, SMS (look up Tablet Talk in the Play Store) - the only function it couldn't perform was calling. I joked to my friends that if the N7 were just a little smaller and I could insert a SIM, I'd use it as my primary mobile device. Each time I had to use my formerly beloved Galaxy Nexus, I was disappointed with the experience - the OS just felt constrained by the smaller form factor.
So, after one week of being spoiled with the screen size of the Nexus 7, I knew I wanted a phone to match, hence my purchase of the Galaxy Note II.
Now, on to the obligatory pros and cons:
- Screen Size: If you read my intro, you'd hopefully understood the primary reason for my purchase of this phone. After experiencing Android on the larger screened N7, I couldn't take the constrained feeling of the OS on my Galaxy Nexus. The Note II solved that problem. The screen size is perfect - 5.5" really is how a modern mobile, multi-tasking OS should be experienced.
- Screen Quality: Long story short, it ain't pentile, which is a good thing. If you've researched, you'd know it has a slightly funky RGB set-up, but bottom line: I can't tell the set-up is any different than a standard RGB screen. You'll like it - no, you'll love it. Colors pop, and I cannot see pixels. It is clearly on par with the only screen that I could ever personally compare it to: the gold standard iPhone 4/4s.
- Multi-Window Multi-Tasking: Awesome. Basically, Samsung allows you to split the Note II's screen into two windows, so you can have two applications running simultaneously on the screen. For example, you could have a window on top with YouTube open, with the one on the bottom for GMail. I've found over the past few days that my use case tends to be: top window, Chrome; bottom window, messaging. This allows me to browse the web while quickly responding to texts. Unfortunately, not all apps support multi-window functionality (I'd love to find an RSS reader that does, and Drive support would be awesome). Facebook and Twitter support multi-windows, as does the aforementioned Chrome and some other apps. As an aside, I was slightly disappointed when I initially received my Note II and discovered it was running older firmware that didn't support the multi-window functionality seen in videos. Two days later, though, I received an OTA update that enabled it.
- Touchwiz: I was concerned when I ordered the Note II that I'd quickly tire of Touchwiz, Samsung's skinned version of Android, particularly after running stock Jelly Bean on both the Nexus 7 and Galaxy Nexus. Surprisingly, I've found it actually enjoyable, with numerous tweaks that facilitate better device interaction. Smart Stay stands out - you can enable the device so that the screen stays on if it senses you looking at it (it utilizes the front-facing camera). Toggles in the notification bar are quite helpful - I can quickly turn on/off Bluetooth, Wifi, etc., from the notification shade. I''ve found I've started using Blocking Mode as well - by enabling this, I can shut off notifications at night, but allow a restricted group of contacts to override the block and still reach me.
- Horsepower: The Note II *screams*. It handles multi-window mode like a champ, takes photos quickly, installs apps virtually instantaneously, cycles through homescreens like (Project) butter.
- S-Pen: the Note II includes a stylus. While not even close to being the primary reason I purchased the device, I've found small uses for it. I downloaded Sketchbook Mobile to doodle (albeit poorly, but that's because of my horrid artistic skills, not because of the efficacy of the stylus), I've scribbled a few notes, etc. I've actually found it to be quite adept at handwriting entry (the Note II transcribes your handwriting into typewritten format). It's also incredibly quick to trace out letters on Samsung's included "Swype"ish keyboard.
- Battery Life: After reading early accounts of good battery life on some of the online reviews, I was cautiously optimistic that it would be the case with the device, particularly with the 3100 mAh battery. I can tell you it is; in fact, at times the battery life is stellar. I know some folks will give you anecdotal stories about how their phones last three days under medium use, but I have always believed that "Screen On" time is the best indicator of battery performance. Using that metric (which you can find in the settings menu), the Note II gives me anywhere between 7 and 10 hours of screen time. That is absolutely fantastic for any size smartphone, particularly one that's essentially a mini-tablet.
- Battery Charging: Samsung's smartphones (at least the ones I've owned) have notoriously charged very slowly. The Note II is, thankfully, not cursed with this. As I write this review, it's been on the charger for a little less than one hour. It's charged 40% in that time. My Galaxy Nexus charged at a rate of about 25-30% an hour, which is woeful. The Note II has a significantly larger battery than the GN, so it's charging performance is surprisingly good.
- Physical Home Button: I like having a physical home key to wake the device. I know that doesn't sound like a big deal, but it's much easier to locate the home button on the face of the device than it is to find the small power key on the side. *Pro-tip*: Uncheck "Open via the home key" in S Voice settings. This will eliminate the lag between pressing the home button and the corresponding navigation action back to the homescreen. If it remains checked, there will be a slight delay between pressing the home button and returning to the homescreen (the OS is waiting for a second press of the home button to activate S Voice). Of course, if you like S Voice (I personally don't), you may want to leave this enabled.
- Pocketability: It fits in my pocket with no issues, but this is coming from a guy who can fit the Nexus 7 into his dress khakis and cargo shorts. I'm a little on the tall side (6' 2"), so I'm sure that helps.
- Camera: Tons of tweaks with the onboard camera software. Takes great pictures. I'm no professional photographer, but it's clearly iPhone 4S+ quality and SIGNIFICANTLY better than the shooter on the Galaxy Nexus.
- Speaker: MUCH louder than the Galaxy Nexus. I can actually hear my phone when it rings - hurray!
- Notification LED: Once you have a phone with this, you can't live without it.
(update 10/9/12) - Stock Samsung Keyboard: It's quite good, and I'm currently using it as my default input method. I prefer it's dedicated number row above the alphabetical keys. Also, it has "Swype"-like functionality. I don't know if Samsung white labeled Swype's keyboard or simply built their own, but it is accurate.
(update 10/17/12) - Lack of Carrier Control: I overlooked this in my original review, but I think it's important to note that the international Note II's updates are directly controlled by Samsung. There is no carrier interference in the software update process. I was reminded of this today when I read that international Galaxy S3 devices are now being updated to Jelly Bean, while carrier-branded U.S. versions won't see it for months.
CONS (this will be short)
- Size for One-Handed Operation: At times, you'll have to use two hands to use it, much more so than you would for any other phone on the market today. My hands are larger than average, and I still have to use two hands periodically. If two-handed operation bothers you quite a bit, don't purchase it.
- Additional Multi-Window App Support (see under PROS): It would be great if ALL apps could run under multi-windows mode - it is that useful.
- Small Inconsistencies with Touchwiz: Nothing big, just little issues here and there. For example, you can create notes (essentially, draw) on the monthly calendar with the S-Pen (great for visually calling out an important meeting), but if you add the calendar widget to the homescreen, your drawn notes won't show on the widget.
- Lack of Dedicated Multi-tasking Button: My Galaxy Nexus has a dedicated softkey for the task switcher. For the Note II, you have to long press the home button to bring up the task switcher.
(update 10/9/12) - Capacitive Navigation Buttons Do Not Remain Backlit: The two capacitive buttons (Menu and Back) do not remain backlit when using the device, and once they're off, they cannot be viewed (there is no visible etching). This adds an unnecessary learning curve as your muscle memory adjusts to where each key is. Also, I prefer the Back button on the left of the device's face (it is located on the right) - it would be more intuitive/logical to position it to the left of the Home key. (update 11/19/12) You CAN enable the navigation buttons to remain backlit. As J.A. Smithers pointed out in the comments on 11/19/12, go to Settings --> Display --> Touch key light duration --> (choose "Always on" and they will only go off when you turn the whole screen off, i.e. in standby mode).
TL; DR: It's an awesome phone - if you like Android, it's likely the best phone available now. As long as having to use two hands sometimes doesn't bother you, get it.
As an fyi, I'm running this phone on Straight Talk and consistently get download speeds in the 7mb/sec range. I'll try to update as I continue getting settled into the phone. Feel free to ask questions.
on October 9, 2012
This is one hell of a gadget. It is the best product I currently use. The screen is simply beautiful, speed is excellent, and it feels luxurious with the glowing screen and heavy feel. I use it for all sorts of things and it never fails you. Battery is awesome, for the first few days I practically spent all day using it, testing it, downloading apps ...etc. and there's always at least 20-30% battery left at night after 16+ hours of heavy use. I happily spent 600 Euros to buy it, and that was very good value, in fact the price of this phone should not compare to other smart phones out there, as this is a different product, it truly is a phone and a tablet in one (so the alternative is buying 2 items for double the price). I am not a so-called Apple hater, but the iPhone is a toy next to this one(I used the iPhone 5 for 3 days); even the Galaxy S3 is reduced to a toy next to it. Samsung could easily sell it for additional 30% in price (at least to those who appreciate it). One comment about the size: you buy this phone specifically for its size, I wonder how some reviews mention its size as a disadvantage or a con ... how can that be when you bought it BECAUSE of its size not in spite of it? Don't hesitate about it, buy it IF you need a bigger screen. If the size to you is an obstacle then stick to the smaller ones, as this is not intended to be just another phone, it's intended to be a personal assistant, tablet, and phone. I recommend it without hesitation, and would like to thank Samsung for making such a beautiful product.
on October 20, 2012
I waited a while to write a review on this phone, I had bought the phone right before I went on vacation out of town for 2 weeks (got it the 2nd day of release) and I am blown away by this device. I was a former owner of the iPhone 4s and then I moved to a Galaxy Note (n7000) for 6 months. I was in love with the original Galaxy Note in every way possible and then I sold my old Gnote. I felt bad because I had no idea how good the Gnote 2 would be, if I would love it or hate it. I even regretted selling the Original note. I waited for the day to come and then I bought it patiently waiting day by day (bought on ebay with square trade warranty). I never thought another phone in the world could take me away from the Gnote and then it happen...The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 came along by UPS and shattered the barriers of my expectations of how fast a phone could be and could do. Once again I sit here writing you a review of my 2 weeks of the Samsung Galaxy note 2 (n7100) This Review will mostly compare it to the Original Galaxy Note (n7000).
Screen and Multimedia:
We already know the screen is a whopping 5"5 inches so I won't get into that. The HD Super AMOLED is what I want to get at. Its just so eye popping to look at every time you look at the Raw HD screen of the Galaxy Note II. Its hard to look away for even a moment. And Guess what? Its NOT PEN-TILE! Really once you look at the screen you will notice it! The screen itself is just so fun to look at and it is some serious eye candy. I know some people are worried about losing some res of the original Galaxy note but trust me this screen is far superior. It was worth losing that resolution in favor of this screen. This is truly the best screen Samsung have ever made. Period. If you was desensitize by the first Note Screen then your in luck because this one is even bigger (mainly longer) then before. Its going to be hard to go back to smaller screens after owning this phone. There was no problems with my screen at all, no dead pixels & no funny colors/bluish tint like the first Gnote. Its a breathtaking screen simply put and it is something that have to be seen. It Decodes DVIX and Xvid movies so watching on this screen is a blast with HD, Netflix also has great quality, and Slingplayer is a wonder to watch TV on the Galaxy Note II! HD wallpapers and wonderful looking on a screen like this. Gaming on this device is pure fun enjoyment every time because you will have extra room to have your thumbs moving. (played NOVA 3, Dead Trigger, Sonic CD, and a few SNES games like TMNT Turtles in time. With those games the Colors just POP! don't believe me? Try it when you get one.) The screen was so comfortable to look at I didn't even pull out my iPad on my vacation.
Design / Build Quality / feel:
Yes its a big phone/tablet but really it feels nice in the hand. To me it feels so much better then the Original Galaxy Note. Its something about the design of the curves on the back of the device just feels so satisfying to hold. I know the device is plastic but it some how have a premium feel to it. It is very uncanny but its beautiful and looks better then the white version IMO. The gray mixed in with a nature like feel of the GSIII just makes the front of the device very sexy. People gave me compliments on the street saying it was "beautiful" This mixed in with the screen can make this a very attractive phone. It is a solid feeling phone. I can fit it in my pants with no problems because the Galaxy Note 2 is thin, light and easy to hold. If your worried about texting on this thing there is an app called "Thumb Keyboard" in the android market that really makes it comfortable typing. To be completely honest the Stock Keyboard even feels good to type on and very responsive...might be a little tough to reach the middle of the with the stock keyboard in landscape. Other then that its a very good stock Samsung keyboard its even better when you use the S-Pen for your handwriting. This one is also better for the front of it has a notification light, I know that's not a huge bonus to some people but after owning the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3Gs, Dell Streak, Galaxy S II, iPhone 4s and a Galaxy Note...It is refreshing to see that on there for the first time. You can change the color of the Notification light as well but it depends if an app allows you to do so such as Handcent SMS.
Call Quality / data speeds / GPS / Wifi:
Call quality is great and Samsung made it even better then the Original note. Speaker is WAYYYYY better then the Original Note adding a "extra volume" button during calls. The speaker on the Gnote was not that good to say the lease. I have HSPA+ on AT&T with Unlimited Data and the Download/upload speeds are good with my area getting 7.25 Mbps in Chicago's speed test (Using a unlocked with T-mobile USA will only get you 2G speeds). The speeds are not bad but not that good compared to today's LTE speeds. Its good enough for me though but I suggests waiting for the LTE versions of this phone if your a data speed demon. Another thing I notice with Galaxy Note 2 is that all you have to do is put the microSIM card in and your good to go. It automatically sets up the APN settings for you something that was not on the Original Galaxy note. GPS locks on fast as normal and was great using it on a vacation and Wifi is working perfectly especially with range, it pulls up web pages faster then the first note I can tell you that.
It Last...the 3100 mah battery just shatters the old Gnote battery. Normal usage has gotten me over 48 hours of battery life and heavy usage gotten me about 20 hours. That is just insane....it is just insane if your not use to it which I wasn't. You would think with a screen as huge as 5"5 inches and the power this phone has it wouldn't but it just surprise me how far smartphones have came from 2006. You won't be disappointed with the battery life in the Galaxy Note II.
UI / Speed / Processor:
Fluid. Fast. Quick. Speedy. Blazing. This phone is the FASTEST phone I have ever used. Why shouldn't it be with a Quad-core and 2GB of Ram. It even had me saying "Is this really Android?" because my first Android phone was a Dell Streak and look how far we come. I was shocked how fast this phone is. I mean every app I throw at it, it takes it down like a beast. This is the first time I felt like I didn't need to change roms or flash it. In fact I see myself keeping this phone stock for a very long time. Yes my friends I am in love with Touchwiz/Nature UX for the very first time. If this is project butter and the future of it then please give me more. The responsiveness of this device is mind blowing. Another thing this phone has is something called "Page Buddy" for Ex: when you plug in your headphones it takes you to a home screen of apps and widgets that you most use the headphones with. It does the same with the S-pen, Docking, and Roaming. It is another function that can activate something called "Multi-view" where you can have two apps open at the same time but they work so seamless. you can have Google Maps open while you text your friends the directions or you can browse the web while viewing a video. Its so smooth, I think this is where the Quad-core really shines.
Its a limited amount of apps on the left side of the screen that you can use multi-view with but here is the list:
Chrome (Once installed)
Comes with a bunch of Samsung APPS which I found myself enjoying. Here are some of the ones I enjoy. Allshare play Connects to all the media file on my PC over HSPA+ or WiFi, It has DLNA that can connect to my Samsung TV, FM Radio that carriers love to take out for you to use their data, Paper artist that let you take a picture and draw wacky stuff over it, S-Voice which I admit is awful but its a decent clone of Siri on the iPhone, Music app is nice and of course all the fun Google stuff especially Google Now. Samsung Email app is good and so is their S-planner (calender) but its nothing to write home about unless your using the S-pen with the calender. The rest of Samsung's apps aren't good. (Gamer, Reader and music hubs are junk and so is the Samsung App store.)
It works as it is suppose to and quicker then the original Galaxy note. This would be the one main reasons to buy the phone. As an artist I am very impressed with something like this and could be used as a backup Wacom mini tablet for on the go. The Samsung Galaxy Note II has some really awesome features besides drawing that take advantage of this Wacom pen. You can use it to write down notes, hover it over your video timeline to see whats going on later in the movie, You can use it as a "mouse" to hover over content your fingers can't really activate on the web, Write notes on your Calendar, Write notes on the back of pictures/photos, and so much more that I know I'm forgetting but it all just works with ease.
Takes great pictures up to 8 MP and the best I've ever seen on a mobile device, the pictures are just so colorful. The pictures snaps fast and I love it, if you hold the camera button down it snaps up to 20 photos in a second (?) and it has Panorama which I enjoy using. HD Video recording is great and frame rate and looks very good when being played back on DLNA / Allshare. With a processor this fast its no longer you have to wait a second or two like one original note. I haven't tired using all of the features of the camera but I'm working my way to it like Low-light, HDR, Best shot, etc.
I love this phone and to be honest with you I don't see myself using another phone for a very long time. This Quad-core beast can handle it all. I don't even take out my iPad anymore....I don't even feel the desire to buy the Nexus 7 at this point in time because this phone is just fun to use. This is now my personal on the go PC. I put in a 64GB microSD card into it (MicroSD slot another plus btw) and now I take all my movies and music along with me. Samsung has once again showed me that they can deliver a great product. I can't speak for updates but as far as I know the old Galaxy Note (n7000) is getting Jellybean as well so I expect the Galaxy note 2 to get updated with future Android updates as well.
Get this phone if your interested, No I'm not going to call this a phone....Get this media powerhouse if you enjoy media consumption and want a phone along with it. I don't carry around my tablet anymore and I make phone calls with this thing. Its everything I wanted in a portable data device. I know some are worried how big it is but its really not that big of a phone. When you get use to it and its "smaller" then the Original Note making it easy to hold. Its easy for me to carry around but it is a two handed device so keep that in mind. There are ways to use it with one hand like the keyboard and calculator though. I enjoyed using this phone on my vacation and I didn't even use the unlocked Tethering ;) because the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 alone makes for a enjoyable experience to have around. I'm sure there are so many other things I am missing in this review but so far I love it. Samsung Galaxy Note 2 (n7100) is worth every single penny!
I haven't used NFC yet so I can't comment on it but I would love Google wallet on this thing if I knew how to get it on there.
I recommend a few apps in the play store with the note II:
iMediaShare: (Ultimate app for DLNA users.)
Thumb Keyboard: (Great keyboard for phones like this.)
HD Widgets: (Wonderful weather widget that fits the note screen perfectly.)
Sketchbook Mobile: (works great with the S-pen)
Sonic CD: (Sonic with Amoled goodness will give you eye orgasms.)
Google Navigation: (Perfect device for GPS!)
HulloMail: (Visual Voice-mail)
Slingplayer: (If you have a slingbox you will LOVE! this app, if you do not I recommend getting one.)
Netflix: (For obvious reasons.)
Chrome: (Great web browser)
Mightytext: (If you love Texting from your PC)
Samsung's Kies air: (Wireless Transferring of Music, Videos, Photos, and Texting from PC)
Lock Screen 7 & Launcher 7: (Because nothing is better then making this look like a Windows Phone 7 Device from time to time)
on October 4, 2012
With this product, Samsung nailed it. I won't say it's perfect, especially because it's somehow a niche product. However it comes pretty close to perfection. It's really hard to mention all I've been able to see this far, but I can tell this thing keeps impressing me time after time, it's highly versatile and customizable.
For starters, it has the same glossy finish than the Galaxy S3. On this model (the grey one) fingerprints become easily noticeable and you can't help thinking it will scratch easily. But I need to say that hiperglazed glossy finish looks awesome on this oversized phone. And by the size itself, it will impress ebverybody around, whether that's what you look for or not.
The screen is amazing. Even with less pixels and a bigger screen than the original Note, the sharpness is much higher. The deep blacks of the Super AMOLED are great for watching media, playing games and drawing. It can be tricky for taking photos (color accuracy is not the best around) or displaying great white areas, which demands more power. The screen is also a tad dimmer that the one on the original Note, but that's probably beacuse of the revamped built in digitalizer. Viewing angles and sunlight visibility are quite good, as with other AMOLEDs.
Buttons are on the usual positions and are easy to press. You need to be careful to not press them by accident, but I can tell you one gets used to it pretty fast. The S Pen. This S Pen feels quite better. It's bigger and more comfortable to hold and much more precise/pressure sensitive. It will allow you to do a whole load of new things. Quick pen gestures are great. You draw a custom figure to trigger one action (toggle wifi or bluetooth, look up something in the web, call/text). Taking memos, partial screenshots, scribbling has all become more enjoyable and accurate.
Update: The hovering function comes handy in your mail and SMS inbox, allowing you to see more content without even opening the items (you hover the pen and content info pops up). You can also hover over web elements as you should with a mouse (hovering equals a mouseover and taping equals a click) improving the desktop like experience while browsing the web. If you got shaky hands it can be tricky, since you can easily end up touching the screen while hovering.
The camera is an average 8 mpx shooter with 1080p recording, but the camera interface is now much more enjoyable now though. Battery life has been great til now. In the end those 3100 mA really help despite the gigantic screen. Jellybean and Touchwiz combo is full of new tricks. It has a slight learning curve, but once you get to see all the features (I keep discovering them) there are many exploitable advantages over the majority of mobile OSs/Skins out there. From the news ticker on the lock screen to the way you can look up stuff with Google now or S Voice, the automatic menus that pop out when conecting the earbuds or removing the S Pen from the slot, it's all quite impressive and potentially useful.
Call audio quality is crisp enough. The address book has been simplified, the text autocorrection is much more accurate. Reception isn't the greatest, but that's more a smartphone issue and quite consistent in Samsung and other brands' handsets. Reception outages occur inside certain thick walled buildings and is slightly affected by the rain. It's also true my local carrier doesn't have the best service out there. The phone itself is easier to hold than the original Note and even with a phone this big, Samsung managed to keep it pretty lighweight. I'd definitely recomend to use a case on it even if it adds some bulk (I bought a generic in the meantime, eagerly waiting for an Otterbox Defender to come out).
If one handed operation or pocketability are big concerns for you (one handed operation is kinda hard even with medium-big hands like mine, but it's highly pocketable unless you use small/tight pockets), don't ditch this phone without giving it a chance. Try it at a local store and you could be surprised of all you can get in exchange for those 2 compromises.
I'll be updating this review as soon as I find out more.
Update: LTE! There are many people commenting about this. Apparently there's a version of the international Note 2 (not the N7100) that sports LTE, the model number is N7105 and it comes with "LTE 700 MHz Class 17 / 2100" (Sources: GSM Arena, Engadget and XDA forums). If you have a N7100 the LTE radio is simply not there. However this is not guarantee that the N7105 will work with AT&T's or Tmo's LTE, it all depends if those frequencies are compilant with those carriers' respective LTE signals. As LTE network compatibility can be a deal breaker for many people within the US, I suggest you to research very well before buying it. If someone can squeeze any info out of AT&T or Tmo, please comment. To shed more light on this issue, you can Google the xda thread 1917383. (Geez, all this makes me feel kinda happy I don't have to worry about LTE compatibility yet).
Update Oct 14th: I got my first over-the-air update today, which brought the multi tasking bar. Some selected apps (Chat On, Mail [stock], Facebook, Gallery, Chrome, Gmail, Google Talk, Web browser [stock], Google Maps, Messages, S Note, Video Player and YouTube apps) can work on split-screen mode two at a time (you can also have a resizable pop up video on top of those 2 apps). So far I'm loving this!
Update Feb 19th 2014: some sour grapes. I finally got the official JB 4.3 update from Samsung after a long wait. The update rendered my phone pretty much unusable, with random restarts and crashes going on. I had around 120 apps intalled, so I figured some of them might be conflicting with the OS update. I wasn't going to uninstall 50+ apps trying to find out the problematic one(s). So after a full back up of my messages, contacts, call logs and other stuff I proceeded to a factory reset. I left the core apps I use the most and performance has been great ever since.
All in all the handset itself is still awesome, but I can't say the same thing for Samsung's software support. The Note line is their top, built to excel each year's "S" flagship. As their highest end consumer model, they should focus on providing timely and functional updates. I know both TouchWiz and the S Pen require really specific software developments, but what came with the 4.3 update was quite short of amazing or even short of enough for that matter. Besides some cosmetic changes and Knox, it's little to nothing what was changed from 4.1.2 to 4.3. Here's hoping Samsung does a more decent job with the quality and schedule of the KitKat update confirmed today.
on April 30, 2013
Purchased this phone from amazon back in December 2012. Initially no problems, the phone was working great, about couple months ago, when I switch cellular carries, I had to switch my sim card, and then nightmare with Samsung got started....
For some reason, the phone was not reading my sim card. Initially I though, it is because of my new cellular phone carrier that the Samsung Galaxy Note II does not support, so no big deal, I can switch to another carries, however when I switch to another carrier, the phone again does not read the sim card. I though maybe the problem is simple and can be fixed without bothering Samsung Customer Service so I took it to certified repair shop and the repair shop told me that the the phone does not read the sim card and there is no way knowing why it does not read it and fixing the slot for the sim card is almost impossible as the sim card slot is integrated with the motherboard of the phone. The repair shop returned the phone back to me saying it is unfixiable. I though that the repair shop is not really experienced, anything can be repaired nowadays, so I am not worried. I took the phone to another repair shop and they said that the same thing as the first repair shop. If the phone does not read the sim card, the problem is very likely relate with the communication between sim card and the motherboard of the phone.
After wasting a month or so with cellular phone repair shops, I called Samsung Customer Service. My phone was under warranty after all. It has been less then a year. Only couple months from the date of the purchase. Samsung Customer Service was very polite however said that they can not help me... I asked them why, and their answer was very puzzling. They told me that my phone is international unlock and it belongs to South Africa and I need to contact them to get it repair. I politely asked them to provide South Africa Samsung customer service phone number so I can contact them to send my phone to South Africa to get it fixed. They said they don't have their phone number but they will transfer my call to another customer service to see if I can get help. The phone did not go through...I called again....This time they transferred...I explained what happened again and new customer service rep told me that, I can not send my Samsung phone to South Africa either as they have no way of verifying if I am the original buyer. I was the original buyer from amazon.com. The product came was brand new.
I tried to explain them, that this is Samsung phone and I paid close to $600, the phone is still under warranty. I would be careless if the phone came from a different country or planet, it is your phone and I need your support. They repeatedly told me that there is nothing can be done as this is an international unlock phone and USA customer service of Samsung does not support and they are unable to tell me which Samsung worldwide branch can support. Apparently calling Korea would not help me either as they said they won't help me. I literally begged them to show me a way to get this phone fixed. I can even pay for the fixing cost, but again they sincerely apologized for not being helpful. Later on, I tried different customer service rep by calling their USA number but each time I got pretty much same result and now I am trying to sell this phone on Craigslist as for parts.
If phone works, no issues, I know it is a great phone however if somehow you experience the same problem as I did, do not expect any support from Samsung. For USA phones, maybe no problem to get support but international unlock Samsung Phones seems problematic to get support. Overall, if it the Samsung phone breaks down on you, you are on your own...
on December 26, 2012
Using this phone on Straight Talk for $45.00 a month unlimited everything. What a great buy. Was considering the N7105 but it was just way to pricey. Very happy with this phone and the new stylus is AWESOME with the new button capability for added features. Split screening apps and Youtube video "overlay" on your existing screen is great.
UPDATE: PHONE CAME DEFECTIVE. As a mobile electronics tech for a repair dept specializing in Android-based devices, I diagnosed this device as a faulty ROM chip on the mainboard. I have spent the last MONTH trying to return this device to the seller and have since filed an A-Z claim through Amazon (they have been MOST helpful) and the seller has been EXTREMELY difficult to deal with. Within the first 2 days they told me to simply contact Samsung about my defective device. At first I just wanted to exchange it for the same item, now I just want to get as far away from WorldWide Distributors as financially possible. BUYER BEWARE !!! Great phone but buy from different seller in case you receive a lemon like I did.
on October 17, 2012
No wonder Apple are worried by Samsung.
This phone is superb and just by fetching the thing out of my pocket at work I have managed to sway many of my colleagues in favor of Samsung for their next cell phone up-date. It seems every every one wants a piece of the action.
The product when examined by people seems to sell its self. Yes the screen is big but when you read your Kindle App ebook on that screen, see the net pages flow on it and appreciate the GPS navigation maps scrolling across it, then you forget all worries about the size of it. In fact you realise that you need that screen and nothing smaller will do.
It is fast, my goodness me it is fast. Fast to open web pages, fast to react to apps, games, video etc. Fast, Powerful, smooth and intuitive. Added to this, the battery is big enough at 3100mA to last all day even under quite heavy use. Oh and the MP3 player is fantastic in both presentation and sound quality.
It cost me a few dollars to insert a 64Gb flash memory card in addition to the 16Gb on board memory and I will buy a spare battery to insert if I do run it down. Apple seal off their phones and the only way to upgrade memory or change the battery after 500 charges when it deteriorates is to buy a new one, what a rip off.
I have always bought Apple but with their determination to stick to a policy of in-built obsolescence and pay through the nose for memory, I really don't think I'll buy much more.
I recently bought my wife the Galaxy S3 which impressed me greatly but on balance, this is even better.
In short, excellent product, I couldn't be happier with it.
on October 28, 2012
Am using the global standard Note 2 for the past 3 weeks now. Its my first ever Android device. Debated for a while from switching from an iphone 4S to the note 2, as i had no idea
about the Android's capabilities. Plus i got tired of the waitlist for Iphone 5, and the whole drama of Apple making it so difficult to get your hands on an iphone 5, even weeks after its release.
So i decided to take a swing at this amazing Note 2 device. Seriously after using it for 3 weeks all other phone screens seem just way too small and make you think how
you got any work done on them at all. Emails are so nice to read, videos are absolutely amazing and reading the news on flipboard is just fantastic. Although it doesnt completely
replace your tablet, i tend to barely use my ipad after i got the Note 2.
Dont use the SPen too much, but i prefer it to make notes, edit photos and express drawings with changes.
The multi window is amazing, where two apps can be opened on the screen at the same time, here the size of the phone obviously helps.
Viewing your calendar with appointments is so easy on the big screen and adding and editing appointments is so much easier.
Am a big apple fan, but am very happy with the switch from the iphone 4S to the Note 2. Samsung really have created a fantastic smart phone, and surely will give iphone the toughest
smart phone market share battle.
on October 19, 2012
Simply amazing product.
Sold my original note the minute this version was announced.
Phone feels super fast and snappy. The Quad Core 1.6Ghz is freaking amazing. When I view my video folder in thumbnail format, all the thumbnails play without any hitch, i.e about 8 videos simultaneously.
I have had the Gmail app crash on me a couple of times but they haven't been major crashes and I haven't lost anything, am sure that's an app causing that.
Phone is just the perfect size for me, I love big screens. I would probably still buy this as a phone if it went all the way to 6inches.
It looks like this device will become the center of all my digital world.
Everything will gravitate around my brand new notes 2 from now on. I mean everything.
I love this phone so much I will probably have to insure it because it will handle everything.
I read on it - Kindle
I shop on it. - Amazon and Google
I browser on it - Chrome
Listen to lectures on it - Double Twist
Watch HD movies on it
I manage all my social platforms from it - Hootsuite
Send and manage my business invoices from it - Zoho Invoice
Share internet from it to my iPad 2, nexus 7, blackberry bold 4, iphone, psp, macbook pro and macpro, this phone has become the center of my digital world.
This phone has become my personal computer (PC) period !!!
The S pen is much improved too, feels great, it also recognizes my hand writing better, best hand writing experience on a phone or tablet in my opinion.
Sharing files via NFC with my nexus 7 works like a charm and its very snappy too.
The screen is to die for, colour are very punchy, I have had no issues viewing the screen at 12 noon.
When I got my original note a few months back, I actually said it was the best phone at the time, this phone is for me a major upgrade, an evolution, comparing the iphone (any model) to this would be a big big joke. Don't forget I own an iPhone and numerous Apple products so am being objective.
The phone is not officially out here in Nigeria but I just had to get one superfast.
Worth every single penny.
on November 19, 2012
Before I bought this I was wondering whether to get a tablet and keep my current phone (Samsung Galaxy S II) with it. However, after reading several reviews and watching hours of reviews on you tube, I realized that this is the perfect device with capabilities of a phone with almost the size of a tablet. As a college student, I think this phone + tablet helps me to keep up with current news, my schedule, taking notes (thanks to the S-Pen), and really good multimedia features. I bought the device about 20 days ago and it arrived on time. Below I have listed some pros and cons of the device, according to my personal knowledge and experience.
Call Quality is very good
5.55" Super Amoled Screen
Quad-core Processor with 2GB Ram
Battery lasts easily a day at least
LED Notification light
Physical Home key button
Good quality speaker
Expandable storage options
The screen quality could be a bit better because the screen is one of the main features (selling points) of this device.
I realize Samsung makes most of their phones with plastic, as was the case with the SII, however, it might be time to change the material to something more appealing to the consumers.
The device comes out of the box with Android 4.1, and then I had an update to 4.1.1 which added the multitasking feature.
Overall, the Android experience has become much smoother. (coming from the SII's Gingerbread and Ice Cream Sandwich)
Google Now is much better than S-Voice.
Samsung has created one of the smoothest & fastest phones on the market as of now by combining Android software with amazing hardware.
Confusions regarding this device:
LTE - The international version of this device does not have LTE capabilities. However, if you were to get it under contract from AT&T, Verizon, or U.S Cellular, then you will get LTE capabilities.
Home Button Lag - There seems to be a slight lag when you press the home button. This is because, by default, the phone is expecting the user to press it again to access the S-Voice feature. The S-Voice has come a long way, but personally, I prefer Google Now. So the way to fix this lag is by----Go to Apps---Select "S-Voice"----Click menu button---Select Settings---then De-select "Open via the Home key" option. And the lag should be gone now.
Capacitive button light duration - The phone by default has the capacitive light duration at either 1.5 seconds or 6 seconds. However, if you are having a hard time locating these buttons without the light, you can always change the setting under Settings---Display---"Touch key light duration"--then select the option you prefer.
Updates - The updates are directly handled by Google and Samsung. So there is no carrier interference here. Since the Google updates their Nexus devices right away when there is an update available, I expect the unlocked version to be updated shortly after them. May be a month or two at the most. However, the carrier versions of this phone may take several months to an year or more to get updates. (Speaking from personal experience with AT&T SII update from Gingerbread to ICS)
Personally, I would recommend this phone to anyone who doesn't mind the huge screen size, and the inability to do some one handed tasks. However, the pros for this device far outweigh the minor cons. Most importantly, the device makes really good quality calls and there is no issues with that (AT&T service). One of the highlights of the phone is its battery. After I unplugged it at 7 am at 100%, then I used the phone for several calls, hundreds of texts, some you tube videos, about an hour of web browsing, played several games, Wi-Fi was on, and the screen brightness at medium, when I came back home at about 7pm, the phone still had about 70% charge remaining.