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Galaxy Note 2 impressions/reviews

Discussion in 'Mobile Phones / Entertainment' started by Hanson, Oct 26, 2012.

  1. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Hoping my company will add the Note 2 as an option for company smartphone -- they added the GS3 (and iPhone5) already. Not sure how much longer my company BB can hold out though -- might need to get a new battery for it before I can upgrade...

    _Man_
     
  2. Hanson

    Hanson Producer

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    Just got the update to enable multi-window view and additional scrollable notification bar shortcuts (note, the latter feature is already incorporated into the S3 and multi-window will be coming to the S3 with the next Touchwiz update).

    I'm playing with the multi-window feature right now. It can take two select apps and run them side by side (or top and bottom depending on orientation). So you can use the browser on one side and have your Facebook open on the other at the same time. The limitation here is the number of apps that can be used with this feature - you can't open just any two apps and use the feature. It's got the usual suspects covered - Facebook, Email, Gmail, Twitter, Chrome, Maps and a few others. You can also view pictures and Videos as well. So for the time being, I can't play Angry Birds and watch a video simultaneously, but I can watch a movie and go to IMDB while its playing. I'm not saying this function isn't that much more than a gimmick right now, but the implementation is great -- no hitches or pauses or lags going from full to split screen and back, nor is there any delay when swapping out the second window. This is the kind of feature you'd expect to be useless and buggy, but kudos to Samsung for making it somewhat useful and smooth. Also consider that at 5.5" the Note 2 may be "huge", but multi-window would more useful on a 10" tablet.

    I can't say enough about the battery life. This is truly an "all day" device. Activesync and Gmail push on, tons of voice calls and web surfing compromise my typical work day. A small bump charge during the day and I'm home with over 50%. I have to recalibrate what these battery percentages mean to me -- 50% always meant that I had a couple of hours left, so it had to go in the charger. Now it means 5-6 hours left. I have never gone under 25% battery and have never heard the low battery warning in the two weeks I've owned it.
     
  3. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Hanson,

    Not certain if my AT&T GN2 shipped with multi-window capability or not, but
    there are no updates available for my device right now.

    How do you initiate the capability or tell if you have it?

    While I am here..

    Let me say this about the Galaxy Note II....

    The Galaxy S3 is a great phone. However, for me it was a stepping stone
    to a PHENOMENAL phone.

    The Note II is everything I dreamed a phone to be. I love the size. I love
    the handling. I love the stylus.

    All fears that this phone would be too bulky or monstrous in size are put
    aside. This is the perfect size for a phone.

    I am so utterly happy with my new phone. Pure bliss.
     
  4. Hanson

    Hanson Producer

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    None of the US versions were released with the multi-window firware (this was the case with the international versions as well, which got their multi-window firmware updates after launch). I'm not sure why it is. Sprint was the first out of the gate with the update in the US. It is up to AT&T and TMo to approve their updates. There is no official ETA.

    The Verizon version is expected to ship on 11/27. Unknown whether or not the multi-window firmware wil be pre-loaded.

    Another weird thing -- TMo & Sprint included the headphones with in-line controls with their notes. They're actually pretty nice and don't slip out of my ears like every other ear buds I've bought. The Note 2 has the Wolfson DAC and pumps out some nice audio. For reasons unknown (although in line with AT&T's "let's be the biggest dicks in the telco business" ethos), AT&T removed the headphones from the box.
     
  5. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Yes, can confirm no ear buds with the GN2. There were buds with the GS3.

    What sucks the most about Android is how it is manipulated by the carriers.

    WIth iOS, when Apple released an update, it was available to everyone on
    the same day/moment of release.
    With Android, any updates released are usually delayed by carriers. The
    carriers need time to take the Android updates then fill it with their own
    bloatware before releasing it to their customers.
     
  6. Keith Plucker

    Keith Plucker Screenwriter
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    I was under the impression that there were two sources of potential delays for Android updates, the phone manufacturer and then the carriers. Doesn't the phone manufacturer have to take the updated OS and apply their skin to it, possibly adding new elements to their UI to expose/use new elements of the updated OS?

    -Keith
     
  7. Hanson

    Hanson Producer

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    After Google releases the source for the newest version of Android, it is up to the manufacturers to adapt it to their various hardware sets and skins. This in and of itself is a large undertaking -- whereas Apple has been streamlining iPhone production to make a single chipset for the entire world, Samsung will make multiple variants for different markets, requiring extra work. For instance, the iPhone 5 chipset in the US is the same as the one in the UK. But the SG3 in the UK has a quad core Exynos with 1GB RAM while the US version has Snapdragon dual core with 2GB RAM. Not to mention the CDMA radios in the Sprint and Verizon versions. And the Sprint version has no SIM slot for GSM roaming whereas Verizon does. So before the carriers even do testing and customization, the OEMs are basically making custom ROMs for each one in the first place.

    After all of that is in place, the carriers get their turn. Sprint won't allow wireless tether unless you subscribe to a plan. Verizon allows it out of the box. AT&T has different bloatware than the other carriers.

    In the end, Samsung has to make more ROMs for their GS3 line alone than Apple has to make for all of their iPhones. And these have to pass the carriers first whereas iOS updates are sent straight to the device.
     
  8. Hanson

    Hanson Producer

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    Some time after I got my Galaxy S2, I started reading in bed because the Kindle app had a white text on black mode, and with the AOMLED screen, the black background was exactly that -- black. In the dark, my previous Evo handled black like a dark grey and the white bloom from the backlight would still bother my wife who was trying to fall asleep next to me. With the S2, I could read myself to sleep as my wife conked out before me, with only the white text offering a minuscule glow. Of course, I would now need a charger by on my nightstand. And once that was established, I started to use the phone as my alarm clock.

    Now, there are many studies that show people are unable to get into really deep sleep if there are any ambient lights or noises. Having the phone at my nightstand, for all of it's advantages, would still chime for new alerts and the LED would glow constantly during the night. What would have been nice would have been a way to stop the phone from alerting me and shutting off the LEDs while I was sleeping.

    Enter the Galaxy Note 2 and Blocking Mode. Blocking mode is a setting where you can prevent the phone from generating audio and LED alerts either all the time or within a predefined period. So no alerts, calls, or blinking during the time between 12:15am and 6:45am for me anymore. I love this feature so much -- I wish they could expand it so I could have different blocking mode periods on the weekends. I've only used it for a couple of days, so I can't say that my sleep is any better, but not having to subconsciously hear alerts for Amazon and Buy.com spam at 5 in the morning has got to have some positive effect. I'm a pretty heavy sleeper, so this will probably help my wife out more than me.
     
  9. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Hanson,
    Thanks for the tip on the blocking mode.

    With my GS3 I had to use NFC tags to turn all my alerts off
    at night so I am not awoken.

    Looks like what you are describing will prevent alerts and
    (hopefully) phone calls from waking me during certain hours.

    If it does not handle phone calls, is there a blocking setting
    for those as well during certain hours?
     
  10. Hanson

    Hanson Producer

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    Blocking mode works for my purposes right now, but the settings are very coarse. It will stop calls, audio alerts, and LED alerts (you can also block alarms, but.. why?), but while you can pick and choose which ones to block (I unchecked alarms), you cannot assign different times to them. You also cannot have different times for weekends.

    It's a great start, but I would gladly pay for an app for a more refined experience.
     
  11. Hanson

    Hanson Producer

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    All day battery:
     
  12. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    With a device that big wouldn't it have been a shock to NOT get good battery life?
     
  13. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    The battery on the Note II is much better than the GS3
     
  14. Hanson

    Hanson Producer

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    Other than the Droid RAZR Maxx line, there are no other all day Android phones. But Samsung was not pitching the Note 2 like that, so it's a nice surprise that its battery life rivals the Maxx phones.
     
  15. Hanson

    Hanson Producer

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    I haven't had a truly all day phone since my Treo 700p back in 2006. The Treos after that model would die on my way back home. The WinMo phones I owned subsequently could not even make it to the end of the workday much less my commute. And the Evo and SG2 required spare batteries and constant bump charging.

    The middle period Treos were actually the worst -- they had proprietary cables and spare chargers and batteries were expensive. I needed them to last me all day because I didn't have a charger to juice them. The WinMo phones all had miniUSB chargers, and with each generation I ended up with spares. When Android went microUSB, there were suddenly chargers everywhere. Even though it was a bit of a burden to bump charge, it could be done easily. Not like the Treo days.

    The Note 2 surpasses my Treo 700p in battery life. This is no mean feat -- my Treo 700p, while an elite smartphone back in the day, performed what were the barest of duties compared to my Note 2. All t did was email, voice, and a form of web surfing so slow and patchy it makes the Blackberry browser feel like Chrome on a 1gb internet connection. Didn't bother with music (hey, those 2GB SD cards were expensive back then) and there were no podcasts. Or games. Or apps of any sort. No YouTube, no 720p mkv video. No Facebook. As much as it didn't do anything, there really wasn't much to do -- there was no ecosystem for the smartphone at the time. You were lucky you got email, buddy.

    For the myriad of things I'm doing with my Note 2, the fact that it will last all day is astounding.
     
  16. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Nice battery use metrics. I'd like that in iOS.
     
  17. Hanson

    Hanson Producer

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    I'm sure they'll copy it for iOS7. That seems to be Apple's MO since iOS5.
     
  18. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    I had to put down my Galaxy Note II and sign on to HTF to say this...

    This is by far, the best phone I have ever owned.

    I am so completely in love with my GSN 2. It's mostly everything I
    had hoped for in a phone. I was just sitting in a chair, flipping through
    FLIPBOARD using my stylus and just enjoying the fact that I could
    comfortably read the screen before me without squinting.

    The battery life on this phone is exceptional. The sound quality is
    fantastic as well.

    The phone really isn't as enormous as many would believe it to
    be. In fact, my co-workers who bought the GS3 a few months
    ago are now scrambling to find a way to sell their phone or get
    a second line in order to upgrade to the Note because they love
    the bigger real estate and stylus option.
     
  19. Hanson

    Hanson Producer

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    The phone seems enormous out of the box, but you quickly get used to it. After a while, all other phones seem tiny.
     
  20. Hanson

    Hanson Producer

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    http://www.todaysiphone.com/2012/11/the-most-tempting-iphone-alternative-samsung-galaxy-note-ii-according-to-tip-readers-poll-results/
    This is more of a "what if" poll and not a measure of what happened, but it really looks like there are a lot of iPhone owners who are merely tolerating the small screen.
     

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