Spotted at CES 2013: Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Review

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galaxy note 2One of the things drawing the biggest hype at CES was the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. Is it phone? Tablet? Phablet? Whichever you choose to call it as far as I’m concerned the Galaxy Note 2 is the best thing since sliced bread. LOL! It was released in Fall 2012 and has been gaining traction ever since. I have used smartphones since they first hit the scene. Phones were big, then they got small again, now they are getting big again. And we like it.

I had the pleasure of reviewing a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 on AT&T. I fell so in love with this phone, that after my review I purchased one for myself! People ask me all the time if I feel the screen is too big. Well no, not at all. I don’t usually hold the phone to my head to talk very often anyway. I use a Bluetooth earpiece. But, even when I do hold it up it is not so bad. It does take some getting used to. The size of the phone is not at all important when it comes to talking. However, the large 5.5″ screen makes it a pleasure to do things like check email, surf the web, or use the S Pen to make notes.

Samsung covered just about everything when creating this smartphone. They know that it’s big, so they include a couple of features to help you use your big phone comfortably.

 

Notable Specifications

  • Android™ 4.1, Jelly Bean
  • 1.6GHz Quad-core Processor
  • 5.5″ HD Super AMOLED™ Display
  • 8.0 Megapixel Rear Camera with 4x Digital Zoom
  • 16GB Internal Memory
  • Accepts a 64gb MicroSD card
  • S-Pen

 

Features That I Love About the Galaxy Note 2

One-Handed Operation: By default the QWERTY keyboard stretches across the whole screen. If you have small hands this can be a problem when attempting to use the phone with one hand. Samsung included an awesome feature called One-Handed Operation which allows you to make the keyboard the size of that of a standard say 4 inch smartphone screen, plus depended on whether you are left or right-handed you can move it to one side which makes it much easier to type with your thumb.

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S Pen: The S Pen is probably the most unique and coveted feature of the Galaxy Note 2. It is a stylus that allows you to take your *phone* farther than before. Sure… with other phones you can buy a 3rd party stylus and install and app to write on your screen. However, the tight integration of the S Pen with the Note 2 make it work like no other. When you pull the S-Pen out of the slot the phone kicks into S Pen mode. you are presented with the S Pen apps screen. You can create a note, draw a pictures, draw ON a picture, create a magazine  layout, a table, a list, and more more. You can even use the S Pen to do gesture shortcuts called Quick Commands on the screen to open apps, make calls, send text messages, and more. For example writing a ? and a comment ( ? weather) opens Google and displays the weather.

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Smart Stay: Have you ever been in the mist of reading something on your smartphone screen and it turns off because of your screen lock settings? It can be very annoying. The Smart Stay features uses the camera to detect if you are looking at the phone and keeps it on. You will notice an eye icon pop up in the notification bar when active.

Multi Window: I discovered multi-window by accident and I could not have been happier. This feature was installed with the last Android update. As the name suggests multi-window lets you view two apps at once… ON A PHONE! It does not allow all apps, however you can edit the ones on the list to eliminate what you don’t use. Below you can see the multi-view menu. And on the right is Google Chrome open on top and YouTube open on the bottom. Cool, huh?

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The Camera: The Camera on the Galaxy Note 2 is by far the best camera that I have used on a smartphone. At 8.0 mp, this camera seems like more. It includes a 4x zoom that I have used several times to get great shots. The large screen makes it even easier to frame pics. And it is full of features that help you get great images. Burst Mode: The camera includes burst mode which allows you to take 20 pictures in a row. Out of those 20 photos it can choose best photo or best face. VERY useful for taking photos of a group.

 

Blocking Mode: Tired of hearing dings, beeps, and whistles in the middle of the night? Blocking mode allows you to set a time to block out all sounds from your phone except for those contacts that you allow. You can disable incoming calls, notifications, alarm and timer, and LED monitor.

 

I could go on talking/typing about this phone all day.  It truly is the best of both worlds, phone, and small tablet. Above are just some of the features that I love. There are also things like the ability to pop-out a video while working on something else, or pop-out a note while reading email to jot something done. The other day I left the S Pen on my bed and left my room. When I got to the hall I got an alert and a pop up telling me that I forgot the S Pen! I LOVE that. No more misplacing the stylus. :) The more I play with this phone the more I discover new things and more to love. As I learn them I will share them with you.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is available on just about all of the major carriers. As mentioned I tried it out on AT&T for this review. It comes in Titanium Gray and Marble White. The price is $299.99, but worth every penny!

 

 

Disclosure: AT&T provided me with a Samsung Galaxy Note on loan in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own.

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