Samsung Galaxy Note 2 – is it a phone or a tablet? [IFA 2012]
Samsung Galaxy Note 2 – what is it?
It’s something between a smartphone and a tablet. It’s got a 5.5-inch screen, which is huge for a phone but small for a tablet. Besides its size, its main selling point is the bundled stylus known as the S Pen that turns to the Note 2 into a sort of digital notepad.
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As the name suggests, this is the second Galaxy Note. Naturally all sorts of things have been upgraded — it’s got a faster processor, the screen is larger and it’s running the latest version of Android.
But the main differences come with the ‘new and improved’ S Pen. Samsung’s changed the tip from plastic to rubber, it says to give it a more realistic feel. And its added a number of new gestures and abilities to make using the pen more useful, such as hovering over items (emails, photos etc.) to preview the contents, and shortcuts to common actions (making a call, sending an email etc.) by using a gesture combined with pressing the butting on the pen.
Below are first impressions based on a short time with the product, not a full review. Read our smartphone reviews for full reviews of the latest smartphones and to see which have the best battery life, clearest screens and best apps. Read about how we test smartphones for an in-depth breakdown of all our tablet tests.
Samsung Galaxy Note 2 – Andy’s first impressions
When Samsung launched the original Galaxy Note last year, I confess I was sceptical. I might even have laughed. Its second attempt, the Galaxy Note 2, has almost converted me.
The screen is even bigger now – 5.5-inches. It’s too large to use single-handed, but unlike some other large smartphones it makes no pretence in being so. It’s big and it’s proud of the fact.
And the big screen brings benefits. Watching video is a particular pleasure, not only because of the big screen but also the bright colours. If you like to watch TV shows and films on the move, the Note 2 should be on your shortlist.
The S Pen, the provided stylus, has had an upgrade, adding a variety of new gestures to speed things up. I’m not convinced everyone will use them, but there’s something quite nice about writing what you you’re searching for instead of using the on-screen keyboard.
And if you’re a prodigious drawer or doodler, the S Pen is pressure sensitive. It reacts to how hard your press on the screen, creating a thinner or thicker line when you’re drawing as a result. The pen still feels a tad slippery on the glossy screen, but you’ll get used to it.
None of this negates the fact this is a huge phone come tablet, or ‘phablet’ as some insist on calling them. It’s a marmite issue, you’ll either love it or hate it or, if you’re like me, at least accept it’s not as ridiculous as it first appears.
When can I buy it?
It’s coming out in October. There’s no price yet, but expect it to be pricey.
Samsung Galaxy Note 2 – key features
- 5.5-inch screen with 1,280 x 800 resolution
- 1.6GHz quad-core processor
- 8Mp camera with LED flash, 1.9Mp front-facing webcam
- 16GB, 32GB and 64GB capacities and microSD card slot
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