Galaxy Note 2 Review

When you first hold the Galaxy Note 2 in your hand the first thing that comes mind is, “holy cow, this thing is huge.”  Samsung’s super sized phone is somewhat a cross between a large phone and a small tablet. When the phone was first announced I knew I was going to get it.  I currently use a Blackberry 9900, iPhone 4s, and an iPad 3 for various activities such as games, taking pictures/videos, web browsing, and email/texting.  The Galaxy Note 2 was going to consolidate at least two of those devices if not all of them.

Last Friday I came into a crowded AT&T store looking to pick up the phone. It seems that the Nokia Lumia 920 was also being released the same day. Both phones were very popular by the time I got mine there were only a couple of Notes left and most of the variants of the Lumia 920s were sold out.

Setting up the brand new phone was easy. If you already have a Google account then signing in with it will sync all your contacts and emails.  For those coming from an Android device they will feel right at home.  The Note 2 comes with the latest Android OS, Jelly Bean 4.1.1, so you know you’ll be running the latest and greatest OS when you buy it (at least until the Jelly Bean 4.2 comes with the Nexus 4).

When it comes to hardware specs the Galaxy Note 2 is the best phone in the market today. The phone is incredibly fast, the battery life is amazing, the camera takes amazing videos and photos, and the screen is bright and vivid. But with all those awesome specs the phone wasn’t for me.  As it turns out size does matter. With my Blackberry or  iPhone I can operate it easily with one hand, but with the Note 2 it can be very cumbersome. As a father with a new born its difficult to use the Note 2 to take pictures or videos of my son.  I find my self fumbling with the phone when I quickly need it. Keep in mind this is when you’re operating it with one hand. But with two hands the phone is great and easily manageable.

The large screen of the Note 2 is its greatest strength and its weakness. The Note 2 isn’t for everyone. Like me, I thought it was, but after using it I realized that having a physical keyboard and operating it with one hand when needed was much more important than having lots of apps and a large screen.  So depending on your lifestyle or your typical smartphone use the Note 2 might or might not be the best phone you can get.

One of the additional features the Note 2 has is the stylus which Samsung calls the S Pen.  Samsung has its own apps that utilize the stylus functionality.  Personally, the S Pen is more of an added bonus to the Note 2. I find it difficult to see how I could use it often, so more power to those who can find the S Pen as a daily use app.

Rating: ★★★★★★★★★☆

Pros:
Amazing battery life
Camera takes great pictures and videos
Large beautiful screen
Runs the latest Android OS, at least until the Nexus 4 comes out next week

Cons:
Cumbersome one-hand use
Very expensive ($299 with two year contract)

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