TmoNews Reviews The Samsung Galaxy Note II

The Galaxy Note II is a hard phone to discuss without first trying to make sense of whether it’s a phone, a tablet or something else entirely. I’ve jokingly called the original Galaxy Note and now the Galaxy Note II a “phablet” and I stand by that term. It’s easy to see that the Galaxy Note II is a vastly different animal than its predecessor. With more power under the hood, the “latest” Android operating system, at least until this past week, and new S Pen features, the Galaxy Note II is a true powerhouse.


  • 5.5″ Super AMOLED display
  • 1.6GHz Exynos quad-core processor
  • Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB internal memory
  • HSPA+ 42Mbps LTE Ready
  • MicroSD expandable to 64GB
  • 8 megapixel rear camera with 1080p video capture
  • 1.9 megapixel front-facing camera
  • Stylus support
  • Wi-Fi Calling


  • Beautiful display
  • Powerful hardware
  • S Pen functionality makes some tasks a whole lot easier
  • Pre-loaded with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean


  • Large, cumbersome form factor may deter some
  • TouchWiz can be frustrating
  • Saddled with carrier and manufacturer bloatware
  • Needs more dedicated S Pen apps


The first thing you’ll notice is the subtle but distinct differences in size between the original Galaxy Note and the Note II. The Note II is taller but not as wide which makes holding it a little more comfortable. With devices this “large” doubling as phones, that little difference in width makes a huge difference in comfort during a lengthy phone call.

There’s little question that Samsung packed some powerful hardware inside the Galaxy Note II and it shows in day-to-day use. The Exynos quad-core processor is going to make sure your day-to-day tasks complete with nary any lag.

Let’s step back for a moment and consider the initial reaction to the first Galaxy Note and the idea that a device that size, 5.3″, could not only function as a sort of tablet but also as a phone. This time around Samsung has adopted the pebble-like design of the Galaxy S III, which allows for a slightly slimmer device and it helps the Note II feel a little less cumbersome in the hand. The result is that using the device with one hand isn’t as difficult, but still, if size is an issue, this is a try before you buy device.

There’s no question that the star of this show is the 5.5” display, with its 1280×720 HD Super AMOLED screen and 16:9 ratio. There’s little question that this display will impress you. It may not be the “best” screen you’ve ever used, but I’d be surprised if anyone came back to me after touching the Note II for the first time and saying the display wasn’t good enough.

The home button at the bottom of the front of the phone is set in the middle of a capacitive menu button on the left and a back button on the right. The buttons themselves are nonexistent in bright light, but given that you have just three buttons to memorize, it shouldn’t be hard to figure out which is which. The power button rests on the right-hand side of the device, with the volume rocker on the left and the 3.5mm jack resting at the top. The charger port and the S Pen are found at the bottom of the device, and comfortably so. The S Pen is very well hidden and is almost an afterthought if you didn’t know to look for it.

While the screen may be the star of the show, the understudy is definitely the quad-core Exynos processor running at 1.6GHz and supported by 2GB of RAM. Since this is coupled with 16GB of onboard memory, you’ve got yourself one monster of a smartphone, err… tablet, no… phablet. The 3100mAh battery helps make sure that you can power through a day and, with this device, you’re sure to be working on it non-stop. Unless you are the most power-hungry of power users, getting through a day’s worth of charge should be doable.

The kicker with the hardware is not just access to T-Mobile’s HSPA+ 42Mbps network, but also the future proof promise of on-board LTE thanks to the FCC. In fact, T-Mobile’s hardware is identical to the Galaxy Note II that will be on AT&T store shelves. That being said, I’ve had a number of people ask if they should take advantage of some of the international deals that are running frequently. Under normal circumstances, I’d say yes. By all means, get the most you can get for your money, but with the promise of a future-proofed device here, buying the T-Mobile variant seems the best way to go.

I’ll say this about the Note II. Don’t expect to comfortably use the phone one-handed all the time as this device just begs for two-handed operation. That’s not to say it’s not functional with one-hand, but you’ll get much more done if you don’t limit what you can do with both hands. That’s also an argument that allows for the S Pen to come into play since that’s obviously a two-handed function that greatly enhances the purpose of the Note II. Sure, you can get away with never touching the S Pen and some might find it to be nothing more than a gimmick. However, there are ways to use the S Pen for both fun and function and it all adds up to an extra bonus with the Note II.


Hardware aside, the first thing you’ll notice is how smooth and crisp the Note II works when you pick it up. It breezes through basic tasks and handles multitasking easily. This isn’t your old feature phone. Samsung certainly worked to make sure the Note II was responsive and that’s all thanks to the intense power running under the hood. However, you’re once again saddled with TouchWiz, which I’ve frequently described as an interface that you will either love or hate. The good news is that the Note II already has an incredible development community and ROMs will be plentiful to root and make TouchWiz disappear forever. If you’re not a member of the Android rooting community, no worries as there are still plenty of launchers to help make sure TouchWiz never creeps back into your life.

Still, TouchWiz isn’t all bad and there are some great features that Samsung and T-Mobile have added in. There’s the usual amount of bloatware, but it’s the same TouchWiz Android 4.1 interface we can expect on this phone and every other Samsung device launching around the world with Jelly Bean pre-installed. There’s no question that Samsung is introducing new features, apps and widgets that make the combination of the S Pen and larger screen a pleasure to use.

The real kicker here is that if you’ve used a previous Samsung device, especially the Galaxy S III, you’ll feel right at home. Everything about the software feels faster and I rarely experienced any lag. Whether or not Samsung’s TouchWiz enhancements or Project Butter is responsible for that is really beside the point. “It just works” to steal a line from the fruit company.

One area where we’d prefer to see a little less work is the notification screen as it’s just very busy. Between Samsung’s own TouchWiz “improvements” and T-Mobile’s Wi-Fi calling and bill cycle notification screen, there’s a lot going on, perhaps too much. Wi-Fi calling may be a great feature and billing information is important, but I would prefer to minimize the notification screen to actually focus on notifications, rather than settings and billing. It’s a minor quibble, but it’s one area of the device I found lacking. You can turn both options off, leaving only the Wi-Fi calling function bottom on the top, which would be ok, but still, this should be the default.

Like all good T-Mobile Android phones as of late, the Note II is victim to a large number of pre-loaded bloatware apps. Some of them are welcome such as Flipboard, Dropbox and Amazon, and even Need for Speed. However, I could do without pre-installed applications, which goes to show one of the reasons why a pure Nexus device is so appealing. It’s easy enough to remove carrier bloatware once you root, but you have to root and, for the average user, that’s not a plausible scenario. Still, we’ve seen worse devices with far more pre-installed apps, but no matter the volume of apps, it always rubs us the wrong way even as I recognize that they will never go away.

On the positive note, there are some Android 4.1 Jelly Bean-centric features here. Most notable is the presence of Google Now, the card-based system from Google which learns your habits, interests, and other information as you continue to use it. Notifications are also expandable and once again I’ll mention Project Butter as one of the ways the Note II remains so responsive.

T-Mobile Apps:

As a short addendum to the software section, it’s worth noting the T-Mobile specific inclusions on the Note II. The usual allotment of apps are available: Mobile HotSpot, My Account, Name ID, T-Mobile TV, as well as a few pages and widgets. Along with Samsung’s own dedicated widgets, T-Mobile has dedicated widgets for T-Mobile TV and Zynga Games. Along with that is Need for Speed, as mentioned above, which is provided by T-Mobile along with support for the MOGA gaming system which will be sold in stores beginning this month.

S Pen:

I’d be hard pressed to review the Note II without a specific mention of the S Pen and its ability to make a difference in how you use the Note II. The S Pen itself has a received some changes since the original Note, with Samsung making it slightly larger allowing for a better grip. It feels exactly like a pen or a pencil and the moment it’s removed from the device, the Note II knows it and jumps you to an S Pen home screen. The notification screen brings up “recommended shortcuts” using the S Pen once the Pen is removed from the body of the phone. Unfortunately, when I say it makes a “difference” in how you use the Note II, that would be true but it’s not always for the positive. It feels as if Samsung is still trying to figure out how the Note II and the S Pen come together and there’s a real lack of quality S Pen apps. Samsung’s apps work well enough, but after a while you’ll likely find yourself ignoring them except to entertain yourself during moments of boredom.

Still, the S Pen itself is one of the best stylus solutions on the market, and I managed to get some joy out of using it for navigating the phone, browsing the web, moving emails and so on. The Air View function for the S Pen is another Note II feature that enhances the experience with the stylus. Air View places a dot on the screen using a digitizer to sense when the S Pen is near the display. When the S Pen is a few millimeters away, you’ll receive a “cursor” on the screen which helps enable airview preview popups and more. For example, take the S Pen near a gallery in the photo album and you’ll receive an entire preview without clicking on the album. The S Pen would almost be better described as a mouse on a PC, but it’s both more and less than that.

Samsung’s own S Note app is pretty familiar to owners of the original Note, just improved. S Note helps raise the Note II into a formidable business machine with crop images, handwritten text, and an incredible dearth of operations,

Performance, Call Quality and Battery Life:

As an addendum to the hardware section, it’s my belief that a short section dedicated to the performance of the Note II is worthwhile for the purpose of this review. Quadrant benchmark scores hovered in the 5500+ range but they don’t tell the whole story. The Note II is a rapidly responsive to everything you touch and I was hard pressed to find any lag. Stressing the device with multiple applications never slowed it down. It just kept on chugging along. This definitely isn’t the original Note which, while awesome, was definitely underpowered. The only interaction that seemed to lag was the time delay between pressing the power button and the screen coming alive. There’s a moment there where the screen remains black and you wonder what’s going on.

As the first device to ship Jelly Bean out of the box, the combination of Jelly Bean and the quad-core processor should really give some expectations and it’s likely the Note II will not only meet them but also surpass them. Not to forward think too much, but it’ll be interesting to see what Samsung can come up with in the third generation Note to provide a better user experience than the Note II can provide.

Unfortunately, only Sprint has the Multi-Window feature available as of this writing, and, while T-Mobile is expected to have it rollout along with AT&T and Verizon, we have little doubt that the Note II will do anything other than stare it down and keep on moving. The quad-core Exynos processor really is pushed to the limit and it shows in the everyday performance. If you thought the performance of the Galaxy S III was good, the Note II will come off as great.

The 3,100mAh battery provides plenty of juice for everyday use, and, while we’d love to see a larger battery, I had zero issues powering through a day’s use. Between emails, Twitter and blog management, I’m on the phone enough that I’d easily be considered a power user and I still made it through the whole day with charge to spare. I base battery life based on whether or not you can go from the time you wake up to the time you can go to bed with only one charge and the Note II met this requirement. All things considered, I averaged between 8–9 hours with 50% brightness, email, Twitter, browsing and tinkering around. That is more than enough battery for two days of use for a less frequent user.

Call quality was also a bright spot for the Note II, with strong reception even in areas that are generally difficult for me. The addition of Wi-Fi calling adds an extra bonus and can really make a difference for in-building coverage. Still, the size of the device can be a hiccup, as it takes a little bit of time to find a comfortable place in the hand and on the ear. Volume is excellent both through the ear and the speaker and comes across with little distortion. Friends and family on the other end of phone calls had no complaints and said I sounded great.

When it comes to T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network, my greatest results are always with a Samsung device and the Note II was no different. Speeds averaged in the 20+ range for HSPA+ and earlier today I captured my greatest result ever with a 31.12Mbps result. That’s as fast as my home internet.


Samsung’s Galaxy camera line needs little introduction, if you’ve used the camera on the S III, you’ve used the camera on the Note II. Needless to say, there’s an 8 megapixel rear camera and 1.9 megapixel camera on the front, and they are great. Samsung’s camera apps have a ton of shot options, capabilities and opportunities to edit your image post-shot. Like all smartphone cameras, the Note II camera is an imperfect beast, but I wouldn’t hesitate to tell you that with the Note II, you could leave your point and shoot behind.

The most impressive inclusion with the Note II camera is the Best Face feature. Best Face allows for capturing multiple group photos and then determines the best faces for each person and then creates a single photo out of multiple images. Pretty slick feature and handy when someone decides to look away from the camera.

The Note II records 1080p video and because of the size of the device, you can easily cut down on the shakiness that can often plague smaller form factors. I could spend a lot of time praising Samsung for the Note II camera, and they would deserve every word of it. The bottom line is that Samsung has once again produced a great shooter that matches the quality of the Galaxy S III. You’ll have to explore the incredible depth of options, but once you become familiar with the various shots you can produce, you’ll be thankful you did.

Bottom Line:

I’ll go on record as saying the Galaxy Note II is one of the best Android devices I’ve ever used, and, if you’ll pardon the pun, it’s smooth like butter. Project butter that is. With a flagship Samsung device you’re assured at least a few upcoming Android updates as Samsung continues to place the Note II on a level that has it billed as one of their premiere devices. Along with that, the promise of a huge development community means that even the most ardent Android fan should rest assured that the device has plenty of life and will be littered with improvements thanks to the Android community.

On T-Mobile’s lineup, the Note II is a top Android device, but it may not be the best device for you. The Galaxy S III is a fantastic choice and while it’s still large in its own right, it’s small compared to the Note II. The Galaxy S III may be a little more comfortable for you to hold and if you can live without the S Pen, it may be a better choice. Making the decision even harder in the past few weeks is the upcoming release of the Nexus 4. Normally I wouldn’t add in a Nexus device as a deciding factor, but given that T-Mobile will subsidize the Nexus, it’s thrown right into the mix of choices. There’s no question these three devices given T-Mobile a seriously competitive Android lineup, adding to the problem of deciding which phone is right for you.

The Galaxy Note II may come across at first as a larger Galaxy S III, but it’s far more than that as the aforementioned S Pen, future multi-window and multi-tasking support add some extra features that business users may enjoy immensely. Compared to its predecessor, the Galaxy Note II is like a whole new world and a major, major upgrade.

Ultimately, it comes down to size and whether or not that’s a blessing or a curse. The power of the handset aside, the size may be a limiting factor for many. There’s no question that this may be a “try before you buy” device, and that’s okay. You may feel ridiculous holding a phone this large up to your ear, but you may love the tablet-like experience with Flipboard, Pulse and various apps.

At the end of the day, the Note II is what some may consider the ultimate compromise between both a smaller phone and a larger tablet. The only question is whether that  compromise is right for you.


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  • DeathGod17

    I so want this phone but I am going to just get the 16GB Nexus 4. It should be around 380 with taxes & shipping. Is shipping free on the Play store by the way

    • fixxmyhead

      same here buddy. this thing off contract is expensive as hell. getting the nexus 4 cuz its really cheap and i need a phone asap cuz my s2’s power module has been failing and it keeps rebooting alot

  • No such thing as a snapdragon exynos processor. It is the exynos processor with the snapdragon modem in it. You should fix that.

    • theking_13

      Lol this.

      Yeah, like Qualcomm is going to fuse their processor with Sammy’s Exynos. “DOUBLE THE PROCESSORS, DOUBLE THE POWER!”

      • PhantomWraith

        With your powers combined I am Captain Snapnos!

    • I did!

      • Fabian Cortez

        Pic of the 31.12 Mbps result please!

    • archerian

      technically its an Exynos Processor with a Gobi Modem

  • gp-tmonews

    The 17th photo in the left column shows some kind of physical keyboard? But it’s really dark & hard to see & there is no explanation in the text above about physical keyboards? What is going on in that photos?

  • sidekicker89

    I’d like to see a speed test screen shot please. Just so I can see that 31.29 mbps!.. Not that I don’t trust you or anything, David! haha

  • fixxmyhead

    there are errors with this article i suggest u re edit it. the specs are listed twice and snapdragon exynos? wtf

    also touchwiz is NOT just a launcher its still there even if u hide the launcher

    • WordPress can be blamed for the pros being listed twice, fixed the processor and I didn’t call TouchWiz a launcher. If you add a launcher, you likely never see TouchWiz so you can in fact hide it.

      • Chris

        Did you try another launcher? I did. When you’re using an after market launcher, the device no longer detects the removal of the S Pen. It sucks. I really want 5 rows of icons, that’s all I wanted from an after market launcher, but it’s not worth it.

        It’s gonna be really hard for me to modify/root this phone, because I want to keep ALL the S Pen functionality.

        • MarcusDW

          Im with you 100% man.

        • jon

          There are a few stock Roms out there. I have one running now that is all stock but debloated…the only bloat app remaining is WiFi calling..its the best of both world. Stock feel (with spen apps) but none of the bloat!

        • dgkm

          What ROM is that?

        • Cactusmatt

          1. Root it.
          2. Use Titanium backup to remove any app you want, keep any part you want..
          3. Profit

      • fixxmyhead

        u didnt say it but it was implied that it was launcher. david i dont think u know but replacing it with another launcher wont hide it. touchwiz is in the whole rom framework from the messaging app to the calculator to the phone. all those have been touchwizified. touchwiz adds features to stock like built in toggles, better video player that support divx,xvid, avi and other formats supported only by samsung,swype left/right to call or text, extended options in the camera. status bar slider (but they took it out in ics) ability to display options beyond what stock roms are capable of etc, all that is touchwiz so no u will in fact still see touchwiz. u may get rid of the “touchwiz” look on the outside but its still there on the inside

        • Again, you just agreed with me. I never said you’d get rid of TouchWiz, I said you would get rid of the look, which you just agreed with in the last line, I’m not really sure what you are trying to prove here?

        • fixxmyhead

          oh well u didnt say ‘touchwiz look’ u just said “u likely never see touchwiz so u can in fact hide it”. u really didnt specify if u were talking about ‘the look’ or just the whole touchwiz in general

        • I think you’re reading far more into what I wrote than intended. With a launcher, you won’t see much TouchWiz so that is in fact what I meant and how I believe the sentence reads.

        • fixxmyhead

          fair enough. just tired of the misinformed people who think that its just a launcher and they can make it go away permanently just by replacing it with another launcher

        • AndroidProfit

          I suppose if you don’t look at your contacts or dialer. Tehehe sorry couldn’t resist


        Touchwiz is the whole phone, the Browser is touchwiz, contacts is touchwiz, the dialer, the settings menu, you can’t hide touchwiz unless you root the device and slap CM10 or AOP. Touchwiz does not start and end with the launcher.

  • BallaOnnaBudget

    I bet the people that bought the original note recently are pissed!!!

    • 21stNow

      No, we just added to the family by getting the Note II!

    • AndroidProfit

      Does it give your little life meaning when others are pissed?

  • Singram

    Only problem i have with the size is when i pick up other phones and they seem so tiny lol.

    • kev2684

      that’s how i felt when i picked up my Samsung Galaxy S II after using Note II for one week lol

  • Clark

    Best phone for artists hands down.

  • thepanttherlady

    So far, I feel this is the best investment I’ve made into a phone. While playing with it in the store, I started second guessing myself regarding the size. At first it DOES feel cumbersome but after a couple hours of play it feels, well, normal. I love watching Netflix and t.v. on it and can’t foresee myself going back to a smaller screen any time soon.

    Thanks for the great review, David!

    • Chris

      I agree 110% In the store I was like “uh…whoa…” especially next to my GS2. But after about a day of using it, it feels normal. But normal in a good way like “this screen is huge and I know how to use it,” not normal like “this feels the same as a 4″ screen!” :) :)

      • thepanttherlady

        I can’t imagine going back to a 4″ screen!

        • fixxmyhead

          what about an almost 5 in screen can u do that

        • thepanttherlady

          It isnt about can as much as it is about want. No, I dont want a 5″ screen. We all KNOW size matters! =P

    • zacamandapio

      Ha ha. I grabbed an S3 yesterday and it seemed small. The GNII is a very nice phone.

  • nycplayboy78

    Irregardless of what anyone says I am HAPPY with my Galaxy Note 2…My previous phone was the Samsung Galaxy S2….I am simply amazed by the technology that Sammy put in this phablet :)

    • mr. grammar

      Irregardless is not a word…sorry.

      • ogopogo

        irregardless of what you think, he got his point across.

        • Herb

          If it conveys meaning that is understood it is most certainly a word, ain’t it?

  • Chris

    Got the Note 2 on release day (I had commented multiple times one very article leading up to it!) and I couldn’t be happier. I do find lag when opening S note sometimes, and the screen on like you mentioned, but besides that everything is so fast and works so well. The S Pen is a HUGE help for me. It’s fun to use, and has a lot of benefits. I hope this doesn’t ruin me and make me need an S pen/stylus for the rest of my smartphone life :S

    • thepanttherlady

      I will admit to being a little disappointed in the “cheap” feel of the S Pen. I am not a stylus user so I think I was expecting something with a little more “umph!” Still love playing with it though. :)

      • Chris

        It is really light and almost feels hollow. It’s still too small for me but I mean how big can they make it and still have it fit in the phone? I also have TERRIBLE hand writing so when I take notes on this phone (I do a lot at work) it’s not pretty…

  • BigMixxx

    I think you have a golden horned unicorn with that Original note….

    Great review!

  • Get_at_Me

    Great review David. I’m loving the Note 2

  • 21stNow

    I’m not a camera/photo person, so I have to ask you all about this. Do those photos look slightly washed out to you all? This isn’t a complaint; I’ve been trying to learn what other people are talking about when they speak of photo quality.

  • tirtawn

    With 649 using value plan. I will have to pass and just settle with Nexus4.

  • barondebxl

    How do Tmonews forget to put battery life as a pro? epic fail.

    • Epic fail? Le sigh.

      • eanfoso

        Not in my case :/ my battery life has dropped by a third, what could’ve done this I haven’t downloaded anything new and brightness is still in its default resolution and still auto (dims in a light place), so I’m not sure what it is:/

    • gopmatt

      Pfffft lame…

  • GeekNerdStuff

    I absolutely LOVE My Samsung Galaxy Note II! They really did a great job on this device. I simply can’t go back to using a smaller phone. I have had at least 5 people at work ask about my phone today and one woman on the commute home who had an iPhone 5. I gave her a demo of the phone and it’s functions. It rally made the iPhone look so outdated. Needless to say the woman left excited about the AT&T variant that will soon be released.

    I got it in white as I wanted to switch up on the color choice and just finished setting up my hubby with my older T-Mobile Galaxy Note. We are both happy now. I really like the enhanced s pen. Coming from using the s pen on the original Galaxy Note I can tell you there is definitely a huge improvement. :))

    • thepanttherlady

      I got the white one as well so I can change the back cover to a different color. I love it. :)

      • GeekNerdStuff

        Awesome. I have become totally obsessed with the cute 3D phone cases these days. I purchased a winnie the pooh 3D case off ebay.

        • thepanttherlady

          You ALMOST had me buying the mustache one but I changed my mind at the last minute. I already have 3 folio cases and have a clear silicone case as well as a bumper guard on its way. :/

          I may still break and buy it. It’s so cute!

  • eanfoso

    Man I’m not sure what I did to my note II but it’s battery life has dropped, before it’ll last me a day and a half but now I only go almost a full day when it’s asking for food :P

  • psaux

    Not to pester, but are we ever going to get that Relay review? (Or should we just assume it’s *that* bad.)

    • Hesster

      That’s my question too. Where’s that Relay 4G review we were promised?

      • Yes, it’s coming, I promise, it took a backseat to other stuff going on, but it is coming!

  • remister

    Ever thinking of doing a video review?

  • Yozo
  • Yozo

    OK we know these kinds of cmos and lens will not replace a real digital camera fitted with a real cmos and lens, but have your tried the nightshot feature yet? Its amazing without being snowy like I expected in a extremely low light shot.

  • Yozo

    My Note2 scolded me today(with a prompt) for leaving the stylus on the desk and walking away without it(stylus). Everyday I find another feature that is amazballs.

  • cutienoua

    I have an ipad mini on order
    If will not work the way I intend I ll give this a try
    I also have a cell phone thus I am not interested in using this as a phone only as a tablet
    Ipad mini has verizon band will not depend of the hotpot!

  • gopmatt

    Well done… very thorough, and thanks for finding out about the gorilla glass 2 being used on the Note II..

  • MarcusDW

    Does it cooperate with launchers? I want all the Note features but with NOVA launcher.

  • jelliottz

    Thanks for the review. I switched to the Note 1 from a Galaxy Nexus. I have been impressed. I can only imagine how everything runs on the Note 2’s hardware. People who mock the size really should try it for a little. It’s bit for everyone, but I think it might be for some who don’t suspect as such.

  • Mr Tibs

    Just got mine today & I LOVE IT

  • appleous

    I’ll just get an Iphone5.

  • MuthaFuckinStephen

    Whoa bigger is better.

  • Gouv

    My AT&T model should finally arrive today. Anyone using the
    SanDisk Ultra 64 GB microSDXC Class 10 UHS-1 Memory Card 30MB/s with the note 2? Can anyone tell me how it performs?

    • JR

      No problems with it thus far, but can’t really comment on the performance. Yes, everything works, but I don’t know at what speed it is reading/writing.

  • prof_impossible

    Nice review, can you comment more on the handwriting notes? Does it work well and is smooth enough to replace my moleskine and pen?

    This is nitpicking but I think the S-Note section got clipped:

    “S Note helps raise the Note II into a formidable business machine with crop images, handwritten text, and an incredible dearth of operations,”

    Or is that comma supposed to be a period? If so, I don’t think “dearth” is the adjective you want there – an incredible lack of operations?

  • Keep the reviews coming! Some video reviews would be great too, but this is a good start. I’m back at deciding beween this and the Nexus4

  • Trevor Traub

    “It’s easy enough to remove carrier bloatware once you root, but you have to root and, for the average user, that’s not a plausible scenario.”

    Ever since ICS, the user has been able to disable apps they didn’t want running or available in the app drawer through the app manager. Is this not an option on the Note 2?

    • Chimphappyhour

      You can disable it but it is still there taking up internal room. Some people don’t like that.

  • David- where the heck are you in S Florida that you get 31mps. Are you standing underneath a tower :) Also 30mps on your home internet? Dang who are you using as ISP? Finally, I hear rumours of a big sale Tmob on Nov 16th (assume nexus sale day). Any word on discount for Note II that day? By the way, my local tmob shop are big fans of you…

    • Hey John, we posted about the big sale on the 16th in a post yesterday as well. I do live about a mile from a tower, I can stand on my porch and stare at it, so yeah, I am class. Also, I have blast cable on Comcast with speed bursts in the 30+ range for like 50 a month. I keep it around because I don’t want to worry about speed with all the website management I do!

      • Fabian Cortez

        Can you post a picture of that 30+ Mbps HSPA+ speed test?

  • charlieboy808

    Looks like the more and more I read about this phone the more and more I’m going to purchase it. I had a talk with a T-Mobile rep over the phone (who did not sound like they were in the country >:-| ) and they said I could add it to my plan as a monthly payment too! YAY!

  • steveb944

    Thanks for the review David. This looks like an incredible device, but I have to compare it in store with the Nexus, due to size. I’m glad you brought up the Multi-Window feature not being available yet. That was one of the key features I wanted out of the box, but now I’ll know not to look for it when testing it out.

  • Herb

    I tried to get through this article. I really did. There’s no question I tried, but there’s little question I had to stop because there’s no questions about many things.

    • Huh?

      • Herb

        I like the article, it’s a good write-up. I was simply amused by how often you said “there’s no question” or “there’s little question.” Just teasing!

  • yozo

    Anyone find this bug? Ask s-voice “what is the weather in New York City?”

  • Richard Yarrell

    No question here on Tmobile and any other carrier for that matter the SamsungGalaxy Note 2 is the BEST SMARTPHONE ON THE MARKET PERIOD. Features alone as well as software their is nothing on the market that will be better for the next 180 days period. We won’t even discuss the true meaning of multitasking the duel window feature makes every other device on the market useless. I will be purchasing the Galaxy Note 2 on Tmobile November 15th and that’s without ever holding it or playing with it in person. I brought my Htc Evo 4g in 2010 the same way as well as my Evo 3d and Galaxy Nexus. That’s how I purchase my smartphones after months of research . I love my Galaxy S3 on Tmobile but it will be sold for 350 dollars Wednesday November 14th I must move on to the Note 2. You can trust this nobody in the tech game tops Samsung and even thou the Lg Nexus 4 will arrive on Tmobile before I purchase the Note 2 i already know the Lg Nexus 4 couldn’t touch the Galaxy Note 2 on it’s best day. Thanks for a perfect review on our crown jewel the Galaxy Note 2…

  • Very nice and descriptive review. It almost covers all the points.

  • mreveryphone

    My battery life has also got a little shaky over the past couple of days, and I don’t know what is going on, until I noticed the little inferred sensor was still on while the phone was in sleep mode. Has anyone else noticed this and would this affect battery life?

  • JMC87

    Are there any good ROMs that you guys can recommend with functional Beats audio? Would be nice to have for music improvements :)

  • Newmexican

    My G2 was acting up recently and I tried to leave all options open to replace it. I knew there would be no G3, so I also looked into non-qwerty phones. Used a GS3 for a few days, was not intrigued enough to make the switch, then I played with the Note 2. I really liked the feel and a lot of the features, but I could not imagine to carry such a brick around as a phone. I finally decided for the Relay 4G. It has most of the nicer features of the GS3, is smaller and has a keyboard. I was skeptical coming form HTC, but the first 24 hours with it impressed me. The Touchwiz launcher had to go first, still trying between Nova and ADW.launcher, which both are much nicer and they hide enough of the rest of TouchWiz.
    So here is my plead to David: You promised a review of the Relay 4G a while ago. Please do so, as you are missing out on carrying the message of a mighty good phone.

  • Great review as always. Just ordered my Note 2 to go along with my SGS3. I have the SGS3 with 32gb of int storage, I wish the Note 2 would sell their stock pile of 32 and 64gb int storage here in the US. That is my only reason for waiting this long to buy it. I was hoping for the other larger int storage models to become available. I know that in Korea the 64gb is available but it won’t work with our radios in the US, I checked. Here comes the UPS driver have to go.

  • Ann Droyd

    This is the world’s greatest phone. I’m replacing my vibrator with it.

  • yozo

    Just found a feature that will make your peeps even more envious…

    Set your camera to 6mp resolution. Get wider shots and take advantage of the FULL screen to frame your shots.

    Try it now!

  • nightkid

    Needlessbto said this is one of the best phone ever owned beside the iphone 5. I have sold my iphone 5 because of this device in fact im so much happier by owning this device more than iphone 5. Samsung just keep it up with the good innvative works.

  • Mike

    I bought my GN2 on the day it went on sale at Tmo. Honestly, I’d been eying it for so long that I couldn’t help myself and was willing to pay the extra amount to get it right then and there!

    Now I’ve had it for nearly a month and I’m still discovering new things about it around every other day. This is my first android device; my previous one was the Nokia N900 running Maemo 5 AKA Fremantle. I was warned that, compared to it, android is clunky, and I agree; however, I can’t get over an extra TWO INCHES of screen real-estate, far faster processor, far more memory and battery, and video that works correctly without fighting with it: it’s a compromise I’m willing to live with. OTOH, if I could get the GN2’s hardware combined with a full-blown Linux OS like Maemo, Meego, etc, I would be in in phablet heaven! Unfortunately, with Nokia imploding like it is, it looks like it’ll never happen.

  • AM3RIG

    I have really ZERO problem w/ GNOTE II and TouchWiz. My height is 5’11 and my hand is big, GNOTE II in my hand is soo perfect and comforts like a regular SGII I carrying around. I refuse my note 2 trade for others.. end of story..btw MY SG II is for SALE!

  • question- does the AT & T version have hspa 42+.? Colleague got it as an upgrade and is now thinking of selling. I know I would have to unlock it, but anything else?

  • Chris

    So glad that the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is out. Now the big wait. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 if there is going to be one. If there would be a Galaxy Note 3 it comes out the same time or after T-Mobil gets LTE so it can be compatible with it. Plus upping the Galaxy Note 3 screen to 5.8-6.0 inch screen would be awesome. They should also add auto focus on it so taking pics up close would be easier. This is the only thing that is stopping me from buying a Galaxy Note 2. Knowing that there is going to be a Galaxy Note 3 probably coming out. And a flat trackpad throwned into the Galaxy Note 3 would also be nice.

  • aaronratner

    Best device ever but the development community is almost non-existent.