Samsung Galaxy Note II First Impressions

Last year Samsung created a device that took the mobile world by storm, even creating a new product category. Called the Galaxy Note, the device featured a 5.3-inch HD screen, something that was just a little too big to be a phone screen and just a little too small to be a tablet. Calling features were one the device, and it was sold as a phone. Not too long after it released, the general term of calling it a phablet was accepted.

To cut things short, the Galaxy Note was a huge success. And what do you do when you have a success on your hands? You create a sequel.

I’ve had the Galaxy Note II for about two days now, so these are just some impressions of the device. Samsung was kind enough to send me an AT&T model, but all the models are just about identical in terms of hardware and software. Check out my first impressions below:

  • First thing I noticed, this thing is BIG. I used the original Galaxy Note a few times -I was even planning to buy one, but ended up getting a Galaxy Nexus instead – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. There’s no denying that 5.5-inches is the barrier of what can be defined as a phone, but the Galaxy Note II takes full advantage of it.
  • Holding it took a little getting used to, especially after coming off the iPhone 5 (don’t hate, I like to be in tune with the competition as well!). It also felt a bit heavy in hand, but I’m more than sure that’s from using the light iPhone 5.
  • The screen looks good, but it’s nothing spectacular. There’s a new layout for the pixels in the Galaxy Note II, but I’m still not quite sure why Samsung keeps avoiding the standard RGB matrix. The display is great, but there’s better on the market.
  • Performance has been the best on Android device I’ve ever used, which could probably be attributed to the speedy 1.6GHz quad-core Exynos processor and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Performance has been buttery smooth thus far.
  • The only issue I’ve noticed is a slight delay when turning on the screen. After hitting the home button, it takes about a second for the screen to turn on. Not sure what’s causing this, but I will be sure to investigate in before my final review.
  • I’ve taken a few shots with the 8MP camera, and they’ve been very good in all situations. There isn’t any purple glare to be found here (see what I did there?).
  • Samsung’s S Pen Stylus has been a fun thing. It’s by no means mandatory for using the device, but that’s not the point. S Note is where it shines, and I’ve found myself doodling more than a few times. More on the S Pen in the full review.
  • My only rant on the form factor: typing has sucked so far. I’ve been straining my thumbs a little too much, plus Samsung’s keyboard flat out sucks. I’m sure I just need to adjust to the keyboard, though more than a few texts and I’m aggravated.
  • Battery life has seemed good, though I’ll need to do a little more testing before my final review.

The Galaxy Note II has been a pleasure to use, so keep an eye out for my full review in the next week or two. Check out our unboxing here. As always, leave all your questions on the device in the comments below.

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