Hands on with the Samsung Galaxy Note 2

The device's S Pen stylus is surpsisingly useful, with an update from Samsung

Samsung's newest iteration of the Galaxy Note smartphone-tablet hybrid has a large, bright screen, more powerful battery and a snappy processor. One of the few drawbacks found in using it at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin is that it might not fit in your pocket.

To see a hands-on demonstration of the Galaxy Note II, watch a video on YouTube.

The screen is a generous 5.5-inches, which is 0.2-inches larger than the first generation device. It has a 1280-by-720 pixel resolution and streaming YouTube videos looked great on the display.

The phone is powered by a quad-core 1.6GHz processor and runs Android 4.1. There was no problem switching between applications and the device seemed very responsive in the few minutes I had time to use it.

With an improved processor and screen, Samsung also upgraded the battery from 2500 to 3100 mAh. Whether or not it actually extends the battery life of the device remains to be seen.

One of the biggest criticisms when the Galaxy Note came out last year was the addition of a stylus. Many likened it to Palm Pilots, which had their heyday in the '90s, but I found the stylus, called the S Pen, surprisingly useful. It's now thicker than its predecessor and stows in the bottom corner of the device. It had a good heft to it and was more than a piece of flimsy plastic. As soon as you pop it out, the device registers it and certain stylus-driven functions are enabled. When you hover the S Pen a few millimeters from the screen, you can preview emails, calendar entries or videos.

There's a single button on the S Pen, which can be used to cut out images, text, or just about anything in any application and save it to your gallery or text it to a friend.

If you leave the stylus behind, the Galaxy Note II will start to vibrate, reminding you to retrieve the pen.

Of course, you don't always need to use the S Pen, as the Note II can be touch-driven as well.

The Galaxy Note II will start shipping in October, beginning with Europe and Asia.

Nick Barber covers general technology news in both text and video for IDG News Service. E-mail him at Nick_Barber@idg.com and follow him on Twitter at @nickjb.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nick Barber

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?