Samsung Galaxy Note II – Initial Impressions

One of the surprise hits of late in the mobile handset arena was the Samsung Galaxy Note.  It sold by the bucketload and even now the waxing lyrical hasn’t stopped.

It was therefore no shock when Samsung announced the Galaxy Note II and thanks to the lovely people over at we have got ourselves a model to review.

The handset arrived yesterday and I have had a chance to have a play so here are my initial impressions which will be followed by a full review in due course.

Good Points

  • The screen – 5.5″ of pure goodness
  • Android 4.1 Jellybean onboard
  • Speed – it’s just soo damn quick at everything
  • The looks, a great piece of design
  • Removable Battery
  • S-Pen
  • Great sound
  • NFC – S Beam

Bad Points

  • No on screen buttons
  • Difficult to use one handed
  • Home button


Like the original Note, the Note II is a brute of a handset.  With it’s 5.5″ screen it looks simply massive.  In fact, IT IS simply massive.  There is chrome banding around the outside, the S-Pen is located on the bottom along with the USB charging port, the volume rocker is on the left side whilst the power button is on the right.  the top sees the 3.5mm headphone jack.

On the back is the camera, flash and a speaker.  The back panel is removable to access the SIM card slot, the MicroSD card slot and the battery.  Whilst the back plate is plastic, by no means does it feel cheap and in the model I have there is absolutely no creak at all.

On the bottom bezel you have the menu and back softkeys as well as the home button that Samsung persist in putting on their devices.


As you would expect, the Samsung Galaxy Note II has totally top notch specs which are as follows:

  • Weight – 183g
  • Size – 151.1 x 80.5 x 9.4mm
  • 8gb Internal memory – expandable by MicroSD
  • MicroSIM
  • 720 x 1280 5.5in Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen
  • Corning Gorilla Glass
  • Exynos Quad Core Chipset
  • Quad-core 1.6 GHz Cortex-A9 Processor
  • 2GB RAM
  • Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP
  • Wi-Fi, A-GPS
  • FM Radio
  • NFC
  • 3100 mAh battery
  • 8mp rear camera
  • 1.9mp front facing camera
  • 1080p video recording
  • Android 4.1.1 Jellybean

There are so many high specs here that it is difficult to pick one out as outstanding above all others.  The battery life looks superb, the chipset and processor mean that the device absolutely flies along and seems to handle everything with aplomb.


As already mentioned, the Note II comes with Android 4.1.1 Jellybean onboard.  This means that Project Butter has been fully implemented and the handset feels as smooth as it is fast.  There is a huge variety of Samsung apps including Chat-On, Learning Hub, Music Hub, Paper Artist, Readers Hub, S-Note, S-Planner, S-Suggest and S-Voice.

The handset has Samsung’s Nature UX first seen on the Galaxy SIII complete with its own particular sounds and options.  Customisable lockscreens, caller blocking, power saving and S Pen options abound.  There are even settings for one handed operation.

The onboard keyboard is an absolute pleasure to use.  Usually I replace the stock keyboard with Swiftkey but here there simply isn’t the need.  The prediction and auto correct is almost faultless and there is also an option to enter text using the S-pen with handwriting recognition.

Initial Conclusion

The Samsung Galaxy Note II is a beautiful device.  It is a joy to look at and with its 5.5″ screen there is plenty to see.  The software appears slick and smooth and when paired with the blisteringly fast processor then handset is a pleasure to use.  The S-Pen is a brilliant addition and with the plethora of options and supplied software there is so much to explore.

We will be publishing a full review in due course, if there are any questions you would like to ask or anything you would like us to test, let us know in the comments below.

One Response