Point Noted

twitter-logo Nidhi Singal        Print Edition: November 2012

SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE II
PRICE:
Rs 39,900
SPECS: ANDROID JELLY BEAN; 5.5-INCH DISPLAY; 1.6GHZ QUAD-CORE PROCESSOR; 2GB RAM; 16GB INTERNAL MEMORY, EXPANDABLE TO 64GB; 8MP CAMERA; WI-FI, 3G, BLUETOOTH; 3,100 MAH BATTERY.

Despite all the reservations about its rather large size, the original Samsung Galaxy Note turned out to be a huge success, selling over 10 million units in a year. Samsung seems to have worked hard on the second version of the 'Phablet', going for an even larger display while making sure that the Galaxy Note II remains comfortable to hold. Plus, the additions in the stylus input enhances the overall experience.

DESIGN
The 5.3-inch display of the original Note made it a bit too broad for a comfortable grip. However, the Note II has a 5.5-inch display yet it is easier to hold. This has been achieved by making the device longer. There is nothing new in the design except for the lengthening and the new Note sports the curved edges of the Galaxy SIII. As always, the home button is below the display, flanked by two capacitive touch keys. The S-Pen, the digital stylus, is placed at the lower end.

S-PEN
Thicker and taller than the original, the S-Pen has started feeling more like a pen and less like a stylus. The new one is not cylindrical and hence does not roll away. The Note II detects when the S-Pen has been detached and instantly brings up a new home page that offers various shortcuts to S Note. Then there is the Air View feature that gives a preview of emails, images and videos when you just hover the pen over the icons without actually touching them. When the S-Pen floats over the top or the bottom of an email or S-Note, it moves the page up and down.

USER INTERFACE
The homescreen shows Samsung's TouchWiz user interface, which has been improved by adding a Quick Command feature that lets users create shortcuts for launching apps. For instance, we added 'W' for launching the web browser. Then, by drawing a 'W' on the screen, we were able to access the Web. Another user-friendly add-on is the single-handed operation that shrinks the alphanumeric keypad in dialler and QWERTY keypad in messages-very useful when you consider the size of this phone. The smaller visual keyboard can be shifted left or right by clicking an arrow. The handwriting recognition was near perfect. As with the S-Note pop-up, a new window pops up when the headphone is plugged into the 3.5mm jack.

PERFORMANCE
The Note II is among the first devices to run on Android Jelly Bean . Powered by 1.6GHz quad-core processor and 2GB RAM, it has the finest specifications. The Note II handled all the operations smoothly, including heavy graphic games. There is also an 8MP camera that snaps quality images. Watching videos on the 5.5-inch display was a pleasant experience, as was listening to music. However, while viewing images in the gallery, there were black borders on the side, something that was non-existent on the original Note. Allowing close to a day-and-ahalf of heavy usage, the battery backup of the Note II proved impressive.

WHY WE FELL FOR IT: THE NOTE II IMPROVES ON THE ORIGINAL NOTE BY OFFERING MORE EASE OF USE.

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