Samsung Galaxy Note II – Hardware Review
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Developer: Samsung
Publisher: Samsung
Platform: Android

Samsung Galaxy Note II – Hardware Review

Good: Gaming device in disguise
Bad: Price tag
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(11 votes)
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Rating: 10.0/10 (11 votes cast)

Portable gaming is one of those things that is getting more and more popular. It might not always seem like it’s gaining popularity, but it is time to look further than the conventional handhelds. Cell phones are starting to be a decent competitor for the handhelds we’ve come to love. Thanks to Samsung we are able to present you our opinion of the Galaxy Note II.


As is common with our hardware reviews, we first go off on first impressions when it comes to the overall look of the device. The Samsung Galaxy Note II, is basically a bulky smart phone, cell phone hybrid, hence the name ‘smablet’. This name is not a weird one, considering the device has a 5.5inch screen. The overall look does not really differ from the bigger cell phones, except (stating the obvious) it is a decent amount bigger than the normal cell phones on the market.

The size of the phone is not really a concern, because in the end – if you’re buying it, it should be something accounted for. The Galaxy Note II still fits in your pocket like most other cell phones, but might start to feel a little more ‘crammed’ when adding a protective sleeve to it.

It’s pretty logical we can skip a detailed review on how the basic functions of the phone work and if they are any good. Short and simple: Everything works as it should, the sound quality is great and the screen quality is probably one of the best on the market.

This device also made me think back of the days camera’s were first introduced to cell phones. Being able to take pictures was more important than actually see what was on the picture. The Galaxy Note II has a camera not shy of 8MP, which makes this device an ‘ok’ camera on the go as well.

Samsung’s Galaxy Note II works with the Android OS and seems like both go hand in hand. The user interface is clear, simple and works as smooth as anyone could have wished for. Of course smoothness also depends on the overall ‘power’ of the device itself. It’s easy to say you’re holding a little (fast) computer in the palm(s) of your hand(s).

Outside of the device’s normal features, you are also able to use this piece of hardware as your own planning device. The Galaxy Note II has an array of features that will help you with your daily planning and will allow you to create memo’s and notes in mere seconds. This is also where the pen of the Galaxy Note II comes in handy. The device has a pen, that can be inserted in the device for safe keeping, that will allow you to draw on the screen at will or allow you to navigate through the various menu’s of the device. A pen might not be such an uncommon sight nowadays, but the sensitivity tends to be a point that should be mentioned. It’s a delight to start writing or drawing with the pen on the screen – because of the decent amount of pencils/brushes you can use, as well as the ability to determine how much pressure you put on the pen. This will result in thinner or thicker lines on screen.


To game, or not to game?

As stated earlier, this device can be called a pocket sized computer. Being this powerful will also make way for being able to serve as a decent portable gaming device. Having tried out several games, varying from low to high requirements when it comes to graphics and sound quality, it’s easy to say this device is a decent ‘handheld’ device, that just happens to be your phone as well.

Being smaller as a conventional tablet, yet larger than a normal cell phone, the Galaxy Note II happens to be the right size to become a decent handheld. You will be able to enjoy a detailed on screen view, without having your fingers in the way.

Trying out games that have a decent graphical quality tend to heat up your cell phone. After trying out some of the best looking games on the android market for several hours in a row, the device only heated up slightly.

Another important factor of creating a decent handheld experience is the battery life of the device. The Galaxy Note II happens to excel in this department. When gaming an entire day, listening to music and what not, the battery life will only reach its halfway point by the end of the day. (sometimes it got to 30% – depending on the requirements of the games.) These factors combined tend to create a decent gaming experience.

Sadly Android games are still a new experience and not all of them can be compared to current mainstream handheld games. Thanks to stronger devices like the Galaxy Note II, there is a lot of room for a bigger and better future of more powerful Android games.


Own opinion:

At first I was afraid, I was petrified… when it came to the size of the device. I thought it would be way too big to carry it around properly and use it as a regular cell phone. This prejudice fainted away after about a day or two and after getting used to it, it’s hard to go back to a regular sized phone.

Of course, 3rd-strike being a gaming site and all, I was a little more preoccupied with the gaming aspects than with the regular phone functions the Galaxy Note II has to offer. A choice I still not regret. Samsung’s device proved to be a fun gaming experience for me, and also shed some light on how the ‘phone-gaming-market’ could look like if more devices like this hit the shelves. The device itself had the right size to game with and after getting used to the touch screen controls, it was fun to actually play games this way.


The Galaxy Note II may have a hefty price tag, but if you’re looking for a device that combines a planning device, a phone, a decent camera and even a decent handheld – it is certainly a device that is worth getting.

For a full list of specs click here.

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Rating: 10.0/10 (11 votes cast)
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Samsung Galaxy Note II - Hardware Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 11 ratings

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  1. […] we discussed the capabilities of the Samsung Galaxy Note II, which is a phone that comes with a hefty price tag. Today we have the chance to tell you more […]

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