Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Galaxy Note II, a better "Phablet"?

It's a phone, it's a's a "Phablet". The Samsung Galaxy Note II, the newest "hybrid" smartphone released by Samsung, combines many of the key features of a smartphone and a tablet to create a new and revolutionary product, the phablet.

The Galaxy Note II is the successor to the popular Galaxy Note, a 5.3 in. smartphone that was big success. The new and improved Note contains many upgrades from the original Galaxy Note, including a larger display. At 5.5 inches, the Galaxy Note II has a larger screen than most smartphones on the market and is considered by some to be a "mini tablet". The Galaxy Note II also has 4G LTE (on select networks), an 8 Megapixel camera, a quad-core processor, expandable memory using a micro-SD card, good battery life, and runs on Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean).

Another feature that gives the Galaxy Note II that tablet "feel" is the inclusion of a stylus with the smartphone. Samsung has done a lot of work to improve the interaction and usability of the stylus and has done a good job. The stylus is a key feature of the Galaxy Note II that allows users to take handwritten notes, write papers, draw, and various other productive tasks that are much harder to accomplish with a human finger. This phone also comes with software exclusive to the Galaxy Note line such as S Note and S Planner. These two applications take advantage of both the large display and the included stylus. They focus on productivity and are great for anyone working on the go.

The Galaxy Note II is an interesting device since it is in that "middle ground" between a smartphone and a tablet. The only true thing that really keeps this device from being classified as a small tablet is the ability to make voice calls over a cellular provider. Having such a large display truly puts this phone into a different category than many other popular smartphones such as the iPhone 5, the HTC One X, and even Samsung's own Galaxy S III. While these phones all have a screen of at least 4 inches, the 5.5 inch screen of the Note truly dwarfs the rest.

While the large display is certainly the selling point and the biggest benefit of the Galaxy Note II, it is also its greatest weakness. Such a large display affects the way that one interacts with the phone. This smartphone is one that cannot be used with one hand, it is simply too big. No matter what you want to do on the device, whether browsing the web or sending a text message, two hands are required. While there are many people who like the immense size of the screen, I for one think it is too big. While I certainly understand the purpose of the screen size, I feel it is too much. Having a phone that cannot be used in one hand and bulges out of any pocket it is put into is something that I feel would be quite annoying.

That being said, I feel that the Galaxy Note II is a great smartphone, especially for anyone that will use it for productivity tasks or work. The included stylus, the great battery life, and the fast processor all come together to form a great phone. While it may not be for everyone, it will be a great phone for many.

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