Two weeks with Samsung’s Note 2

It’s been almost two weeks since Samsung sent me a Note 2 to try. I’ve used it as my primary phone since it arrived, and I thought I’d do a quick post about my experiences. In short, owning a 5.5 inch phone is a little like owning a really big car. It’s very comfortable and luxurious when you’re using it, but it’s somewhat impracticle when you’re looking for a place to park.

Size is relative

The Note 2 is often refered to as “the biggest mobile phone on the market today”. But it’s not. It’s probably the biggest non-ruggedized consumer level smartphone. Satellite phones are usually bigger, and so are rugged outdoor ones. In terms of volume, the Note 2 is probably smaller than most early Nokias. Remember those Communicator ones. Those were huge. In comparison, this is a slender, elegant phone.

The Note 2 is only slightly bigger than the S3 and the HTC One X, and it makes good use of the extra room. It’s got the fastest processor of any Android phone, the most memory, the highest capacity battery (two full days, easily) and a gorgeous HD display that’s prefect for browsing and watching video. In my opinion, it’s the best phone out there to view things on. And to create things.

Be creative

The Note series’ most innovative feature is the S Pen. Using a stylus may seem like something from the Windows Mobile era, but that’s not what the S-Pen is about. The phone is as finger-friendly as any phone out there. The Stylus just adds precision. It lets you create detailed sketches, where other phones make you finger-paint. Together with the large screen real estate, it makes this phone a plausible tool for creating things.

I’m not sold on handwriting recognition as a tool for text entry (although it works remarkably well). The S Pen is great for writing little notes, drawing and image manipulation. The software that Samsung provides with the S Pen is a little obtrusive (it auto-launches when you pull out the stylus), but I like the overall idea.


Surprisingly, the Note 2 actually does fit in the (front) pockets of most of my jeans. At least while I’m standing/walking. I broke my old phone, a much smaller 3.7 inch one, by keeping it in my pocket while sitting down. I’m going to avoid doing that with the Note. My coat, work bag, and even my car have perfect pockets to put the phone in. I may feel differently in summer, when the weather calls for just t-shirts and jeans, but so far the Note has been easy to take with me.

A keeper

I got this phone at precisely the right time. I was in the market for a new high-end smartphone. Something like the Nexus 4, the One X or the Samsung’s own S3. In all honesty, I think I would have dismissed the Note 2 as being too big. Now, after two week of using it, I don’t think it is. It all depends on what you look for in a phone. If you need one that’ll just slip into any pocket, the Note’s not for you. If your phone is your mobile office, or even your “art department on the go”, 5.5 inches is perfect.

Roy | November 11, 2012 | English,Gadgets | Comments (12)
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  1. When holding the phone in your hand does it feel to big and heavy? Also would you use this phone instead of a 7″ tablet to browse the web.

    Comment by Computer Modder — December 4, 2012 @ 12:26 pm

    • Yes, it does feel big and heavy. I’ve never really played with a 7″ tablet, but I imagine the note’s experience to be similar. It’s simply a big phone, with all the advantages and drawbacks that come from it being big.

      I picked up my old 3.7″ phone last week and it seemed so puny now. Seems to me that the industry (and its consumers) is still to find the sweet spot, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out to be in the 5 inch area. But then again, it’s probably going to be like with cars, where one person prefers an SUV, others small sedans.

      Comment by Roy — December 4, 2012 @ 2:53 pm

      • merci

        Comment by khalid — April 4, 2013 @ 11:27 am

  2. I just bought this and having lots of fun…I’m an architect by professions…now i can draw sketches on my tab…as of now i do not have any issues with stylus but sometimes it does not respond you know why?

    Comment by Sasha — December 5, 2012 @ 11:34 pm

  3. I got to play with the Note II cell phone right after Christmas. I’ve got to say, for browsing, I do like the screen.

    But I felt like a total douche holding the massive thing up to my ear to make a call. (…Look at how TECHYYY I AM!!) If I ever opted to go with the Note II I would insist on pairing it with a bluetooth.

    What we need is something like the Google Nexus or the Galxy Tab that also could make phone calls with bluetooth. NOW you are talking!

    Comment by Quinn — February 7, 2013 @ 3:23 pm

  4. Yesterday, I bought Samsung Tab 2 from an electronic shop in Jakarta. After arriving at home, I test the camera to capture the pic about my son. Sadly, After I try to set the camera I didn’t found the blitz function. My question, Samsung Tab 2 doesn’t have blitz function?

    Comment by Nina Ertiga — March 30, 2013 @ 3:55 pm

  5. Cool review Roy, thanks! Where did you buy yours?

    Comment by Marco Raaphorst — April 16, 2013 @ 10:51 am

    • I got mine from Samsung directly, as part of their “Becreative” promotion. I’m still not sure I would have bought it, because it is very, very large. I’d probably buy an HTC One right now if this one got stolen or broke.

      Comment by Roy — April 16, 2013 @ 11:48 am

      • cheers Roy! will think about it. I’m good in thinking a long time about these sort of things… 😀

        Comment by Marco Raaphorst — April 16, 2013 @ 11:54 am

  6. I personally love this phone. I use it now also as my everyday device to get work done. At first it was a bit difficult to get use to the big screen but now when I look at other devices they seem all small. It’s like playing Bejeweled in the iPad and then trying to play it on the iPhone, it looks so small lol.

    Comment by David Immern — July 15, 2013 @ 11:16 pm

  7. Hi Roy,

    I am going to buy Note2 tomorow. So Do u advice me to buy or something else in same range is there ?


    Comment by Jimmy — July 21, 2013 @ 7:23 pm

  8. Nice post. Thanks for sharing.
    In my opinion ist Samsung Note 2 very good, but would not buy it.
    It is actually too large for me.

    Comment by Peter Demel — July 23, 2013 @ 11:59 am