By Shafey Danish (NVONews.Com)
The Galaxy Note 2 comes with improved features compared to the original Galaxy Note, in ways that will please those who are already a fan of big screens. The screen size gets an upgrade, the 5.3 inch screen has been bumped upto 5.5 inch. The earlier Note launched with Gingerbread, the new Note jumps two generations ahead and runs on Jelly Bean out of the box.
The first Note was no slouch. But Note 2 positively blazes. The earlier Note packed a dual core Exynos processor clocked at 1.4 Ghz, the new one is powered by a quad-core Exynos processor. Battery life has also seen an improvement, with the 3100 mAh from the earlier 2500 mAh. The resolution is somewhat decreased, from 1,280 x 800 pixels (285ppi) to 1,280 x 720 pixels (267ppi), but you would be hard put to tell the difference.
Because of an improvement in the making of the screen, the new one is actually better than the earlier generation screen. The screen remains HD Super AMOLED, but it is not your standard pentile display. While the earlier Note came in 16GB version only, in the new Note you could select between 16, 32 and 64 GB versions. There is also an expandable slot through which you can add an additional 64 GB of memory. (Earlier you could expand only upto 32 GB).
While the earlier Note came with Bluetooth 3.0 the new Note comes with 4.0, the RAM has been bumped up from 1GB to 2GB. In other words there are improvements all around.
The biggest change of course is in the inclusion of Jelly Bean. As you would expect all the features including Google Now, improved notifications, and the smoothness of Project Butter work like charm on the device.
Also included are the TouchWiz features that Samsung introduced in GS3. This includes the S-Voice, Smart Stay and All Share. There is also the S-Pen. The proprietary stylus that Samsung packs with the Note has undergone an upgrade.
The new S-Pen is slightly thicker, has a better and more accessible button, and a rubber tip to give a more pen like feel. When you withdraw the S-Pen from its snug silo at the side the phone knows and jumps to a S-Pen homescreen where you would find various stylus optimized apps. For example, Easy clip, which allows you to select various parts of the screen by pressing the button on the S-Pen and drawing a line around the area.
You can then either save, or discard the selection. You can also select text by pressing the button on the S-Pen, tapping the screen and drawing a line across. It has also taken on more of a mouse like functionality. If you hold the S-Pen over an email in your inbox, the first few lines will appear. If you hold it over an icon its function will be revealed much as you would expect when you hover your cursor over an icon on your desktop.
You can set an alert for the phone to tell you if you happen to leave the S-Pen behind. The new S-Note is also markedly better than its predecessor in recognizing handwriting. The ‘Air View’ option puts a dot below the point your S-Pen is hovering, which serves as a guide for a more accurate placement. You can also use Air View to hover over a movie thumbnail to see a GIF preview of the movie. Another feature lets you toggle between pen, brush and eraser by simply pressing the button while holding it over the screen. The new pen is designed to understand a whopping 1024 levels of pressure, a huge increase over the original 256. It retains all the features of the earlier pen, like press and tap to take a screen shot, and pull up a note pad from within whatever you are doing. This is especially handy when you are say, viewing a movie, and need to make some quick notes. You pull up the app and while the movie continues running, take your notes. All in all the S Pen is capable enough now to turn from a curiosity to a genuinely useful tool.
The motion controls on the new Note are also much improved. One addition to the controls is smart rotation. The front facing camera determines where your face is and prevents it from switching to a portrait view if you are using it in landscape mode, and vice versa. Tilt to zoom works much better here, and simply turn over the phone to mute, and shake to get updates.
If you are not deterred by the huge size, then this is definitely the phone for you.