The Note II looks like a supersized version of the Galaxy S III, complete with the same rounded corners and home button. Two capacitive buttons (Menu and Back) that disappear after a few seconds flank this physical key. We tested the marble white version with silver trim, but the Note II will also be available in titanium gray. The polycarbonate body felt solid (albeit somewhat slippery), and popping off the back cover is a snap for accessing the SIM card, battery and microSD card slot.
The sides feature the power/sleep button and the volume rocker while the microUSB ports is placed at the bottom followed by the 3.5mm headphone jack on the top. The S Pen stylus docks in around the back, besides the speaker grill. Lifting up the cover, we are greeted by the chunky 3100mAh battery along with the microSIM slot and the hot-swappable microSD card slot.
Samsung combined its TouchWiz interface with the latest Android 4.1 Jelly Bean software, which means you get great features such as Google Now and offline voice typing. This is definitely a Samsung experience, though, as the company continues to be bold in adding features to Google’s OS.
Samsung Galaxy Note II Notifications Take the notification menu, which now features a brightness control slider in addition to shortcuts for toggling Wi-Fi, GPS, Screen rotation and more. Another huge plus: there’s a dedicated number row above the letters on Samsung’s touch keyboard, which means you don’t have to switch back and forth between letters and numbers to type things like addresses and passwords.
The Note II includes seven customizable home screens, with the time and weather widget front and center. Touch the Google search box and you’ll be brought to Google Now, which learns from your searches to present handy info at a glance. For example, Google Now can show you how long it’s going to take you to get home based on the traffic, the latest score from your favorite teams and whether your plane is on time.
Samsung Galaxy Note II (GT-N7100)The lock screen on the Note II not only lets you customize shortcuts to different apps, but also displays a news ticker at the bottom of the screen. You can even scribble a quick note by double tapping the screen with the S Pen while holding down its button.
Samsung Galaxy Note II Pop-Up VideoOther notable features include Popup Video for watching clips while you use other apps, and you can now resize the window. There’s also a new Popup Browser option that enables Note II users to view a Web page (say, in an email) without leaving the Email app.
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