Gadget review: Samsung Galaxy Note II

Detail view of the new Samsung Galaxy Note II. Picture: AFP/Getty/Samsung
Detail view of the new Samsung Galaxy Note II. Picture: AFP/Getty/Samsung
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I’VE been slightly dreading experiencing the Note II, the super-sized smartphone from Samsung. It’s like test driving a fancy new car and then driving home in an old banger.

Samsung Galaxy Note II

Available sim-free for £480 ( or on contracts for free, from £29 per month, see

That’s a bit of an exaggeration when I’m lucky enough to own the Note II’s little brother, the Galaxy S3, but I think I’m going to struggle to forget the scroll-free loveliness of the Note II’s 5.5in HD display.

The big and bright eye-popping screen is the first thing I noticed. This is a sleek but undeniably expansive piece of shiny plastic, measuring 15.1cm in height. It’s still pocket friendly (just), mostly due to its slenderness and weight. The key difference with the Note II is the pop-out “s-pen” stylus that emerges from the bottom right-hand corner. As soon as it’s deployed, the phone senses this, allowing a range of exciting options.

You can write a quick note, sketch a drawing or send handwritten diagrams by email. While some users will find this all rather gimmicky, as a person who prefers to sketch rather than type, I loved it.

Where the s-pen really did make a difference was for capturing dynamic screenshots of webpages and images to paste into my business emails. I was saved screeds of typing with a few well-placed images. The handwriting recognition included with the “S Note” App was also surprisingly good at making lists, diagrams and memos legible, even with my scrawl.

You’ve got all the fancy bells and whistles of a top-end smartphone including a 1.6 GHz quad-core processor, 8 megapixel camera, Bluetooth and the latest version of Google’s Android Operating system. The screen is sufficiently gargantuan to allow for multi-tasking as well, so I had Google at the top and emails at the bottom.

If you can get over looking like a bit of a clown when a call comes in, the Galaxy Note II is the ultimate smartphone for those with a creative streak.