I’ve been evaluating the Samsung Galaxy Note for about 2 months and there’s just a few things that bother me about this 5.3″ smartphone and it has nothing t do with the size. Yesterday, I had a chance to do a hands on preview of the Galaxy Note II and to my delight, Samsung has fixed some of the issues.
- On the original Note, the power button is located directly opposite the volume up/down buttons. Since the volume buttons are used as the zoom buttons for image and video capture, I was constantly turning off the phone during recording because my hand needed to anchor against something to press the buttons. On the Note II, the power button has been moved lower toward the middle so this should no longer be a problem. I would have like to see a recessed power button but it is the same design as the original note.
- The OEM Samsung flip case is simple but not too functional. It is designed like a tablet cover with a flap to fold over the screen. But when taking a picture, the flap just gets in the way. It can’t be folded all the way over because it will cover the lens. Looking at the case, it screams for a little kickstand to act as stand for the phone but there isn’t one. It really just serves as a simple folder cover to protect the phone. The phone without a case has no bumpers on the front glass so if you set it down face down, there is a risk of scratching the screen. With the Note II, Samsung added a new bumper/back plate case without a cover. I prefer this design as there is no flap to deal with and the new case adds a slight bumper to the front screen. Samsung uses Corning Gorilla glass so the screen is pretty durable but ladies who store the phone in their purses may prefer to have more screen protection. There are more color choices if the folder case is your preference.
- Short battery life was an issue with the original Note. The new Note II has a 3,100 mAh battery compared to the 2,500 mAh battery on the Note. It’s unclear how this will hold up with the new quad-core cpu.
- The stylus is longer and thicker making it easier and more natural to write.
- The dedicated search button on the bottom right has been removed. Search can not be activated by holding down the menu button. There were times I would activate the search unintentionally so this is a welcomed change.
- The phone takes on the look and feel of the Galaxy S III. I don’t have a problem with either design so this comes down to personal preference.