Samsung Galaxy Note 2

Score

Sections

View All

Pros

  • S Pen stylus feels accurate and comfortable
  • Fast processor and loads of RAM
  • Great screen

Cons

  • Will be too large for some
  • A bit plasticky

Key Features

  • Review Price: £549.99
  • 5.5in HD amoled screen
  • 1.6GHz, quad-core processor
  • New S Pen stylus with 1024 pressure levels
  • 2GB RAM
  • 720 x 1,280 pixel resolution

Read the latest news on the Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Introduction

Think the iPhone 5 is a weakling of a mobile, and that even the Samsung Galaxy S3 could do with gaining a few curves? The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 may be what you’re after. Thanks to its 5.5in screen, it’s a phone so large that some people can’t decide whether it’s a phone or a tablet.

It does demand man-sized hands or a handbag to slot into your life easily. But the large screen and its great stylus make it one of the most desirable mobile devices around. At around £549.99, it’s £50 more expensive than the Samsung Galaxy S3, but you can’t complain too much given the extra features and screen inches you get here.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Video Review

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Design

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 looks and feels a lot like a larger Samsung Galaxy S3, with aesthetic trimmings closer to the smartphone flagship than the first Galaxy Note. A host of little design tweaks have been made to bring the Note series to bring in-line with Samsung’s 2012 devices.
Samsung Galaxy Note 2 23
Its soft key is a little sleeker, and while it its body is still palm-worryingly big, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is a little longer and less wide than its predecessor. The result is a phone that looks a bit leaner and less stubby, and is a little comfier to hold.
 Samsung Galaxy Note 2 27

There’s no sugar-coating the truth, though. If you have small hands or wear femur-hugging skinny jeans the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 will pose a logistical problem or two, and may have to be consigned to the handbag for transportation.

However, Samsung has made some seriously handy design improvements that minimise the size issues for most people. The buttons along its sides, which control volume and power, have been lowered a little. Those bearing at least mid-sized man-hands will be able to operate the basics without shifting grip. And we couldn’t say that about the original Note.
Samsung Galaxy Note 2 35
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is also a little slimmer and lighter than its forebear. It’s 177g in weight and 9.4mm thick. That’s a smidge thicker than the 8.6mm of the Samsung Galaxy S3, but this is presumably to enable the phone to pack-in a seriously impressive 3100mAh battery. Excuses for a tiny bit of back fat don’t get much better than that.

The basic construction of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is typical Samsung. Its rear is covered with a thin plastic battery cover, and while the sides are metallic in finish, they are made of plastic.
Samsung Galaxy Note 2 29
Just like the look, the feel in-hand is much like a Samsung Galaxy S3. It doesn’t have the hard, cool touch of a metal-backed phone like the iPhone 5, and the back is made of familiar, ultra-thin plastic. The free flexing of the thing as it’s removed doesn’t exactly fill you with confidence about the phone’s strength, but technically its physical credentials aren’t too bad.
Samsung Galaxy Note 2 33
The Note 2 battery cover – keeping it bendy

For one, you can replace the back cover should it get scuffed or scratched to matt oblivion, and the front is covered by a sheet of Corning Gorilla Glass 2. Corning’s toughened glass has become the smartphone industry standard, and the second generation makes it thinner, and even stronger.
Samsung Galaxy Note 2 32
Other benefits of using a removable battery cover include being able to remove the battery, and east-to-design custom covers-cum-cases. Samsung includes a second rear with the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, one that apes the Pebble Blue finish of the Samsung Galaxy S3 and has an integrated front flap screen protector.

The cover also hides a microSD slot, letting you upgrade the 16/32/64GB of internal memory both easily and cheaply. You don’t have to remove the battery to get access to the memory card slot, either.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is a phone that looks less geeky than its predecessor, while keeping the design nods that techies will love. However, these days it doesn’t need that many connectors to keep up its tech cred.
Samsung Galaxy Note 2 34
There are just two here, a microUSB port on the bottom and a 3.5mm headphone jack up top. The bottom socket is used for charging, transferring files and to pipe video out using Samsung’s MHL-compliant cable. Samsung does not include one in the box, though. What you do get are the USB cable, power adapter and a pair of basic IEM-style earphones with an integrated handsfree kit/remote.
Samsung Galaxy Note 2 31

The most important accessory of all, though, is one that slots perfectly into the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 – the re-designed S Pen stylus. Unlike the original S Pen, it features a triangular stem design for improved ergonomics, has a select button on one of its sides and has a rubber tip. Its tech specs have been significantly improved too.

It lives in a little cubby hole at the bottom of the device, and the Note 2 even notifies you with a bleat if you leave without it. This is done using a clever combo of the Wacom digitiser that makes the stylus so clever, and the phone’s accelerometer judging when you’ve walked away with the device. We’ll cover the positive effects of the other S Pen changes later.

More from TrustedReviews

Thinner Moto Z2 Force could come with a huge trade-off

HyperLoop One

Elon Musk’s Hyperloop gathering pace as NY-DC link gets ‘OK’

N64oid

Is this proof an N64 Classic will follow the SNES?

Agents of Mayhem preview

cats 17

Why you’ll want to download this OnePlus 5 update today

Golf rory

British Open Golf Live Stream: How to watch online for free

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare for Xbox One down to under £9

Samsung Gear S3 finally gets Samsung Pay support in UK

Welcome to the all new Trusted Reviews

Netgear Arlo

Netgear Arlo Pro

Cat Amazon

Are you kitten me? Pet translation devices tipped for future smart homes

fire emblem warriors

Fire Emblem Warriors

pokken

Pokkén Tournament DX

TP-Link Smart Wi-Fi LED Bulb 5

TP-Link Smart Wi-Fi LED Bulb

Samsung Pay

Samsung Pay now lets you use your PayPal funds at the checkout

assassins creed origins

Ubisoft teases new games for Nintendo Switch, coming ‘quite soon’

amazon echo

Ask Vodafone: Mobile network’s first Amazon Alexa voice skill is revealed

Google Feed

The Google app’s new personalised feed might just drag you off Facebook

z2play 9

Moto Z2 Play

Mira Prism

For just $99 you can bring AR to the iPhone 7

Samsung Galaxy S8

Samsung Galaxy S9 displays may be the same, save one major new feature

movie theatre

The Netflix Effect: ‘Binge-watching’ is coming to movie theatres

Porsche MIssion E

Porsche’s latest electric car chargers put Tesla to shame

EE logo

EE’s new 20GB SIM-free deal is the best value tariff you’ll see all summer

Int-Ball

These are the first images from the ISS – as captured by a zero-gravity drone

iMac 21.5-inch 4K (2017)

LG V30 case

LG V30 design ‘confirmed’ ahead of IFA 2017 launch

iPhone 7 vs iPhone SE

Waiting for the iPhone SE 2? Sadly, it could be a one-and-done

Google Glass Enterprise

Google Glass 2 has arrived, sort of

Denon AH-C621R

Denon AH-C621R

BBC Proms

Get ready to listen to the BBC Proms like never before

Fender Newport Monterey Bluetooth speakers

Fender’s new Bluetooth speakers look just like tiny guitar amps

Garmin Vivosmart 3

Garmin Vivosmart 3

airplane

Is the laptop travel ban dead? Electronics restrictions lifted by TSA but UK fails to follow suit

KitSound Immerse

KitSound Immerse Wireless Headphones

Emojis

It’s World Emoji Day and Apple is showing off all of its newcomers

Porn Block

Privacy fears as UK plans age verification for porn sites

WhatsApp

New WhatsApp feature could give Apple’s iMessage a run for its money

Essential Phone

Andy Rubin’s Essential phone coming to UK, likely as a network exclusive

Nokia 8

Is this the Nokia Android flagship we’ve been waiting a decade for?