Summary

Our Score

9/10

User Score

Review Price £549.99

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Camera
Using exactly the same camera sensor hardware as the Samsung Galaxy S3, the Galaxy Note 2 has an 8-megapixel main camera, and a 1.9-megapixel user-facing one. The main sensor is also has an LED flash to lean on when it's not too sunny. For the real camera geeks, it uses a fixed f/2.6 aperture with a focal length of 3.6mm.
Samsung Galaxy Note 2 37
Notably, this isn't quite as good as the f/2.4 aperture of the iPhone 5. A wider aperture sensor will give better low-light performance, as it can harvest more light in the same exposure window. However, camera performance is excellent given good lighting conditions.
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Macro performance is decent, although minimum focusing length is around 15cm, which is far from the best among smartphones. Give the sensor enough room, though, and the level of detail it can render is respectable.
 
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This pixel crop shows the level of detail to expect from the Galaxy Note 2

Autofocus speed is very good, although the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 occasionally appeared to fail to save shots when the phone was not held steady enough, suggesting the camera may be a little slower than the near-instant shutter sound effect may suggest.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 4

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Another pixel crop, for good measure

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 offers standard features such as touch focusing, and control over ISO, metering and scene modes. Other modes you don't get everywhere include a decent HDR mode, which merges together multiple exposure types to reveal more detail in very dark or light areas, a so-so panorama mode, burst mode and face detection.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2
The HDR mode works well, exposing extra detail in shadow areas

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Panorama isn't a patch on the full-res mode of the iPhone 5

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The flash is fairly standard

There are a couple of new bits that didn't feature in the recent Samsung Galaxy S3, too. There's a burst group mode that uses multi-face facial recognition to pick the photo where the most number of people are looking directly at the camera.

Using a simple LED flash, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2's low light performance isn't too remarkable, but it'll suffice for the obligatory late-night BBQ and party shots.

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