verizon samsung galaxy note 2 review main photo

 

Physical Device

The outside of the phone itself is made out of plastic.  The Note 2 on Verizon is available in two colors: Titanium Gray and Marble White.  The one that Samsung sent me to review is the Titanium Gray version.  On the back of the phone you will find the 8MP camera, LED flash, and the speaker grill.  In addition to that, Verizon added their own logo and a 4G LTE logo on the back in a huge font.  At the bottom of the phone, there is the name of the phone.  The edges of the phone are pretty similar to all other phones: power/sleep button on the right, volume rocker on the left, microphone and 3.5mm headphone jack, and on the bottom is the primary microphone, a micro-usb port for changing/syncing, and the S-pen stylus.  The front of the Note 2 packs a 5.5″ Super AMOLED HD display, 1.9MP front facing camera, two captivate touch screen touch buttons (menu and back) and a physical home button.  When it comes to the home button, Verizon decided that their logo was not on the phone enough because they decided to brand that with their name as well.  In The phone weights 180 grams and is 9.4mm thick.  The phone runs a 1.6GHz quad-core CPU, 2GB of RAM and 3,100mAh battery.  There is also 16GB of built-in storage with a microSD card slot that allows you to add in an additional 64GB of storage.

Software

The phone is running a TouchWiz skinned Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean.  Samsung has been working on their own skin for years and have been very successful with it over the last several years.  It is not anything like stock Android but it is useful.  Samsung has also reskinned several of Google’s apps and has added the ability to use their stylus with the device.

Performance

The processor and RAM make this phone run like a beast.  The device never lagged and the battery life was actually pretty good despite the large display.  When charging the device and when using the phone for long periods of time, I found the back (battery area) getting warm.  It never got so hot that I couldn’t touch it but it did get uncomfortable when the phone was warm and put into my pocket.

Conclusion

Over the two weeks of using this phone, I found that the biggest issue with this phone is the physical screen size.  It was hard to use the phone (or small tablet) because I had to continually move the phone up and down my hand just so i could click on different parts of the screen.  The screen size also became an issue when making phone calls; on several occasions I saw and over heard people commenting on the size of my phone while it was up to my face.  Surprisingly, the phone felt normal in my pockets but it would most likely be too large for those who wear tighter pants.

One of the main selling points for this phone is the S-Pen stylus.  The S-Pen is located at the bottom of the phone and is easily pulled out.  My first impression of the stylus (an impression that never changed during use) is that it felt cheap and easy to break.  The only time I actually found myself using the S-Pen was when I wanted to write something when using applications like SnapChat or DrawSomething.  The stylus has the ability to be used when writing text messages , writing notes, or even drawing – I never had the need/want to do any of these with it.  Probably one of my biggest complaints about the S-Pen was when I wanted to put it away – there is only one exact way to insert the stylus back into the phone and sometimes it was a big hassle trying to find the correct direction.

Overall, the phone is great.  This is a phone that I can and do see a lot of people using because they like the way that TouchWiz works and because it is an extremely easy-to-use phone.  My complaints with the screen size and S-Pen might be the same as a lot of people but then again, a lot of consumers might actually like these features.  At this moment, Verizon is selling this phone (phablet?) for $299.99 on a 2-year contract but you can buy the Note 2 from Amazon for $150, also on a 2-year contract.

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Justin Duino

Justin Duino

(Founder | Editor-in-Chief) - I am currently a student at the University of Nevada, Reno getting my degree in Computer Science.I have been fortunate to work with some brilliant people in the technology industry and plan to continue so for the rest of my life.I am currently using a Nexus 5, a Nexus 7 (2013), and a Nexus 10. Additionally, I am one of the first Glass Explorers with Google Glass and loving it!
Justin Duino