The latest ‘phablet’ device from Samsung offers a great compromise between portability and big screen size. But the stylus isn’t for everyone.

All Hands on Tech: Samsung Galaxy Note 2

Are you having trouble deciding what type of mobile device you should buy? If you can’t choose between a smartphone or tablet, the Samsung Galaxy Note Two might be for you.

With its 5.5 inch screen, this is device either a gigantic smartphone or a small tablet.

The screen is definitely the best part of this device. The Super AMOLED looks fantastic. With its 1280 by 720 resolution, its higher density than the iPad mini for example. It’s great for reading a digital magazine, watching a video,or enjoying the latest Angry Birds game. But holding it up to your ear to field a call might seem a bit awkward. You’ll want a more discreen Bluetooth headset to talk with.

The Galaxy Note 2’s screen is a half-inch bigger than the original Note.

It’s also impressive how thin and light the device is considering the screen size. It’s still easy to slip this in your pants pocket and carry around like a smartphone.

The Note 2 is unique in that it comes with a Stylus. I’m not a fan of this input method. The examples in the Notes application show some beautifully detailed sketches. But my notes came out looking like the chicken scratch of a child. Part of the problem is the screen is activated by the stylus even before you touch it. So just hovering can sometimes trigger a reaction you didn’t want.

Samsung has a whole array of Stylus apps. But you’ll need a separate Samsung account to get them. And I’m not clear on the value they offer, there seems to be a lot of gimmicks and some duplication with the Android market.

The specs on this phone are also top notch. It’s one of the few devices with a quad-core processor. It has up to 64 gigabytes of internal memory and a microSD slot to expand. The rear camera is 8 megapixels and the front camera is a respectable 1.9 megapixels.

The Note II works with LTE networks and I saw great performance on wireless speeds, using the Telus Mobility network.

You’ll also get S-Voice, Samsung’s own voice-assistant app. Just double-click the home button to activate it. You can dictate a message, ask for directions, or do a Web search among other tasks.

The Note 2 is a premium device that you’ll enjoy if you’re looking for something that’s ultra-portable and great for viewing content. But some may find that extra screen space and stylus unnecessary and consider a slightly smaller smartphone like the Samsung Galaxy S3.

Brian JacksonBrian Jackson is the Editor at ITBusiness.ca. E-mail him at bjackson@itbusiness.ca, follow him on Twitter, connect on , read his blog, and check out the IT Business Facebook Page.
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