I posted my top 5 smartphones for the 2012 holiday season at the beginning of the week and as you can see I put the Samsung Galaxy Note II in 2nd place. If the device wasn't so large I would have put it in first place instead of the iPhone, but it just isn't practical for most people. That said, those who want the most powerful and capable phone available today, that are also more data focused than call focused, should seriously consider the Note II.
Check out my image gallery of the Note II that includes many screenshots of the excellent software provided by Google and Samsung.
I won't write much about the hardware here since that was pretty well covered in my Galaxy Note II first impressions. It is nearly exactly like a Galaxy S III with a slightly larger display. I have been very pleased with the hardware and am only disappointed that I cannot order an accessory flip cover/back since Samsung still shows them as out of stock.
I am a pretty heavy smartphone user, thanks in large part to my 2+ hour daily train commute, and am able to go a full long day (16 hours) on a single charge of the 3,100 mAh battery. The battery is also user replaceable so with a spare you never have to worry about a dead device with the Galaxy Note II.
Software is the shining star
Much of what I wrote about the software in the Galaxy S III defines that device and the Note II also comes with an amazing assortment of software and settings. Even after a few weeks of using my Note II, I discover new things every couple of days. I like this discovery aspect and love that I can customize and optimize the Note II to my heart's desire.
Here are some of my personal favorite apps, services, and settings on the Note II:
- S Note: It's fun to get back to handwriting again, thanks to the Note II. The S Pen is a fantastic new accessory with integrated options.
- Air View: It is efficient to hover the S Pen over the display to scroll and view the details of calendar appointments.
- Chrome browser: I have been able to create new ZDNet posts right from my phone and keep finding I really have no limitations with Chrome on the Note II.
- Angry Birds Star Wars: What can I say? I am a huge Star Wars fan and with the S Pen you can fine tune Han Solo's blaster aims.
- Google Play Movies: I enjoy renting and watching movies on my Galaxy Note II.
- Plume: Twitter app
- Facebook: Primarily for Facebook photos
- Handcent SMS: This 3rd party SMS client looks great.
- Flipboard: This is the way to browse through your feeds in an interactive manner.
- Google Now: This utility is great for sports, traffic, package tracking, and more.
There are already some excellent detailed reviews of the Note II and given my limited time to write and huge assortment of other devices to review I recommend you check out these other reviews:
Related CBS Interactive coverage