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Bill Bennett


Galaxy Note II: mine’s bigger than yours

Samsung noteAt first sight Samsung’s Galaxy Note II seems almost comically large for a smartphone. It could be the kind of thing a circus clown might whip out to get a few laughs.

In fact, the size is one of its best features. A big screen is a bonus when it comes to doing real work on the move. If the Galaxy Note II was any larger it simply wouldn’t fit in a pocket. As it is, it will challenge some wardrobes.

You need deep pockets to own a Note II in both senses, at NZ$1200 a pop it is expensive. For the money you get a 5.5 inch AMOLED display and a reasonably quick processor along with 16GB memory. Unlike any other smartphone I’ve seen to date, you can realistically split the screen to show two windows.

Apart from its size, the other notable feature is the stylus. I know many smartphone users, including Mrs B, will warm to it for that reason alone.

Samsung stresses the Galaxy Note II’s creative credentials in its marketing, some of the included software is geared this way too. That could be right for Samsung, but my first impression is the Note II would be a good choice for business users who don’t need a full-sized tablet.

From my point of view the best feature is the note writing software which allows you to enter text with the stylus in much the same way as on a Palm Pilot, or even, dare I mention it, the Apple Newton Messagepad.

In my experience this is far more efficient than typing on a tiny onscreen keyboard. But I’m a journalist with years of paper note-taking behind me, we use these tools differently. I tested this feature quickly at the launch and realised it’ll do nothing for my awful shorthand, but with a little practice it could be a fast and effective way of writing while on the move.



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