Samsung Galaxy Note II: Two Hands On With the 5.5-Inch Phablet
The Samsung Galaxy Note II, introduced Aug. 29 in Berlin, is finally headed for U.S. shores. It will arrive on Sprint's 4G network Oct. 25, priced at $299.99, and for the same price at AT&T Nov. 9. In the coming days or weeks, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular will also begin selling it. The Note II runs Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) and a quad-core processor, but its most radical feature is its 5.5-inch (on the diagonal) display. It's a big device, and unapologetically so. Like other Note devices, it also comes with an S Pen—Samsung's smartened-up version of a stylus—making clear that it's as much a small tablet as a large smartphone. In fact, this user found it more satisfying to think of as the former than the latter. It's not very usable in one hand—though Samsung has tried its best on this front, enabling the keyboard to shift right or left, for righties or lefties, instead of just centering it. Give in to the fact that it's big, and then enjoy all that comes with that: a giant screen that's perfect for videos and apps, a camera that's feature-packed and benefits from a saturated but crisp display, and apps that allow for pen- and voice-based input, in addition to the keyboard. JK Shin, president of Samsung's mobile communications business, who introduced the device in Berlin, described it as ideal for users wanting to "live a life extraordinary."