With Galaxy Note 2, Samsung perfecting the ‘phablet’


If you would have told me a year ago that one of Samsung’s most successful devices would be a phone/tablet hybrid in excess of 5 inches in screen size that utilized a stylus as a main means of interacting with the handset, I would have probably asked for a hit of whatever you were smoking. While the trend towards larger, higher resolution displays was obvious, it seemed unlikely that users would gravitate towards a device that would be hard to operate with one hand. And the whole stylus thing? That was supposed to have died off with the Palm Pilot years ago.

But we all know the story. The seemingly implausible success of the Samsung Galaxy Note was real, and a new category of devices was born: the phablet. Now, Samsung is pushing the envelope once again with the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, a phone that improves on some overlooked flaws of the original while enhancing the stylus experience to a point where it is no longer a gimmick, but a natural extension of the way we interact with our mobile devices.

Natural might be the most appropriate term, as the new Note gets a heavy dose of the nature-inspired design language of the Samsung Galaxy S3. And it works. While the phone sports a larger 5.5-inch display size, it’s proportioned with a 16:9 aspect ratio. A curvy body, small bezel, and glossy finish manage to create a device footprint that somehow both feels and looks smaller than the original. And speaking of the 16:9 display, it looks great. Samsung has utilized the latest generation of Super AMOLED technology to provide a hi-def viewing experience sans PenTile technology.

And while we could continue to rattle off the obvious upgrades such as a quad-core Exynos chipset, the real improvement comes with a re-calibrated stylus, which expands its Wacom roots to completely change the way we interact with a phone. The old stylus could hover, triggering a cursor that would allow you to interact with the original Note without actually touching the screen, but the new stylus can hover from a greater distance, making the feature far more usable. Not only that, but Samsung has come up with some clever ways to make the tool almost indisposable, from previewing video to navigating around the device or on the web.

Everything we have seen of the Note 2 thus far has impressed, and impressed in a way that the first iteration didn’t. The previous model had us at times asking, “Why would anyone use this?” The sequel begs a different question. Why is this not the way we always interact with our smartphones? Once we have a chance to spend a bit more time with the Galaxy Note 2 we’ll offer a full review, but the small taste Samsung has already given us has us mighty excited for what is to come.

Kevin Krause
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  1. Now you’re just being cruel. Don’t you realize we are already drooling in anticipation for this to be released? And you still feel the need to drop this on us?

  2. And silly me I thought BGR was the only site still trying to use that stupid word for these devices, give it up nobody but tech bloggers ever used it and almost none of those still do.

      1. Just because it’s on Wikipedia doesn’t make it factual or valid in the slightest, that article is a joke.

        1. “”Wikipedia is the best thing ever. Anyone in the world can write anything they want about any subject. So you know you are getting the best possible information.”-Michael Scott

        2. Calm down. It’s in the early process of becoming a word. Right now it’s being thrown around a lot in pop culture scenarios, soon it’ll be researched by companies like Merriam Webster and Oxford, and by this time next year it’ll be in their dictionaries.

          Just because you don’t like a word doesn’t give you the authority to dismiss it.

          1. LOL hardly, I’ve never seen the word in print anywhere besides tech blogs and this is the first time in months I’ve seen it anywhere but BGR. Heck most of the android blogs right now have a review of the Note 2 and this one is the only one that’s using that stupid made up word to refer to it. (not even BGR is)

            Ignoring that “phablet” is a stupid sounding and looking word we don’t even need a word because it’s not a real category, it would be as if I pulled the word “phiny” out of my ass and said it referred to phones that are smaller than average or maybe “pheyboard” for phones with a keyboard.

          2. Every single site that mentions the Note mentions the word “phablet”. The word is useful because it describes a cross between a phone and a tablet. The fake words you made up don’t make any sense and are useless, as most smartphones are normal sized.

            You’re an idiot and I’ll be laughing at you when the word is in dictionaries.

    1. Phabolous

    2. It won’t catch on until Apple makes one. Maybe that’ll be the 7 inch iPads name. Apple iPhab. probably with some stupid “fabulous” advertisement that hipsters will love.

  3. Phablet… I can just see next year. Apple announces its’ “MAGICAL” 5.5″ iPhablet.

    1. Yeah then more patent wars :(

      1. I hope with all my heart that if Apple copies this, they call it the iPhab

    2. And sue everyone that even mentions the word when discussing an android device. Even the general public…lol.

      1. First time I supported an Apple ban.

      2. ya, he is an idiot to discuss i devices,
        v r here to talk abt note2

    3. $2,500 for the standard 5.5″ 1280×720
      $3,000 for the mildly overclocked 5.5″ 1281×721

    4. On the Bravo channel. ugh

  4. The Note 2 will very likely be the first time ever for me to pay retail for a phone. I’m not due an upgrade, anyway, but even if I were, I’d have to buy full retail to retain my unlimited 4G on Red.

    I’m anxious to take it for a spin…

  5. I’m drooling, can I just have it already?


    1. I call it a TABLONE!

      1. Mmm… Toblerone.

        1. i lol’ed

    2. hmm I call it a pocket tablet

      1. I’ll call it my Note 2 lol!

  7. For all of us buying it please for the love of all that’s good spring for a headset I’ve seen 3 people walking with that thing plastered to their face talking and they just look regod****diculous

    1. I guess this means no Google Glass awesomeness for you either.

    2. Nah, I’ll just hold it up to my head. I enjoy entertaining people. :)

    3. So are skinny jeans and pants hanging down around your knees, but they still wear them…. I’ve also seen “that guy” with a combo package of skinny jeans hanging around his knees. What a dork.

      1. how is skinny jeans ridiculous?!?! just bc i u can’t fit into one doesn’t mean u have to hate on us who can lol

        1. Skinny jeans for guys look very effeminate. Blech.

  8. hummer phone…pass

  9. If the battery life is sufficient, I would pick one of these up on Sprint.

    1. it has 3100mAh..who needs more than that!? are you planning to go to moon on a single charge!!! :P (no offense,just joking)

      1. None taken, but with a screen that size there is still going to be some taxing on the battery life. I’m still speaking in speculation until the unit has been able to be tested in the States.

      2. lol

  10. Funny how everyone hated the Dell Streak 5 because it was SOOOO big and bulky, and now this is such a good phone. Yeah, it was clunky, but oh how times have changed (just two years later)

    1. Note 2 – 151 x 80.5 x 9.4 mm
      Streak 5 – 152.9 x 79.1 x 9.98 mm
      Man and look how identical they are in size too! The half inch screen size isn’t a deal breaker either.
      So I gotta ask, was the Streak 5 too far ahead of it’s time or did their software suck too much to lead them to success??

      1. Smaller screen within a bigger package. 480×800 resolution, poor battery life, and slightly ahead of its time(came out with a less then great eclair build) but fixed a decent amount with froyo.

        The biggest difference between the make it or break it of phablets though, was the software for a real stylus(not some generic capacitive one). The Streak 5 had all that screen real estate but didn’t really present a good way to take advantage of it. The galaxy note without the pen is just a bigger phone, but with the pen it has a lot more uses than other phones around it.

      2. That’s like comparing a droid eris to a One X. The age differences make a huge difference. One of them has a UI that isn’t made specifically for phones either, but for both phones and tablets.

        1. You’re taking my comment the wrong way.

      3. I really liked my Streak, but the Atrix finally came out while I was in my 30 day window, the 30th actually. Also Dell didn’t handle it very well. Dell stage kinda sucks.

      4. I want to add a different angle. It’s about the freaking broken US patent system. Had Dell successfully patented the form factor, Samsung would not be able to make the Note. Just because Apple or anyone makes something first and owns the right to that form factor or type of device, it doesn’t make that company the best implementor of the idea. Screw patenting ideas or form factors. Screw patenting rectangles with round corners.

    2. It was a Dell. That’s enough for me to say no.

    3. i agree with u, welll. more than 4 inch, name it a tablet. and useles for phone usage.

      1. I use Bluetooth or headphones when I talk on the phone anyhow (still wouldn’t care if someone laughed at me) and the larger screen is so much easier to read while doing everything else. It’s awesome because it’s really everything I need in one device. It’s my phone, my internet, email, music player, movies/video player, alarm clock, time & temperature, calculator, GPS, camera, video camera, flashlight, gaming device…I’m sure there’s more that I forgot but my point is made. The larger screen makes it so much easier to use all the mentioned features and if anyone is looking for an all-in-one device, that has a nice big, readable screen, then the Note or Note 2 are perfect. Even if the battery life isn’t as good, that doesn’t matter either. That’s what backup batteries, extra home chargers and car chargers are made for.

  11. 5.5″ rgb amoled matrix is what i always dreamed about. :) i will
    definitely buy it

  12. Samsung could skip the GS4 and Note 3 next year and they would still have the best phones out for that year. I wonder what they could possibly do to top these two devices next year.

    1. The A15 QUAD CORE EXYNOS 515 SERIES!!!!!!! EPICNESS BETTER THAN the Intel iCORe series. THEIR OWN OS!!!! (FORKED FROM ANDROID TO GIVE US UPDATES THE DAY THEY COME OUT) FULL HD screen. The Unbreakable Plane Display they were talking about.A phone not made out of plastic. EPICER BATTERY LIFE. Technology moves fast my friend very fast

  13. And props to Samsung for finally having a truely international version of their damn phone.

    1. Who are you talking to?

      1. LOL!

  14. It’s so hard waiting, grrrrr………

  15. Kevin:

    The Note 2 screen is not standard RGB (Not called super amoled “+” ) and also not Pentile, it has 3 subpixels per pixel like RGB, but in other order (not in line).
    It uses a ignis-HR pixel structure. This is to overcome the burn-in effect of oled displays, that is more evident on “blue” subpixels. This is why the blue part of the pixel is bigger than the red and green.

    1. It is a RGB because it use 3 subpixels per each pixel. The pattern is different but it still is a RGB.

  16. I just don’t know what to do I’m towern between gs3 and note 2 ill be making my purchase on oct 5th I hope the note 2 is realsed by then. I’m content with getting the gs3 but a quad core 5.5 inch screen and the stilus sounds sweet. I also hope their is a good note taking app to take advantage of the stylus.

    1. Can’t wait to get my Note 2! Everything about it is awesome and EXACTLY what I’ve been waiting for!

    1. Same here man, I was going to get the note2 until I seen your link, then thought, “why get that when you KNOW there will be a note4…. Which one should I go with? Contract is up now too… I’ll hold out for the note 5 actually, read good things on that baby

      1. I can’t see waiting because no matter what comes out, there will always be something better on the horizon! Can’t wait for the Note 2 as that is perfect for me. Oh yea, does anyone know if the physical Home Button will be on the US version? Since the other specs are supposed to be staying the same on the US version (as the International version), I was wondering about that Home Button.

  17. You’re all a bunch of bandwagon riders…Everyone was making fun of my awesome Notes size and how dumb it was to get a phone that big..

    Now you all want one.

    1. I wasn’t laughing at you or anyone that had this awesome phone, I was jealous! The size is what had me sold from the moment the original Note was released. I don’t care who laughs at me lol! The Note 2 is going to be awesome, everything thing the SIII has with a bigger screen…couldn’t ask for anything more!

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