Whenever I test a new gadget, I like handing it over to my non-tech friends to see what they think. That’s what I did the night I got the Galaxy Note II, Samsung’s update to its polarizing phone/tablet hybrid that will go on sale through T-Mobile and AT&T for around $299.99 with a two-year contract.
My friends had no idea what they were holding. Most were surprised when I told them it was actually a phone. That’s because the Note II is massive compared to other smartphones thanks to its 5.5-inch display, which is big enough to fit an entire iPhone 5 with plenty of glass still peeking out from either side. Add in the bezel and most humans won’t be able to operate this thing with one hand. It’s that huge.
Then there’s the stylus, which Samsung calls the S Pen, a relic of the Palm Pilot era that has been modified with nifty tricks beyond just writing and doodling. For example, the S Pen can detect how hard you press on the screen and act as a mouse cursor for hovering over drop-down menus on websites.
So the Note II is big. But is it worth buying? Here’s a look at how it performs.