John Galea's Blog

My blog on Gadgets and the like

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 mini review

My friend Marcin bought one of these and he let me play. I only had it for a short while so the review will be brief. First off what you notice is that it is BIG. Not huge when compared to say a 7″ tablet but big none the less. It actually is possible to carry it in a shirt or pant back pocket (but don’t forget it’s there and sit on it). Weight is quite good. Like a lot of devices the back of the device is so slippery it is not hard to drop. I’m not sure why companies continue this annoying trend. The net result is you pretty much have to buy a gel case of some kind.

Physicals are good, but this device has that annoying, iPhone imitating, single button for home and no search button. I prefer the clean front face of the S2. The S3 also has this same single button. I don’t like it. The options and back button are completely invisible when the backlight is off, and the backlight timeout default is 1.5 seconds. This caused confusion for my friend. On the S2 there is ink on the screen so you know what the buttons are even when the backlight is off. Bad design but you can get use to it. Again the S3 is the same. The power button is lower on the device than one would expect, I’m use to it being higher but it’s likely done to make it easier to power on single handed. Same for the volume buttons. And that’s it for buttons.

Samsung have added back the notification LED. I really miss this (the S2 doesn’t have it). Thanks Sammy. The S3 has it as well.

Standard USB OTG cable worked and supported flash drives, Keyboard and mice all worked. Right mouse button is back to being a back button. Something that stopped working on the S2. I wish they would decide something and LEAVE it alone. This iss irritating.

This device comes with an LTE radio and performs fine. As usual actual speed results vary all over the map. I got of 14.6Mbps down and 19.4Mbps up with full bars.

The device is on Jelly bean right out of the box 4.1.1. Yay!

One of the things that makes the note unique is the pen. Now I have to say I suck at drawing. I have no artistic talent what so ever. So all in all I’m not sure I see the point of the pen. You can use it for jotting down notes and these can be converted on the fly to text. This worked reasonable well. You can even have an area of the screen where you write and it is then converted into text and put into the document. If you don’t convert it on the fly I don’t see a way to convert it after the fact. I also found no easy way to scroll down the page. I’m sure if I spent some time there are ways of making this efficient, I just don’t know if I’d bother.

Performance is stunning. This device is Uber responsive. It’s got a quad core 1.6G processor. As witht he S2 the processors are aggressively power managed and turned off and scaled back to manage battery life.

The display supports full 1080p HDMI output but I didn’t get a chance to try it. It’s 5.5″ and 1280×720 in resolution. Samsung released an update that includes the ability to split the screen and run two things at once! A nice way to use this BIG screen. Unfortunately this update was not on this device and was not available. Probably has not made it through Rogers cycle yet 😦

Movies can be shot in full 1080p HD! Samsung even allow you to flip the camera between the front and back lense. Nice.

All in all this device for me, is too big. Using it with one hand is virtually impossible. While this device fills a niche, I think they’ve gone too far. I might as well carry my 7″ tablet.


November 6, 2012 - Posted by | Android

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