Review: Samsung Galaxy Note II for Sprint
The screen measures 5.5-inches across the diagonal, compared to the original's 5.3-inches. It actually lost pixels. Where the original had 1280 x 800 pixels, the Note II has 1280 x 720. The aspect ratio has changed to something closer to 16:9. Overall, it's a good display, differences aside. It is as bright and colorful as any Super AMOLED display produced by Samsung. With such a large area to fill, pixels are certainly visible from a close distance (six inches or so), but you have to look hard to see them. It's not as sharp as the GSIII's display, which packs the same number of pixels into a 4.8-inch space. But it's a nice huge canvas on which to interact with your content.
Due to the limited availability of Sprint's LTE 4G network, we were unable to test the Note II's performance on LTE. We did, however, get to test the Note II on Sprint's EVDO 3G network in New Jersey, New York, and San Francisco, which gave us a bit more detail on just how well the device performs.
The Note II easily found Sprint's 3G signal and typically showed three or four bars in most places that I took it. It never had a problem connecting voice calls. Every call I made connected on the first try. This was extremely important, given that I was trapped in San Francisco thanks to Hurricane Sandy and needed to reach friends and family in the NJ and NYC areas. The Note II didn't drop any calls. Data performance was spotty, though. No matter what the signal meter read, browsing speeds were inconsistent and refreshing apps such as Gmail or the weather was often slow and unresponsive. For example, when I first landed in San Francisco and turned on the Note II after it had been off for 8 or 9 hours, it took the Note II close to an hour to sync my email and other feeds. That's pathetic. It performed somewhat better in New Jersey than it did in San Francisco, which suggests the problem was more network related than phone related.
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The phone calls I made with the Galaxy Note II on Sprint's network were utterly fantastic. Quality was leagues better than what I experienced on the T-Mobile and AT&T versions of the Note II. In fact, I'd go so far as to say they were some of the clearest, loudest phones calls I've ever made on any Sprint device. The earpiece blasted my ear with crystal clear voices. My only complaint is that the voices sometimes sounded a bit robotic. Otherwise, awesome and loud. The speakerphone is also quite good. It was plenty loud, and the quality was superb. Ringers and alerts are loud enough that you won't miss them unless you're at a Kiss concert. In which case, the vibrate alert should do the trick.
The Note II has a 3100mAh battery. Even with the large display and constant use, the Note II easily lasted a day and a half on a single charge. I pushed it to the max while traveling to San Francisco and wasn't worried a bit about making it to the end of the day. The battery is simply huge, and it provides plenty of power for the Note II. One thing worth noting: the Note II takes a long time to charge. It takes longer than devices with, say, 2000 - 2200mAh batteries. It requires a solid four or five hours to go from 10% to 100% charge. If you charge it every night, you'll have plenty of power to get you through your day.
We have to assume that using the Note II on Sprint's LTE 4G network will impact battery life somewhat.