Samsung Galaxy Note 2


If you've seen the Samsung Galaxy S3, then the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 holds few surprises. Start with the Galaxy S3's round corners, high-gloss surfaces, scant bezels, and bubbled-out screen, then blow it up a size and add a stylus slot. Samsung unabashedly carries on its plastic tradition in the face of rivals that have much more premium-looking, and possibly heartier, build materials. 

Though attractive, the Note 2 wins no awards for construction, and the highly reflective surfaces sometimes bounce back light in distracting ways. This is a large phone: 5.9 inches tall by 3.2 inches wide by 0.37 inch thick and weighing 6.4 ounces. That's a handful to be sure, but the weight feels proportional to the phone's dimensions, and any lighter could mean a smaller battery, which is one trade-off I don't want. Like the Galaxy S3, the Note 2 manages to look relatively sleek and slim despite its girth. 

Side by side, the Note 2 isn't a whole lot larger than the original Samsung Galaxy Note, and is much more palmable than a 7-inch tablet. Still, I won't blame anyone for feeling anxiety over the Note 2's in-hand feel or portability. As with all phones, your ultimate judgment of what feels right depends on your hands. Over the course of testing, the Note 2 moved through a range of hands and pockets. Mine are fairly small, and I wanted to see what people had to say about its size and comfort. Most of the women I spoke with had no trouble fitting the Note 2 into a bag or purse, but questioned the phone's usability and their ability to reach the corners of the screen one-handed.