Remember the post I made a few months back about needing a new phone? Well I finally got one about 3 months ago and I could not be any happier with the model that I decided on!
I have to admit, when I walked into the Verizon store I had seriously considered biting the bullet and purchasing a shiny new iPhone 5 just to see what all of the fuss was about, however, luckily for me the lovely young lady overseeing operations at the store was willing to give me honest feedback regarding some of the concerns that I had been having about switching from an Android to an IOS device. Chief among these issues were rooting the device and customization. One of the things that I love about the Android OS is that you have the option of tweaking just about anything you want to do with your device to really make it your own, and the process of rooting an Android device is incredibly easy. With IOS phones you don’t really have that option unless you are willing to jump through hurdles that have a high probability of leaving you with a $500 bricked device.
Let me be honest here – I am as big of a techie as just about anyone, and part of being a computer/tech geek is playing around with your hardware and seeing exactly what you can do with it, but I am simply not comfortable gambling with a $500 piece of hardware when the end result has a possibility of leaving me out half a grand.
After nixing the iPhone idea, I started poking around the Android models that were out on the showroom floor, and almost immediately my eyes landed on the Galaxy Note II. I have to admit, upon first inspection I immediately thought to myself that there was no way I wanted a phone that huge, the screen itself is 5.3 inches, but the more I goofed around with the floor model, the more I came to like the device; however, it was also the most expensive phone in the store at the time, even WITH the upgrade discount. I told the lady I was interested in the phone, but I needed to take a few nights to sleep on the purchase before I committed to buying it.
I am proud to say that I managed to make it at least two days before I went back and bought the phone ($350 cash) and an adorable pink otter case to protect it with ($40 – ouch), in the end I was out about $400 after taxes. Yikes!
I do absolutely love my new phone though! As I suspected, the biggest hurdle for me to overcome was the sheer size of the device (5.95 x 3.17 x 0.37 in) a fact that was not helped by its pink protective shell, but after only a week I forgot what it was like to have a ‘normal’ sized phone in my hands, and the extra screen space turned out to be vastly helpful when I either browsed on the web or happened to be texting (bigger screen = bigger on-screen keyboard!).
One of the best features on the phone is actually the stylus that it comes with, which is by far the most accurate pen-type input device I have ever come across in all my years of playing with graphical tablets. The phone also comes with ‘flick’ shortcuts built into it, which also adds to the usability of the stylus. Between the awesome responsiveness of the pen and my favorite drawing application Sketchbook Pro, it really makes an awesome art medium for artists on the go.
If I had to give a drawback, it would be the speakers. Listening to music without headphones is a major pain, even at the highest volume level I can not hear any music I play over the water running in the shower (huuuuuge downer), but when it comes to having conversations on the phone, the volume levels are just fine. To be honest, I can not really complain about the sound issue too much, after all I can always buy a boom box style audio dock if it becomes too much of a problem for me in the future.
All in all I absolutely adore my Samsung Galaxy Note II. Though the price was a bit steep, I really do feel like the phone was a great investment. It is fast, reliable, responsive, customizable, and best of all: it is not an Apple product!