Samsung Galaxy Note II US review: One for all
The phonebook packs an incredibly wide range of features and virtually unlimited storage capacity. There are four tabs on top accommodating the Phone app, Groups, Favorites and Contacts.
As usual, there are various options to filter contacts by phone numbers, groups and multiple sorting. You can import/export contacts to/from the SIM card but you can't display them alongside the phone memory entries.
Samsung have kept the swipes in the phonebook, enabling quick dialing (right swipe) or sending a text message (left swipe).
The Quick contacts feature is there too, displaying, upon a tap on the contact picture, a pop up menu with shortcuts to call, text, email or Google Talk.
Tapping on a contact reveals all the details available. It shows only two tabs (used to be four). The first one is the About tab, which shows the person's photo on top. If configured, the right tab displays their latest updates from social networks or Google Talk.
Information is perfectly organized into different sections for phone, email, etc. If the phone book finds duplicate contact entries, it'll prompt joining them. Furthermore, there're a plethora of options once you hit the Menu button. You can view the call history, as well as join, unjoin and share contacts.
Samsung has even added a built-in reject list. It acts like a third party blacklist app and blocks the numbers on it from calling you.
A new feature lets you choose a specific vibration pattern as an incoming call alert, just like you would a ringtone. A set of predefined patterns is offered, but you can make your own too.
There's plenty of contact information you can assign to each contact and it still remains neatly organized. You have all the types listed (numbers, email addresses, etc) and, just like the previous version of TouchWiz UI 4.0, there's a plus sign on the right - tapping it adds another item of that type. Pressing the minus sign under it deletes the unneeded field.
Of course, the real flexibility of the phonebook becomes apparent when you sign into your social networks. After syncing, the phonebook will automatically merge contacts (you can do it manually too), so that the contact details are pulled from the social networks too.
Telephony with smart dialing, voice commands
The in-call quality of the Samsung Galaxy Note II is really good with crisp and loud sound. Reception was also problem-free and we didn't suffer dropped calls though in areas of very poor coverage the sound would occasionally break up.
Smart Dial is available and works as advertised - it searches names and numbers simultaneously. Only one contact is shown (with contact photo) and you can tap the down arrow to view the rest (the number above the arrow indicates how many contacts have matched your query).
One of the features that debuted on the Galaxy S III is Direct Call, which lets you dial a number by lifting the phone up to your ear while browsing contacts or reading/composing a message. Smart alert will vibrate the phone when you pick it up, if there are any missed calls or messages. You can, of course, use the old flip to mute gesture too.
Voice dialing is available too and taken care of by the newly added S Voice, which activates on a double tap of the home button. All you need to say is "Hi Galaxy" and speak your command (e.g. "call Dexter"). Or "play" and off it goes. It takes a while to process voice commands but it has more uses than other voice-recognition apps for Android.
S Voice is on board and can be launched with a double tap on the home key but you can also use Google's excellent voice commands by pressing and holding the menu key.
The dialer also offers quick shortcuts for making a video call or sending a message instead.
Thanks to the proximity sensor, your screen will automatically turn off during a call. The available options during a call include taking a note, using the keypad, muting, holding the call or adding another call to this conversation.
The call log is the tab next to the dial pad. It displays all the dialed, received and missed calls in one list sorting your call history by contacts.
We also ran our traditional loudspeaker test on the Note II. It scored a good all-round mark, meaning more often than not you'll hear it, save for the noisiest environments. More info on our loudspeaker test as well as other results can be found here.
|Speakerphone test||Voice, dB||Ringing ||Overal score|
|HTC One S||65.1||64.6||76.7|
|HTC One X||65.1||66.0||75.8|
|LG Optimus 4X HD||68.7||66.6||79.3|
|Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III||75.1||66.5||75.0|
|Samsung Galaxy Note II||70.0||66.6||80.5|
|Motorola RAZR XT910||74.7||66.6||82.1||Very Good|