Samsung Galaxy Note II

Firstly, I would like to thank Samsung Mobility South Africa for providing me with a test device for review.  It is really appreciated.

 

Before I get into the hardware specs, please note that the Podcast is primarily an audio demonstration of the Samsung Galaxy Note II.

 

I have also decided to split the podcast up into 5 parts.  The podcast is at the end of this post.  For those with screen readers, just jump the the headings.

 

And if you don’t feel like listening to the podcast or reading any further but, would like to know if this phone is for you…. The answer is:

It depends on you.

This phone is really powerful, has an absolutely stunning battery life; includes loads of features for those with some vision left and is also a lot more accessible thanks to the Android updates.  I love this phone and think that it deserves to be considered by the visual impaired folks who are looking for a really powerful Android device.

 

However, as always, try and get your hands on an actual device; play with it, if you can.

Go to your local Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, Virgin Mobile or 8ta outlet and ask them to activate the accessibility features by going to settings, accessibility and by turning talkback on.  Remember to turn the (Explore by touch) feature on if you are totally blind.  They do not need to download the voices or connect to the internet for this to work and shouldn’t take them long at all.

 

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The Samsung Galaxy Note II brings twice the processing power, a brand new screen (of even larger size) and a bigger battery.  These are real attractive differentiating factors that made this phone a real pleasure to handle.

 

Let’s take a look at the hardware specs:

 

Key features

  • Quad-band GSM and quad-band 3G with 21 Mbps HSDPA and 5.76 Mbps HSUPA support
  • Optional LTE connectivity
  • 5.5″ 16M-color Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen of HD (720 x 1280 pixel) resolution; Corning Gorilla Glass 2
  • Android OS v4.1 with TouchWiz launcher
  • 1.6 GHz quad-core Cortex-A9 CPU, Mali-400MP GPU, 2GB of RAM, Exynos 4412 Quad chipset
  • S Pen active stylus with deep system integration
  • 8 MP wide-angle lens autofocus camera with LED flash, face, smile and blink detection
  • 1080p HD video recording at 30fps
  • 16/32/64GB internal storage, microSD slot
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n support
  • GPS with A-GPS connectivity; GLONASS support, Digital compass
  • NFC support
  • Stereo Bluetooth v4.0
  • FM radio with RDS
  • microUSB port with USB host and TV-out (1080p) support, MHL, charging
  • Accelerometer, gyroscope and proximity sensor
  • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Great audio quality
  • Very slim at only 9.4mm
  • 1.9MP secondary video-call camera
  • Document editor and file manager comes preinstalled
  • Extremely rich video and audio codec support
  • Huge 3100 mAh ba

 

The Note II retail package includes a wall-mount charger, where you plug the supplied microUSB cable to charge your phablet. There’s also a nice one-piece headset with several spare earbuds (so you can find the right size for you).

 

The bad news is that the MHL adapter required for HD TV-out and the USB adapter enabling the USB host functionality aren’t included.

 

The Samsung Galaxy Note II N7100 measures 151.1 x 80.5 x 9.4 mm, which makes is slightly taller, but narrower and slimmer than its predecessor. And while it is notably larger than even the biggest droids with their 4.7-4.8″ screens, the Note II is reasonably easy to fit in a pocket.

 

The weight has remained virtually unchanged – the original Note tipped the scales at 178 g, while the Note II comes in at 180 g. It certainly won’t let you forget that it’s in your pocket, but to put things in another perspective, it weighs less than the Nokia Lumia 920 and that one has neither a 5.5″ screen, nor a 3100mAh battery.

 

The front panel of the Note II has several interesting elements other than the screen. On top is the earpiece, with the 1.9MP front-facing camera and proximity sensor to the right.

The ambient light sensor and the status LED are on the left side of the earpiece. From the settings you can choose the types of events that light up the LED – charging and low battery, missed calls and during voice recording (only if the screen is off).

 

Below the screen you’ll find the classic arrangement of physical hardware Home key flanked by the capacitive Menu and Back keys.

 

The sides of the Note II has a volume rocker on the left and a Power/Lock key on the right.

 

The top of the Samsung Galaxy Note II features the 3.5mm audio jack along with the secondary microphone, which handles noise reduction and stereo sound recording.

 

The primary mic is at the bottom, exactly opposite the secondary one. The microUSB port handles charging and data connections with a computer. It’s MHL-enabled, so you can output HD video through an HDMI adapter or enable USB Host via another adapter.

 

I must admit that the location of the Microphone initially gave me a few issues when I was using Zello and Voxer.  I kept covering the mic unintentionally with my finger whilst holding the the phone.

 

The stylus slot is at the bottom too, with the top of the S Pen curved to fit the shape of the Note II. The stylus itself isn’t perfectly round like the original stylus, so it doesn’t rotate in the slot, making it easier to put back in.

The back of the phablet looks pretty barren – it houses an 8MP camera lens and a single-LED flash near the top and the loudspeaker grille near the bottom.  You should be able to feel it.  The camera lens protrudes slightly, so the Note II rests on it when placed on a level surface, but judging from the original Note its hardened glass is not too easy to scratch.

 

The back cover is removable and below it you’ll find the 3100mAh battery along with the microSIM and microSD card slots. The SIM card compartment is blocked by the battery, but the memory card is hot-swappable. The NFC antenna is on the back cover, so you are free to replace the battery without losing the NFC connectivity.

 

The Samsung Galaxy Note II runs on Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean.

 

The Samsung Galaxy Note II is powered by a Samsung-made Exynos 4412 Quad chipset with four Cortex-A9 cores clocked at 1.6GHz, 2GB of RAM and a Mali-400 GPU.

Frankly, quite a punch in that combination.

 

And now for the five part podcast.

 

 

Part 1: First look at the samsung note ii

Part 2: Making and receiving calls on the samsung galaxy note ii

Part 3: voice recorder note ii

Part 4: Moving from one reading level to the next samsung galaxy note ii

Part 5: Unlocking the lock screen on galaxy note ii

Samsung Introduces GALAXY S III mini, a compact yet powerful smartphone

GALAXY S III’s nature-inspired design and intuitive ease-of-use in one stylish, compact smartphone

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – 23 January 2013 – Samsung Electronics South Africa, a leader in digital media and digital convergence technologies, recently unveiled the GALAXY S III mini, a compact version of the flagship smartphone GALAXY S III. The GALAXY S III mini brings the high performance, intuitive ease-of-use and nature-inspired design of the GALAXY S III to an elegant, compact smartphone with a 4.0-inch screen. This device is an optimal choice for consumers who are looking for a more affordable super smartphone, without losing the benefit of the key features.

“The GALAXY S III introduced a new concept of smartphone that has proven hugely popular around the world. We’re now delighted to bring its revolutionary design, intuitive usability and intelligence of the GALAXY S III, in a more compact form,” says Craige Fleischer. “We continue to make every effort to provide extraordinary mobile experiences to meet a wide variety of user needs and the S III mini is another way we are doing just this, in reaching a broader consumer segments.”

The GALAXY S III mini is powered by Android™ 4.1 (Jelly Bean), the latest version of the world’s most popular smartphone operating system, with stunning graphical capabilities, fast screen transitions, and an upgraded Google Now service, featuring contextual search.

Stylish and compact, the GALAXY S III mini shares the GALAXY S III’s breakthrough design and simple elegance. Its ultra-minimal curved frame delivers a rich natural feel, which is also reflected on its nature-inspired home screen, wallpapers and ringtones. Its beautiful 4.0-inch Super AMOLED display offers a generous viewing experience that lets you view multimedia and Web content in brilliant colour and clarity. Its compact size gives users a comfortable grip and allows a convenient one-hand operation.

The GALAXY SIII mini is packed with intelligent technology designed to make interacting with the phone incredibly natural and intuitive. S Voice, Samsung’s advanced natural language recognition software, lets you use your voice to unlock the phone with simple customised commands, or to play your favourite songs, turn the volume up or down, organise your schedule, or automatically launch the camera and start taking photos.

The GALAXY S III mini also understands your gestures to make using your phone easier and more natural: With Smart Stay, the phone’s camera tracks your eyes and keeps the screen lit as long as you are looking at it. When reading a text message from a friend, Direct Call enables you to automatically dial a call simply by lifting the phone to your ear; and Smart Alert conveniently alerts you to missed calls or messages as soon as you pick up your phone.

Content sharing is easy and fast on the GALAXY S III mini: Its S Beam feature lets you share a 10MB music file in just two seconds by simply tapping on another S Beam-enabled device including GALAXY S III or GALAXY Note II, even without a Wi-Fi or cellular signal. The ‘Buddy photo share’ function also allows photos to be easily and simultaneously shared with all your friends pictured in an image directly from the camera or the photo gallery.

“There is no doubt that a phone that features the very best in technology innovation, yet comes in different form factor is what the market expects from the leading consumer electronics brand and we are confident that we will see a solid uptake of this product in the local market,” concludes Fleischer.

For multimedia content and more detailed information, please visit www.samsungmobilepress.com.

The Galaxy S III mini is available at recommended retail prices starting from:8GB – R4 599 and 16GB – R4 999.

 

GALAXY S III mini Product Specifications

 

Network

HSPA 14.4/5.76 900/1900/2100

EDGE/GPRS 850/900/1800/1900

 

Display

4.0” WVGA Super AMOLED

 

Chipset

Dual Core 1GHz

 

OS

Android™ 4.1 (Jelly Bean)

 

Camera

5MP AF + LED Flash / VGA Front

 

Video

H.264, MPEG-4, H.263, VC-1,

SorensonSpark, WMV7, WMV8

Recording/ Playback : 720p

 

Audio

MP3, AMR-NB,AAC/AAC+/eAAC+,

WMA, OGG(Vorbis), FLAC

 

Additional Features

Game/Video/ Readers

Kies, KiesAir

FM Radio (RDS)

TouchWiz

 

Google™ Mobile Services

Google Search, Google Maps, Gmail, Google Latitude

Google Play Store, Google Play Books, Google Play Movies

Google Plus, YouTube, Google Talk,

Google Places, Google Navigation, Google Downloads

 

Connectivity

WiFi a/b/g/n, WiFi HT40

GPS/GLONASS

Bluetooth® 4.0(LE)

 

Sensor

Accelerometer, Digital compass, Proximity, Gyro

 

Memory

8GB ROM+ 8Gb RAM,

 

MicroSD up to 32GB

 

Dimensions

121.55 x 63 x 9.85 mm, 111.5 g

 

Battery

1,500 mAh table end

Unboxing the Mac Mini with Quinten Pendle

In this podcast, Quinten Pendle illustrates just how easy it is to get up and running with Voice Over on his new Mac Mini from the time of Unboxing with no sighted assistance.

 

Learn more about the a href=”https://www.apple.com/za/mac-mini/”>Mac mini and find a retailer.

OS X includes many features and technologies designed for people with special needs.  You can learn all about it on the Apple web site.