Swap two Nexuses for a Note II? Pros and Cons?
February 9, 2013 11:03 AM   Subscribe

I love my Nexus 4 and Nexus 7. I hate carrying two devices around and have been considering switching to a Note II. What are the pros and cons? What would I be gaining or losing? My major uses inside.

I mostly use my tablet for:

Reading eBooks and (mostly) 8.5 x 11 Screenplay PDFs (and marking up the PDFs with a stylus)

I use my phone for everything else but mostly for texting and taking text and voice notes using Catch.com. I'm in Canada and use Mobilicity as my provider, which means I'd be using the SGH-T889 or SGH-T889V model of the Note II.

I don't mind the size of the Note II and have never used the S-pen though I do use a stylus with my N7.

What would I be losing or gaining by switching? Interested in every aspect: usability, speed, battery life, apps, OS updates, reception, etc...

If you have a Note II, what is the one thing you like best about it? Least?

posted by dobbs to Technology (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I think that if you don't mind the size of the Note, you are beating the big objection of the phone to note change. Likewise, if you don't mind reading on something slightly smaller you beat the big objection of the tablet to note... As a plus, You increase your ram from 1G to 2G, the storage is compable... and you are still running a quadcore. Both run jellybean...

For you, I'm not seeing a downside. Personally, I couldn't get over the size.
posted by Nanukthedog at 11:27 AM on February 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

You didn't ask about size, but I can't not mention it. Rumor has it that the Note 3 will have a 6.3" screen. If this appeals to you, you may consider holding off on the Note 2 for now (or getting a Note 1 which you can find much cheaper if you don't mind used).

The Note 2 has a removable battery, so you could carry a spare--but I hear battery life is phenomenal. Of course a Google phone will get you OS updates fastest, but Samsung hasn't been very far behind.
posted by payoto at 11:36 AM on February 9, 2013

Having two devices gives you a little bit more flexibility, battery-wise. Phone need to charge and I need a timer? No problem, I'll just grab the tablet instead. How much that bothers you depends on how careless you are about remembering to plug things in...
posted by anaelith at 12:03 PM on February 9, 2013

I opted for a Note II instead of the phone/tablet combo.

What I like:
- Consolidated data. All my files in one place, no need to hunt or transfer things around.
- Removable battery and SD card. Battery life is great on the Note II, but you can always carry a spare. Nexus devices don't support these things.
- Zippier w/ stronger specs than either Nexus device
- S-Pen is amazing if you can make use of it.
- It was cheaper than a phone/tablet combo.

What I don't like:
- Not quite big enough to comfortably read large PDFs, like school textbooks. A Nexus 7 would do you better here.
- Screen is not big enough to do significant S-Pen work on.

What I don't mind:
- The size has never been an issue for me. I was a proponent of smaller phones that was surprised by how quickly I got over the size.
- Frequent OS updates. I think Jelly Bean is in a very good position as it is.

I'm very happy with the Note II. It's the first time I've felt completely satisfied with a gadget and I don't think I will feel the need to upgrade for a very long time. However, when reading large PDF's or doing lots of writing, I wish I had a bigger screen (Note 10.1, anyone?).
posted by WCF at 1:48 PM on February 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: WCF, when I use the N7 for 8.5 x 11 PDFs, I rotate it and read half a page at a time and the letters are a good size. Any idea what that's like on a Note II. For instance, something like this screenplay of Looper? (pdf)

Does it fit horizontally when you go into landscape so that you're only left to scroll up and down and not left and right?
posted by dobbs at 1:56 PM on February 9, 2013

Be aware that the note is loaded with bloatware, and the os is not as current as the nexus. I loved the note's form factor but ultimately ended up returning it because of the bundled software and crappy os mods.
posted by askmehow at 6:17 PM on February 9, 2013

As someone who's been running community-made ROMs on Android phones since the G1, I was surprised how little the bloatware on the Note 2 matters at all. In fact, I decided not to bother with a community ROM and keep it stock. The bloatware is easily ignored, some of it is, in fact, useful (the Samsung stuff -- none of the T-Mobile bloatware is worth a good damn), none of it seems to hurt the battery at all, and there's tons of storage on the unit so I don't need to be bothered by the space it takes.

The battery life on the Note 2 is the best I've seen on any phone.

I also concur with some of the comments about size: it took just a few hours to get used to the size and now when I use any other smartphone they seem like trinkets and toddler toys, and I wonder how anyone can get anything at all done on them. (Though I still sometimes call my Note 2 a "legless coffee table.")

The processor, too, is outstanding. Netflix works just as well as it does on a laptop, and a wide variety of free television streams from around the world work great in full screen. Heck, downloading and viewing full-sized torrents works just fine, too.

The only thing I miss is a hard keyboard, which I've had on my phones for the last four years. It's a sore trial to learn to type by touch on even the best screen keyboard when you're used to fingers flying on real buttons.

Samsung has released two software updates, I believe, since I bought this phone in December, which is more than I had in the whole last four years combined for other phones. At least one of those was to close an exploit that made it (too) easy to root the phone, which is bothersome, since I have a number of apps that need root (like those that allow full system backups and restores, which has saved my bacon so many times on other phones). But still -- updates! That gives one hope that Samsung will keep the OS as current as possible.
posted by Mo Nickels at 8:52 PM on February 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I picked one up about an hour ago and am liking it so far. Can anyone recommend a case? It's pretty slippery.

Also, the signal and wifi bars are grey, which seems weird. Every other phone I've had they're blue. Grey makes me think there's an issue. Am I paranoid?
posted by dobbs at 3:58 PM on February 10, 2013

Dobbs, I have the same problem with the WiFi icon colors. Samsung does that on all of its phones. Nine times out of ten I have no idea if I'm connected or not. I only know if the colored arrows show data being transferred.

I went with a cheap Body Glove case. Works fine.
posted by Mo Nickels at 10:23 AM on February 11, 2013

I had a galaxy s, a nexus 7, and a tf101 with dock. I recently got a note ii, merely intending it to replace my galaxy s, but once I got the note, I stopped using the nexus 7. If I want a screen bigger than my note, the 7 just isn't big enough, even though the nexus 7's screen looks better than the tf101. Before I got my note, I was considering getting a 3g nexus 7, but than was just too big (mainly width).

I'm definitely happy with my note ii. I recently sold my nexus 7 just because it wasn't getting used, even though I'm one of those people who names things. Her name was Eve. At least I know that the co-worker who bought her will take good care of her.

What will you be losing?The note screen is definitely not as big as the nexus, if I didn't have my tf101 nor my nexus, I'd feel the lack when I want to watch videos, but don't want to hog the tv, or use the speakers. I won't hold my breath for updates past 18 months.

What will you gain? An awesome device with a beautiful large AMOLED screen. Granted, the Nexus 4 is a lot more phone than galaxy S, but even a Galaxy Nexus looks small now.
posted by nobeagle at 3:56 PM on February 11, 2013

Response by poster: So yeah, I went ahead and did this. I also got an iGo portable Keyboard.

I've sold my N4 and N7 and overall am very happy with the Note II. I'm very close to ditching my two Apple computers and then will just work with the Note II and an external monitor.

I haven't figured out how or if I'll be able to rip CDs to an external HD yet using the Note II but that's probably only because I haven't had time to look into it. I imagine using the ultra-dock from Samsung (the the multiple USB ports on it) that this is somehow possible.

Thanks, all!
posted by dobbs at 5:42 PM on March 11, 2013

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