Is The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 A Good Phone?

Review: Samsung Galaxy Note 2

Samsung Galaxy Note 2Deciding what phone to buy is always a difficult decision with new devices being released to the market every month. For me, this was especially difficult because I have had multiple Blackberry phones previously and had grown to like their products. I was going to wait to buy the new Blackberry z10, but at the time, it was not released. Not wanting to buy an obsolete blackberry I decided my choices were limited to Apple or Android.

Due to the fact I already have an iPad, I was dissuaded from buying an iPhone because it would simply be a smaller version of my iPad and I am not a fan of the Apple operating system, I like to be able to customize my phone and have plenty of adjustable options.

To make a decision, I came to the conclusion I needed to physically try the phones recently released to see what features are available. So off to Verizon I ventured to search for a new cellular device.

The first phones that drew my attention were the Motorola Razr HD, Samsung Galaxy S3, and then I saw the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. Instantly attracted to the mini-tablet that claimed to be a phone, I needed to know more. After a few minutes of using each one, I was drawn back to the Galaxy Note 2 with its massive and clear HD super AMOLED screen. Then I realized it had a stylus and my intrigue spiked. The stylus is one of the best features because of how many things it allows you to do that would not be possible without it.


Price: $422.50 with 2-year contract from Verizon
OS: Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
Ownership Length: 6 month
Buy at Amazon.com (aff)


Pros
1. Screen size and quality- Very large 5.55 inch and super bright HD super AMOLED screen provides clear video and vivid colors.
2. Stylus- The stylus that comes with this phone is unlike any other. Not only does it have a button but the phone also detects it when it is hovering over the screen.
3. Operating system- Android 4.1 Jelly Bean provides features that work well with the phone such as built in power saver mode and driving mode.
4. Speed – Quad core processor makes it so that you can multitask…on a phone.

Cons
1. Size- Difficult to use with one hand.

Summary

At the time, my phone had died and I was forced to replace it. I decided on something that would be the best for me, which happened to be the most expensive one at the time. After owning this phone for more than 6 months, I am still in love with it and use it nonstop, both for business and for entertainment. If you like watching video on your phone, multi-tasking, lightning fast processing, and the ability to draw, then I highly recommend getting the Note 2.

Review: Motorola Razr HD

Why I Went With Android over iPhone

Motorola Razr HDMy first decision when buying a new phone was what OS to choose. I narrowed down the options pretty fast to iOS (iPhone) or Android, because RIM’s Blackberry lacks support from new app companies and Windows Phone doesn’t have much traction either. I didn’t want a phone that would be obsolete in a year.

My previous phone was Android-based, and it was decent but not great. I found that quality was inconsistent among the available apps and widgets—basically, a lot of them were terrible, which meant I had to sift through and research much more apps than I had anticipated. However, I was already using their products, such as Google Docs (now Drive), Google Voice, Gmail, GTalk, Google Music, and more, on an everyday basis.

I also considered getting an iPhone because I already have an iPad, which uses the same OS. iOS is very easy to use and isn’t flashy, and I enjoy its simplicity. In addition, the App Store seems to be more refined with better options.

In the end, the decision came down to which OS is most compatible with my current lifestyle. I already had the highest data plan, the prices were about the same, and both use 4G. For online file storage, a must for business on the go, I use Dropbox, which is available for both Android and iOS. I use most of the free Google web apps already, and the decision became even easier when Apple decided to use their own navigation system in place of the very trusted Google Maps. It was clear that Android fit my everyday needs far better than iOS.

Here is my review after over a month of use:


Price: $199 with 2-year contract from Verizon
OS: Android 4.0.4
Ownership Length: Over 1 month
Buy at Amazon.com (aff)


Pros:
1) Battery Life – Lasts over 2 full days at moderate use
2) Kevlar Back – Very durable and no need for an additional case. Just put a decent screen protector on the front and you are good to go.
3) Unlock Screen – The default unlock screen allows you to turn the phone to vibrate, make a phone call, view texts, or take a picture without additional steps. This is very handy.
4) Developer Features – I had a developer phone before and the features in the Razr HD are far superior. They include things like pointer location and CPU usage which gives better feedback on how your app works with the device.

Cons:
1) Size – It’s a very large phone and takes some getting used to. The width causes problems with one handed use at times.
2) No Charging Signal – There is no indication on the screen that the phone is charging.

Camera:
The camera is pretty good for outdoor pictures and average for low light pictures. The shutter speed is decent which is good for taking clear pictures. It works pretty well as an everyday point-and-shoot, but you are unlikely to win any awards with them. Instagram’s effects can always improve the look of these photos.

Suggested Things to Use With it:

Apps:
1) Waze Navigation (Here) – Waze is a GPS platform that routes you around bad traffic based on other user’s input. For example, it senses when you are driving slow and prompts you to input traffic conditions. The people using Waze behind you then are able to be automatically rerouted based on that information.
2) Google Voice for Voicemail (installed) – Google Voice allows you to change your default voicemail to your google number. Google then converts your messages into text so you can get a quick idea of its content. Android now allows you to integrate the voicemail with your contacts so can see the missed call and listen to voicemail from the recent calls list.

Mount: I use an Arkon Slim-Grip Windshield Mount ($11.23 at Amazon.com) for my car and I highly suggest it. I use it daily for GPS purposes and it moves around nicely without coming off the windshield. It actually fits most smartphones according to its description.

Summary:

My overall experience with the Razr HD has been great. The battery life makes a huge difference. I work anywhere between 12 and 16 hours a day, including an average of 3 hours with GPS direction, and still don’t come close to running out of battery life. Most of the time I can even go two days without charging while I sleep. The other thing I really like is the integration with the Google products I already use. Android has come a long way over the past 2 years. I would definitely recommend the Motorola Razr HD to anyone considering an Android-based phone.

What data plan should I get?

Wireless data plans

Smartphones

How much data would you use in a month with your smartphone? Most people on average are not aware how much data they use with their phones regularly. To know what type of wireless plan to purchase, a basic understanding of your habits and the data that correlates with them is necessary, especially because everything data related varies greatly from one task to another. Data is always expressed in a numerical format representing bytes.

1GB = 1,000 MB or 1,000,000 KB

What is data?
Data is the information sent to and received by your device while accessing the internet through apps or web browsers. Wireless data usage is dependent upon multiple factors, including what you use data transmission for and how often you send data over the wireless network as opposed to over Wi-Fi.

Before you can use that new smartphone to transfer all sorts of data, you first need to have a wireless plan. Depending on your carrier, you will have a number of options to choose from; all of these are based on monthly usage, which resets every billing cycle. Verizon, for example, offers plans starting at 1GB (gigabyte) per month all the way up to 10 GB per month.

The brand of phone you have can also determine if you go over your data allotment. [1]

Data Hogs
You might be asking, “How much can I do with that?” The most important factor relating to data usage is all dependent on your interests and habits. Remember, everything uses data–just different amounts. Sending or receiving videos, picture, or other attachments and streaming music or videos uses the most data.

Basic communication, such as E-Mail, uses the smallest amounts of data, ranging from 2 KB to 30 KB depending on the length of the message. Visiting websites uses more data because almost all websites have media and interactive content, and depending on the contents of the site, each page view can use 100-300 KB. Watching videos uses an average of 1MB of data per video, depending on the view quality chosen. When on YouTube, using regular quality instead of high quality can reduce the data used by about 60%; the same applies to streaming music. Any high-quality video or sound files use much more data.

The Breakdown:
To sum everything up, let us assume that you have chosen the 1GB/month Verizon data plan and want to know how far it will take you. Using the full 1GB, you would be able to send 50,000-400,000 E-Mails depending on content and length. Using the phone to only browse web pages, you would be able to view 5,000-15,000 pages. (Keep in mind, this is using all of your monthly allotted data.) However, we do not use our phones for only one specific reason–they are multi-purpose communication/entertainment devices.

Based on a 1GB data plan we have broken down the numbers for you in the table below. Our estimated totals are based on our personal usage average.

Category: Avg. % Used: In MB: Estimated Total:
E-Mail 20% 200 MB 2,597 E-mails @ 77 KB/E-mail
Websites 40% 400 MB 6,400 Websites @ 62.5 KB/Page
Photos 20% 200 MB 957 Photos @ 191.5 KB/Photo
Streaming Videos 5% 50 MB 25 YouTube @ 2MB/Video with a 4-minute average
Streaming Music 5% 50 MB 107 hours @ 28 MB/hours

Data Management Tips
1) Turn off automatic updates for Apps
2) Connect to Wi-Fi instead of 3G when available
3) Store music and videos on device instead of streaming
4) Take advantage of mobile websites instead of using full websites
5) Switch E-Mail apps to manual mail retrieval instead of “Push”

Useful Wireless Data Plan Sources:
1)Christopher Parson’s Data Education Brochure
2)Think With Google – Mobile Planet
3)E-mail Monday – Mobile E-Mail Usage Stats
4)Techno Buffalo – 8 Tips for Managing your Mobile Data