My (Customized) First Impressions with the Note II

The Hardware

The galaxy note 2 didn't feel as big in the hand as I've seen it in the pictures. But the screen size was plenty huge.

But that Verizon logo on the home button is so ugly. I'm trying to scratch it off but it's hard.

The Screen

The screen's large size makes it very good for videos, pictures, and viewing the web. Sometimes it's harder to hit the back button in the upper left but I usually can use the system back button and if needed use 2 hands.

The ppi is not a problem for me. I can see no pixels at around 28-30 cm. Pixels start becoming visible if you get a bit closer than that. But having a SAMOLED RGB display is great. I love the saturation and the deep blacks. One thing about the black is that unlike LCDs, black seems to mean that part of the screen is off and it's less straining on the eyes in the dark.

The Software

I heavily modified my Note II off the bat, but without rooting.

I have Nova Prime with Tersus icons and Widget Locker and Tesla Unread. It gives a stock experience with extra tweaks without losing a lot of Samsung's features.

I also used a non-root mod to gain back Blocking Mode even though Verizon removed it.

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via dl.dropbox.com

I am a little upset that Verizon removed the Wifi toggle and made it an ongoing notification. Huge waste of space.

On the Touchwiz launcher, there was a slight stutter in the first 0.5 seconds after switching to the widgets tab in the app drawer. That doesn't happen with Nova.

Widget locker is very useful. I get to have multiple lockscreen widgets and a stockish slider. I liked Samsung's idea of swipe anywhere to unlock, but the water ripples were annoying and turning them off meant the screen gave no indication as to where my finger had dragged.

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via dl.dropbox.com

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via dl.dropbox.com

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via dl.dropbox.com

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via dl.dropbox.com

But still, Touchwiz remains in little scraps. Samsung's stock apps have awful gradients. I would give them one more star just for removing the gradients.

Touchwiz isn't 100% consistent either (but I fixed that mostly with Nova). The contacts app is orange but in widgets/shortcuts it shows the AOSP People icon. Looks like someone at Samsung missed a spot.

Battery Life

Impressive. I've been setting it up, downloading apps, and customizing it all day and used it very frequently. It's night time and it still has like 27% left.

Camera

Camera is pretty sharp and offers lots of options. Realistic but vivid colors are present and low light performance is adequete.

The shutter button and video/photo button irk me. They seem too iOS like. I wish it was more Holo.

The on/off options display a pop up with the choices on and off when tapped instead of toggling, which is stupid.

Frustrations

S Note's sync with evernote caused major headaches. SNote syncs with evernote, but when you delete a note in S Note and sync with Evernote, the note just comes back and it doesn't remove the note from evernote. Deleting in evernote and syncing sometimes causes the note to reappear in evernote

Pressing the home button to wake goes to the stock lockscreen not widget locker.

Gallery is really laggy at times. I'm not sure what's causing it. It's almost like the app is freezing. Maybe it has something to do with the ext sd card?

The Verizon note II videos showed the Chrome browser and youtube working in multiwindow. Why the heck doesn't it work on mine?

Hopes

Getting my frustrations fixed.