Continuing the march of super awesome new gadgets in my 2013 life, & as foreshadowed previously, I am now the happy owner of a Samsung Galaxy Note II, my first Samsung phone ever. I’m sporting it au natural (sans case) thus far, but eventually I’ll get something to protect the fantastic plastic. First impressions: Holy smokes. Sammy sure does know how to build a screen–the display on this thing is eyeball-popping. Vivid, bright, saturated, & rich are all suitable adjectives to describe the picture quality. I need to get some sweet games on this baby, starting with EDGE. An official Rockstar port of Vice City is dropping soon too. Y-y-y-y-yessssssss.
Of course the most exciting thing about this phone though is the stylus. I’m going to try to use it on a regular basis to create sketches of anything and everything. At this point I’m still learning all the tricks this Note has to offer, which are legion. I’ve created a few drawings while experimenting with the S-Pen software… so far nothing worth crowing about but hey practice makes perfect and I’m a pretty un-practiced doodler. Maybe this will change?
* Its main camera is like, super wide-angle. No dedicated camera button; I know I’m going to miss that. But on the positive side, maybe this fresh start will encourage me to use Instagram more, which is just another way of saying ‘take more random pictures’. Overall, it’s a respectable cell camera so far.
* The giant screen real estate is glorious. Yes, it is quite a stretch for those moments of one-handed wrangling. But most of the time, two hands are free and the extra space does pay. Text is bigger. I notice that I hold it further away while reading, which is probably easier on the eyes. So far no pockets have been overstrained.
* Google’s “Project Butter” added vertical-sync, triple-buffered, 60Hz refresh to Android. Although it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison with my outgoing Droid X, I’ve got to believe that the buttered-up screen makes it easier to look at. Without a doubt, I do feel less eyestrain during a long reading session.
* Sammy sweetens the deal further with an option to invert the display color, which can convert anything to white text on black background. NICE!! Good frickin call. I never understood why black background isn’t the prevailing text format for computer displays. It’s just better.
* Another brilliant Samsung customization: frequently used settings like GPS, airplane mode, bluetooth are all located in the notification tray when you expand it. Very useful.
* 1.6GHz Quad core and 2GB of RAM. Jeez. These things really are becoming pocket computers.
* About that pocket computer thing: I got the “Smart Dock” accessory which adds HDMI output and three USB ports, to which you can connect mouse and keyboard. I’m tying this on my phone, using a full-size keyboard, and it’s SWEET. There’s a mouse cursor. Scroll wheels work, forward and back buttons work, and there’s keyboard shortcuts, even. Impressive. Haven’t tried the HDMI yet…
* Dropped in a 64GB MicroSD card and loaded this baby up with like 15 gigs of awesome music. My phone is ready to tackle the longest of roadtrips.
* I wonder if there will be any extra S-Pen/stylus-centric apps still to come? The included drawing app is quite solid, but already I can see how it’d be nice to have more Photoshop-esque functionality, like layers and opacity control for all brush types.
* Rephrased: When is Adobe going to make ‘Photoshop Mobile’ or whatever?
* There’s an option to change the default system font to Helvetica. Rock on, you typography nerds.