Back at the beginning of September, we got our first glimpse of the Note II on Verizon... and it had a branded home button. Initial thoughts after seeing this were unanimously along the lines of "eww" and "omg why." We all hoped it was some stupid thing they tried while the device was in testing.
Samsung just released some press shots of the Verizon Note II variant, complete with the absurd home button branding. Dear God, why? It's atrocious.
One of these things does not belong.
As if throwing the logo on the front of the device wasn't enough, Big Red is so arrogant that it felt the need to stamp a huge "Verizon 4G LTE" logo on the back, too!
I panned the Note 10.1 in my review. It was subtitled "An Embarrassing, Lazy, Arrogant Money Grab" and, for my conclusion, I took a picture of it in a trashcan. I did not like it. It had erratic performance, a squishy, creaky back, and a bunch of gimmicky features that didn't work. Now, I've got a Note II!
I'm happy to report the Note II is not as crappy as its bigger brother. It's much more solidly built in comparison, really fast, and god help me, some of the TouchWiz features are actually good. They greatly improved the split screen app feature of the Note 10.1, and I think Samsung has finally found their huge, differentiating software feature that they've been searching for.
Today's the day, T-Mobile folks: the Galaxy Note II can be yours for the low, low price of... $370. OK, so maybe that's not low at all. If you want to get it cheaper, Wirefly's your best bet. Still, if you prefer to walk in to a T-Mo store and walk out with a brand new behemoth in your pocket, you can do that - you'll just have to pay extra.
T-Mobile also announced today an upcoming addition to its tablet collection: the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1. The Tab 2 10.1 (I still hate that name) packs a 1.5GHz dual-core chip, along with a solitary gig of RAM, and Android 4.0.
Samsung's latest flagship – the Galaxy Note II – which we've so far only seen on video and in international markets, is finally (officially) headed to States-side carriers, with AT&T beginning pre-orders and Sprint and T-Mobile officially launching the device today.
In addition to official carrier launches (and the opening of pre-orders), though, Wirefly.com has opened up orders for the Galaxy Note II's T-Mobile variant, listing the flagship phablet at $279.99 for new or upgrading contracts. This beats T-Mobile's $369.99 price by a weighty $90.00, and it's worth noting that Wirefly is throwing in free shipping.
We've been patiently waiting for US carriers to start announcing the availability of their respective Galaxy Note II variants. While Sprint was the first to step up to the plate, AT&T has now committed to something that you can pencil in on your calendar: pre-orders begin on October 25th, with November 9th as the confirmed launch date.
Much like the other variants that we already know about, AT&T's Note II will hit the wallet fairly hard at $300, which is of course the subsidized price and requires a two-year agreement. All version of the Note II share the same beastly specs, so if you need a reminder of what three-hundred bucks will get you, this should whet your appetite:
Complain as some people might, smartphones are getting bigger and bigger. Nothing exemplifies that fact more than phablets like the HTC DLX (or other variants, such as the J Butterfly), Samsung Galaxy Note II, and LG Optimus Vu II. Packing 5"+ displays, powerful CPUs, and 2GB of RAM, these phones aren't for your grandmother.
Left to right: HTC J Butterfly (Japanese variant of the purported DLX), Samsung Galaxy Note II, and LG Optimus Vu II.
Device-specific hardware tends to get overlooked by the third-party development community, but the S Pen from Samsung's Note phones might be the exception. There are a lot of Note users out there and it has a stylus that's actually worth using. Samsung is now offering game developers a way to better utilize that feature with the Unity Extension SDK, which can be downloaded from Samsung's developer site.
In case you're not aware, Unity is a 3D game engine that's used by a number of popular titles. The new SDK will allow developers to accept input from the S Pen. The SDK provides devs with access to SCanvasView in their games.
For the first time, Samsung's largest flagship line will be landing on Sprint with the Galaxy Note II. During the initial launch, though, you better know you want it as this device will come with a whopping $300 price tag with a new two year contract. This isn't unheard of for some major devices, but it still ranks as one of the most expensive handsets you can buy.
The Note II will be launching with Android 4.1.1, LTE, and the same Exynos processor as the international version. As we know, devices that use the Exynos 4 processor require a discrete LTE chip outside the SoC itself which can add thickness to a phone.
Residents of the great white north have a special treat coming up soon. The Galaxy Note II is coming to Mobilicity the day before Halloween. If you know you're going to want it on day one, though, you can sign up for a pre-order right now and get $50 off. Unfortunately, the ad doesn't specify just what price you'll get $50 off of.
One tipster sent in an email that he received after placing his order. The email seemed to have an additional stipulation that you must be one of the first 1,000 people to purchase and activate your phone. If there are more than 1,000 pre-orders, it's unclear if everyone will receive the $50 credit.