Home Your Tech Mobility Samsung sings song of sweet Galaxy Camera, Note II and Win 8 tablets
Samsung Galaxy Camera, Samsung Galaxy Note II Samsung Galaxy Camera, Samsung Galaxy Note II Image Credit - Samsung.com

Samsung's latest Galaxy Note II super smartphone 5.5-inch phablet, amazing Android-powered 16.3-megapixel digital camera with 4.8-inch screen and 3G connectivity alongside a range of new Windows RT and 8 tablets to shake up the competitive landscape.

All the major tech players have shaped up their brand new, late 2012 technologies ready for consumers, just in time for Christmas and the end of year sales season, with my live blog of Samsung's Galaxy Note II, stunning Galaxy Camera and Win 8/RT launch available to read here.

Although there have already been so many amazing new product and OS launches in recent weeks, some brand new models across OS ranges are still coming in over the next couple of weeks and into early December, just in time to enjoy four or five weeks of pre-Christmas sales and then take the battle into early 2013 and beyond.

The brand new models include Samsung's most advanced Android and stylus-equipped smartphone yet, a genre-morphing 16.3 megapixel camera with 21x optical zoom and a host of new Windows 8 and Windows RT models.

Samsung is also making a new push for enterprise business, something the breadth, depth and price of its entire 2012 updated IT range is undoubtedly making an attractive proposition for businesses large and small out there.

Although Samsung saved its new Android flagship Galaxy Note II smartphone for last, we're going to start with it.

You can see Samsung's US Note II page here, scroll down to see marketing info, specs and more detail, with the Australian page here taking you to Sam Sparro and Ricki-Lee's Note II song collaboration video.

The Note II comes with a massive, phablet-sized 5.5-inch HD Super AMOLED Plus display while slimming the bezel to beat the original Galaxy Note's 5.3-inch screen, yet without coming in a larger package.

Naturally, the bold screen has a 16:9 aspect ratio, and it's powered by a very speedy 1.6GHz quad-core processor, coupled with 4G LTE and 3G HSPA+, Android OS 4.1 Jelly Bean, and an NFC chip with programmable new "TecTiles" capability to create your own programmable phone settings tags.

There's also the signature S Pen with big improvements over last year's version, which we'll look at in more detail in a few paragraphs, 16GB storage, microSD card slot, powerful AND removable 3100mAh battery, 8 megapixel real camera with awesome photo features like "Best Photo" and a 1.9 megapixel front facing camera.

We also see features like Smart Stay which first arrived on the Galaxy SIII, which stops the Note II from turning off the screen when you're facing it by using the front facing camera to detect your face at the screen, or not.

An AirPlay-like feature called AllShare Play plays content through HDTVs and other compatible devices.

So, the S Pen feature delivering Samsung's next-gen stylus experience, unavailable on iOS or Windows Phone 8.

The S-Pen is button-enabled with 1024 points of pressure sensitivity, with a rubber tipped stylus delivering the most natural writing experience yet.

When I used the stylus to write on the giant 5.5-inch phablet screen at the demo, it certainly felt very smooth and accurate, far beyond the abandoned Windows Mobile stylus days of years ago.

The Note II also features an improved version of the multitasking capabilities first seen in the recently launched 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab Note tablet, a tablet that itself is also equipped with S-Pen stylus and split-screen multitasking atop Android 4.x to compete with iOS and Win 8/RT.

Note II's multitasking lets you run two apps together in resizeable screens – letting you easily put two apps at half-screen each, at 1/3 and 2/3 or the ratio you prefer, while going between the two displayed apps was instant.

More multitasking fatures including Pop Up video ,which we've seen before on the GS3, letting you watch video while doing email, browsing the web or something else.

Pop Up Note lets you take written notes, sketches or anything in any app, even when on a call, and a new Pop Up Web feature which lets you bring up a pop up browser wherever you are so you can check a link or the web without leaving what you're doing.

The S-Pen is also more than just a pressure sensitive pen – it also lets you "hover" over the screen, much as you saw in the Windows XP, Vista and 7 days using the stylus.

This capability lets you hover the S Pen "over an email, S Note, S Planner, image galleries, or videos to preview the content without having to open it", giving you quick access to more detail without leaving the app to go into another or wasting time in "screen transitions".

A "gesture pad feature" called Quick Command also lets you use S Pen gesture commands, making the input, drawing and stylus capabilities of the Note II well above anything that either Apple is offering with the iPhone 5 or Microsoft is offering with Windows Phone 8, although Windows 8 certainly has stylus capabilities (with Samsung offering its S Pens there too).

You can handwrite, write over existing content on the screen, crop the screen in whatever shape you want to 'save, share or paste', write a number and notes when in a call and so much more, surpassing what was possible during the stylus equipped days of the world of Windows Mobile 6.x and earlier.

I'm looking forward to testing the multitasking feature under real world conditions, but the short experience I had with its looked good. Samsung has also done a great job of integrating its own S Pen enabled apps, while encouraging showing off a few apps taking great advantage of the S-Pen's features.

Available on Telstra within the next couple of weeks on 4G, and available "next week" for Optus on 4G/3G+ and Vodafone on its 3G HSPA+ network, its retail outright purchase price is AUD $899, while each telco has plans to suit for those happy to go on a contract.

There's also cheeky etail moguls like Kogan selling an imported Galaxy Note II with 4G for $699 on his site, so if you're buying outright and not on a contract, be sure to shop around!

Especially if you're already an Android fandroid lusting after a quad-core Jelly Bean experience on massive screen with 4G access and the added bonus of the most polished stylus experience, and using all your existing apps effortlessly on your upgraded new superphone, the Galaxy Note II can't be ignored and must be seen to be experienced.

iOS users who want to see what future iPhones may well offer can see how Samsung is offering it now, and then play guessing games as to how Apple can re-invent the stylus so "it just works" in some heretofore unseen yet mind-blowingly obvious, simple and ultra effective way, although what I've just described would easily describe Samsung's Note II S Pen approach!

You'll find full specs of the Galaxy Note II on page three, along with full specs of the brand new Galaxy Camera.

On page two, you'll find details of the Galaxy Camera, along with my hands-on first impressions – please read on to page two!


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

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One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks, including stints as presenter of Ch 10’s Internet Bright Ideas, Ch 7’s Room for Improvement and tech expert on Ch 9’s Today Show, among many other news and current affairs programs.






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