It’s been a month since I switched to a Galaxy Note II from a Galaxy Nexus and I couldn’t be any happier. Compared to the Nexus, the Note II is a huge upgrade in nearly every way, and I’m not just talking about the Note II’s massive screen.
The Galaxy Note II has a speedy quad-core processor, along with a capable GPU, extremely long battery life, the S-Pen functionality, and best of all, a MicroSDXC slot for additional storage capacity. While the Galaxy Nexus is still a great phone, it was starting to show it’s age as a smartphone, as it is fast approaching the two-year mark. The one thing I will miss is the huge selection of custom ROMs and the strong developer support of the Galaxy Nexus, as the development scene for the Galaxy Note II seriously pales in comparison.
BUGS & CONS
With a limited choice of ROMs available for the Verizon Galaxy Note II, I’ve have been experimenting with several ROMs, including ROMs based on 4.1.2 TouchWiz and 4.2.2 AOSP. Having come from the Galaxy Nexus, my heart was already set on using a AOSP-based ROM, such as AOKP and ParanoidAndroid. While AOSP ROMs run extremely fast on the Note II, I found that many of them had some serious bugs & limitations that really dampen the functionality of the Note II, particularly the S-Pen functionality. Another major issue I found was that the battery life on AOSP ROMs was significantly reduced in comparison to TouchWiz ROMs.
While I am not a big fan of TouchWiz, I have decided to settle on CleanROM 4.9 by Scott’s ROMs, as it seems that AOSP ROMs are not quite up to par with TouchWiz ROMs on the Note II.
I’m still experimenting with I recently flashed a new ROM on my Verizon Galaxy Note II. However, I noticed that I lost USB connectivity with the phone, as my computer would not detect the Note II. Interestingly, the Note II would still charge. Thanks to a post by Jack Mai over at the Android Central forums, I was able to restore USB PC detection by accessing one of the Note II’s hidden menus and resetting the USB configuration of the phone. To gain access to this menu, dial in the following code: *#7284#
Here, you will see options for UART and USB, as well as a button that says “Qualcomm USB Settings.” Make sure both of the UART and USB settings are set to PDA. Click on “Qualcomm USB Settings” and select the MTP + ADB option. Once set, press the “SAVE and RESET” button and your Note II will reboot. Once rebooted, USB functionality should be restored to your Note II. Kudos goes to Jack Mai over at the Android Central forums for posting this solution.
The Galaxy Note II is easily one of the best smartphones I have ever owned. While the 5.5″ screen was initially intimidating, I now find it to be just perfect for my use; I actually have to squint when using phones with smaller screen sizes. The performance, battery life, audio & screen quality, the capabilities of the S-Pen, have all been nothing but excellent. If you’re considering a reliable Android-powered smartphone and don’t mind the screen size, the Galaxy Note II may be just the right phone for you.