Samsung has just released its new Galaxy Note II 'phablet' in India for a whopping Rs 39,900. (For more details on the launch check out our live blog here.)
And now that it's finally here, we do a quick round up of what we felt were the most pressing points around the launch of the new phone. Is it priced too high? Will it also have to compete with low cost tablets? And what are we most excited about?
The price: Ok, this is probably the first aspect that most users look for before they consider buying the smartphone. The Galaxy Note II will cost Rs 39,990 and while this might sound steep right now, remember that while the S III launched at Rs 42,000, it was available on retail for Rs 38,000. So prices are likely to be significantly lower within a few days of it retailing. As of now, Flipkart is offering it for the same price, but we'd be very surprised if this continues to be the trend.
Samsung has assured users of an interest free EMI option spread out over nine months which means that the smartphone will cost around Rs 4500 per month should you go for this. This is a great deal to offer, especially if you don't want to burn a Rs 40,000 hole in your pocket.
The screen size: This is the aspect that makes the Note II what it is: a phablet . It's not just a smartphone to make calls with, but a 5.5 inch screen with1280 x 720 pixel density, which can drastically alter the video watching experience on a hand-held device. For those who like to watch movies, read magazines, the big screen should definitely be a big plus point. But remember that you can't just put this device in your jeans pocket.
What this also means, is that the Note is also competing with tablets. And some of these are priced a lot lot cheaper. Could this hurt the Note? Maybe.
The Stylus: As far as innovation goes, this is definitely a plus point, especially given that Samsung is trying to sell this device as the perfect companion for 'creative' people. And we all fancy ourselves a little bit creative don't we? Nice positioning Samsung!
The S Pen or the stylus is one feature that Samsung has definitely tried to improve in this device and it comes with advanced capabilities, like giving users the option of of adding Quick Commands to their stylus. This means that users can also simply press the S Pen button,to clip or edit selected content on the screen.
The Note II also has Air View capability, which means that even when users keep the S Pen approximately 10mm over the surface of the device it will still detect the presence of the stylus and allow you to preview emails, images, or videos without having to open them.
And perhaps most importantly it allows you to use it like a pen. According to Samsung Vice-President India, Asim Warsi, “The S Pen is tuned to sense 1024 different levels of pressure sensing. This can draw lines of depth, width, intensity”.
Warsi promises that this means that using the S Pen is exactly the same as using a normal pen and paper and can be used to write notes, sms and even emails. If it does everything Warzi says, this could be a huge boost for Samsung, especially since it will appeal to users who are not too comfortable with touch screens. Could this be the next big innovation for corporate users since the BlackBerry and QWERTY keypad?
The OS: Galaxy Note II ships with the latest Android OS Jelly Bean or Android 4.1. With features like Project Butter for faster functioning of the device, Google Now ( a Siri like voice commands app but with the power of Google) , a smarter keyboard functionality and sharper notifications. For all Android fans, Jelly Bean should be reason enough to give this one a try.