Speakerphone

The Note 2 puts its speakerphone in the same place as the original Galaxy Note, and thanks to the large size of the handset I bet there’s plenty of space for a big driver. The Note 2 also includes a new boost mode I didn’t see on Galaxy S 3 before that boosts speakerphone output volume considerably.

Speakerphone Volume - 3 inches Away

The tradeoff is that there is significantly more saturation and clipping with this mode toggled, but it is very, very loud.

Noise Suppression

Samsung has continually included Audience earSmart processors in its handsets for noise rejection and filtering, and the Note 2 is no exception. Both the original Note, and Note 2 include the Audience eS305 voice processor, though the Note 2 includes newer firmware thanks to its later release date. I’m told that both the Note and Note 2 were interesting challenges due to the extreme size of the handset and just how far apart the microphone pair is — there’s one at the very top, one at the very bottom on both models. In addition the T-Mobile Note 2 also has wideband AMR enabled (AMR-WB), which I confirmed inside ServiceMode by poking around. I called between two T-Mobile devices (the Note 2 and my own HTC One S) but it appears as though T-Mobile is still using AMR-NB over UMTS at least as evidenced by the 4 kHz maximum in the below spectral view. Either that or my HTC One S is the limiting factor.

Samsung is unique in that it gives a nice easy way to enable and disable the noise rejection paths by tapping the menu button, so we can easily test with it on and off just to see how much difference it makes. I’ve been supplied an industry standard babble track that emulates a loud cafe or restaurant, complete with a din of voices, doors opening and closing, and background bustle. I’ve found that playing this on loop in my office when I want that cafe vibe mitigates the desire to go and pay exorbitant amounts of money for the luxury of distraction, but I digress.

Galaxy Note 2 - Noise Rejection Enabled by AnandTech


Galaxy Note 2 - Noise Reduction Off by AnandTech

Anyhow I went ahead and tested the Note 2 with the babble track at a very loud maximum loudness of 94 dBA which is likely above spec, but a worst case. You can hear a dramatic difference between the Note 2 with the noise rejection turned on and off. I’ve heard eS305 do even better at rejecting literally all noise on the Xolo X900, but this is our first time using the babble track as opposed to music so my mental comparison isn’t quite fleshed out.

Cellular Connectivity, WiFi, GNSS Conclusions
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  • barry spock - Thursday, October 25, 2012 - link

    The longer I spend think about my own subjective limitations, the more I realise that the products from anyone but apple aren't getting a fair go.
    And this one's an interesting product to attempt to not pigeonhole. I'd think of it more as a media device than a phone. And so does the rest of south korea, as I watch them using these things on the subway -- they watch tv on them. They make calls using earbuds -- not holding a thing this size to their heads. And they rarely put it in their pockets -- it goes in a handbag (or a manbag)
    The bit about it not fitting in the F-150's "big Gulp" plastic cup holder speaks volumes about the culture it was written in.

    Different cultures will use these devices differently. I imagine Samsung won't fret if this isn't taken up in droves in the US, because after all, there's always china.

    Also, Anand, et al. *please* give us the ability to mod-down thoughtless comments such as the first one attached to this article.
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Friday, February 01, 2013 - link

    Please give us the power to wipe out the idiots who are stupid enough to double post, as if their comments are better than others comments, and as if we need to see them. Reply
  • Paulman - Thursday, October 25, 2012 - link

    "One of the biggest factors young tech reviewers like myself forget is that visual acuity does diminish with age as the crystalline lens loses its ability to flex and accommodate, thus reducing how close one can focus."

    Ha ha, this is an optical engineer's way of explaining that old(er) people need reading glasses :P I had to wikipedia this, but apparently the medical term is "Presbyopia" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presbyopia

    Can't wait for the next episode of the Anandtech Podcast, Brian!
    Reply
  • galaxynotetoo - Thursday, October 25, 2012 - link

    Every feature that Galaxy Note 2 has, can be found in bigger screen tablets expect for the ability to make calls. The other big screens cost fraction of what Galaxy Note 2 costs. eg : 199 for Google Nexus, 329 for iPad mini. Why pay $700 for this crap Galaxy note 2 ? Reply
  • Visual - Thursday, October 25, 2012 - link

    Firstly, the obvious thing - to make calls. Duh.

    Secondly, no, it's not every feature. Pressure sensitive active pen digitizer is not found on any other current ARM tablet, and is a serious plus for some applications, i.e. drawing or even just handwriting. There's a reason it is called Note.
    Reply
  • Spunjji - Thursday, October 25, 2012 - link

    You really created an account here just to say that? :|

    Miniaturisation doesn't come cheap. Fact is, though, they're probably taking decent margins on this too. We can thank Apple for setting up that pricing expectation and capitalism for making sure every other company follows suit.
    Reply
  • VooDooAddict - Thursday, October 25, 2012 - link

    Been the first phone I've been excited about hitting sprint since the Palm Pre.

    Soon as it's available it will be replacing the launch Pre I'm still using.
    Reply
  • liffey - Thursday, October 25, 2012 - link

    "Switching back and forth between the stylus and fingers for using the basic Android interactions is annoying"

    Um you do know that you can invoke the menu and back command with the S Pen, right? Hold the button and swipe left for "back", and swipe up for "menu" (while holding the button, of course).
    Reply
  • 996GT2 - Thursday, October 25, 2012 - link

    iPhone 5 screen resolution is 1136 x 640, not 1136 x 960 as listed in the table. Reply
  • cokata - Thursday, October 25, 2012 - link

    the razr i has been mentioned and benched here and in the ip5 review and at least on the cpu side of things it looks like the only good competition to the A6 Reply

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