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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  • djpavcy - Thursday, October 25, 2012 - link

    Brian, as others have pointed out there must be something wrong with your battery tests. All the other reviews on the net show much better performance than what you see which makes sense - this phone has a quite large battery. Maybe you have a defective unit? Reply
  • Vinas - Thursday, October 25, 2012 - link

    There's a reason ford put a rubber tray on the dash - it's for your GN2! At least that's where I put mine while I drive (until I buy a dash mount for it). The GN2 is a bad ass phone, and maybe the novelty of the device has not worn off yet (got it yesterday at release) but I mean, there is something to be said for having the world's most powerful smartphone in your hands! haha eat it suckers Reply
  • khanikun - Friday, October 26, 2012 - link

    I was probably one of the few thousands of ppl who bought the Dell 5" Streak when they first came out and gigantic phones....not all that great. I got away from them, only for a bajillion other phones to get big. Reply
  • fate_accompli - Friday, October 26, 2012 - link

    Well, thanks for that, Dr. Freud.

    In my own case, I'm getting the Note 2 because IT TAKES NOTES!!
    Imagine that !? One of the things it was designed for! The big screen
    also makes it easier to stab icons with my bigass finger. Also, movies
    look cooler with bigger screens- it's why people buy bigger screens for
    their home theaters...same principle.

    Nothing subconscious about it. Otherwise, a very nice review.
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Friday, February 01, 2013 - link

    Exactly, it fits the small package, big guns, PC insanity clack, which of course every idiot spews incessantly, ignoring the other reality that actually is a fact that the big gun in the big bad ghetto everywhere is toted by the big black packaged...

    So much for the small minded retards parading around as the cultural elite minded peak of our society.
    Reply
  • jwhyrock - Saturday, October 27, 2012 - link

    I know I'm going to enjoy using the Note 2 more than a smaller device which is the primary concern for me. I currently have the Samsung Vibrant (Galaxy S1) so I'm going to see a huge performance increase just having current technology.

    I'm not g33k enough to fully wrap my head around each test that was run. I did see a pattern of the iphone 5 and Droid beating out other phones in the testing. I intensely dislike Apple as a company and find the iphone on the whole to be uninspiring.

    Winning on some of the benchmarks isn't going to persuade me to ditch the Note 2.

    I wonder if the author or anyone else can put in perspective the overall performance between Note 2 and higher performing devices. Is it a noticeable or just a benchmark number?
    Reply
  • Anon - Sunday, October 28, 2012 - link

    Why oh why it's always missing the audio chip report? I need to know whether the US version will retain the Wolfson chip . Reply
  • hemanthj - Monday, October 29, 2012 - link

    If I would buy the USA version of Note 2. Will I be able to use the LTE outside US in Asia and Europe. Or I need to buy the Note 2 International version for that. Reply
  • bellasys - Wednesday, October 31, 2012 - link

    While T-Mobile is not generally considered primo, I had the opportunity to understand just how fine their network was while supporting network services for AT&T during the Cingular merger. At that time, our company had a division which provided similar services for T-Mobile, and I got the inside track from my buddies.

    So, I really respect the author giving credit where it's due, and writing about a feature such as DC-HSPA+ which techs like me might care about. It reminds me of T-1 modem bonding before Y2K. Big kudos on this point.

    Although I can't say this one feature would be enough to make me switch- no single carrier can do it all.

    Great and informative article. Thanks :)
    Reply
  • garrun - Friday, November 02, 2012 - link

    I have a Samsung GS3 and have been pretty unhappy with it for one, annoying reason. When I use it in my car (Infiniti G37, but I've heard the same problem exists in others, including Ford Sync) I have two problems. First, if bluetooth is enabled, it takes preference for audio input, such that I can't use S-Voice (S3's SIri equivalent) to send text, plays songs, use maps... anything). My car doesn't support music over bluetooth, so I plug in to the headphone jack when listening to books or music. When THAT happens, the line out trumps the bluetooth for audio priority, and I can't even use bluetooth for phone calls. The net effect is that I can't use voice commands while driving at all, unless I unplug the line out and disable BT. The other effect is that if I am listening to music or books, and I get a call, I have to reach over and yank out the audio cable in order to take the call. I had to buy off contract, so I paid about $600 for this thing, and these are not problems I've had with my previous Android phones or with iPhones, and I don't understand why I didn't see them mentioned in any reviews.

    This all brings me to my point here - I'm thinking of selling my GS3 and getting a Note 2 or maybe an HTC 8X - can anyone here or at Anand confirm if these problems exist in those devices? Does anyone else share my pain with the GS3? Why is this not a bigger deal in the tech media?
    Reply

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