Friday, November 30, 2012

Samsung Galaxy Note II Review: Camera and Video on the go

Disclaimer : I am not pro photographer or reviewer. I am reviewing this base on my personal opinion and criteria. All pictures are taken by Samsung Galaxy Note II without any editing except resizing and watermarking.

Phone camera! Back to those day people still lugging their phone and compact camera around to shoot. Nowdays, phone camera pretty much slowly replacing the compact camera. Is phone camera really ready to take over the world? I mean the compact camera? Let's see how does the Samsung Galaxy Note II camera perform.

To start off, Samsung Galaxy Note II has 8 Megapixel back facing camera and 1.9 megapixel front facing for video and selca with BSI sensor for both. It packed with 4mm lens with fast aperture, f2.6 while allowing for 1080p video capture on the back camera. The front-facing cameras are the same as well: they are capable of 720p video recording.

(Warning: they default to 1.3MP, which is 1,280 x 960. The 1.9MP setting offers 1,392 x 1,392 pixel resolution.) - Engadget

ISO range it is capable from 100-1600. Thanks to the BSI sensor it promised better low light performance. Below are 100% crop of ISO test from 100-1600.

I would said it is pretty usable even ISO 1600 if you have a good condition of light. Somehow I feel lowlight the image hardly get sharp. Example here are the pics of dinner taken last week at TGIF with le gf. I believe everyone aware how dim lighting in TGIF.

I have to say the Super Amoled HD does make the image and color look nice from the phone screen but the moment I transfer out the photos to PC I am pretty disappointed. Well it is expected actually. That's why, I never trust AMOLED screen. IPS and Sony Bravia screen still FTW. I forgot, Retina Display also.

Of coz, the camera are capable of doing Macro, Panorama and also digital zoom.

Macro is very good. I has no complain on it. The picture are close enough and sharp.

I am not a big fans of Panorama shooting however it is still usable. The image stitching is very accurate however, the image wasn't in focus when doing panorama. Click the image for full size.



I will avoid using digital zoom if I am you. It sucks as usual.

Alright, enough of all the explanation of Samsung Galaxy Note II. I actually put down all my camera gear at home and brought only Note II to one of the Nuffnang event last week. The event held at The Square, Publika. This gonna be real field test for Samsung Galaxy Note II and here is where my frustration coming.

With 5.5 inch screen display, Samsung Galaxy Note II is actually way too big for my single palm. It is not comfortable to hold and grip. Not to mention features that I was hoping for - Touch to Capture doesn't present on the Note II. Thanks God there is still alternate way instead by using voice command by saying "Shoot, Cheese, Capture" the camera will automatic capture. However, I still required to touch to focus (where involve 2 hand) and speak. Not to mention the crowds is very noisy and the camera failed to listen my command. I was frustrated to use both hand because I was enjoying my Baskin Robin ice-cream on another hand.

Another alternate way to solve my frustration was change the volume key behaviour to shutter button. Yeap this features do safe my ass that night but the awkward shutter button AKA Volume button position still make me hardly to handle the camera properly. In the end I gave up and quickly finish my Ice Cream used both hand. I would say my problem will totally solve if it has Touch to Capture features. Samsung do you hear me? I am not sure is my problem easily solve by using burst mode but, it is never my policy to spam shutter unnecessary.

Of course, heavy noise is present on most of the photo except on the stage with existing lightings around. One of my realization was the camera lack of contrast and dynamic range. Not sure other phone but Sony EXMOR R sensor in Xperia phone done a pretty good job on this and not to mention, Nokia Pureview 808.

Did a quick video recording on the event to test out the 1080p. I had no complain on it. The audio is clear, the image is good, my hand is steady enough i know.

Overall, is phone camera ready to replace compact? In this case is Samsung Galaxy Note II ready to do so? For casual user and people who love social sharing instant, yes this phone is really do perform up to expectation. It is good also for people who dislike carry too many electronic devices unless you are ready to get Samsung Galaxy Camera :P

Coming from Compact, DSLR and Mirrorless camera user, I was still hopping to see more better capability and quality image from phone camera. Nokia is already doing the right thing by packing 1/1.2 inch sensor (which is bigger than majority compact camera in markets nowdays) into the Pureview 808. I am pretty sure the camera evolution is still going on. Of course not in term of megapixel, but in terms of sensor and quality optic on the lens. At this moment, I will still willing brought my Olympus to everywhere I went and also my Asus Padfone for instagram purposes.

Verdict : The camera on Samsung Galaxy Note II can shoot a beautiful photo on daylight but not lowlight. It is worth to note that the camera is lack or good control on contrast and also dynamic range. The Super AMOLED HD display easily fool all users who thought their pictures look good on lowlight.

Extra pictures for fun :P

Next part is gonna be final part and verdict of Samsung Galaxy Note II! Stay tune to me! If you miss out the 1st (click here) and 2nd (click here) part of review, pls do so by reading it :)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Samsung Galaxy Note II Review: User Experience and Favourite Features

This is second part of the Samsung Galaxy Note II review from me. Click here for Part 1 review will ya?

Strange, the Samsung Galaxy Note II design is similar with Samsung Galaxy S III (just like an oversize device between iPod and iPad) with all the similar curve and back casing. But good thing the HOME button seem much nicer than Galaxy S III. But, where is all the design for human and inspired by nature slogan went to? Only S III design for human and inspired by nature? Note II not?

Well, just what you can see from my Samsung Galaxy S III review previously, the Samsung Galaxy Note II has exactly the same thing. Of course there are slight enhancement due to it running latest Android 4.1, Jelly Bean OS. Other than that, the same touchwiz UI can be seen in Note II.

Anyway I shall talk more about it on my final part of review. My gf manage to used the phone for a week and she would love to share her user experience to you all. She being HTC Android user for few years and this is actually her first time using Samsung Android base device. Let's see what she comment about ;)

Next part of the review, I gonna talk about the camera in Samsung Galaxy Note II. Stay tune to me ;)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wreck-It Ralph Premier Screening

Courtesy to Nuffnang I get to watch Wreck-It Ralph Premier Screening last night.

Wreck-It Ralph, an action-packed, visually stunning CG comedy set in contrasting worlds that are like nothing ever before seen on the big screen, is produced by Clark Spencer ("Lilo & Stitch," "Bolt"), the story of an arcade game Bad Guy determined to prove he can be a Good Guy. Taking fun and games to a whole new level, the film smashes into theaters Nov. 29, 2012, and will be presented in Disney Digital 3D® in select theaters.

Been waiting and anticipating this movie for very long! I know the gamer blood in myself i boiling to watch this because most of our childhood video game is in! Unfortunately this is not some sort of crossover film that everyone combine power and fight evil (though that's what I wish for actually for the final batlle with the cy-bugs). It is focus more on Ralph and Vanellope.

Honestly I pretty like the concept and idea behind. Who would tod of all this video game characters are acting on their own when the arcade is close? The story is pretty amazing to begin with but sadly the dynamic stop on middle of the show. It lack of humour and slap stick comedy that I was expecting.

Character development pretty much focus on how Ralph discover his true self eventhough he is playing as a bad guy. The heroic superman pose he perform at the end of the battle do actually touched my heart a little. As in "OMG Is he ready to sacrifice himself??" Nah cartoon always happy ending anyway.

Overall, a little disappointment on this movie but it is still enjoyable. Catch this movie on cinema tmrw with your kid. I am sure they will love it ;)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Samsung Galaxy Note II Review: Specification and First Impression

It is no strange to everyone now to back to old time - big size phone. Samsung Galaxy Note series aiming to be Phablet device packed with huge screen officially released new successor, know as Samsung Galaxy Note II. Of course beside being big size in screen, the Stylus or known as S Pen is add on point for this Phablet.

I am lucky enough to get a review set from Nuffnang and Samsung. I will separate few parts of the review so that I could stress it out some important point and my own opinion on the Samsung Galaxy Note II.

Let's start with the specification. Samsung Galaxy Note II is packed with 5.5 inch display with Super AMOLED screen and 720 x 1280 pixel. It running the Samsung latest quad core processor - 1.6 GHz quad-core Cortex-A9 CPU (Exynos 4412 Quad chipset), Mali-400MP GPU and 2GB of RAM for smooth multitask sailing. It come with variant storage size which are 16/32/64GB internal storage with expandable microSD slot.

Of coz on the back it has same 8 MP camera unit with Samsung Galaxy S III. So we are expecting the same image processing and quality. Front facing camera is 1.9MP. Samsung slapped a huge battery on the Note II, which is 3100 mAh and still manage to maintain the slim profile, 9.4mm. Well, not the best. Really because Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX HD has 3300 mAh with 9.3mm thickness.

Other than that, Samsung Galaxy Note II come with removable battery on the back. It also used micro Sim like most of the smart phones now days. Not to mention it has built in NFC which allowed Android Beam and S Beam.

Overall, I felt that Samsung Galaxy Note II is too big for my palm. I do mentioned before I already dislike the size on Samsung Galaxy S III. My small palm just perfect to fit in 3.5-4.3 inch smart phone. Here some comparison of size with my current Asus Padfone.

The difference position of BACK and OPTION button pretty frustrated as well.

Another thing I dislike was the back casing. Well it just make the phone easily get scratches and also finger print magnet. I will appreciated the nice metal brush texture if only the plastic layer is removed.

Alright that's all my first impression on Samsung Galaxy Note II. I am not touching on the software part yet which I gonna cover it on the next review. Here some bonus images comparison between Samsung Galaxy Note and Note II.

Do check out my first hands on video k?

For those Samsung Galaxy Note II user, tell me do you like your current phone? ;)