The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 features many advantages over the typical smartphone, including speed and battery life. But its large design is only an asset for some workers. For others, the bulky device is just too big.
Samsung has continued its push for enterprise acceptance with the Galaxy Note 2, the next generation of its popular smartphone-tablet hybrid, or phablet. In terms of performance, productivity, security and connectivity, the device's features will keep just about everyone in the enterprise happy. The Galaxy Note 2 is also a lot easier to carry around than a full-sized tablet, and that's sure to please many enterprise workers.
That's not to say the Galaxy Note 2 is without its downsides, however. The device has received various complaints from users, including a too-big screen with an unnatural-looking resolution. But for organizations considering their mobile device options, the Galaxy Note 2 should definitely be part of the conversation.
Samsung Galaxy Note 2 features for business users
The Galaxy Note 2 phablet packs a lot of performance into its 5.9-inch by 3.2-inch frame. Compare that with the iPhone 5's frame of 4.9 by 2.3 inches, and you can see why size does matter. The Galaxy Note 2 comes standard with a 1.6 GHz Exynos quad-core processor and 2 GB of RAM. Users can expand the 16 GB of storage to 64 GB with a MicroSD card. The Galaxy Note 2 also boasts a battery that can deliver more than 12 hours of intense use, and it's removable, so mobile workers can carry a spare to get them through exceptionally long days.
Such a powerful device can also increase user productivity because it can load apps faster, process data more quickly and display that data in a more easily viewable format. In addition, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 features the S Pen stylus, which lets users create handwritten notes, sign documents, clip content and annotate presentations.
There are other Samsung Galaxy Note 2 features that contribute to workers' productivity as well. The device comes with the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean operating system. Jelly Bean includes features such as Android Beam, which lets workers share files simply by touching two devices back-to-back.
Another feature in the Galaxy Note 2 that can make workers more productive is multiwindow support. Users can look at two applications at the same time without losing their place in either program. If you consider how often people switch between apps on their mobile devices and how time-consuming those switches can be -- especially when the app doesn't preserve your place -- you can see that this feature alone makes the device worth serious consideration. Plus, the Galaxy Note 2 supports a number of connectivity options between devices and networks. It doesn't just support 3G and 4G LTE networks, but also Near Field Communication, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
There are some Samsung Galaxy Note 2 features that IT administrators will benefit from as well, thanks to the its certification as a Samsung Approved for Enterprise (SAFE) device. Samsung builds certain devices to meet its own security criteria for enterprise usage; the SAFE program certifies that a device can support on-device encryption, mobile device management, virtual private networks and Exchange ActiveSync, among other features.
The Galaxy Note 2 challenge
The Galaxy Note 2 phablet has a lot going for it, but it isn't a perfect device.
Some users have been unhappy with the display. Although the larger landscape is great for some, users report that the colors tend to be oversaturated and unnatural, which is a common gripe about the AMOLED display, despite its battery-saving capabilities.
Reviewers have also called usability into question. The interface is overly complicated and loaded with bloatware, so it can be difficult to figure out how to switch on the various features.
Another issue is that updates to the Android operating system can be slow to come. Companies such as Samsung, which significantly modify the operating system to fit the device, often do not release reliable updates as quickly as needed.
In addition, some users have not been particularly impressed by the S Pen stylus, reporting that it's often easier to type the note because the stylus isn't as pen-like as they would hope.
But these complaints are likely not big enough deterrents to cause the enterprise to veto the Galaxy Note 2 completely. In all likelihood, the primary issue will be whether the device's size is right for their workers. Certainly, it's lighter than a full-sized tablet, but would workers be willing to trade in their smartphones for one? Would they carry them to lunch meetings or to the cubicle down the hall?
Of course, you might be considering the Galaxy Note 2 in addition to smartphones and as an alternative to tablets. In that case, you'll have to decide whether workers will benefit from downsizing in this way. The Galaxy Note 2 might be lighter and a lot less cumbersome, but it doesn't offer the screen size available to larger model tablets and the advantages that size can offer. If workers must haul around a second device, why not get the added real estate a tablet offers?
The issue of size might not seem that critical at first, but it can make a difference as to whether the device gets used as intended. In the end, it comes down to making sure that the device is right for the people who will use it and how they will use it, and whether it will run the apps those workers need.
This was first published in April 2013