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We are what we think & my blog entries reflect how I think. Have a sip of the poison of my mind.. It's not always lethal.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Me - Proud Owner of a Galaxy Note 2

It was only yesterday when I first held the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 in my hands. No, I didn't get too crazy to the point of me refusing to wash my hands after the awesome experience, though I suspect the situation got pretty close to such an unimaginable extent and I had to rein myself in.

Drama Mode Off

It's 7 more days to go before the official launch day of the Galaxy Note 2 here and my buddy Lim told me the other night over beer that he saw someone in the bus with the device already and he wasn't drunk. To top it off with an extra punch, my Lioness who doesn't drink and is always sober, told me that one of her colleagues already bought and is using an imported Note 2. Thing is, her colleague bought it from this mobile shop at Jurong West block 501, which is like just 20 minutes or so walk from our house.

As I've mentioned yesterday, I've been waiting so very impatiently for the Galaxy Note 2 for months on end already and since my contract with my telco still has a long way to go as I've renewed my contract during June to get my S3, I now have the freedom to get the Note 2 from anywhere. Such freedom comes with a price though - I have to pay full retail price. Therefore, the plan is to buy the Note 2 on retail and sell my S3 to cut my losses, which should net me a few hundred bucks to patch up the wound on my wallet.

So my Lioness accompanied me and we took a bus instead of walking to Jurong West block 501. Yup, It's a happy ending alright and we came home with an imported titanium grey Galaxy Note 2 in my happy hands. Here she is:

Actually, I spent an obscene amount of time at the KFC next to the mobile shop selling the Note 2, going on the Net and calling up the other shops in other areas selling the imported sets as well to compare prices, enquire about the 32gb Note 2 (not available anywhere here and nobody knows if and when it will ever make it here) and finding out if there would be any complications with OTA updates when it comes to the imported Note 2 sets, which the vendors told me there is nothing to worry about.

I spent so much time doing all these impromptu research before deciding if I should buy the device there and then that my Lioness decided to have some KFC chicken to pass the time, heh. Bless her, for she helped me with my research and she called up some vendors for me to help me save time. I also get to enjoy some of the chicken. She's a secretary by profession, so her career skills came into good play here.

I told her that my goal was to buy the 32gb Note 2 instead of the available 16gb version but nobody knows if the 32gb will ever be available here. For the S3, the 32gb was released here like 4 months after its initial launch with the 16gb version. Well, she understood how much I wanted to own a Galaxy Note 2, so she suggested that I should get the 16gb now and then sell it off to get a 32gb if and when it should become available here some day. Besides, the Note 2 allows for up to 64gb of expandable micro SD space, which is a lot of extra storage space (though some folks reported in online forums that they experimented with 128gb external SD cards and they do work).

Actually, for the Galaxy S3 and the Note 2, games can't be installed on external SD cards but if I wanted to, I could root my phone for it, so there's still a way to tackle the 16gb internal memory issue should I run out of storage space because games can eat up the most space. I'm actually using my 2 years experience with my 16gb iPhone 4 (which I've sold off), which was my first smartphone as a gauge to help me here: I never got to the extent of completely running out of storage space with it due to PC backup of stuff whenever I decide I don't need them as much anymore but still, I would prefer the extra insurance with a 32gb Note 2. Nevertheless, the idea of expandable storage for the device sure as heck makes one feel a lot better.

Anyone trying to convince themselves that external storage is a poor choice is just deluding themselves and trying to justify their lack of additional options. It's not very bright to choose lack and limitations over additional options and features that can and do come in handy, is it? Such folks who are throttlers of eclecticism do exist and you can find them in iFruitloop forums. I'm not saying that every single person in such forums are that way of course, but I'm sure you can easily spot the hardcore ones who are when you see them advocating lack while crusading against choice and additional options.

Trying to kill off freedom and imprisoning ourselves in chains is one of the greatest tragedies mankind do to themselves.

Back on track: after weighing the suggestions, considerations and all the pros and cons mentioned above, I decided to get the 16gb Note 2 from the shop, which I did. I paid SGD $840 for the phone (and I grabbed the offer of a soft case worth 20 odd bucks and a screen protector worth 12 bucks - these 2 accessories for just an extra 10 dollars, so why not?) and the boss told me he can buy my S3 off me for $540. Since I have to transfer lots of data from my S3 to my new Note 2 and back them up on my computer at the same time, l couldn't and didn't sell my S3 on the spot. Besides, I should source around just in case I could get a better selling price with somebody else.

The Note 2 I bought is the non-LTE GT-N7100 international version, by the way, which is around $150 cheaper than the LTE GT-N7105 version which will be the version to be officially launched here in a week's time from now. In case you were wondering, besides LTE, the differences between both versions are that the non-LTE version has a FM radio receiver while the LTE version doesn't and the S Pen of one version won't work on the other. So why did I decide to settle for the much cheaper non-LTE version? Because:

1) LTE coverage here still has a long way to go. One of the Samsung staffs who attended to me yesterday at Tampines Mall told me it should take around 2 years for LTE coverage to be adequate enough island-wide here, though I think one and a half year should be more like it. By then, I'll be able to recontract and probably get the Note 4, all things being equal considered. That would be the proper time for me to switch to LTE.

LTE data plans are a pain in the ass currently anyway with their 2gb monthly limit. How much can a heavy user do with just 2gb per month? Sure, you can pay for additional gigabytes but I still think LTE plans are costly currently. I'm holding out for the possibility that by the time I hop onto the LTE wagon, I'll get to enjoy cheaper rates by then. Hopefully. Every aspect of technology usually become cheaper over time.

Until then, I'll keep my existing 12gb monthly data plan and cut my losses as much as possible now, since having to pay retail price for a phone is honestly something I never imagined I would do but I feel that the Note 2 is worth it for me to break this long-time taboo of mine, considering my mobile needs and how I think the Note can cater to them. I'm still feeling a little crazy about it though, so I better squeeze every ounce of usefulness out of my new Note and make it all worth it.

2) There is a possibility that I might buy the 32gb Note 2 should it become available here and should the 16gb version can no longer cater to my needs adequately. Remember that games, apps and widgets can only be installed on internal memory when it comes to Samsung phones unless you root, as shown in this video for the Note 2:

However, there is another way out for the 16gb internal memory:

So, if I do not wish to root my phone, I should get the cheaper non-LTE Note 2 now so that my wallet can feel better in the event that the 32gb does get released here and I decide to buy it. If that happens, I'll get a LTE 32gb which ought to be more future-proof.

The way I see it, if I'm to get a phone which I think is worth for keeps for a long time to come, it has to be at least 32gb with LTE so that it can survive into the future, given the progress of the mobile technology situation and the fact that operating systems are starting to utilize progressively bigger chunks of memory and storage space. This also means that by the time I can recontract with my telco again, if the Note 4 proves to be only marginally better over the Note 2 by then, I won't upgrade to the Note 4. I doubt that would be the case but I'm no soothsayer, so never say never. It's safer to say 'maybe'.

I don't know how Samsung is gonna improve drastically with their future Notes over the current Note 2 other than a better camera, a faster processor, probably wireless charging and a better display as well as more functions with the S Pen. Not that these aren't insignificant upgrades though, don't get me wrong. We shall see.

The 1gb of RAM in my S3 will not be able to cut it with the passage of time. I was actually disappointed with the fact that on my S3, due to its low 1gb of RAM, multi-tasking was a hit-or-miss situation; open up too many apps and say you've scrolled down halfway through a webpage and you switch to another app, switch back to the webpage again and you might find it reloading itself again instead of staying put at where you left it. It then becomes irritating that I had to look for the section of the webpage I previously parked myself at whenever this happened. The Note 2 with its 2gb of RAM should encounter much less of such issues unless I run a gazillion number of apps at the same time.

Before paying for the device, I requested for my Note 2 to be switched on so that l could inspect its display and to test if there would be any problems receiving OTA updates which was a concern bugging me all along. There wasn't any problems with the gorgeous display or screen and yippykaiyay, I saw the OTA update icon displayed on the notifications bar. I'm sure the update is for enabling the multi-windows feature but that has to wait till I get home and use my WiFi connection for the update download.

With my new Note 2 in hand, my Lioness & me are now walking to the bus stop while I factory reset the phone. Yup, it's good practice to factory reset a new phone before you start using it to get rid of any possible hiccups residing in the phone and I hear this is also beneficial for the battery as well.

Seriously, I never expected myself to own a Galaxy Note 2 this quickly before its official launch here. It was only yesterday when I held the demo sets in my hands while telling myself I had to wait till the 20th (or from 6pm onwards on the 19th if I should go queue up for it at Paragon and I absolutely hate getting myself into long queues). I just heard this young girl behind me at the bus stop telling this woman seated next to her that she wants a Galaxy Note 2 for herself while I was playing with mine. I have to admit that this feels pretty good ;p

Now if you will excuse me, I have a new phone (some call it a 'Phablet') to set up and play with, so I'm signing out. You can be sure that I'll blog my thoughts about it after using it for an adequate and reasonable amount of time to formulate a concrete opinion about it, so stay tuned. Just for the record, several overseas reviewers from mobile technology sites have already reported lots of hands-on positive things regarding the device that got me excited and all fired up. Just search for 'IFA Galaxy Note 2' or 'Galaxy Note 2 hands-on' on YouTube or Google if you are interested.

Congratulations, self. Now hold that mutha properly and don't drop your new Big joy on the pavement. Pun intended and I'm effing stoked Big time. What's the proper term for this, 'Nerdgasm'?

-De Lion Speaks

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