updated 09:20 am EDT, Tue October 9, 2012
Multi-window, action customization demonstrated
Earlier this week, Samsung released a firmware update for the European version of the Galaxy Note II, bringing increased multitasking abilities, as well as the ability to customize actions on the device according to user preferences. Electronista got a peek at how those features are going to look when they're available at release on the American version of the Note II, and we've now got video of them in action.
Many of the Note II's features remain the same as they were in our first hands-on about a month ago, but those features that have been added are intriguing. Our helpful Samsung representative showed off the Note II's multi-window feature and the ability to assign particular S Pen gestures to certain actions on the phone.
The multi-screen mode was shown off with a video playing, and it is impressively smooth in person. As we thought with LG's Optimus G, though, it's a bit hard to imagine too many situations where this would be a critical capability. One might multitask with a video to, say, write down a note about its content, but that hardly seems like it would happen very often.
The customizable actions, though, seemed a bit more useful. It's a shame that one has to call up a menu in order to enter the customized gestures, though. That seems the sort of action that would work best if one could perform it from any screen at any time. We'll have to wait to get our hands on it to see if pulling up a pad and drawing the symbol assigned to Calculator is any faster than simply navigating to the Calculator app.
In all, it looks like Samsung has packed the Note II full of features that will likely widen a few eyes and endear many users, even if those features aren't necessarily the most practically applicable. We're impressed with the Note II, and we look forward to reviewing it. But it also seems like Samsung could have cut back on some of its new features in order to focus on honing the ones it already had to perfection.