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Rosalea Barker Sparks Up Her Samsung Note II - Good To Go

Review for Scoop Techlab of Samsung Galaxy Note II by Rosalea Barker

The First Big Thing the Samsung Galaxy Note II did was try to burn down my apartment. No, it didn’t overheat; I just got so involved in setting up the phone and experimenting, that I forgot I’d put the kettle on to make a nice cuppa and it boiled dry. By the time the smell of hot metal reached me, there were flames coming out of the stovetop element—luckily, nothing that couldn’t be extinguished with a dollop of salt!

I’ll leave it to you to decide how much tech credibility you want to give someone who doesn’t even own an electric kettle, and who also disables the “whistle” function on her stovetop version (out of consideration for her sleeping neighbors, I might add in my own defence).

Pack your little suitcase before you go
For the purposes of this post, I’m going to pretend that I got my phone in NZ just in time to take with me for a New Year’s holiday in San Francisco. Since I’m not in NZ and there are many variables, this Before You Go section is light on the specifics of how to get your contacts and any stored media (like music and photos) from your old phone onto your SGNII. Telecom can help you with that.

If you didn’t have an Android phone before, you’ll need to download any apps and games you like from the Google Play store. However, quick links to both the Samsung and Google app stores are already there under the Apps menu.

I transferred the music files from my laptop using the micro USB cable that comes with the phone and Windows Media Player. Dropbox is a good app to download for cloud storage. You can allow other people to share folders, which is a great way for them to see the pix you upload as you travel. If you use Facebook and Twitter, you’ll have to download those apps from the Google Play store because they’re not pre-loaded on the phone. I also recommend getting the Adobe Reader app. The phone comes with a document reader, but installing the Adobe one allows you to see all your downloaded pdfs in one place.

Although Telecom provides a quick link to the Samsung page with links to the user manual, you have to be connected to a wireless or WiFi network to read it. Download the PDF version to read on the plane. It is a huge file (30 MB), so take that into consideration if you’re paying for data in NZ. The user manual isn’t a necessity for learning how to use the phone—I just like to discover things that aren’t immediately obvious, and, besides, it’s a long flight from AKL to SFO, so you might as well amuse yourself playing with the phone!

REALLY IMPORTANT: US power outlets deliver only 120 V (NZ uses 240V), the current alternates at a different rate, and US outlets are made for plugs whose pins are straight up and down, not angled. Get a Samsung USB travel adapter, which handles both power ranges, and then you’ll just need a universal-US plug adapter. Go here to learn more about world electricity if it interests you.

On arrival
Take the phone out of airplane mode and you’ll quickly be connected to the AT&T network here in the US. You’ll get a text from Telecom telling you that you’re roaming, and giving you a free helpline number to call, should you need it. The Telecom Roaming Helpdesk is also listed in your Contacts.

Call home, and tell them you’ve arrived safely! The call quality is excellent on both ends of the line.

By now, your battery is probably getting very low. If you didn’t bring some kind of power and plug adapter with you from NZ, never fear. In the SFO Arrivals lounge, there’s a little “Business Center” stall selling what you need. Or you can wait until you get into The City and buy a similar item more cheaply at any one of a myriad of places.

Once you’re settled in your hotel, you’ll be ready to start either snoring or exploring. Some bookmarks I recommend for the SF Bay Area specifically are sanfrancisco.travel, nextbus.com, and bart.gov. The first is the SF Information Center’s portal to information about events, transportation, dining, etc., and has a list of suggested itineraries, which you can use to create your own itinerary. Eventbrite is a good app to download as it is geared more to locals, and has a great interface. You cannot download the popular review site app Yelp because the Google Store thinks you’re in NZ. But you could add yelp.com to your bookmarks.

Next post, I’ll talk more about the phone features—some good, some bad. HINT: S Voice rules!

Content Note: This post has been enabled by Telecom NZ , but the thoughts are the blogger's own. Scoop TechLab is a project of Scoop Independent Media www.scoop.co.nz. It is edited by Scoop Editor Alastair Thompson.


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