Who knew that a hybrid device combining elements of a smartphone and a tablet would prove to be popular with consumers? The original Galaxy Note took the market by surprise and Samsung’s follow up device, the Galaxy Note 2 raised the stakes by improving on its predecessor in every way. Here we examine the most notable Galaxy Note 2 problems that owners are complaining about and we try to find solutions or handy workarounds.
Cracked or broken screen
Problem: There are quite a few user reports of the screen being scratched or cracked after accidental drops. The Galaxy Note 2 has a truly mammoth 5.5-inch display, protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 2, which is generally tough stuff. The device has performed well in most of the drop tests we’ve seen, but they aren’t hugely scientific. The size could make the display more prone to cracking on impact, or it could be the fact that the Note 2 is a little more difficult to handle than a smaller device.
If you’re worried, then it’s probably a good idea to have phone insurance or invest in one of the many Galaxy Note 2 cases on the market.
Solution: If your screen does get cracked or broken, you should be careful about where you order a replacement. The safest option is to go through Samsung and send your Note 2 away for repair, but it is likely to be expensive. Alternatively you could go to a local repair shop, or order replacement glass and try to do it yourself. If you are going to order replacement parts then make sure the source is reputable.
Won’t connect, very slow, or disconnecting from Wi-Fi
Problem: Some users have reported issues trying to connect to Wi-Fi, extremely slow speeds when they do connect, and random disconnecting. Sometimes it appears as though the Wi-Fi is on, but there is no Internet access on the Note 2. This can be down to individual routers and settings, or it can be caused by settings on your Note 2. There are probably various issues here, but the same troubleshooting steps apply.
Solutions: A simple restart of the Wi-Fi works for some people. You can turn Wi-Fi on your Note 2 off and on again. You can also try rebooting the device and your router.
You might want to take a look in Settings > Wi-Fi hit the Menu button again and choose Advanced and then make sure Keep Wi-Fi on during sleep is set to Always. You can also see if the Wi-Fi Timer is on and check your IP address in here.
If you’re on AT&T then check the Smart Wi-Fi app because it can override your device’s settings.
Some people have reported success after a Factory reset, but it does mean reinstalling apps and setting up your device the way you want again.
Can’t turn Wi-Fi off
Problem: Have you been turning Wi-Fi off only for it to turn itself back on again? This is a common issue for Sprint customers and it’s because of the Connections Optimizer.
Solution: You can find the Connections Optimizer by hitting Menu > Settings > More Settings > Mobile Networks and then disable it. You might find that the Connections Optimizer continues to turn itself back on again after you reboot the device.
Workaround: You can tell your Note 2 to forget Wi-Fi networks. If you go to Settings > Wi-Fi you can see available networks and forget them, but you won’t be able to use Wi-Fi until you add one again so it’s far from an ideal fix.
Phone won’t charge
Problem: You’re plugging your Note 2 in via the AC adapter or a USB PC port and you find that it isn’t charging.
Solution: Make sure the Micro USB port on your device is clean. You could try some compressed air to make sure there’s no dust in there blocking the connection. You could also reboot the device and try again. Some users are reporting that it works perfectly after a reboot, although that’s obviously not a good long term solution. If it’s not blocked and the problem keeps reoccurring after a reboot then contact Samsung.
Device takes too long to charge
Problem: Instead of charging in two or three hours as it should, some people have found that the Note 2 is taking much longer to charge.
Solution: Make sure you are using the correct 2A rated charger. The Samsung one that ships with the device is the most efficient in terms of speed. Try another 2A charger just in case the supplied charger is the culprit. If there’s no improvement you may have a faulty battery and it’s probably best to contact Samsung.
Sound while charging
Problem: A lot of people have complained about a buzzing or hissing sound while the Note 2 is charging. Apparently this is due to the charger and it’s normal. It is possibly more noticeable with the Note 2 because it is sucking down a lot of juice.
Solution: You could charge it via a USB PC port, but unless your PC is super quiet that won’t help and it will take much longer to charge. You could also try a different charger. A lower-rated charger will charge the device more slowly, but it should also make less noise.
Workaround: Charge it in a different room so the noise doesn’t bother you. It’s not ideal, but if typically charge at night and it’s keeping you awake then it might be the best idea.
Fast battery drain
Problem: A lot of people have complained about the Note 2 battery discharging surprisingly quickly. Obviously, the more you use it and the more features you have turned on, the faster the battery will drain. If you’ve got GPS and mobile data turned off and you aren’t using your Note 2 much and it still drains the battery a lot then there are other things you can try. Start by going to Settings > Battery and see what is eating most of the power.
Solutions: Some people encountered an issue related to Google Maps, for some it was other Google services. Google does release bug fixes in updates. Make sure that you have the latest Android update via Settings > About device > Software update > Update.
Go into Settings and then scroll down to Accounts and turn off, or reduce the frequency of automatic syncing.
Some people reported success when they removed their microSD card from the Note 2. If you remove the card and the fast battery drain problems seems to be gone, then back up the contents on your computer, and then reinsert the card in your Note 2, then format it, before copying the contents back over.
It’s quite possible that a rogue app is eating your battery (it should show up listed in the Battery screen, but it might be a process name rather than the app name). You could always try booting your Note 2 into safe mode. If there are no problems in safe mode, then you can safely assume it’s an app and start trying to identify it by removing apps one by one, or backing up and performing a factory reset and then reinstalling them one by one. To boot into safe mode: hold down the power button and select Power off > OK. Press and hold the power button until the Samsung logo appears, then let go and press and hold the volume down key, keep holding it until safe mode appears.
Problem: Some Note 2 owners have found that their contacts occasionally disappear. The contact info will be gone, and previously received calls and texts will just display the number, as though it is an unknown contact.
Solutions: This could be caused by an app. There was an issue with an app called Call Control and other call filter or blocker apps could cause similar problems.
You should make sure that all of the apps that you are syncing contacts from are up to date. Go into the Contacts app and tap Menu and then Accounts to see a list and your sync settings.
Go into the Contacts app and tap Menu and then Contacts to display and decide where you want to display contacts from.
Sometimes duplicate contacts from multiple sources can cause problems. It might be worth choosing a primary contacts repository, making sure it lists all the contacts you want, and then turning off the other sources. You could also try the Contacts Sync Fix app.
Other Note 2 issues
That’s it for now, but if you’re experiencing any other problems with your Note 2 or you want to offer up some tips or solutions then please post a comment.
Updated on 8-26-2013 by Simon Hill: Added fast battery drain and contacts disappearing problems with possible solutions.
Article originally published 12-13-2012.