Allow me give you my opinion on this. I strongly believe the Note 2 is a remarkable device for the following reasons and I would still chose it over any other phones.
- It still has one of the best battery life of Samsung devices. I know... the Note 3 has 100mah more but that doesn't suffice, having a 1080p screen, more pixels means more drainage. Also, it has a more powerful octa-core processor (a nice pro) but again with great power comes even greater battery drainage, remember that.... lol The Knox app components which constantly guards the phone from illegal privileged access is also a resource hog (RAM) and hiders the phone even more (coming from 4.3 I have that experience). Take a look at the Huawei Ascend Mate 2, they are doing it correctly... keeping 720p resolution (which is dense enough imo) and a gigantic 4050mah, make it the longest running phone (not tablet) on the market at the time of this writing.
- The screen is 720p, as I discussed already has its benefits on battery, furthermore, it is the only flagship device by Samsung that isn't pentile. This means full RGB sub-pixel for every single pixel. It is a true-HD display. While its not as dense as other phones, it still can hold its ground very well. I am scared for the note 4, Samsung will make it a 2k display, instead of focusing on what really matters. 2k on screens below 7inches is a waste of technology. 10-12 inch tablet with 2k displays and larger batteries, now you are talking.
- It is made polycarbonate plastic, as with all Samsung phones, can be regarded as a pro. As CPUs get faster it generates more heat. Metals heat very quickly and can make you feel uncomfortable when holding while running CPU-intensive tasks. I think even though metals can dissipate heat well, if run too long it, exposes the internals to heat and wear the internals faster. But one definite pro of polycarbonate is improved reception, I assure you, along with other benefits, naturally scratch resistant, lighter, and more durable. When I look at a phone, I don't care for "premium feel", I care for quality of operation.
- Lastly, camera. Sadly, I must admit the Note 2 doesn't have the top optics, as it improves rapidly with technology. But after lots and lots of reading and comparing, I found that the Galaxy S4 has produces the best quality/sharpness/color IHMO, bar NONE (not even Lumia 1020 which captures more detail, but fails at color reproduction). The Note 2 does inherit the S4's color reproduction traits, so that's good. But the best all-rounder (ie. in low light, good light, night mode etc) I have to give it to Iphone 5s. Well done Apple, even if you do not belong here. lol
Video strangely doesn't fall into the same category as photo, as the S4 gives murky, blurry 1080p videos. For the best video I nominate the S5 at 4k, clear even when zoomed in at the slightest detail, thanks to 16MP camera. This is improvement from what used to be the best, Note 3, which is blurred when zoomed in. No, optical image stabilization sadly, but that comes later. Even so the Note 2, doesn't slouch and gives its best in both categories. It also produces the loudest audio, and all devices after the S4 has poor speaker sound quality.
So, there you have it, my long explanation
of why I would still choose the Note 2 over S4, Note 3, or S5, even if it breaks now. Samsung really hit the nail on the head when it made the S3/Note 2 generation, and I hope they will again someday. Was the very best, make history, and set a good example for generations to follow.