Besides being awesome, the apps listed below had to meet two criteria. First, they had to either benefit from something unique to the Galaxy Note 2, like the S Pen. Second, they had to be apps that weren’t included with the Note 2 by default, because that would be kind of boring. With that out of the way, let’s move on to the first app.
The first app on our list serves two main purposes. The first is to help people who don’t know how to draw learn to do so. The second is to allow those who do know how to draw to help those who don’t.
The main menu screen of Sketch ‘Em gives you three options: Drawing Lessons, Free Sketching or Creator Mode. Drawing Lessons and Free Sketching are pretty self explanatory. Creator Mode allows you to create and upload your own drawing lessons for other users of the app.
While it isn’t likely to make a world-class artist out of someone like me who can’t draw, Sketch ‘Em is an app that is both useful and fun. While it can be used with any device running Android 4.0.3 and up, it is optimized for the S Pen, and the screen on the Note 2 provides plenty of room for sketching.
Looking around at apps that are optimized for the S Pen and the Galaxy Note series, you will inevitably run into a lot of note taking apps. Note is right there in the devices’ names after all. While they all have pluses and minuses, my current favorite is Papyrus.
As the name hints, Papyrus has an interface designed to make it look like you’re writing on actual paper. The app is heavily optimized for the S Pen, and will tie in with the Galaxy Note 2 so that only input from the S Pen is recognized. This allows you to write with the S Pen and delete entire phrases with a swipe of your finger, which is one of the coolest features I’ve seen in an app of this type.
Papyrus is a free download, but in-app purchases are available to add extra functionality like PDF export and the ability to upload your notes to Dropbox and other services.
Far and away the most sophisticated app on this list, Photo Desk is a photo organizer and image editor that takes advantage of many features of not just the S Pen, but Note 2 exclusive features like split-screen.
It is easy to select multiple files and drag and drop them between folder and adding text and audio to images is a breeze. Hovering over files or folders with the S Pen will bring up an information bubble, and pressing the S Pen button while hovering will produce a contextual pop-up menu. Still, we haven’t even gotten to one of the coolest features yet.
One of Photo Desk’s three different view modes is Map Mode, which will show where pictures where taken via integrated Google Maps. This makes finding and organizing things like vacation photos much easier than it is in many other apps.
Now that you’ve built up your artistic skills with Sketch ‘Em, it’s time to put them in motion. Literally. FlipaClip is a simple app that allows you to create flipbook-style animations.
There is no simple automatic animation here—you need to draw every frame of animation by hand. Luckily, each frame will show an outline of the previous frame for you to draw over. While this sounds tedious, and sometimes is, when you watch your finished animation play out, there is a feeling of satisfaction that makes it worth .
You can play your animation at any time while you create it, and once you’re finished, you can render it and upload it to services like Facebook, Google+ and most other services that you can share to in Android.
At least one game needed to be included on this list, and while many games out there work well with the Galaxy Note 2 and the S Pen, I figured it would be better to include a game specifically built for use with the S Pen.
To get started with Scribble Racer, simply select your difficulty (Easy, Normal or Hard) and place the S Pen on the screen. After a quick countdown, the screen begins to scroll, and your goal is to avoid the walls while collecting stars, fruit and candy, all of which fill up a meter that allows you to press the S Pen button to slow down briefly.
As you continue to draw your line, the game moves faster and faster, which quickly ramps up the intensity. For a game that looks and plays so simply, it is surprisingly addictive.
This is obviously far from a cut-and-dried list. These five apps are just a handful of the available apps that take advantage of features unique to the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. Surely, you’re going to have your own favorite apps for the Note 2, and we’d love to hear what they are in the comments below.