To root my Samsung Galaxy Note II or not to root, that is the question

Two years ago I got my HTC EVO 4G. Before I even had the money to buy it on December 26, 2010, I had read all about it on Good and EVO. I knew that I wanted to root it, and I had all the files and XDA threads bookmarked so I could do so as soon as possible.

There were a few reasons that I wanted to root it: First, the WiFi hotspot. I wasn’t about to pay Sprint $30 a month for a feature that I could get for free simply by rooting my phone. Looking back on the last two years, I can see that I used that feature a lot. My wife has a laptop, and on long trips we would turn on the WiFi hotspot and she could happily surf the web as we were driving (well, until Sprint’s 3G signal inevitably dropped out on us). I’m very glad I rooted my phone, if only to get the free hotspot.

But that wasn’t the only reason I rooted. I also wanted to be able to get rid of all the bloatware that came on my phone. Since the EVO was a flagship phone, Sprint loaded it up with bloat. But the day I got my phone, all that bloat was gone and I didn’t have to worry about seeing the little notification telling me I was out of space.

I was also all about customizing my phone. I mean, the whole reason I bought an Android phone was that so I could customize the heck out of it, right? And customize it I did. From ROMs to kernels to launchers to icons – you name it, I customized it. XDA became my most visited site, and I was learning so much. I learned the basics of nandroid backups and how to add a customized boot animation. I even went so far as to change out the word “Sprint” on my lock screen so that it said “Bryan’s Phone” using QPST.

Another reason to root my EVO was to get better battery life. I didn’t want an extended battery, nor did I want to deal with multiple batteries. Rooting allowed me to load custom ROMs that removed the bloat that would suck my battery dry. I could also switch out the kernel for one that was more battery-friendly.

But what about my Samsung Galaxy Note II? I have now had it for over four weeks. I have thought about rooting it, but haven’t come to a definitive answer yet. I would love to get rid of the bloatware on my phone, but it’s not as important to remove as it was on the severely space-limited EVO. Nor is the battery as much of an issue. If you read my review, you would see that the battery on the Note II is way more than enough to get me through my day, plus part of another if need be.

What would I lose by rooting it? In the few articles I’ve written so far about my Note II, I mention a lot of the really cool features that Samsung has added into its software. Would I lose any of those cool features by rooting?

Would rooting allow me to customize some things to remove some of the minor annoyances I have with the phone? I just talked about how great the camera on the Note II is. Rooting would allow me to remove the minor annoyance that is the shutter sound.  But I’m worried about adding some new annoyances just by rooting.

At this point I am open to rooting, but haven’t decided on going ahead with it quite yet. I would love to hear if you have an opinion on me rooting my Note II one way or the other. Let me know what you think in the comments below.

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Bryan Faulkner

Bryan Faulkner is a former associate editor at Pocketables. He loves to find new ways to use his tablets while working as the Tech Director at his local church. Mixing sound from the iPad is his newest obsession. He currently has a pair of HP TouchPads, an iPad 2, a decommissioned HTC EVO 4G, and a Samsung Galaxy Note II to tinker with.