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Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Review: If S3 Had Superpowers

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We’re wading into the fray with our own review of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 – is it a glorified Samsung Galaxy S3, or is it a great phone on its own? Let’s see.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 does look like a big Galaxy S3 – huge screen, rounded corners and a thin bezel. It has a home button in the middle, as well as touch buttons along the sides for home and for menu. It’s a choice of marble white or titanium grey. A lot of people pooh-poohed the original Note, saying that it’d never become a popular day-to-day phone, but despite its size it did sell well. The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is 5.5” – not that much bigger than the first Note – and it has a 16:9 ratio which makes watching films brilliant.

Big-handed people will be just fine with this device, but even they will want a Bluetooth headset for long calls, as it will get uncomfortable on your fingers and passer-by’s eyes.

The Note 2 also has much better hardware than the Samsung Galaxy S3 – a 1.6GHz quad-core Exynos chip allied to 2GB of RAM. The US Samsung Galaxy S3 has 2GB of RAM too, but it’s only dual core.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 battery is bigger too – it’s up to 3,100mAh from 2,500mAh. This means 12 hours of talk despite LTE and the big screen. The Samsung Galaxy S3 only gives a bit more talk, and both phones clunk out after seven hours of looped video, so the big body of the Note 2 doesn’t necessarily mean many more trips to the charger.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 has 16GB of internal storage – expandable up to 80GB with SD, and it runs on Jelly Bean. With four cores and Project Butter, you’re in for a smooth and zippy ride here – it’s much faster than an ICS Samsung Galaxy S3 at launching apps and smooth screen transitions.

S-Pen has been revamped for the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, so that it’s more ergonomic. There’s a small amount of friction, so it feels almost like writing on paper (remember paper?). Once the stylus is unleashed, you’re good to go, and you will love Air View, a widget that lets you preview content like emails and so on, just by hovering the pen over them. There’s also Easy Clip, which lets you crop images and then share or transfer them.

Even better than S-Pen are the multi-tasking windows. You can run two apps at the same time on a split screen, and you can also adjust the size of each screen independently of the other.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 has changed the phablet game, and it’s selling really well. Some may still go for the Samsung Galaxy S3 because it’s smaller, but they’ll be sacrificing some great features and hardware. Don’t write off the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 because it’s big – give S-Pen and the extra powers of the Note 2 a day in court – you may well be converted.

Alex customizes his cars and smartphones like its going out of fashion. Jumping between Korean and American, not only does Alex provide in-depth reviews but he usually hangs on to the models for some “real world testing” weeks at a time.