The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is here, looking like a souped-up version of the Samsung Galaxy S3 – but is it? What’s it really like?
Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 does look a lot like the Galaxy S3 – rounded corners, thin bezel, massive screen. There’s also a home button in the middle and touch buttons on the sides – one for home, one for menu. It comes in marble white and titanium grey.
The size of the first Galaxy Note got many people thinking that it wouldn’t cut it as a day-to-day phone. The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is 5.5”, but isn’t much bigger than its predecessor thanks to the thin bezel. The 16:9 screen ratio makes watching films a joy when combined with the larger Super AMOLED display as well.
If you’ve got big hands you’ll have no problems with the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 – but get a Bluetooth headset, as it’s uncomfortable to hold this phone to your ear for long periods of time. Heavy callers take note!
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 hardware is a step up over the Galaxy S3 as well – a 1.6GHz quad-core Exynos chip and 2GB of RAM. Now in the US the S3 is dual-core with 2GB RAM while internationally it is quad-core with 1GB RAM. So the Note 2 manages to combine quad-core and 2GB RAM in one unlike the S3.
There’s 16GB of internal storage too, which can be upped to 80GB by SD max. It runs on Jelly Bean and thanks to Project Butter and the quad-core chip, you’ll be blown away by the speed and smoothness. It’s way niftier than the Verizon Samsung Galaxy S3 model we pitted it against but it should be noted that the latter was running Ice Cream Sandwich.
There’s a 3,100mAh battery – up from the 2,500mAh battery in the first Note. This means 12 hours of talk time, as well as LTE and a bigger screen. There’s an 8MP rear and a 1.9MP front snapper. Tests on battery life show that the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 performs only slightly under the Samsung Galaxy s3, at seven hours on Wi-Fi and looped video.
The S-Pen has been improved – the stylus has been made more ergonomic. It also offers some friction so you feel like you’re actually writing on paper. As soon as you get the stylus out, it’s good to go. Airview, Quick Command and Easy Clip will prove popular, too. Easy Clip lets you crop images and then transfer them to different apps or share them. Airview means you can preview messages and videos by hovering over them with the stylus.
S-Pen is just great, but the real stunner is the multi-tasking windows. Samsung has rewritten Android multi-tasking with this widget, and it should go platform-wide. You can run two apps simultaneously on a split screen, and you can adjust the size of each window independently of the other.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 will change the phablet game. It’ll sell in droves despite its size. However many will still go for the Samsung Galaxy S3 because it’s smaller, but they’ll have to put up with fewer features and smaller charm, too. So, before you write it off (heh heh) as an over-sized Samsung Galaxy S3, look at the stylus pen, more powerful hardware and extra features. You may well be drawn in.