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Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Review: A Souped Up S3, With A Sword

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The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 has finally made it across the pond to the US and it looks just like a super-sized Galaxy S3. So was the handset really worth the wait?

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 comes with the same looks as the S3; these include the rounded corners and the thin bezel. The home button is located in the centre of the device at the bottom and this is flanked by two other touch buttons. You can choose the device in marble white or titanium grey.

There is no getting away from the fact that the Note 2 is very big. This does leave you asking yourself if it would be suitable as an everyday handset. The screen comes in at 5.5 inches, but thanks to the thin bezel, the display doesn’t look much bigger than that on the original Note or the Samsung Galaxy S3. The screen ratio is 16:9 and this is the perfect aspect for movie watching on the Super AMOLED display.

While those individuals with large hands won’t have issues with the size of the device, you may want to get a headset if you like to talk for long periods at a time, as the device can get heavy when holding it up.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 comes packed with hardware that has seen improvements over the S3. It comes with a quad core processor of 1.6GHz and it has 2GB of RAM. In the US the Samsung Galaxy S3 has the dual core processor and 2GB of RAM, while internationally is has a quad core and 1GB of RAM. This means that the device doesn’t have the best of both worlds with a quad core and 2GB, its one or the other, whereas the Note 2 offers both.

When it comes to storage the device is available in 16GB and you can add on an SD card that can essentially take the device up to 80GB. It comes with Jelly Bean and Project Butter, so you can expect it to be fast and smooth. The Note 2 is faster than the S3 running ICS, which we tested using the web browser and playing YouTube videos recently.

The battery on the device has been improved to a 3100mAh, compared to the 2500mAh. This means that on average you can expect to get up to 12 hours of playback, even with a large screen and LTE. The back camera is 8 megapixels and the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 also has a camera of 1.9 on the front. The battery life came in at just under the battery life of the S3, which lasted 7 hours when a looped video was played and Wi-Fi was turned on.

The S Pen has been redesigned and comes with features that have been improved. The stylus not only feels better in the hand, it now feels as though you are writing on paper. It supports Easy Clip, for clipping photos and sharing them, Air View, which allows a quick preview of messages and video and Quick Command.

While the S Pen is superb, it is the multi-windows that take the title of the best feature as you can run two apps in separate windows and re-size these independently.

In the world of phablets Samsung have reinvented the Galaxy Note 2 and it will be a game changer. Despite it having a large display, it will become a best-seller. However some will still prefer the more manageable display of the Samsung Galaxy S3. But the S3 does fall behind the Note 2 on paper. The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is bigger, more powerful and has a sword S-Pen over the S3.

Mike is the man who reviews gadgets that aren’t mainstream or products that can’t exactly be classified as consumer electronics e.g. portable talking toilets. It’s always interesting to read about the crazy products we have here in Asia that just don’t get as much publicity as they warrant.