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Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Review: More Than A Grownup S3

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The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is here at last. It looks like a bigger Samsung Galaxy S3, but is that all there is to it? Let’s see.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

It does look like the Samsung Galaxy S3, with a huge screen, a thin bezel and rounded corners. There’s also a home button in the middle and touch buttons on the sides, one for menu, one for home. You can choose from marble white and titanium grey.

The original Samsung Galaxy Note size meant that many people dismissed it as a day-to-day phone when it was announced. However it ended up being a sales success much to the surprise of critics. At 5.5-inches, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is not much bigger than the original Note thanks to the thin bezel. The 16:9 screen ratio is amazing for films, especially when you consider the massive display.

If your hands are big you’ll be OK with the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, but do get a Bluetooth headset if you’re into making frequent long calls as it can get uncomfortable to hold this beast up to your ear for any length of time.

The Samsung Galaxy hardware is an improvement on the S3, too. There’s a 1.6GHz quad-core Exynos chip and 2GB of RAM. In the US, the Samsung Galaxy S3 is dual-core with 2GB of RAM, and internationally it’s quad-core with 1GB. The Note 2 has both 2GB of RAM and quad-cores.

The 16GB of internal storage can be increased to 80GB with an SD card. It runs on 4.1 Jelly Bean, and the quad-core chip and Project Butter give it amazing speed and smoothness. It was noticeably faster than the S3 which is on ICS of course.

The 3,100mAh battery is bigger than the 2,500mAh battery in the first Note. This gives 12 hours of talk, as well as running LTE and a bigger screen. There’s an 8MP rear and 1.9MP front camera. Battery life tests reveal that the Samsung Galaxy S3 is only slightly better than the Note 2, at seven hours with Wi-Fi and a looped video. So don’t let its size have you thinking it needs to be charged more often.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 S-Pen has been revamped and made more ergonomic. It gives a bit of friction too, which feels like writing on paper. As soon as the stylus is out of its dock, it’s ready to go. You’ll love Quick Command, Easy Clip and Air View. Easy Clip means you can crop images, then transfer them to another app or share them. Air View lets you preview content like emails and videos by hovering the stylus above them.

S-Pen is brilliant, but by far the best feature is the multi-tasking windows. Samsung has reinvented multi-tasking for Android here. You can run two apps at the same time on a split screen, and you can also adjust each window’s size independently of one another.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2has changed phablets, and it’ll sell well despite its bulk. Samsung already reported that 3 million units have been sold in the past month or so. Some will still plump for the Samsung Galaxy S3 though, as it’s smaller. However, they’ll have to put up with fewer features and less charm. So, before writing it off as a big Samsung Galaxy S3, check out the stylus, extra features and souped-up hardware. You may not be able to resist.

Green, emission free, recyclable… these are the words you usually find in Joshua’s stories. From hybrid cars to intuitive technologies for consumer electronics, Joshua leads our green news stories.