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Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Review: Don’t Call It A Big S3

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The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is out and about, and it’s like a revved-up version of the Samsung Galaxy S3, so what is this biggest handset on the market like, exactly?

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review

The Note 2 does look just like the S3 – a thin bezel, rounded corners, big screen. There’s also a home button in the middle and touch buttons – one for menu, one for home – along the sides.

The size of the first Samsung Galaxy Note surprised people, and many thought it wouldn’t make it as a day-to-day phone. The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is 5.5”, but with the thin bezel, so it’s not much bigger in pocket terms. The screen aspect is 16:9, so it is amazing to watch films on this Super AMOLED display. You get to choose marble white or titanium grey.

If you have big hands you’ll get along fine with the Note 2. You will need a Bluetooth handset, though, as it gets uncomfortable to heft this device to your ear for any length of time if you find yourself in extended calls frequently.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 features are amazing – a 1.6GHz quad-core Exynos chip and 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage that can be boosted by another 64GB of SD add-on. It has Jelly Bean and you will, thanks to Project Butter and the quad-core chip, go mad for the speed. It certainly feels smoother than the Samsung Galaxy S3 on ICS.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 has a 3,100mAh battery – the original Note had a 2,500mAh one. This gives you 12 hours talk time, as well as supporting LTE and the bigger screen. There’s also an 8MP rear and 1.9MP front camera. Battery life tests show that the Note 2 performs just a bit less than the S3 at around seven hours (Wi-Fi-only with web video playing).

The S-Pen has been redesigned and made more ergonomic. The stylus tip gives a bit of friction and it feels like writing on real paper. As soon as the stylus is out of its dock it’s ready to go. You’ll also love Airview, Quick Command and Easy Clip. Easy Clip means you can crop images, and then share them or transfer them to different apps. Airview allows you to preview messages or videos by hovering the stylus over them as well.

S-Pen is fab, and all that, but the real draw here (sorry for the pun) is the multi-tasking windows. Samsung has revolutionized Android multi-tasking with this feature, and hopefully it’ll become platform-wide. You can run two apps at the same time on a split screen and even adjust the size of each window independently.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 will rewrite the phablet story. It’s an amazing gadget and will sell loads despite its size. Some people will still go for the Samsung Galaxy S3 because it’s smaller, but they’ll have to accept that it has smaller charisma and fewer features, too. So before you think this is just an overgrown S3, check out the stylus pen and extra features, you may be surprised.

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.