That's right, when you enter the store as a customer, it's important to know that what matters is which device will serve your needs better, not which is the better device as a whole. As a matter of fact, this idea holds the answer to the question in the title. You see, it's always hard to choose the "better device" among two similar offerings. In most cases, it so happens that one phone will be a better option of a particular group of users, while the other will be better for another type of consumers. We think the situation is pretty much the same here. Not all smartphone users will make the right choice by purchasing the Note II, or the S III. So, how are we going to figure out who should get a Galaxy Note II, and who should get a Galaxy S III? Well, let's just look at what's different between the two and think about what those differences translate to with regards to user experience!
Size and weight
The same goes for the weight. If you have a comfortable way of carrying your phone, that the Note II is a bit heavier isn't something that should bother you. On the other hand, you may not want to pull your jeans up every few minutes, because the Note is bringing them down with its significant weight.
The Samsung Galaxy Note II is all about the large, 5.5" screen (and the S Pen, but more on that in a while). The larger screen means that you'll feel more comfortable when browsing the web, watching movies or playing games. However, if you don't do all of your computing on your handset, we think that the sizable 4.8" display of the Galaxy S III will be perfectly sufficient.
So, it actually depends on how much you use your mobile device and for what. For most things, the S III will get the job done perfectly, but if you happen to be a really heavy user, almost to the point that you're ready to replace your computer with a phone, then it's probably worth it to consider the Note II, with its even larger and software which geared more towards multitasking.
Processor and RAM
At first glance, both devices utilize the same Exynos 4412 processor, but if you look closer, you'll notice that the one in the Galaxy Note II is clocked a bit higher at 1.6GHz, compared to the 1.4GHz CPU of the GS III. Having in mind the same screen resolutions of the devices, this should translate into a slightly better performance on the Note II, but we don't believe there will be much of a visible difference, as the Galaxy S III is already perfectly smooth.
The Note II will also come with more RAM - 2GB, instead of 1GB in the GS III. However, keep in mind that the U.S. versions of the Galaxy S III are equipped with 2GB RAM, so this difference won't be valid there. Internationally, though, the Note II should be the better handset if you plan to multitask a lot. And we mean really heavy multitasking with some serious apps.
Also internationally, the Note II should, theoretically, be capable of achieving higher data speeds, due to its HSPA+ 42.2 Mbit/s down radio. The international Galaxy S III can "only" go as high as 21.1 Mbit/s down, but in really, you probably won't experience a notable difference, because there are other factors that have bigger effects on your data connection than the exact characteristics of the radio (when the differences in those characteristics aren't that big, that is). Overall, we wouldn't consider this an important factor.
In the U.S., all Galaxy S III versions have LTE, and T-Mobile's one supports HPSA+ 42.2 Mbit/s, so there won't be a difference compared to the Note II.
It looks like there isn't anything else to substantially differentiate these two products. We're pretty sure that both devices will receive future software updates, but if there turns out to be a better supported device in this respect, it will probably be the Galaxy S III, being Samsung's more mainstream model. At the end of the day, choosing which model to buy can be a tough task, but if you really think about the points that we outlined above, the answer to which handset will be right for you should soon be clear.
So, do you plan to purchase any of these handsets; which one? If not, what's it that you're eying?