Samsung Galaxy Note II vs Galaxy Note
The Note II not only sports the newest Nature UX of Samsung with its Smart Stay, Pop Up Play and AllShare Cast streaming features, which we discussed in our Galaxy S III review, but it also comes with Jelly Bean out of the box.
Just this fact alone puts it in a league above the original Note, which is at Android ICS now, since Google’s 60fps UI Project Butter makes the interface fast as a shark in Jelly Bean, not to mention the stellar natural voice recognition that comes with Android 4.1, and which Samsung kindly lets you prefer before its S Voice solution in your voice searches.
S Pen apps:
The stylus in the Note II is much improved in comparison with the original - it has a more ergonomic grip now, and the new technology inside allows you to leave faster and smoother ink trace. The default S Note app offers very similar options, though, apart from the presence of some new templates.
Moreover, the S Pen has learned new tricks now, too, with the most intriguing one being Air View, which brings up previews of emails, image galleries and videos by hovering the stylus over them, or simply tells you what this or that button does with a pop-up label. In the S Planner calendar app, Air View makes the appointments pop, so they are now readable much easier if you have a crowded schedule..
The S Pen button now tells the device that selected content is to be copied or edited, and there is an Easy Clip feature to outline and crop while holding it. The cropped region than can easily be sent via email or inserted in a note, or simply put into the clipboard for later use.
Another stellar application of the S Pen is that pulling it out during a phone call evokes the S Note app. Not only you can quickly jot down addresses and other trivia from the caller, but make gestures on the screen, too, to do things such as initiating calls and bringing up emails.
Processor and memory:
The Galaxy Note II sports a 1.6 GHz quad-core Exynos 4412 processor, compared to the 1.4GHz dual-core Exynos in the first Note. The main difference between the two is not the higher frequency or the extra two cores of the Note II, but the die shrink, as its Exynos is made with the frugal 32nm process, compared to the 45nm one in the Note, making it perform much better with the same or less power consumption. The Mali-400 GPU that both share, has been overclocked in the case of the Note II, so the graphics performance is much better, too.
We have double the Note’s 1GB of RAM memory in the Note II, and the same starting 16GB amount of internal memory - about 10GB are user-available in the Note II, whereas we have 11GB free on the Note.
In any case, when we couple the more powerful processor and double the RAM memory with Android Jelly Bean’s interface optimizations, the Note II beats its predecessor in UI fluidity and app performance hands-down.
Internet and Connectivity:
The Nature UX browser is very optimized, and powered by a much stronger processor on the Note II, so it is naturally more fluid than the one on the Note, which is no slouch either. However, with mobile Chrome in Jelly Bean we are losing Adobe Flash support, and there are quite a few websites that can’t be enjoyed fully, or at all, without Adobe’s piece of software, which the ICS browser on the Note supports.
The Galaxy Note II has the advantage to offer its quad-core chip coupled with an LTE radio, instead of the dual-core Snapdragons Samsung resorted to for that task in the US before, so you get the excellent Exynos 4412 paired to a 100Mbits LTE radio, compared to the 21Mbits HSPA+ support of the original Note, which the Note II also has. These speeds are, of course, theoretical, and depend on your carrier network, but we are glad that processor fragmentation ends with the Note II.
Both handsets sport a variety of radios, like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth (the frugal 4.0 in the case of the Note II), A-GPS, DLNA, and NFC, using the versatile MHL port for wired connectivity.
1. nbringer (Posts: 180; Member since: 11 Sep 2012)
Somehow I like the design of Note I better.
7. bobfreking55 (Posts: 866; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)
no. iPhone 5!
meh just joking. hahaha. you'll see the iPhone 5S pack another redesign with a 5.5" display and say they innovated it.
rather, I like the Note 2's "brushed aluminum" design but I don't like its glossy feel. I prefer the Note 1's textured back.
15. OptimusOne (Posts: 694; Member since: 22 May 2012)
a 5.5 display would actually be nice. they might innovate the icon grid again too...
and use wierd resolutions to achieve that perfect "326" retina display picture quality
11. Hammerfest (Posts: 378; Member since: 12 May 2012)
I do as well... but probably for different reasons...
(down with 16:9!)
18. LaserTed (Posts: 9; Member since: 07 Dec 2011)
I do too. I don't like that they share the touchwiz nature UX with the gs3. Notice all the wasted space at the bottom of the screen above the dock? They also won't allow you to put 5 widgets across the home screen. It's nothing major, but if it weren't for lack of perfomance and S pen features I would almost rather go for the original Note.
25. abrinson (Posts: 2; Member since: 27 Sep 2012)
I agree, I love the extra room the additional vertical column on the original Note gives you. Does anyone know if it'll be possible to get that extra real estate on the Note II?
3. ogtomasx (Posts: 43; Member since: 25 Aug 2012)
Note 2 is the real deal this phone is the greatest phone this year don't miss out on it... I'm going top get it release day hell yeaaaa Babyyyyyyyyyyyyy...... Quad-Core
4. doejon (Posts: 386; Member since: 31 Jul 2012)
phone of the year 2012 SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE 2
5. Gadgety (Posts: 132; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)
OK, so the Note II is better than the Note I. The key question for me is, should I get the Note II or pay half for the Note I? Is the new twice as good? Apt-x (PHONEARENA YOU MISSED THAT!) and LTE really are the key improvements to me.
9. McLTE (Posts: 744; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)
Only you can answer that question. Did you even read the review??
It's pretty obvious to me that the NoteII is FAR better than the original version. I would not even remotely consider getting the original Note with what is coming with the Note 2.
27. Gadgety (Posts: 132; Member since: 03 Sep 2012)
What makes you think I didn't read the review - did I miss the apt-x reference? Daniel P wanted to know our thoughts, and I shared mine.
8. bobfreking55 (Posts: 866; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)
PA, your battery conclusions for the Gnote2 are all the same, please update when Samsung releases some details.
I would also like to ask how well the battery is using Wi-Fi.
10. redsox420 (Posts: 90; Member since: 27 Aug 2012)
@ gadgety.. Get the Note 2.. Reason being, it comes with a Quad core and straight out the box with JB.. The Note 1 may not be able to handle much higher than KLP (key lime pie) or Lollipop (2 next versions of Android)
Note 1 will have limitations sooner than the Note 2..
I hear Google may actually be naming their Android OS versions after Cannabis strains from now on. So K will be for King Kush and L will be for Lemon Skunk, M for Mako Haze, N is Northern Lights #5, O is Obama Kush and P is Purple Diesel, etc.
16. Android4u (Posts: 456; Member since: 16 Aug 2012)
Damn. Your post makes me wanna fire up a bowl lol.
26. redsox420 (Posts: 90; Member since: 27 Aug 2012)
Hell yeah.. Just did awhile ago.. No passing.. Just Puffing lol
12. speckledapple (Posts: 892; Member since: 29 Sep 2011)
You can tell that they really did improve the device in the second interation. Very good.
13. 1ceTr0n (Posts: 545; Member since: 20 May 2012)
Won't be able to sell my Note 1 fast enough come Nov
14. 1ceTr0n (Posts: 545; Member since: 20 May 2012)
Wait a minute, wheres the damn notification LED? Did Sammy leave that out AGAIN???
17. doejon (Posts: 386; Member since: 31 Jul 2012)
its under the "skin" ;-) dont worry there is a notification led :-)
19. k1ng617 (Posts: 264; Member since: 13 Oct 2009)
Thanks for the comparison! I'm now sold. I love my Note, but what good is a phone if I can't use it as a phone in all places?! The earpiece and loudspeaker are atrocious on it! And the best thing is I will have 3 (because I can't stand AT&T service near me) providers to choose from.
20. richardyarrell2011 (banned) (Posts: 510; Member since: 16 Mar 2011)
Yes Sir, Ready to get my Galaxy Note 2 on day one of launch. I love my Galaxy S3...
21. bigdawg23 (Posts: 414; Member since: 25 May 2011)
Since when is 7 hours stellar battery life? I have a Note 1 and no chance of making it through a day. I always have to plug it in. Start taking calls and it will drop 5% increments over 15 minute periods. Last week on a teleconference it went from 90% to 60% in just over 1 hour 45 minutes. Battery life dwindles even faster in LTE areas.
22. Althorius (Posts: 23; Member since: 25 Sep 2012)
The battery is replaceable though. I'm sure there will be some massive aftermarket battery available, or if u are really a power user u can just carry a spare! Gotta love this phone, hands down the best phone I've ever seen.
23. tiara6918 (Posts: 1909; Member since: 26 Apr 2012)
Note 2 obviously wins here. The best smartphone ever created by samsung!
24. AnnDroid (Posts: 53; Member since: 02 Aug 2011)
A great speaker?? Thank you. This was a deal breaker for me! Very happy.
28. techviral (banned) (Posts: 3; Member since: 04 Oct 2012)
Read latest review about samsung galaxy note II here
it covers all the main features of note II and also software and hardware specification.
29. Hovhannes (Posts: 2; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)
awesome phone but too big to hold it in your hand and make it fell good...QUAD CORE!!!
30. AnnDroid (Posts: 53; Member since: 02 Aug 2011)
I am happy to say, that after 8 days of owning this phone, I am overboard happy with it. Not too large and I'm a petite lady. Loud and quality sounding speaker. Great battery life. AllShare is too much fun. Google Now is enough to buy the phone. The very best phone I've ever owned and I'm a HTC fan. Never liked Samsung or their TouchWiz UI. However, they have improved over the years and now I see no reason to leave TouchWiz.
32. verty (Posts: 115; Member since: 07 May 2012)
Hardware wise I so much prefer the note 1. For me the note 2 is too slim and it will not allow for 5 icons. Also there is too much wasted space and for me its as if the interface is crammed. but for software upgrade I would gladly stay with my note 1. Alas I have to give in and give my note 1 to my wife who is not a tech geek at all but likes the note 1 because I always praised the note 1 when i was using it. I just could not stop praising my note 1. Its the best phone ever!!!!! kudos Sammy!!!! Already i miss my note 1, now I have to scroll sideways when i read my gmails. With the note1 the email fit my screen and i did no right and left scrolling. Sammy should look into this and make corrections.
33. speculatrix (Posts: 3; Member since: 14 Apr 2012)
install novalauncher instead. seriously, it makes much better use of the home page pixels.