Galaxy Note II or a Galaxy S III? Let us help you decide

Galaxy Note II or a Galaxy S III? Let us help you decide
The Galaxy Note II is a very hot device right now. Samsung has just unveiled it at IFA 2012, and has promised a tolerable October launch. With two hot devices in its line-up, though - the Galaxy S III and soon the Note II - Samsung isn't making it easy for its customers. No doubt there will be a lot of consumers who'll be torn between the two devices, wondering which one is better for them.

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 first and most obvious major difference is in the devices' size and weight. Even though the Galaxy S III isn't really what you'd call a compact device, it's easily dwarfed by the ginormous Note II. If the size of you phone isn't an issue for you, or if you constantly carry a bag, the respectful dimensions of the Galaxy Note II probably won't scare you. However, for those who keep their mobile devices in their pockets, the fact that the GS III is physically smaller is not to be overlooked.

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.

S Pen

Talking about multitasking and such stuff, we can't miss the S Pen as being a major differentiating factor between the two handsets.The Note II's S Pen allows you to do some pretty neat stuff like taking hand-written notes. It also aims to enhance your interaction with the device when executing some specific tasks. If you are a real note-taker, and fancy the idea of using a more natural way of doing it, You should definitely direct your attention towards the Galaxy Note II. Sure, there are all kinds of capacitive styluses that will work with the Galaxy S III, but none of them will come close to the ease of use and accuracy of the S Pen, which uses an entirely different technology to let you type on the capacitive screen.

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.

Data speeds

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?

Related phones

  • Display 5.5" 720 x 1280 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.9 MP front
  • Processor Samsung Exynos 4 Quad, Quad-core, 1600 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3100 mAh(16h 3G talk time)
Galaxy S III
  • Display 4.8" 720 x 1280 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.9 MP front
  • Processor Samsung Exynos 4 Quad, Quad-core, 1400 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2100 mAh(11.60h 3G talk time)



1. xplayer

Posts: 14; Member since: Feb 11, 2012

*GALAXY NOTE II* here i come

9. dr_fajardo12

Posts: 134; Member since: Aug 26, 2012

wp8 here i come ...

11. dickwyn

Posts: 621; Member since: May 07, 2012

i will get the note 2 and a windows phone 8

16. No_Nonsense unregistered

Add Jolla and BB10 for me

21. Ohrules

Posts: 327; Member since: Jun 11, 2012

so you are going with something you have no idea of. Or perhaps, you were just trying to be funny

2. doubler86

Posts: 320; Member since: Jan 26, 2011

I have the Galaxy S III not ready to trade up yet, but I do like a lot of those features that the Note 2 has. I'll stick with my Galaxy S III with my Samsung C Pen...for now lol

3. meloth1991

Posts: 39; Member since: Aug 26, 2012

S3!!! No way i am goin fr galaxy note!!! Its wayyyyy to big fr me

12. zhypher_23

Posts: 195; Member since: Jun 04, 2012

Buy some finger extensions, then buy the note lol :p

4. maxspecs

Posts: 37; Member since: Aug 29, 2012

I prefer the note 2 since it has a LARGE screen and i love that and it seems complete in each of it's specs really.

5. nicholassss

Posts: 368; Member since: May 10, 2012

I want them both equally, first opportunity I have to get a deal on one I'm taking it, doesn't matter which it is.


Posts: 3131; Member since: Jan 12, 2010

As much as I want the Note 2, my Galaxy S3 doesn't feel or look as dwarfed in screen size vs the S2 was to the original Note. Yes the huge battery is a nice plus and you should get nearly Droid Razr Maxx results but charging your phone daily isn't an issue for you, the Galaxy S3 works fine. In honesty, its a touch call, you can't go wrong with either devices. I really think display size is going to be the deciding factor.

7. andro.

Posts: 1999; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

With an upgrade due in the coming months I'm faced with this decision,the HTC one x is also under consideration for me but there has been problems with it :-( The galaxy s3 is the best phone available by a long shot until the note 2 arrives. I'll prob go galaxy note 2 just purely on the beautiful screen size,thats unless some mighty nexii get announced for the Christmas period! One dilemma with the galaxy note 2 is one you get it and get accustomed to its screen size it would be very hard to go back down to say 4.5 - 4.7 screens on the next upgrade phone after it if you didn't get the note 3

8. chocolatebear76

Posts: 123; Member since: Mar 03, 2011

Galaxy note II without a doubt the best in the market for the next 18months

10. jan25

Posts: 470; Member since: Feb 26, 2012

i am not overwhelmed by the Note's specs and the difference in screen size is negligible for me but i might lean towards the Note only for the non Pentile screen of the Note. 2 great phones

13. ayephoner

Posts: 858; Member since: Jun 09, 2009

samsung is using (again?) incredibly cheap parts for some of their devices. ive been looking into a charging port issue im having with my gnex and it seems that this issue is incredibly common and the s3 has started developing similar issues. all trolling aside, i'd seriously consider another brand (android or not). read this verizon help forum thread for many testimonials:

15. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

ok, I'm confused there, some seem to say is a connector issue, some say its a software issue... can you tell me the symptoms? I would love to hear about

27. ayephoner

Posts: 858; Member since: Jun 09, 2009

The phone doesn't recognize a charger (sometimes). When its not on a charger it sometimes shows that it is. It can also lead to fickle battery life. It makes anything battery or charging related very fickle. Without knowledge of the hardware issue, it probably seems like a software issue. That's exactly what I thought at first.

28. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

my bet would be the charging port, and thats quite a big issue there, have you tried a different charger? if you did then it is the charging port, its been a while since I've seen that issue, for how long have you owned the device?

31. ayephoner

Posts: 858; Member since: Jun 09, 2009

it is a port issue. i have tried tons of chargers. only about 15-20% of micro usb chargers work with this phone, even when the port is healthy. i think this is a cash grab move by samsung. The phone was bought on gnex launch day, so its ~9 months old. verizon and samsung know about this issue, but just dont care. they told me it would be warranty issue, but wont honor that due to screen damage. plenty of others are saying verizon wont allow a warranty claim with the same issue.

32. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

I think thats a stupid move.... seems the Verizon Gnex turned out to be quite a fail... too bad to hear that :( thats why Big red is in the bottom of my list, but yeah samsung should try and do something, after all happy customer = more customers

36. ayephoner

Posts: 858; Member since: Jun 09, 2009

yup. i think you might remember how stoked i was for this device and for android 4.0 (and promises of 4.1). im honestly so disappointed, i'll probably be on an iphone with tmo or att in just a few weeks. i get caught up in the trolling as much as anyone on this site, but i really did give android, samsung and vzw as much of a chance as i could. honestly, im broken hearted they couldnt keep my business.

39. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

I honestly think Google should not do deals with Big Red, the only good android thing in there was the OG droid, T-mobile is the best deal I see, and the best customer support I've ever got, I saw many users selling their VRZ Nexus, and buying the Unlocked on T-mobile plan, I don't blame you for feeling bad about your purchase, as I already got Rid of a bad product (overall bad experience) and going back to what I love the most (Android) With the purchase of a Galaxy S3 Exynos International (Hopefully I wont be disappointed) and a N7. you can feel free to ask for feedback any time

41. ayephoner

Posts: 858; Member since: Jun 09, 2009

You're probably going to have the experience I wanted with your s3. I might try something like that. If tmo does have good customer service, I might be running to them.

42. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

what I like about T-mo (when I used it) it was that they have a prepaid non contract service, you like it? you make the hole deal, you don't? sim goes to the drawer and to try Sprint or ATT.... and i think its quite nice plus you have all your services(*cough* wallet on Big Red *cough*), who knows maybe T-mobile Sells the New iPhone too!

48. savezo007

Posts: 41; Member since: Aug 12, 2012

it might just be the verizon gnex maybe the globals are fine thats why samsungs not doing anything or they just dont give a poo or another possibility samsung made that phone for google and google might hav tweaked it abit and now samsungs getting blamed

14. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

I have already chosen the S2 :D

17. RapidCat

Posts: 351; Member since: Jun 12, 2012

S III fit nicely on my pocket

18. maryaaadil

Posts: 146; Member since: Apr 07, 2012

What about improved pixel arrangement?

23. Ohrules

Posts: 327; Member since: Jun 11, 2012

you hardly notice that (pentile) at the 300+ ppi of the S3.

46. maryaaadil

Posts: 146; Member since: Apr 07, 2012

Yeah thats, true but in case of Note 2 its ppi is roughly around 260 so it important.

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