Samsung Galaxy Note II vs Galaxy Note

Do we have the usual generational refresh with the Samsung Galaxy Note II, compared to the original Note, or are there groundbreaking new features that will warrant my extra cash outlay for the newest member of the Note-able family?

This will be the question on Note owner’s minds this holiday season, since, after all, they are in a possession of a giant handset that singlehandedly elbowed out a niche for itself where one didn’t exist before. We will try to answer that question in the comparison below, so let’s roll...


The Note II weighs about the same as the original Note, but is narrower and more elnogated, making it a bit easier to hold and operate with one hand. Not by much, though, since it is still a giant, unwieldy thing to deal with, especially if you have smaller hands.

Moreover, despite that the design now is much more appealing with the polycarbonate plastic on the back that makes it look like an oversized Galaxy S III, the back is also much more slippery, compared to the textured finish on the first Note. Granted, you won’t look like a total dork holding a Note II to your face and talking now, as the chassis has a more signature design.

It is still impressive how Samsung has crammed an even larger screen in a slightly more compact handset, though, and the answer is slimmer bottom bezel - this thing is thinner than both what we have on the Note, and even what we’ve got on the S III.

As for the S Pen, while its silo on our newish Note II unit feels tighter compared to our office Note that has been worn in, the stylus itself is much more ergonomic with its thicker and longer body, making it very easy to hold and write with. The Note II makes a beeping noise when you walk away from the desk, and the stylus has not been inserted back in the silo.


The 5.5” 16:9 HD Super AMOLED screen on the Galaxy Note II beats the Note’s 5.3” one in almost every aspect except official resolution. It uses the full red-green-blue trio for each pixel now, so it beats the PenTile matrix of the Note on subpixel density, making red and green colors appear more solid.

It is also much brighter than the Note’s screen, and quite possibly the brightest AMOLED screen of Samsung to date, making it better for use outside under direct sunlight. Moreover, the typical coldness of Super AMOLED colors is almost gone now, and the blueish tint when displaying white is down to a minimum, whereas it is very visible on the original Note. In short, the Note II has the best screen Samsung has produced to date, considering AMOLED’s other virtues, like very high contrast and wide viewing angles, making it ideal for enjoying video.



1. nbringer

Posts: 180; Member since: Sep 11, 2012

Somehow I like the design of Note I better.

7. bobfreking55

Posts: 866; Member since: Jul 15, 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: May 22, 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: 384; Member since: May 12, 2012

I do as well... but probably for different reasons... (down with 16:9!)

18. LaserTed

Posts: 9; Member since: Dec 07, 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: Sep 27, 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?

2. doejon

Posts: 411; Member since: Jul 31, 2012

damn note 2 i cant wait any longer xD

3. ogtomasx

Posts: 47; Member since: Aug 25, 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: 411; Member since: Jul 31, 2012

phone of the year 2012 SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE 2

5. Gadgety

Posts: 173; Member since: Sep 03, 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: 922; Member since: Oct 18, 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: 173; Member since: Sep 03, 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.

6. Gadgety

Posts: 173; Member since: Sep 03, 2012

A question: is the new stylus oval?

8. bobfreking55

Posts: 866; Member since: Jul 15, 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: Aug 27, 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: Aug 16, 2012

Damn. Your post makes me wanna fire up a bowl lol.

26. redsox420

Posts: 90; Member since: Aug 27, 2012

Hell yeah.. Just did awhile ago.. No passing.. Just Puffing lol

12. speckledapple

Posts: 902; Member since: Sep 29, 2011

You can tell that they really did improve the device in the second interation. Very good.

13. 1ceTr0n

Posts: 549; Member since: May 20, 2012

Won't be able to sell my Note 1 fast enough come Nov

14. 1ceTr0n

Posts: 549; Member since: May 20, 2012

Wait a minute, wheres the damn notification LED? Did Sammy leave that out AGAIN???

17. doejon

Posts: 411; Member since: Jul 31, 2012

its under the "skin" ;-) dont worry there is a notification led :-)

19. k1ng617

Posts: 270; Member since: Oct 13, 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

Posts: 510; Member since: Mar 16, 2011

Yes Sir, Ready to get my Galaxy Note 2 on day one of launch. I love my Galaxy S3...

21. bigdawg23

Posts: 467; Member since: May 25, 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: Sep 25, 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: 2263; Member since: Apr 26, 2012

Note 2 obviously wins here. The best smartphone ever created by samsung!

24. AnnDroid

Posts: 92; Member since: Aug 02, 2011

A great speaker?? Thank you. This was a deal breaker for me! Very happy.

28. techviral

Posts: 3; Member since: Oct 04, 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: Oct 24, 2012

awesome phone but too big to hold it in your hand and make it fell good...QUAD CORE!!!

30. AnnDroid

Posts: 92; Member since: Aug 02, 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.

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