Samsung Galaxy S4 vs Samsung Galaxy Note II

Sure, the Galaxy S4 may be a smartphone, and the Galaxy Note II may be more of a phablet, but that doesn't mean that consumers will necessarily make such a destinction. In reality, both handsets look very similar, with one of them having just a slightly bigger screen. With that in mind, the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note II find themselves dangerously close to each other, so which one should you choose? The phablet with the S Pen, or the flagship smartphone? Read on to find out!


The designers at Samsung must really love the "Inspired by Nature" form factor they have been using lately, as you can see how all of their latest devices look almost the same. That is exactly the case with the Galaxy S4 and Note II, which are almost identical with the exception that the Note II is bigger. Still, we can note here that the GS4 does seem to be a bit more advanced from engineering standpoint, as it has that extremely thin bezel around the screen, which makes the device impressively narrow and easy to hold, considering its 5" display. It also makes it look more contemporary and cool.

Samsung Galaxy S4

Samsung Galaxy S4


5.38 x 2.75 x 0.31 inches

136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm


4.59 oz (130 g)

Samsung GALAXY Note II

Samsung GALAXY Note II


5.94 x 3.17 x 0.37 inches

151 x 80.5 x 9.4 mm


6.44 oz (182 g)

Samsung Galaxy S4

Samsung Galaxy S4


5.38 x 2.75 x 0.31 inches

136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm


4.59 oz (130 g)

Samsung GALAXY Note II

Samsung GALAXY Note II


5.94 x 3.17 x 0.37 inches

151 x 80.5 x 9.4 mm


6.44 oz (182 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page

Other than that, both handsets are made of Samsung's favorite glossy plastic, which we quite like. They may not be particularly attractive or premium-feeling, but they are comfortable to hold and use, especially the Galaxy S4, as it isn't such a monster like the Note II.


The Galaxy S4 has a definite advantage in the Display category. Not only is its screen higher-res at 1080 x 1920 pixels, compared to the Note II's 720 x 1280 pixels, but it also treats us to more natural colors and better viewing angles. The screen of the Note II is not bad at all, but it's simply inferior to the GS4 in those aspects. The Galaxy S4 is also a tad brighter, which will help when viewing outdoors. Still, neither of these phones are ideal for outdoor usage, since their screens aren't very bright at all, compared to the good LCDs out there.

What this means is that the only area where the Note II excels as far as the screen is concerned is sheer size. Indeed, it's going to make certain tasks a bit more fun and convienient, but at the end of the day, the Galaxy S4 also has a very big screen, and one of superior quality at that.

Samsung Galaxy S4 360-Degrees View:

Samsung GALAXY Note II 360-Degrees View:



1. thethird

Posts: 72; Member since: Mar 28, 2013

I love my Note 2! Samsung will still update to the Note 2 and get those S4 features. Note 3 wil replace my Note 2. Yahoo. [+]

6. hateftotti

Posts: 233; Member since: May 03, 2011

Today I had chance to work with S4. It is faster and lighter than my Note II but consider this the screen size is small against Note II. So as you said I would go for Note III because of bigger display and the advantage of S-pen with all decent features of S4

18. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Plus, if you wait for the Note III, you will get the Exynos octacore chipset, which U.S. GS IV owners will miss out on. Good things come to those who are patient. I am passing on the GS IV, but will pre-order the Note III as soon as VZW opens pre-orders for it.

22. HDShatter

Posts: 1021; Member since: Jan 17, 2013

Lol VZW, stupid CDMA stopping all their customers from using the octa version of the s4.

25. ckoch125

Posts: 193; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

it's not verizon, it is all the US carriers getting the snapdragon chip s4

34. Jeradiah3

Posts: 1149; Member since: Feb 11, 2010

I like this article because the S4 and Note2 are that far apart from each other. im surpried that the call quality is better with the Note2 vs. the S4. The fact that the Note3 will have the functionality of the Note2 and the features of the S4 will be something im looking forward when i upgrade out of my blue S3

2. eliasafram7

Posts: 83; Member since: Mar 18, 2013

i have note 2 and im so happy with it after 5 months of use it still so great and i would never trade for any smartphone even the S4 but im waiting till the upcoming note 3

3. _Bone_

Posts: 2155; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

C'mon Ray! I was eagerly waiting for an AirView comparison in terms of functionality and accuracy, and considering the S4 has super sensitive screen with milk bottle control, why not check the SPens and other pens usability, accuracy, drawing capabilities on the S4. I just wanna know how accurate sylus input is. Can you make a drawing comparison?

4. tryingHARD

Posts: 64; Member since: Dec 31, 2012

i have enough plastic at home. so annoying! please stop this garbage!

19. asteala8

Posts: 17; Member since: Mar 26, 2013

At least it has power. All of your "premium" phones have the strength of Lil Kim up in North Korea. Pathetic.

29. kclgphilsbsa

Posts: 765; Member since: Jan 21, 2013

Trying hard

55. heldown

Posts: 3; Member since: Feb 09, 2013

its better plastic than a metal brick that need a plastic case to protect a cheap metal phone , that s the reason why apple ladies use a plastic case

5. darkkjedii

Posts: 31756; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Nice devices, selling my note and copping an s4.

9. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

Keep the Note man, :D Apart from the build quality, they both look yummy...

12. darkkjedii

Posts: 31756; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

To be honest I'd like to, but I don't need three phones and I think the s4's size will be more to no liking. Plus the extra horse power, 1080p, and new camera really intrigue me.

58. jbreault

Posts: 36; Member since: Mar 04, 2012

they say ones you go big you'll never go back to a small phone again and now that i have a note 2 it would be hard go back to little phone so bring on the note 3

7. FlushGordon unregistered

A Note ONLY replaces a Note....period

16. SleepingOz unregistered

So true! Once you've used a NOTE, there's no going back!

23. HDShatter

Posts: 1021; Member since: Jan 17, 2013

I used a note, you can't use it with one hand so pass.

47. tfreakburg

Posts: 1; Member since: Apr 30, 2013

small hands?

56. heldown

Posts: 3; Member since: Feb 09, 2013

sure if you have small hands you re either a lady a girly then cupertino is your answer

8. Note2waitingonNote3

Posts: 87; Member since: Mar 19, 2013

Not to worry the Galaxy Note 2 is the GOLD STANDARD of technology today. The device every manufacturer is trying to catch up to and copy for that matter. It's the ultimate all purpose productivity device ever made since the inception of android. The ONLY thing that will ever compare is the Galaxy Note 3 in September 2013. When the Galaxy Note 3 launches that will be a day one purchase for me. I will gladly pass on the Galaxy S4 going backwards in screen size will never happen in my world. That 6.3 inch breakable display at 1080p of the Galaxy Note 3 will be industry leading rest assured on that.

10. tryingHARD

Posts: 64; Member since: Dec 31, 2012

gold standard? which one? gold standard for plastic phones maybe.. hahahaha! but for premium quality one? the lowest element possible..

17. SleepingOz unregistered

Premium "feel in hands" doesn't mean premium quality, you know.. iPhone and HTC One are clear examples! =]

26. CanYouSeeTheLight

Posts: 1122; Member since: Jul 05, 2012

And why is that ? It is obvious you are a huge Samsung fanboy just by looking at the comments section of this website, every flagship phone has premium quality, i don't get the sudden hate for the HTC One nor the hate for the iPhone 5 as it is an excelent smartphone, but this is from a unbiased point of view. I don't really see the need for people saying "[Insert favorite brand here] is better / does this better than [insert a phone that is not from your favorite brand]".

35. rbbnice07

Posts: 22; Member since: Feb 02, 2013

So..... All tier one smartphones are the same?...... Hahahahaha oh. Okay.

13. darkkjedii

Posts: 31756; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

It's not a question of the standard, it's a matter of what people want. Not everyone wants a phone that large, not everyone wants android or iOS, or wp8 etc. your screen name suggests a fascination with Sammy, and the note phones, but you only really speak for you. I have the note 2 and love it, but I speak for myself...and me myself will be selling my note 2 this wknd to my nephew. He's been begging for it, I'll then put the difference with it and buy the s4 at retail. Remember these devices are only the gold standard to those that want them.

14. rwitt1

Posts: 7; Member since: Apr 25, 2012

A smartphone should work well as a phone. I was looking to get this phone but will not due to the fact I use the phone for business. Sorry Samsung huge fail....

15. SleepingOz unregistered

I'll keep my GNOTE II, which is still a beast! GNOTE III may be.. =)

20. Larry_ThaGr81

Posts: 593; Member since: May 26, 2011

I'm definitely not even considering the S4. I will most likely pass on the Note III as well because the time frame is way too short for any major advancements to be made on the Note III.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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