Samsung entered the market with their 5.3-inch Galaxy Note not expecting it to sell well, but they pretty much single-handedly created the 'phablet' market we all know and love today. Before the Galaxy Note was released, smartphones at the 5-inch market were laughed at, and considered tablets. Samsung changed all of that.
Most people expected Samsung to increase the size of the Note II's screen from the 5.3-inch on the Note, but they didn't change it too much. Samsung increased the screen size to 5.5-inch, which isn't too much of a change at all. It is still big enough to keep the Note's customers, and gain more at the same time.
The Galaxy Note II is an evolution of one of the best-selling smartphones on the market, but at the end of the day, there isn't much new on the Note II. Let's jump into the review.
Specifications, Pricing and Availability
Samsung, as mentioned above, have increased the display from the 5.3-inch panel on the Note to 5.5 inches on the Note II. The bigger screen actually has a lower resolution, and thus, lower pixel density. The Note's 5.3-inch screen had a resolution of 1280x800, where the Note II has a resolution of 1280x720. This gives us of around 285 PPI on the Note, and around 267 PPI on the Note II. Samsung, on the other hand, have waved the upgrade wand on the internals of the Note II.
The Note II has a quad-core Cortex-A9 processor with a Mali-400MP GPU. This is close to twice the CPU that the Note packed, which had a dual-core 1.4GHz Cortex-A9 processor, and funnily enough, the same GPU. You'll see how that GPU performs later on in our review, something you'll find as surprising.
We have an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera backed up by a front-facing 1.9-megapixel camera. There's 4G LTE capabilities (depending on which country you buy the phone in), expandable storage through microSD, the usual Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and dual-band support, Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC support.
We have the S Pen, Samsung's stylus, which has its own fun and games included and some upgrades that we'll talk about later.
Newegg are selling the Note II for $599 at the time of writing, and while I might sound like a broken record, it's more expensive than the Nexus 4 by a long shot. The Galaxy Note II, however, has some increased value for money - such as the bigger screen and stylus pen. This can definitely end up being something that will tip you over and buy the Note II.