In the end it's the speed and quality of the large display that are the strongest selling points of the Note II. Together with the fine-tuned version of TouchWiz it makes the Samsung Galaxy Note II the high-end Android smartphone currently around, as long as you don't mind the size. Read PC Advisor's Samsung Galaxy Note II review.
After the success of the original Samsung Galaxy Note last year, Samsung recently came with the Note II. Hardware.Info tested it with extensive benchmarks and compared Samsung’s latest to other recent high-end smartphones.
When the original Note appeared, it was by far the largest smartphone you could buy (excluding the failed Dell Streak). That's still the case, but other manufacturers including Sony and HTC have now also released phones with larger screens. The difference in size between the Galaxy S III and the Note II is less noticeable than between the Galaxy S II and the first Note.
Criticism about the "excessive" size of the Note II was much more muted than during the release of the original. One reason is that people have gotten more used to larger smartphones, but Samsung has also proven that a large screen has added value. Chances are that, after using the Note for a few months, you're hesitant to return to a smaller model. Browsing, typing and watching videos is much nicer on large display. The Note II continues with the same formula of a large screen, an improved pen, a much faster processor and the latest version of Android.
The Note II looks like a hybrid of the Note I and the Samsung Galaxy S3. The Note II is a little rounder than its predecessor, but doesn't have the same organic feel of the Galaxy S III. The physical home button is rectangular like on the first Note, and the 'Hyperglaze' finish of the S III has been adopted. The placement of the camera, LED flash, speaker and stylus is the same as on last year's Note. When you put the two Notes next to each other, you can see that the new Note II is somewhat narrower and a little longer. That's because the display now has a 16:9 aspect ratio instead of 16:10. The increase from 5.3 inches to 5.5 inches has increased the length of the phone, the width has decreased a little.
The Note II has a lot in common with the Galaxy S III in terms of hardware. Both have Samsung’s latest Exynos 4412 quad-core processor, even if it's faster in the Note II. It runs at 1.4 GHz in the S III, in the Note II it runs at 1.6 GHz. The integrated Mali 400 MP4 GPU has been increased to 533 MHz.
The Note II has 2 GB of RAM, while the S III only has 1 GB. You can expand the internal storage by adding a microSD card. The Note II has a larger battery than the S III, with a capacity of 3100 mAh instead of 2100 mAh. The Note I had a 2500 mAh battery. The Note II lacks one feature of the S III, and that's wireless charging.
The resolution has decreased by 10 percent compared to the first Note, from 1280x800 pixels to 1280x720 pixels. This could potentially mean that text is less easy to read in portrait mode, but this did not prove to be the case.
The Note II does not have the pentile pixel layout from the Note I and Galaxy S III, but an RGB Amodel display. That means that each pixel on the Note II consists of three subpixels, while on pentile displays two pixels share five subpixels. Despite the lower pixel resolution, the number of subpixels is higher on the Note II, 2.76 million compared to 2.65 million of the Note I.
To read about the benchmark results, the performance and how the Samsung Galaxy Note II compares to the iPhone 5 and other high-end smartphones, read the full review on Hardware.Info.