Samsung caught the world off guard with its first questionably large smartphone, the 5.3-inch Galaxy Note. Many feared it was too big to be considered a smartphone, too clunky to carry in your pocket everywhere, unwieldy at best. In the same respect, it's too small to be classified as a tablet.

Despite unprecedented skepticism and adversity, the Galaxy Note was a wild success worldwide, especially for a device believed to be so niche. Now Samsung is following-up the original Note with something bigger and better in almost every way, the Galaxy Note II.

Many of you already know the Note II is at the very top of my wish list. And I could go on all day about why I want a phone so big it barely fits in my pocket or how I miss the S Pen (stylus). But I'm going to keep this (relatively) short and simple. Below are five reasions you will want to check out Samsung's latest entry in the peculiar phablet market.


More screen, more battery, less plastic

Among the refinements made by Samsung from the original Note to the second-generation is a new body design. It's not unlike that of the S III, though it bears harder corners than Samsung's current flagship. But Samsung also made the Note II 4.2mm taller, 2.5mm  narrower and 0.3mm thinner than the original Note. From what I've been told, it fits in the hand a little better and allows for a better grip.

Most importantly, while trimming away the plastic, Samsung managed to squeeze 0.2 more diagonal inches into the display totaling a 5.5-inch screen. I can't imagine the change is all that significant to the naked eye, but you won't hear me complain, especially since the device is actually smaller in width and thickness.

Lest we forget, Samsung bumped the battery from 2,500mAh in the Galaxy Note to 3,100mAh for the Note II. And from what I'm hearing, the battery life on the Note II is worth writing home about. Our own Aaron Baker managed to hit 37 percent after 22 hours and 28 minutes. The impressive part is I've seen reports of even better stamina – measured in days – across the Web.


The best HD Super AMOLED yet

I've used many AMOLED panels in my day. In fact, I used the very first OLED bearing smartphone, the Samsung Moment on Sprint, the day it released. In comparison to every other smartphone display at the time, it was gorgeous. It showed contrast levels that taunted those of high-end televisions, colors were extremely saturated and the blacks were as inky as you could hope for.

However, shortly thereafter, Samsung graduated from OLED to AMOLED panels, then to Super AMOLED. The famed Samsung display was the Super AMOLED Plus panel used in the Galaxy S II series. When Samsung bumped the resolution from 480 by 800 pixels to 720p, though, they made the jump from the typical RGB stripe to a PenTile Matrix subpixel layout. What that means is the panel requires 33 percent fewer subpixels due to the sharing of subpixels in the formation. This was done to prolong the life of displays due to the blue pixels dying significantly quicker than the green or red subpixels.

This PenTile panel is commonly known as the HD Super AMOLED display used on the Galaxy Nexus, original Galaxy Note and the Galaxy S III. While it's just as bright as its counterparts and may require fewer subpixels for the same end resolution, there is a gaping flaw in some makes of the panel, especially in the Galaxy Nexus and Note. Whites and light grays are discolored and resemble fabric or parchment when at low brightness, and even with high resolutions like 720p, you can still see some pixelation or grain in highly saturated or high-contrast images.

The Note II still uses an HD Super AMOLED, and its resolution and density are lower than that of the original Note (1,280 by 800 pixels at 5.3-inches versus 1,280 by 720 at 5.5-inches, or 285ppi to 267 ppi). That said, Samsung has switched back to a unique RGB stripe for the Note II. This will be the best HD Super AMOLED panel to date – at least on paper.


Quad-core plus LTE

In case you hadn't noticed, almost every current high-end Android smartphone (and the upcoming Windows Phone 8 devices) all bear something in common. They all have LTE in tow, and they're all powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 chip.

The S4 has all but become a standard due to its compatibility with LTE. As much as we like the S4 chip, though, variation is nice. And we're no longer getting that in top tier smartphones. What fun is it for all the top smartphones gunning for the throne in our Official Smartphone Rankings to tout strikingly similar specifications?

Luckily, that is about to change. The quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro is on the horizon. And the Note II will feature Samsung's in-house Exynos chip of the quad-core type. In the few smartphones bearing Exynos chipsets, Samsung's in-house processor brand has garnered oodles of fans, and rightfully so. Here's to quad-core Exynos power and LTE in one!


Perfect balance between a small tablet and large phone

Over the last few months, the size of my smartphones has been slowly picking away at my nerves. I loved the original Galaxy Note but retired it in favor of the Snapdragon S4-bearing HTC One X. That was a 0.6-inch drop in display size that changed my outlook on future devices.

Some say the Note and Note II are entirely too big, that they're not practical for everyday use. I whole-heartedly disagree. As much as I use my smartphones and what I use them for, the more display the better. And while I would like to carry a 7-inch tablet everywhere with me instead of a smartphone, the Nexus 7 just doesn't fit in my pockets too well. (Nor does it have LTE.) The original Note fit in my pant and coat pockets with ease. Considering the second-gen Note has smaller dimensions, I imagine it will fit just as well.

Don't get me wrong, the Note II is certainly the upper extreme of how large a smartphone should be. I would be wary of anything larger. But it's a perfect balance between a miniature tablet and smartphone that is too large.


S Pen

One of the many things I miss about carrying the original Note is the S Pen. Although it's just an inductive stylus with a button, I used it all the time. Mostly, I used it to annotate screen captures for notes, calendar entries or information I wanted to save from the Web. And sometimes it was just for fun.

As small a feature as the S Pen may seem, it's one of the more memorable features of the Note family, namely because that's what differentiates Notes from Tabs and the S series. But the S Pen also added a great deal of functionality and usability to the device itself. Samsung only furthered the functionality of the S Pen with the Note II.

This time around, the S Pen has been refined and is a bit larger so it's easier to hold on to. And pulling it out of the phone activates Page Buddy.


I am all but positive the Galaxy Note II will be my next smartphone. The original Note is easily one of my favorite smartphones to date, and the Note II is an improvement in almost every aspect. The Note II is slated to hit all the major U.S. carriers this fall, and it may even trickle down to regional providers in due time.

I know I'm buying one. Will you?

Image via GSMArena.com

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60 Reactions to this post

"Why do you carry the device you do?"

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Jose Villa cuz i am waiting for the Note 2
Mark T Thornton I have a iPhone and I'm switching to the note....can't wait.
Wezley Kjell Karlsen No i don't. But i carry the LG Optimus 7 everywhere.
Nick Speth im up for an upgrade in Dec, Ill defiantly be picking up a NoteII to replace my G2.
Sheeraz Sarwar Heys guys come on don't fight ,we all know iPhone is for girls,and we know girls always have a mood fluctuations
Justin Leung You don't need no reason to get this !
Larry Hanks HTC HD2 converted to android: I carry it because in a very real sense, I modified it to suit me. I wouldn't go back to windows phone for a free windows phone...Also because it has the best screen/device ratio (all screen, almost no phone) of any device offered today.
Orlando Hernandez Galaxy S II, because I upgraded two months before the Galaxy S III came out. Works great though have no complaints what so ever.
Steven Pereira I have a Note--and love it to death. I'm tempted to buy the Note II but I'll probably keep riding the original Note. It's the perfect phone for me. Oh, why the he'll can't you fan boys lighten up--neither OS sucks. They are both feature rich devices. Lighten up.
Laurie Lynn Iphone sucks!!!! Alway's have and alway's will......can't wait to get the note 2 im done with Motorola.....
Shawn Leonard Because I'm stuck in a Canadian cellphone contract.
Andrew Conrad LG thrill. Nice 4.3" screen and decent battery life. Always been happy w LG phones w att.
Tyler Frodl Galaxy s3 caz I just love it
Paul De Lozier iPhone 4S because it just works. No need for reboots. No freezing. No lag. It just works.
Francisco Aceves +2 years with my EVO and it still doesn't give up.... It gives great features, productivity, calls, basically everything you can ask for on a smartphone.... A year ago, a friend offered me a 4S for free, but it just wasn't enough to do the job..... so I gave up on frustrating with it.... Now my EVO is quite 'old' but still has a great processor.... And I will only leave it for another true phone that can take anything... (dropped millions of times and works perfect)... Maybe next year I'll take a Motorola or maybe bb10 I don't know quite yet....
Brandon Paul I'm buying it - PERIOD. Plus, the screen is cracked on my S3.
Joel Diaz Cause I can't live without it. I feel as though my entire life is inside my device. If I don't have it I start to develop anxiety and then I get pissed. And because I love my device.
Gwendolyn Campbell You know what both phones are good for different people. I like some things about android and some on Apple neither are perfect. Except for a google maps...I miss that a lot.
Linda Aron @Matthew, is that why the iPhone 5 beat the S3 in speed tests?
Cesario Brito Jr. No Linda. You have valid points. But take a deep breath. Its not that serious. Lol
Matthew Sjoblom I love my Samsung Galaxy S3. Not just that its the Big Thing these days for the smart phone world. But,switching to this Android device from an,Apple is the best Ive done. Granted Apple says its light uears ahead of the competiton concerning Android devices but,in all reality its still light years away. They came out with the notification center a few software updates ago and Android had them running it with the new phone few years ago. Much as Apple says its the best in all in all its still suffering the real case where people want faster than fast speeds to keep up with Android. Nothing beats the robot who eats the apple for dinner
Linda Aron Truth hurts, does it, Cesario? :)
Cesario Brito Jr. Linda, how about getting straight to the point without typing a long boring novel. Thanks.
Juan C Florentino Honestly Samsung sucks... Apple iPhone 5 is the best..., is all about quality not quantity... Every other month people see a new android phone... With a bigger screen..and a top if that they loose their value.,,lol
Gwendolyn Campbell You know there are other phones besides iPhone?? You like the Galaxy great,just get on with your lives already. If its outdated crap why keep bringing it up and comparing ?
Erik Fernandez Dam, haters gonna hate. But to go to such lengths as to comment on a post and talk about apple ,that had nothing to do with your phone = jealousy.
Ed Seitzinger I have a Galaxy S II Since my area does not have sprint lte yet or i would have the gsIII or the new note2
Ron Scott Iphone users who settle for less because they see an apple on it are the sheep. I'm getting Note II because of stats. The Iphone just can't compete with Note II. That being said, if Samsung started building phones from metal they would be unstoppable ( that is the only bonus I see in the Iphone).
Marv Cabatic It's all I can afford on a tight budget! (LG Optimus V)
Linda Aron Is someone SERIOUSLY calling the iPhone a toy? Seriously? I have a MyTouch 4g Slide, so obviously, I'm on Android, but if you really wanna call a phone a toy, the SG3 is a toy. Come on, it's a big slab of a cheap piece of plastic! The color is oversaturated, the icons, ringtones and wallpapers are ugly, and after 2 months, the OS slows down. Android people seriously annoy me. Why should ANY of you compare and contrast your phones to the iPhone? It's SO juvenile, it's not even funny. And besides, to most of the men who do make fun of iPhones, preferring supposedly "bigger and better" phones, might it be perhaps, that you're all compensating for lacking in a certain OTHER area? Hmm... The reason why Apple does take time with their updates is because Apple makes SURE that their products work RIGHT, instead of pushing out new phones seemingly every week. The SG3 JUST came out, why can't you people just be happy with it? and the Note 2 is just an even bigger S3! There's NO uniformity on Android at all. Some phones still get pushed out with FROYO on them, ffs. Is that the latest in tech? It's BS. And yeah, I know some of you will mention the flaws in the iPhone 5. Well maybe they have flaws because FoxConn is working the poor factory workers over there so hard to meet the demand of the iPhone, they have no choice. It's Apple people that park themselves outside stores day and night all over the world to get that supposed "toy" phone. iPhone people don't go on competition forums just to bitch about how Androids suck, do they? So FANdroids, ask yourselves this question: which group of people are the actual sheep?
Ian Walker Simply because if you want the best phone then you go with apple that's why I'm rocking a blazing fast and beautifully made iphone 5.
David DiPilla Cause I like it
Ricardo Contreras Jr. I don't like to get spoon fed features every year little by little,I want the latest technology now.
Samantha Nichole LanhamEastman iphone 5 is a JOKE....lmfao,,, Good job Samsung on the funniest commercial ever about the iphone5........
Lance Tomlinson Galaxy Nexus because its about as big as I feel comfortable with and I like the latest updates. I've owned the original Note, amazing device, and for a guy that likes to draw it was perfect. But I am the type that likes to have a case on my phone and adding one to a phone that is already that big just added way too much bulk I personally felt comfortable with carrying. So Galaxy Nexus it is, and I also like stock Android and kinda feel that most the time the skins manufacturers add take away more than they add.
Kerri Kershaw I have a Windows Phone. Because it's fast, stable, powerful, and so intuitive! Everything you want to do is just faster. :)
Sean Watson because when I was due upgrade, the thunderbolt was the biggest fastest 4g lte phone available. and now when all the big fancy expensive phones come out that are a billion times better than what I have, I am not due upgrade til february, and don't have the ridiculous amounts of money people throw around to buy the latest and greatest outright, like a lot of people do
DeVon Burley If I didn't have the original Note, I would be all over the Note II.. The Note 1&2 are the phones alot of phone geeks wished for, but didn't think manufacturers had the balls to build... Kudos to Samsung for taking a chance...
Tyler Tresenrider Cause it's the fastest and best iphone 5
Gordon Christie Cos I've not got the cash to buy a,note 2 yet
Crispin Magana Screw Samsung, I'm getting the iPhone 5.
Alfonso Manuel Avalos 1 size is awesome perfect 2 s pen is awesome 3 smoothness of jelly bean 4 ease of reading things on it 5 video quality is amazing even on regular note
Travis Oleson I can't wait, looking forward to get a new galaxy note 2 and I am so exciting.
Ibnul Sharar 1) I like it. 2) Apparently I don't have money to buy a better one. Google Nexus One
Brian Flanagan You should use your fingernail to scratch "Mercedes" into the flaky aluminum on the back of your iPhone 5, Devin. That'll make sure everyone knows how you feel.
Travis Oleson galaxy note 2 is better than old note and S3.
Patric Pederson Simplicity...ease of use and predictability. Something so important to my day to day needs to be reliable and fast. My iPhone 5 is all those things and more. Plus I love the iCloud intregration.
Eric J. Powers I'm do for an upgrade in May, as of right now the note 2 is at the top of my list.
George Av cos its a beast!
Devin Martinez Note haha bitches please, I've got the Mercedes Benz of cel phones, iPhone 5. The note is a cheap Korean mini van sorry samsucks but keep trying
Abram Wenevermet Dennis Because it can make phone calls & send text oh and browse the web.. I thought that was why most people buy phones.
DeAndre Dyes cant wait to get this beast
Markus Howard Because its Great for video and games and other stuff And I slap all the people with iPhones around
Jeff Kaplan I can't wait to pre-rder one. I want one asap
Mike Lysholm Offenberg because i like it
Devin Martinez Cuz I prefer the best, like a Mercedes, compared to a Camry. iPhone 5
Anthony Evans Jr best reason is because it can eat an iphone and still be hungry for seconds
Vince Gallo Because iPhones are overrated and remind me of a toy for a 5 year old.
Manuel Hexxdamangx Cortes because I had to send my gs3 back...(mytouch4g)

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