Samsung Galaxy Note II review

Price when reviewed

Inside, there are more small differences: it employs the same quad-core Exynos 4412 processor as the S III, but runs at a slightly faster 1.6GHz rather than 1.4GHz, and the RAM has been doubled to 2GB. That results in a stellar set of benchmark results: the Note II scored 5,892 in Quadrant, ahead of the S III’s 5,413, and its SunSpider score of 1,042ms isn’t far behind the 932ms of the iPhone 5.

The Note II runs Jelly Bean and this makes for a wonderfully smooth experience when combined with Samsung’s TouchWiz UI tweaks. There’s no sign of slowdown during navigation, and high-end games run without a hitch: N.O.V.A. 3, Shadowgun and Dead Trigger all run flawlessly – an improvement over the S III, which struggles on occasion with the toughest titles.

Samsung Galaxy Note II

Size aside, there are few differences between the Note II and S III’s screens. Both have an aspect ratio of 16:9, a resolution of 720 x 1,280, and the 239cd/m2 measured brightness and Super AMOLED panel’s perfect black levels make for a picture quality that’s bright, punchy and has plenty of depth. The larger diagonal does mean the pixels aren’t as dense, but you’ll be hard-pressed to see any of them unless you look very, very closely.

The Note has an 8mp camera, which is standard fare on phones these days, but Samsung has carried over many of the software enhancements we loved on the S III. The burst mode still takes 20 shots at just over 3fps, and the face detection and HDR modes work just as well. Technical users will be pleased by the glut of advanced options, from metering and white-balance options to manual ISO selection, and quality is still excellent.

Samsung Galaxy Note II

One feature that is out of the ordinary is the 3,100mAh battery, which is larger than the power pack in most other smartphones, and in our tests it proved its worth. After 24 hours during which we carried out a series of controlled tests, the Note II had 78% of its battery left – one of the best results we’ve seen from any smartphone, and a big improvement on the 60% result of the original Note.

This powerful, long-lasting and intriguing device doesn’t come cheap. It’s free on a £31-a-month contract, and you’ll have to shell out £522. That’s much more than Samsung’s Galaxy S III – almost enough to buy a 16GB iPhone 5. And its undeniably odd form factor won’t appeal to all. However, the design of the S III scales up well, TouchWiz is still slick, and stylus-specific software is implemented well. The awkward size means the Galaxy S III is still our smartphone of choice, but if you’re after a device to bridge the gap between smartphones and tablets, this is as good as it gets.


Cheapest price on contractFree
Contract monthly charge£31.00
Contract period24 months


Dimensions80 x 151 x 9.4mm (WDH)
Primary keyboardOn-screen

Core Specifications

RAM capacity2.00GB
Camera megapixel rating8.0mp
Front-facing camera?yes
Video capture?yes


Screen size5.5in
Resolution720 x 1280
Landscape mode?yes

Other wireless standards

Bluetooth supportyes
Integrated GPSyes


OS familyAndroid

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