Galaxy Note 2 review

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is the much-anticipated successor to the original Galaxy Note, the largest smartphone on the market and the first true phone/tablet crossover device. While the Galaxy Note 2 release date is penned for October 24th in the US, the Samsung “phablet” is already available in other countries, including India.

We’ve had the opportunity to spend some time with the Galaxy Note 2, and on the whole, we’re pretty impressed. The Galaxy Note 2 is a bigger, beefier and more polished offering than the original Note and is guaranteed to gain some traction when it hits stores next month. Here’s our Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review:

Galaxy Note 2 Design

Design-wise, the Galaxy Note 2 is basically a big Galaxy S3. It features the same basic design, with rounded corners, big glossy screen and thin bezel. If you like the look of the S3 then the Galaxy Note 2 won’t disappoint. In similar fashion to the Galaxy S3, the new Galaxy Note 2 features a single central home button and capacitive touch buttons on either side – one for the menu, one for moving back.

The original Galaxy Note was criticized by some for being too big for everyday use as a phone, with its large 5.3-inch display creating some obvious ergonomic challenges. Instead of shrinking down the size on the new Note, Samsung have actually bumped up the display to a massive 5.55 inches. Despite the increase in screen real-estate, side-by-side the Galaxy Note 2 is not all that much larger than the original Note. In addition, the dimensions of the new screen now create a natural 16:9 aspect ratio which is perfect for viewing HD video on the beautiful 1280 x 720 Super AMOLED display.

While the Galaxy Note 2 is only marginally larger than the original Note, there’s no escaping the fact that it’s a big phone. Your impression of the size and its usability as a phone will depend in part on how big your hands are, and what you feel comfortable with. For most users, a Bluetooth headset will be a mandatory accessory as the Galaxy Note 2 appears awkwardly large when held to the ear.

Just like the Galaxy S3, the Note 2 comes in two different colors – marble white and titanium gray.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2

Galaxy Note 2 Features

The Galaxy Note 2 tech specs are impressive. The device is powered by a 1.6 GHz quad-core Exynos 4 processor, backed up with 2GB of internal RAM and 16GB of on-board storage with the ability to expand to 64 GB with a microSD card. It’s also the first Samsung phone to launch with Android Jelly Bean 4.1 right out of the box.

The Galaxy Note 2 sports a 3,100 mAh battery which should yield around 12 hours of active use. While the battery on the original Note was just 2,500 mAh, the Galaxy Note 2 features a number of power-hungry features including 4G LTE, a larger screen so effective battery life gains will be minimal.

The rear camera on the Galaxy Note 2 is essentially the same high-performance 8-megapixel camera from the Galaxy S3, and there’s a 1.9-megapixel front-facing camera for video chat.

Samsung Galaxy Note II

Galaxy Note 2 S-Pen

The Galaxy Note 2 comes with the new S Pen stylus and a whole host of new S Pen features designed to enhance productivity. The stylus itself has been redesigned and is wider and has flatter sides. The tip now generates more friction, a change designed to make the S Pen ‘feel’ more like you’re writing on paper.

You simply remove the S Pen from its dock to access a bevy of new S Pen applications, amongst which include ‘Easy Clip’, ‘Airview’ and ‘Quick Command’. Easy Clip gives you the ability to trace and crop images from your browser or photo albums and then paste the cropped content into apps or share with friends. Air View lets you preview files such as albums, videos or calendar entries and emails simply by hovering the S Pen over them and Quick Command is a feature that allows you to create custom gestures so you can load your most-used apps with just a few swipes of the stylus.

The new S Pen features are largely intuitive, but there is a lot to get your head around when you use the Galaxy Note 2 for the first time.


The new Samsung Galaxy Note 2 reinvigorates the “phablet” class that it helped to define with the launch of the first Galaxy Note. The Galaxy Note 2 is more polished and more refined than its predecessor, and the new S Pen features add additional functionality.

There is admittedly a lot of overlap in both design and feature-sets with the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy 10.1, but the Galaxy Note 2 is a solid offering and will undoubtedly be well received by its target market.

The Galaxy Note 2 release date is just one month away – what Galaxy Note 2 features are you looking forward to most? Will you be making the upgrade? Let us know in the comments below.


  1. Avatar

    The Samsung Galaxy note 2 is by the far the Godfather of the Android phones. I’m certainly getting this, however using a big phone is a pain and SGN2 is huge; which means users will need a bluetooth headset and a good case as the phone is certainly vulnerable to spill out. Thanks for the feature rundown.

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    I waited forever, it seems like for the promised Verizon note 1. Finally gave up & replaced my droid X with the galaxy S3. I’d have too pay full price for the note 2. I am a driver, so my phone stays docked 90% of the time. If Sammie would make high quality docks for it I’d pay full price. I am very disappointed by the docks for the S3. Motos docks rock. Sammies suck.

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    The Samsumg Galaxy Note Family is no doubt MUCH better than the Iphone! I switch after having the iphone from day one . When I lay my eyes on the Samsung Galaxy Note “It was love at first site! I called it my new “Fabolet”! I am excited and can’t wait to wrapped my eyes on the new Note! Everyone that see me with “my fabolet” ALWAYS ask what type of phone is that? I love the attention!!! If you are thinking about switching don’t think just go for it. You will never Io back to a smaller phone with a small screen. The Samsung Note is beautifully designed and attractive to me since I am “a gadget queen”! The exceptional large beautiful screen is just fantastic! This is a one gadget machine! Way to go Samsung !

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    Try they have the best docks for any device and are individually made to fit. I’ve used them for all my phones and even have one for my galaxy tab 10.1 !

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    Do you know if the 64gb version of the galaxy note 2 will be available in the U.S,?

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    Yes I will definitely be making the upgrade! Real excited about the massive 5.5″ screen, being that it is also the top of the line in technology, running A Quad processor, jellybean operating systen plus the new s stylus along with the picture perfect Camera. Can’t hardly wait to experience it!!

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    Ps.. how could I forget about the amazing battery it has to offer.. its definitely the whole package in one phablet..

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    shreya singh

    i like it i have samsung galaxy note and i bought it

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    I pre-ordered the Galaxy Note as soon as I could and love it. I’d wanted a large screen for YEARS, something more convenient than a tablet or netbook. The more I explored the features, the more I was sure I would NEVER need another phone….. I plan to get the Note 2 just as fast as I can!!! It’s amazing that they could take a device that was so close to perfection and make it so much better! I can’t wait for multi-tasking on a 5.5 screen, incredible! Thank you Samsung! And thanks Tapscape for such a thorough review of it’s features!

  10. Avatar
    Steffanie Liebman

    I have been waiting for this for a long time… I’m a verizon customer, so missed out on the Note, but was super excited they will have the Note 2! I have a Samsung Galaxy Nexus now, with Jelly Bean, and love it, but the new s pen features that are so unique and the Supersized screen are the two big reasons I will get it! I hear some of the mumbles about the “too big” screen size… fine, if you just use your phone to make calls, I can see that. But, most of us use it for everything & are constantly on it surfing for info, maps, email, texting etc… I use mine way more for that than actual voice talking!! Samsung is ahead of the game with this one… This will be my fourth (in a row) Samsung phone! 🙂

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    Craigslist your S3 (clean it up with accessories and box if possible) as soon as the Note 2 comes out, which will be well before most are aware of the S3 coming out in March. This way, you will still get max $ for your S3 enabling you to go get the Note 2.

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    I meant S4 coming out in March 2013.

  13. Avatar

    My only question is, what color do I get???

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    With Apples’s current missteps with maps and the wifi connection issue, they’re indicating that they are putting the cart before the horse when it comes down to design vs. quality control. The note 2 is an incredible device and whether the apple fans want to admit it or not, they just don’t have the corner on cool anymore.

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    You just like big things. Pun intended.

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    Thats good shit that its coming to Sprint…I almost switch to ATT for the Note, glad I didnt. Besides Sprints all-inclusive plan is pretty much the best deal out there.

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    I will be making the switch, I currently have the LG Thrill the 3-D phone and it has a quad core but its much older.

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    OMG! phablets are not taking consumers by storm. I don’t think I’d get one if I carried a man-purse! This is way too big for any pocket of mine, unless I wear cargo pants all the time. Insane. Not appealing. Give a tablet and a smartphone.

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    Karlos G

    I just want the date! I cant wait to have it on my hands!! 😀

  20. Avatar

    I think the titanium grey looks pretty good. I like contrast in darker phones. IMO I would go with the grey.

  21. Avatar
    Jamie Brown

    Had every iPhone so far…. Skipped the 5 for the Note 2. The anticipation is killing me!

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    Original Note fits in every normal pocket, and GN2 is even more pocketable – narrower and thinner.
    Carrying, iphone and iPad is better for you? Lol

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    I used android phones for a long time but when the iPhone 4S came out I bought it because I had always wanted an iPhone. I liked it for a while until I started noticing how apple controls different aspects of their phones. For instance, one of the main reasons I bought it was for Siri. Siri would ask upon a text or a phone call if I would like her to read the text or answer the call. During one of their many software updates that part of Siri was disabled. I have to physically ask Siri to read a new text to me. I called apple and asked them about it, they said they were working on Siri to improve it. I figured when the IOS6 update came out it would’ve been fixed, NOPE. So needless to say I can’t wait for the Note 2 to come out. I’m going back to android! I think Samsung did a great thing as far as making big screen phones. My eyes get blurred at times looking at these little screens, I welcome a big screen phone.

  24. Avatar

    Wow so do u guys think well be able to have it in mid November?

  25. Avatar

    Yes yes yeeeeessssssss!!!!! Im getting this beautiful phablet. No way can it be called a phone because its more then that and it leaves all other cellphones in the dust. Cant wait!! I have a galaxy nexus and im waiting for the galaxy note to upgrade.

  26. Avatar

    Sold my S3!! can’t wait!. This phone is way ahead of time, it’s like a cave man holding a beeper

  27. Avatar

    Must be Honest. As my time to upgrade came nearer I started to stress. Currently using the Galaxy Note (1) if so to be called. I do not see anything on the market even close to the Galaxy note. Not iPhone, Nokia, or any thing even remotely close to the Note from which I only had joy. Until now. Thank you for Samsung Galaxy Note 2

  28. Avatar

    I can’t wait for the Note 2 to come out. I’ve had my HTC Inspire for a couple years and I almost was gonna go back to iPhone 5 but after seeing the note 2 I decided I should just wait its such a better phone in so many ways

  29. Avatar

    wear a man’s jean instead of girl’s (skinny) jean might help…

  30. Avatar

    THE GIANT-AZZ SCREEN. Oh man, I can’t wait. As someone with rather large hands, this things is super sexy!

  31. Avatar

    You know, I used to hear that “oh man, your phone is too big” about my 4.3″ Evo 4G a couple of years ago… and look at phones now… lol. Stay ahead of the curve my friend!

    Also, the point about phone calls is SO RIGHT. I use less than 100 minutes a month at this point, and when I do call it’s usually tethered to my car, so the occasions of it looking silly against your head will be few and far between!

    Can’t wait!

  32. Avatar

    Yep.. I will be getting the Note 2. I sold my iphone 4 about a month ago on ebay to pay for the iphone 5 when it came out. I followed the release on cnet and was disappointed with what I saw. In my opinion, no new innovation. So, I opted to use that money for the Note 2 which I am quite excited to get.

  33. Avatar
    Marque Poole

    the Note 2 is the most powerful handset on the market coupled with Jelly bean and that 5.55″ 16×9 aspect ratio screen. quad core 1.6 Ghz and 2 Gb of ram. its a small netbook not a phone. I can’t wait to get my hands on one. and if Verizon does not get it I will switch carriers for this device.

  34. Avatar
    Marque Poole

    yep, Samsung Galaxy Note II, over the Apple iFone 5 any day.

  35. Avatar
    Marque Poole

    yep, Samsung Galaxy Note II, over the Apple iFony 5 any day

  36. Avatar
    Ron Mexico

    I know bro! Launch this thing in North America already Samsung and take my money!!!

  37. Avatar
    Ron Mexico

    Lol, I love a women with a sense of humor!

  38. Avatar

    Looking forward to the artistic capabilities, plus being able to have TWO apps open on the screen at the same time! Too big for a phone? Apparently you didn’t grow up using old rotary phones. Bring it on!

  39. Avatar

    This needs to come out in the US now!! Why is Samsung waiting so damn long to release it here?

  40. Avatar

    I am in the same boat, can’t wait for pre-order in the US.

  41. Avatar

    Multi window!! Please more info on the availability of this feature in the US. Also, why is this device not getting the news coverage that it deserves? Typical biased news – it is dispicable. It’s years beyond what Apple produced yet the iPhone gets the attention. Can’t wait for this phone! Also, stop calling it a phablet…please?

  42. Avatar

    I also skipped iphone 5 for this. From a former Apple devotee, I can say that had Apple made their latest phone at least 5 inches I would have bitten. Nope. Bye Bye Apple. Nice knowin ya.

  43. Avatar

    Me too…had the iphone 5 for 2 days and hated it…not enough technological advancement

  44. Avatar

    I will upgrade from my GS3 to GN2. The device looks great and offers some great features for the road warrior.

  45. Avatar

    I too have had iPhones since my iPhone 3. I miss having a pen so I’m looking forward to the new Note.

  46. Avatar

    i’ve only had the 1st iphone, iphone 3 and iphone 4 but i’m ready to make the switch to note 2 too.

  47. Avatar

    I cant wait for this thing called a phabet to gets its much anticpated release on sprint! Im also checking the news for info every darn day and im on the utube watching as many reviews and comparisons as possible..Ive never anticipated or waited for a friggin smartphones release date before, ever.. so i know this one is special! I cant wait to hold my little/big pearly white in my hands! Thats right, im getting the white one! Now thats a first!

  48. Avatar

    Sprint just announced a release date of Oct 25th! Hope Verizon follows suit!! My upgrade couldn’t come at a better time (Oct 19th) 😀 Can’t wait to get this phone and hope Verizon doesn’t make me wait any longer than Sprint would.

  49. Avatar

    Its still an arm cpu not a x86 please don’t confuse them as x86 rapes arm but obviously if it were an x86 you would get 3 seconds and bam to the hospital (it would burn the phone literlally)

  50. Avatar

    If I can easily fit my ps vita (thicker longer wider) in my jeans then I can easily fir the GN2 in them so grow up get mens’s jeans (I figure your a guy since women almost NEVER post comments) unless your an idiotic teen and figures tighter is better so I don’t know how to continue and will now stop typing in stuff

  51. Avatar

    I’ve been an iphone slave for the past 3 years. decided to try the note 2 & I love love love this phone…I will NEVER go back to the iphone..

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