Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review
Android 4.1 (JellyBean), 5.5in 720x1,280 display
The beast is back. A year on since Samsung wowed the world with its original Galaxy Note it’s back with a new model and this time it’s even bigger - with a huge 5.5in display. More surprising is a lack competition in those intervening 12 months, with other brands opting not to follow suit. That means this monster handset, and its stylus, is still a unique proposition.
The Note 2 weighs in at 183g and measures a sizeable 15x81x9.4mm. Big, yes, but it’s slimmer than the original Galaxy Note, and it’s still just about small enough to fit in your jeans pocket. Its extra heft makes it feel like a tough and sturdy piece of kit, and even though making phone calls continues to be a rather awkward exercise if you’ve only got one hand free to use it, its narrower dimensions do make it comfortable to hold.
It’s the Galaxy Note 2’s vibrant 5.5in HD Super AMOLED display that really sets it apart from other smartphones out there. It bridges the gap between smartphones and tablets with style and grace, even if it does still have its predecessor’s rather flimsy plastic back cover. Smaller tablets feel rather superfluous when you’ve got a screen this large.
Its pixel density has actually been reduced as the larger screen has the same 720x1280 resolution as last year's model, it certainly didn’t make much difference to us. Better still, despite the lack of Samsung's usual 'Super AMOLED Plus' branding, close-ups of the screen show a full RGB sub-pixel structure, rather than a Pentile design, such as on the Galaxy S3. This explains its clearer and sharper image than paper comparisons might suggest.
The 1.6GHz quad-core processor also makes it one of the speediest Android devices on the market, plus it comes with Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) with its super-slick front end. Web pages load in an instant, and it rendered the BBC News homepage in less than a second. Most pieces of text can be read very easily with just a double tap on the screen, although the touch-sensitive Back button underneath the screen can be a bit too eager to engage if you knock it accidentally.