Knowledge Base

Samsung Galaxy Note II: Release Date and Comparison to Galaxy S3, iPhone

grand master

Galaxy Note 2.jpgSamsung announced a new version of their super-sized Galaxy Note smartphone at last week’s IFA exhibition in Berlin.


The Galaxy Note II (Samsung GT-N7100) features an enlarged 5.55-inch organic LED display– an increase in size over the 5.27-inch display found on the original GT-N7000. According to Samsung, the use of a 5.5-inch display allows the Galaxy Note to combine the portability of a smartphone with the multimedia capabilities of a tablet.  


The Galaxy Note II also comes with an updated version of the S-Pen stylus which can be used for writing, sketching, capturing content from other applications and for precise input in applications such as Photoshop Touch. It also features a new organic design as previously seen on the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the latest version of Android, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Power users will also enjoy the upgraded 1.6GHz quad-core processor (previously 1.4GHz dual-core) and 2GB of RAM (previously 1GB).


The new handset is due to be released in October so will be landing on our shores very soon.


What is the Samsung Galaxy Note II?


Galaxy Note 2 White.jpgThe Galaxy Note II is Samsung’s latest smartphone to be equipped with S-Pen stylus functionality. Following in the footsteps of the original Galaxy Note (a 5.3-inch smartphone released last October) and the Galaxy Note 10.1 (a 10.1-inch tablet released last month), the stylus on the Galaxy Note II is designed to be used for writing, sketching and annotating digital content.


The Galaxy Note II has often been called a “phablet” in the technology press. This is because its size lies somewhere in that of a mainstream smartphone and a tablet. Mainstream smartphones such as the Galaxy S III and the HTC One X have screen sizes around 4.8-inches: meanwhile tablets such as the Nexus 7 have screen sizes around 7-inches. At 5.5-inches, the Galaxy Note II lies somewhere between a phone and a tablet.


Enhanced S-Pen Functionality


Air View.jpgThe Galaxy Note II comes with a Wacom-powered stylus pen for annotating content and for free-form idea input. The pen allows for high precision input and annotation of content from any of your applications. Unlike a standard after-market capacitive stylus, the S-Pen is stored inside the device and supports 1,024 different levels of pressure sensitivity when drawing or sketching. The device also disables capacitive sensing when the pen is in use so it is possible to rest your hand on the display whilst writing naturally.


With the Galaxy Note II, the S-Pen has been enhanced with a new feature called “Air View”. This allows you to interact with the device simply by hovering your pen over the screen. “Air View” has also been integrated into many of Samsung’s applications - for example hovering over an album in the gallery application will show a preview of all the images inside that album. It’s all rather clever technology – Sony tried something similar with “Floating Touch” technology on the Xperia Sola earlier this year.


Other enhancements include the new ‘S Note’ application which is designed for sketching, drawing and making handwritten notes. Compared to the ‘S Memo’ application on the original Galaxy Note, S Note features enhancements such as shape recognition and the ability to recognise and solve mathematical equations. Handwriting recognition has also been enhanced in the Galaxy Note II with the ability to write in dozens of new languages such as Chinese and Arabic.


S Note is also available as a software update on the original Galaxy Note.


What Else is New on the Galaxy Note II?


  • New “Organic” Design. The Galaxy Note II features a new “organic” design similar to that on the Galaxy S III. The new design features more curves and rounded corners. The Galaxy Note II initially will be available in two colours: titanium grey and marble white.

  • Larger 5.5” Display, but Lower Resolution. Compared to the original Galaxy Note, the latest Galaxy Note contains an even larger display at 5.5 inches (this compares to 5.3-inches on the original). To accommodate the larger display, the aspect ratio has been changed into the 16:9 widescreen format (the original featured a 16:10 aspect ratio). This change has been criticised by some commentators - the original Galaxy Note featured 1280x800 pixels on the display whereas the latest Note features only 1280x720 pixels. This is arguably a step backwards.

  • Use of Real-Stripe Pixel Matrix. Both the Galaxy S II and the original Galaxy Note made use of the PenTile pixel matrix (with 2 subpixels making up one pixel). The Galaxy Note II features a Real-Stripe pixel matrix with 3 subpixels per pixel.

  • Quad-Core Processor & 2GB RAM. The Galaxy Note II features the same quad-core processor found on the Galaxy S III but with a speed boost to 1.6GHz. This should give significant performance enhancements over the 1.4GHz dual-core processor found on the original model. It also comes with 2GB of RAM which will improve performance when running multiple applications.

  • Jelly Bean Logo.jpgAndroid 4.1 Jelly Bean. The Galaxy Note II runs the latest version of Google’s Android operating system with Samsung’s TouchWiz user interface. Some of our favourite features of Jelly Bean include the Google Now virtual assistant, “buttery smoothness” and an improved notifications system.

  • “Popup Play” and “Popup Web”. A new feature of the TouchWiz user interface allows videos to be watched in a “floating window” on the phone. Web pages can also be browsed in a floating “pop-up” window. These two features make it easier to multitask on your smartphone.

  • LED Notification Light. The Galaxy Note II features a notification light in 3 colours. The notification light can be customised to notify you of missed calls and of unread instant messages.

  • Near Field Communication & S Beam. Like the Galaxy S III, the Galaxy Note II features Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. Using the S Beam feature, it is possible to share pictures, videos and music files between two devices simply by tapping them against each other. Speeds of up to 300Mbit/s are possible as files are transferred using peer-to-peer Wi-Fi technology (Wi-Fi Direct). With a suitable application installed, it is also possible to pay in shops and to conduct mobile commerce using NFC. For some other uses of NFC technology, check out our guide to the cool things you can do with NFC technology.

  • Micro-SIM Support. Just like on theiPhone 4S, Galaxy S III and the HTC One X, Samsung have moved towards using micro-SIM cards on the Galaxy Note II. This means that you may need to replace or cut your existing SIM card when upgrading to the Note II.

Comparison to Galaxy S III & iPhone 4S


The technical specifications of the Galaxy Note II compare to the Samsung Galaxy S III and the Apple iPhone 4S as follows:



Samsung Galaxy Note II

 Galaxy Note 2.jpg

Samsung Galaxy S III

 Marble White.jpg

Apple iPhone 4S

iPhone 4S Siri.jpg 


1.6GHz quad-core

1.4GHz quad-core

1GHz dual-core






5.5-inch AMOLED (organic LED)

4.8-inch AMOLED (organic LED)

3.5-inch TFT display

Screen Resolution

1280x720 (267ppi)

1280x720 (306ppi)

960x640 (326ppi)

Operating System

Google Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)

Google Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)

Apple iOS 5


16/32/64GB internal memory & up to 64GB micro-SD

16/32/64GB internal memory & up to 64GB micro-SD

16GB/32GB/64GB internal memory


8 megapixel with LED flash

8 megapixel with LED flash

8 megapixel with LED flash

Video recording

1080p, 30 frames per second

1080p, 30 frames per second

1080p, 30 frames per second





Text Input

On-screen software keyboard

On-screen software keyboard

On-screen software keyboard

Stylus Support

Samsung S-Pen

Basic Capacitive Stylus

Basic Capacitive Stylus





Approx. price


£480 SIM-free

£499 SIM-free

SIM card size

Micro SIM

Micro SIM

Micro SIM


All three devices are compatible with giffgaff and some great savings can be had by buying these devices upfront and using one of our giffgaff goodybags. All three devices accept a micro-SIM sized card.


Your Thoughts…


Page Bottom.jpgThe Galaxy Note II is Samsung’s latest device which aims to bridge the gap between smartphones and tablets. It also features a stylus pen which it claims can replace the traditional combination of a notepad and pen.


What’s your verdict on the Galaxy Note II? Were you impressed with Samsung’s new device or were you expecting more? Do you find stylus technology useful on your smartphone or does it still seem like a big step backwards? Are you planning to upgrade to the Galaxy Note II or are you waiting to see the iPhone 5 first? Drop us a comment below and let us know your thoughts… we’d love to hear from you!


Questions & Answers


Do you have any questions about the Samsung Galaxy Note II? Please drop them in the comments and we’ll do our best to answer them!


Ken Lo writes about mobile technology and the mobile industry at Ken's Tech Tips.


mad scientist

Looks like a great phone!  keeping my eye on the price Smiley Wink


Thanks Kenlo


very nice too.


I do like that

but it a alot of money.


I do like the samsung galaxy.

thank you for that piece.


I do like the products that Samsung make, but I just really don't see the point in making a phone that big. It's too big to carry around.


Nothing wrong with a 3.5" screen that sits nicely on an iPhone 4S (of which I have one). Perfectly happy with it. 


The Note range is more of a tablet than a phone, a brick to carry around if you want to use it to make calls, I would stick with s2/s3 or iPhone 


i wonder how iphone 5 will stack up against the competition..

ooh nice!

The Galaxy Note is definitely not too big to carry around. If you were to use one you would find after just an hour that other phones are just too small.


Looks like a great device - I wonder how many people will feel self-conscious holding it up to the head to make a call though...


Who knows could become a status symbol like this model  Smiley Happy


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