Last week we were able to spend some time with Samsung's new Galaxy Note 2. The device is a largely updated version of the original Galaxy Note, that enjoyed surprising success with over 10M units sold since its introduction.

The Galaxy Note 2 grows the display size to 5.55" and uses the latest iteration of Samsung's 720p Super AMOLED display. Internally you get a 1.6GHz quad-core Exynos SoC with four ARM Cortex A9 cores and an ARM Mali-400MP4 GPU. Although US versions haven't been announced yet the international version boasts HSPA+ 21.1 and LTE support. You can expect similar specs when the US versions are eventually announced if Samsung continues the trend set by the Galaxy S 3.

The big feature of the Galaxy Note 2 is its digitizer that stores away nicely inside the unit. The S Pen, as Samsung calls it, allows you annotate on top of emails, photos, etc... Handwriting recognition works better on the Galaxy Note 2 than on the Galaxy Note 10.1, although I'm not entirely sure why. A major improvement to the S Pen in the GNote 2 is the ability to detect the pen at around 10 - 12mm above the display. This increased hover sensitivity allowed Samsung to enable a bunch of neat hover-over features. E.g. hovering over the subject of an email will expand it in a window.

The Note 2 runs Jelly Bean, and the OS felt extremely smooth even with Samsung's TouchWiz UX layered on top of Android. The hardware was similarly well executed. Solid build quality, good in-hand feel - the usual we've come to expect from Samsung. 

We'll have a full review later this year once review samples are available, until then check out the video and gallery below:

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  • redchar - Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - link

    I just found it a funny thing to say here, since for some people like me, the phone would be too large to use with just one hand alone. Reply
  • 1008anan - Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - link

    Specs are out of the park with 1.6GHz quad-core Exynos 4 (4 ARM Cortex A9 cores and ARM Mali-400MP4 GPU). Could you attach your Galaxy Note 2 to a high definition TV or projector and run 1080 P video?

    Assume that most of the time only one of the A9 Cores runs at a lower clock while 3 cores sleep to conserve battery life. How much customization does the Exynos add on top of the basic ARM Cortex A9 micro-architecture?

    Samsung fabricates the SoC on 32 nm HKMG. Wonder which fabrication process Apple will chose for the i-phone 5 SoC.
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - link

    GN2 should have an MHL capable port, so that you can output to 1080p displays via HDMI. Reply
  • redchar - Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - link

    Honestly dual cores could already do 1080p with the right gpu and hardware acceleration. Now that was a borderline thing, so this should be more than enough. Reply
  • Kranin - Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - link

    As much as it pains me to admit it, and as much as I have dreamed of a Nexus device, I think this is going to be my next phone. Verizon is the only carrier that offers adequate coverage at my home and I can't stomach getting a Nexus device on Verizon after the way they've strangled updates on the Galaxy Nexus.

    GNote 2...my 6'8" frame shall most likely submit to your 5.5" screen! Damn you TouchWhiz.
    Reply
  • Magichands8 - Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - link

    This phone looks truly amazing. The only thing I'm wishing hard that it had is wireless charging. Reply
  • Kranin - Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - link

    Agreed. I would imagine that an official wireless charging accessory would be available for the Note 2 simply because it is available for the S III. Reply
  • michaelsammler - Thursday, October 18, 2012 - link

    I know most readers on this site can easily recognize and disregard the angry troll comments, but I did want to share my experience with the galaxy note size.

    In my wallet case (Jacklyn classy m.youtube.com/?reload=3&rdm=mc3h0528e#/watch?v=kJ9HeHKlfLg) I have my G Note, 4 cards (credit, bus pass etc), and some cash. I wear size 34inch slacks. The wallet case fits easily into my back pocket. Although it fits in my front pocket, it is noticeable and not as comfortable. But when not in the wallet case the G Note fits great in my front pocket. I don't where jeans. I do where cargo shorts, but use the normal pockets, not the cargo pockets for the phone.

    So if you have need for a large screened phone and small screened portable tablet, if you don't want to carry around a sketch pad for drawing, if you watch videos when traveling and don't want to carry a laptop or tablet in addition to your phone and wallet, if you want to read ebooks but don't want to buy another device, if you like drawing without your finger blocking the screen, if you like google maps, if you don't care about a few peoples idea of how someone should look like while talking on the phone, then you probably will like the Note.

    If you don't need a large screen or don't draw everyday you can probably find a better phone that fits your needs.

    A blanket? How far has apple come since that commercial where the movie theater audience gets stuck with no options in till the athlete throws a hammer through screen? I'm glad I put my tech needs before ill conceived social norms. That washy I can have the most useful tech for me regardless of brand.
    Reply
  • Dynamicadrenaline - Friday, October 19, 2012 - link

    Not sure if led is for all
    If anyone want to buy a big tablet,
    Buy a iPad
    It's the best.
    Note looks not much good
    Not opposing
    Lg Optimus g is the best!!!
    Reply
  • Marilla - Thursday, December 20, 2012 - link

    I used to think I'd never think of my phone as a camera except for shooting traffic accidents or robberies under way. Then I saw the Note II's camera. As a graphics designer in Atlanta, the thought of taking pics of graphic elements I like, then sending them to myself via AT&T's 4GLTE is powerfully tempting. What an awesome feature, too, to be able to write on the pics. Wish AT&T would hurry up with it! Reply

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