Samsung Galaxy Note II - True Hybrid Smartphone/Tablet

1/9/2013 5:58:00 PM

Samsung's Galaxy Tab might be doing its best to look as much like a Kindle Fire or Google Nexus as is physically (and, er, legally) possible, but one of its alternative devices - the Galaxy Note II is blazing a trail that's all its own, almost to the point of stubbornness.

Samsung Galaxy Note II

Samsung Galaxy Note II

“The Galaxy Note II is blazing a trail that's all its own, almost to the point of stubbornness”

For a start, the Note II is a true hybrid smartphone/tablet device which allows you to make voice calls, despite its oversized frame. It's got a stylus (sorry, 'S-Pen'), which you can use to make notes and issue input commands of various kinds. It's got a rather strange split-screen implementation that lets you drag and drop information between two simultaneously running apps. What's more, it's one of the few 4G-capable devices you can buy right now.

Samsung Galaxy Note II

All of this innovation comes at a price, of course. It's almost $733 to buy without a contract - but then the iPhone 5 is $862 for a 16GB SIM-Free model, so that's not especially highly priced for a smartphone. The Note II's 5.55" screen undeniably nudges it just into mini tablet territory, and despite a slightly smaller screen, its specs are far beyond most mini tablets. You get 2GB of RAM, an 8MP/1.9MP back/front camera combination, and a 1.6GHz quad-core Cortex-A9 based chip (for reference, the Tegra 3 is clocked at 1.2GHz in 7" devices).

Samsung Galaxy Note II

Only the screen resolution of 1280 x 720 and built-in SSD storage of 16GB (microSD-expansible) seems remotely familiar for this class of device. In almost every other way, the Galaxy Note II works to justify its high price.

It's hard to say whether the extra features make it a reasonable alternative to a more conventional mini tablet. There's certainly an element of 'throw everything at the wall' at play here, but if you want to get a device on the bleeding edge, it's easily the most intriguing piece of hardware you'll be able to find and maybe that's enough for you.


·         Screen Size: 5.55"

·         Internet: Wi-Fi & 4G

·         Price: 16 GB SIM-Free ($722)

·         OS: Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)

·         UK Release Date: October 2012


·         Quality: 8

·         Value: 6

·         Overall: 7


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