Samsung Galaxy Note II US review: One for all

GSMArena team, 24 October 2012.
Pages: 123456789101112

Following closely the footsteps of its international sibling, the US Samsung Galaxy Note II takes on our review course. Just like its smaller brother, the Galaxy S III, the Samsung Galaxy Note II is launching across all major carriers.

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Samsung Galaxy Note II US version official photos

The US launch of the Samsung Galaxy Note II represents a major shift in the company's product lineup across the Atlantic. Unlike the first generation Galaxy Note and, more recently the Galaxy S III, the second generation of the popular phablet didn't need a chipset transplant to swim across the pond. This means that users in the United States will have the pleasure of using the same hardware as the rest of the world. In the case of the Samsung Galaxy Note II we are talking an Exynos 4412 Quad chipset with four Cortex-A9 CPU cores.

Here goes the Samsung Galaxy Note II's full list of talents.

Key features

  • Quad-band GSM and quad-band 3G with 21 Mbps HSDPA and 5.76 Mbps HSUPA support
  • LTE connectivity (carrier dependent)
  • 5.5" 16M-color Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen of HD (720 x 1280 pixel) resolution
  • Android OS v4.1 with TouchWiz launcher
  • 1.6 GHz quad-core Cortex-A9 CPU, Mali-400MP GPU, 2GB of RAM, Exynos 4412 Quad chipset
  • S Pen active stylus with deep system integration
  • 8 MP wide-angle lens autofocus camera with LED flash, face, smile and blink detection
  • 1080p HD video recording at 30fps
  • 16/32GB internal storage, microSD slot
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n support
  • GPS with A-GPS connectivity; GLONASS support, Digital compass
  • NFC support
  • Stereo Bluetooth v4.0
  • microUSB port with USB host and TV-out (1080p) support, MHL, charging
  • Accelerometer, gyroscope and proximity sensor
  • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Great audio quality
  • Slim at only 9.4mm
  • 1.9MP secondary video-call camera
  • Document editor and file manager comes preinstalled
  • Extremely rich video and audio codec support
  • Huge 3100 mAh battery

Main disadvantages

  • Large size makes single-hand operation problematic
  • No dedicated camera key
  • All plastic construction (would have probably weighed a ton otherwise, though)
  • No FM radio (the N7100 has one)

The Samsung Galaxy Note II is easily among the most powerful handsets in the US market at the moment. The presence of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean on board makes the device part of a really privileged club of gadgets, booting the latest version of the Google mobile OS. The S Pen has also made quantum leaps compared to its predecessor.

All in all, the US Samsung Galaxy Note II ticks many of the right boxes and promises to deliver as great an experience as its international version. Normally, we'd say that's an offer you shouldn't miss, but given that the Galaxy Note II is also among the most expensive devices on the American market, we'll need some more convincing.

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Samsung Galaxy Note II for T-Mobile live photos

As per tradition, we are going to kick the US Samsung Galaxy Note II review off with an unboxing, followed by a thorough hardware inspection.

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