After months of speculation and rumors, Samsung finally announced the Galaxy Note II at IFA in Berlin. At 5.5” diagonal, .2 inches larger than the Galaxy Note, this quad-core 1.6 Ghz driven phablet will take the reign as the world’s largest smart phone. The design of the phone has changed to a design closer to the Galaxy SIII with rounded corners.
Despite the larger size, the resolution of the screen has decreased from 1280×800 to 1280×720 giving it a true 16:9 aspect ratio. The 267 ppi screen will render images and text so sharp that any improvements will likely be unperceivable by people with even the sharpest eyesight. For comparison, the much touted iPhone 4S Retina display has a pixel density of 326 ppi while the MacBook Pro 15-inch with Retina display has 220 ppi. The pixel density of the Note II is comparable to the Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 (254 ppi) announced earlier in the week.
The device measures at 130.3 x 70.8 x 10.7 mm and it weighs at 185 grams making it thinner than its predecessor but a bit heavier by an extra 2 grams.
It will come with an 8MP rear-facing camera, a 1.9MP front-facing camera.
CPU & memory
The Galaxy Note 2 will come with a powerful 1.6GHz quad-core processor with Samsung’s new Exynos 4412 Quad chipset and 2 GB of RAM. 16GB, 32GB or 64GB models will be available and will run Android 4.1 Jelly Bean out of the box. As with the original Note, it will also support a microSD card for expansion.
It will support HSPA+ 21Mbps and 4G LTE connectivity. Wi-Fi dual-band, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot, advanced Bluetooth 4.0, microUSB 2.0 port and USB Host support rounds out other connectivity options.
The Galaxy Note 2 will also come with an S Pen stylus which has been redesigned to be thicker, longer, and more ergonomic, a welcome relief for users with larger hands.
My biggest criticism of the Galaxy Note is the short battery life, especially when GPS is enabled. The Note II will feature a larger 3,100 mAh battery, 600 mAh more than the original Note’s 2,500 mAh. It’s hard to say if this extra juice will be eaten up by the more powerful CPU and larger screen.
Minority Report becomes a reality
In a move reminiscent of the movie Minority Report, a cool new feature called “Air View” will allow users to preview content such as email, videos, and pictures by simply hovering the pen above the screen. It’s not quite the same as 3D virtual finger gesturing. Maybe that will come with the Note III.
Pricing & availability
Samsung has not released pricing and availability but expect the handset to be available sometime in October. No word yet on which U.S. carrier will carry it.