IFA 2012: Samsung Unveils The Galaxy Note 2

Samsung has unveiled their latest Android-based smartphone at this yesterday’s IFA and as many had expected it’s the sequel to the Galaxy Note. The Note was originally launched at last year’s show and its only fitting that IFA gets the sequel.

The Note 2 comes with a 5.5-inch Super AMOLED HD screen (0.2-inches bigger than the last) and has a mammoth specs list which means this is easily the most powerful phone on the market. Throw in a stylus pen, which has been given a bevy of fancy new tricks, and you’ve got a phone that has almost every base covered when it comes to functionality.

On the inside there’s a quad-core Exynos processor that has been clocked at an eye-watering 1.6GHz and is flanked by a healthy 2GB of RAM to keep things ticking along nicely. It’s so fast it runs rings around almost every Android phone available and even makes the S3 look positively lumbering.

The note comes with some great hardware too as the smartphone will sport an 8-megapixel back camera with an LED flash plus a decent 1.9-megapixel camera on the front for video calls. The Note 2 also has many of the great features from its slimmer brother the Samsung Galaxy S3 with camera features such as Best Photo, Best Faces and Low-light Shot all on the Note 2, plus video playback formatting for MKV and 1080p movies plus most other video and image formats.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 will also come with NFC connectivity and 4G connection functionality (currently not known if this is for the UK or not!) plus standard features such as Bluetooth 4.0, USB 2.0 and Wi-Fi. The phone measures 80.5 x 151.1 x 9.4mm and weighs just 180g with a large 3,100mAh standard li-ion battery.

Samsung has announced that three versions of the Galaxy Note 2 will be available 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions, with each of these available in either marble white and titanium grey.

There are, of course, drawbacks: the size. It may well be the fastest phone in town but you do have to have something the size of a small brick in your hand or pocket. It’s only 9.4mm thin and it’s impressive that Sammy has improved the screen size without actually increasing the phone’s original footprint.

The overall design isn’t going to be raise any eyebrows as it follows on from the current design cues found in the Galaxy family. There’s a lock and power button located on the top right hand side and there’s a slot for the S pen slot. The slot has been given a couple of nifty features; when you pull the pen out the phone automagically opens the Memo application.

It’s a neat trick, and there’s more; Sammy has added Air View which allows you navigate lists, photos and videos via hovering the pen over the screen without actually touching the screen. It’s nothing more than a gimmick from early impression, but an impressive one nonetheless.

The Galaxy Note 2 comes with Android 4.1 Jellybean and while it’s not the same as what you might find on the Nexus 7 or Galaxy Nexus – it’s good to see Samsung is keeping up with the ever-changing Android landscape. Some of the differences we noticed was there is no card-based notification menu, although when you press the home key it calls up the task manager and you’ll get instant access to Google Now, as well as the ability to kill processor thirsty apps.

There’s no doubt in our mind that the Galaxy Note 2 is one the best media-focused smartphones available. It’s lightning fast, the screen is incredible and the added functionality of the S pen makes it genuinely innovative.

If you do a lot of texting, browsing, emailing, watching films and more – there’s nothing that will even come close the Note 2. Sure it looks a bit ridiculous when you hold it to your head and if you wear skinny jeans there’s not way it’s gonna fit in you pocket. But for functionality, specs and ease of use there’s nothing out there that can rival it apart from a full-sized tablet, of course.

From early impression Samsung has done a sterling job ironing out the kinks from the last version and if they manage to price it at a sensible price, we expect this hybrid handset to fly off the shelves when it gets it release in October.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 will be released in the UK in October, alongside European, Asian and Middle Eastern launches with prices coming in the next few weeks.

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