The world's biggest phone just gone bigger.
The original Galaxy Note had a 5.3-inch display.
It's successor, being released in NZ later this month, bumps that up to 5.5-inches.
With its giant touchscreen, there's been some talk of the Note being a mini tablet or phablet". But there is no wi-fi-only option. It has a (virtual) keypad and you can hold to your ear, one-handed, to make a call. This is most definitely a phone.
To put that jumbo screen in context, Samsung's flagship Android smartphone, the Galaxy S III, has a 4.8 inch display, the iPhone 5 a 4-inch, the iPhone 4S a 3.5-inch.
A signature feature of the Galaxy Note is its S Pen stylus, which lets you write, draw or annotate almost any image.
NBR found handwriting recognition good with the the original Note. Overseas reviews this isn't an issue with the Note II (check out this encyclopedic effort by CNET UK). It helps that the Note II has a quad-core processor (the original Note was dual-core) and spruced up pen technology.
Other specs are the same, including the 8 megapixel rear-camera, and lower resolution front video camera.
The Note I weighed 178g. The Note II is 180g (context: the Galaxy S3 is 133g; the iPhone 5 112g). It measures 151.1x80.5x9.4mm or slightly longer and narrower than the Note I.
The OS is Android 4.1 (aka Jellybean).
There are two colour choices: white and grey.
Pricing has yet to be set. In Australia, the Note II is selling for AU$899 (NZ$1150).
Samsung says Telecom and 2degrees have signed on as carriers. Vodafone is expected to join them.
Aussies are getting a 4G option. With no 4G networks here, we top out at the HSPA+ 21Mbit/s version.
Critics tended to see the original Galaxy Note, launched in October last year, as a little out there. But it went on to sell five million. The Note II has sold three million in its first month.
Reviewers have tended to focus on the usefulness, or otherwise, of the Note's pen stylus. NBR liked the Note 1 - but simply because the large screen was a bonus for gaming, viewing video and web browsing.
It's worth noting that Samsung isn't obsessed with big. The company also has a smaller, 4-inch version of the Galaxy S III on the way - good news for those who like to be able to thumb the entire screen while holding a phone in one hand.
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