Skip to main content

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 vs Samsung Galaxy Note specs comparison: What's different?

It is debateable whether Samsung has fully convinced consumers about the value of a ‘phablet’ yet – the name alone, encompassing the phone and tablet aspect of this hybrid device, does little to entice you. But this hasn’t stopped the Korean firm upgrading its Galaxy Note with the Galaxy Note 2, which was unveiled at IFA in Berlin back in 2012. With the Galaxy Note 2 on the left of all these images and it's predecessor on the right, let’s take a look at the specs of each device to see how significant the Note evolution has been.

Size & Weight

The Galaxy Note measured up at 146.9 x 83 x 9.7mm, leaving you with that perhaps cumbersome phone/tablet cross-breed. To accommodate a larger screen, the Galaxy Note 2 has expanded to 151.1 x 80.5 x 9.4mm. This has seen the weight jump too, up a couple of grams from 178g to 180g. So those who struggled with the sheer presence of the Galaxy Note when carrying it around may want to opt out of this ‘phablet’ game altogether with the slightly larger and weightier Galaxy Note 2, even if the increase was a likely consequence of upgrades throughout the device.


One of these upgrades comes with the screen. As you’ve already got a large device that’s not realistically fitting in many pockets, you may as well maximise the screen size to get nearer the tablet experience. That’s what Samsung seems to have decided anyway, with the Galaxy Note 2’s display now measuring 5.5in compared to the 5.3in original. But this improvement surprisingly isn't replicated in the resolution, which downgrades from 1,280 x 800 pixels (285ppi) on the Galaxy Note, to 1,280 x 720 pixels (267ppi) on the Note 2. Maybe only the eagle-eyed display-gazers will notice the difference on an already impressive HD Super-AMOLED display, but it will nevertheless disappoint some consumers expecting an all-round superior device with the new release.

Storage & Memory

Whereas the Galaxy Note came in just the 16GB version, the Note 2 will have 16, 32 and 64GB editions hitting the market, as Samsung deepens the reserves and gives the phablet range a little more clout as a whole. The new devices can be supplemented with microSD cards going up to 64GB, whereas the original only supported external storage up to 32GB. RAM is also doubled, from 1GB to 2GB, pointing to improved performance on the new Note 2.


Dual-core to quad-core is becoming a standard upgrade when manufacturers renew their smartphone/tablet fleet these days, and Samsung have given the Galaxy Note the same transformation. Its new Exynos quad-core system-on-a-chip clocks in at 1.6GHz, packing some welcome extra power to the 1.4GHz dual-core processor in the original Note.


Samsung isn’t afraid to dabble with different operating systems for its devices, but the success of Android on its smartphones sees the gleaming new 4.1 Jelly Bean chosen for the Galaxy Note 2. The Galaxy Note was eventually upgradable from 2.3 Gingerbread to 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, but potential suitors of the new device will find the latest Google OS a draw. The slick Jelly Bean platform scored 9 out of 10 in our recent review, no less.


While the Galaxy Note 2’s rear camera is an 8-megapixel affair like the Galaxy Note, the front-facing cam takes a small step down from the 2-megapixel on the original, to 1.9-megapixel on the new device - while the 1080p video capture features on both. With Samsung electing to stick rather than twist in the camera department, it seems the firm doesn’t necessarily envisage us holding these phablets aloft to take a whole load of snaps.


With the battery upgraded from 2,500mAh on the original to a huge 3,100mAh on the Galaxy Note 2, we appear to have the power to support the rest of the spec. With rival devices from Apple so well-known for their lack of battery life, this capability could turn out to be a real boon and headline-grabbing spec for the Galaxy Note 2.


The Galaxy Note came with integrated 4G LTE as well as HSPA+, and the new Note 2 is no different. So when us Brits finally get treated to 4G spectrums, we have a phablet ready for the high-speed connectivity – but there is no news if and when it will run on any of our networks.


The Galaxy Note 2 is now retailing at around the £300 mark, and the Galaxy Note is typically retailing now at around £180.

Click here to buy the Galaxy Note

Click here to buy the Galaxy Note 2

For a more in-depth look at the new handset, check out our review of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2.

Specification Table

Galaxy Note

Galaxy Note 2


Screen size

5.3 inches 5.5 inches


800 x 1280 pixels 720 x 1280 pixels

Pixel density

285 PPI 267 PPI





Samsung Exynos Samsung Exynos 4412


Dual core Quad core

Clock speed

1.4GHz 1.6GHz


Mali 400MP Mali 400 MP4




2500 mAh 3100 mAh


Internal memory

16 / 32GB 16 / 32 / 64GB

Card slot

micro SD up to 32GB micro SD up to 32GB





1080p 30 1080p 30


Size (lwh)

147 x 83 x 9.65mm 151 x 80.5 x 9.4mm


178g 180g

Operating System

Android 4.04 Ice Cream Sandwich Android 4.1 Jelly Bean