Samsung unwraps Galaxy Note 2 with smarter stylus and Jelly Bean

Samsung unwraps Galaxy Note 2 with smarter stylus and Jelly Bean

Summary: The Galaxy Note II tablet runs Android Jelly Bean 4.1 on a 1.6GHz quad-core processor, and its S Pen stylus can now be used for new actions such as bringing up email previews.


Samsung has unveiled the Galaxy Note II, the Jelly Bean-equipped successor to its surprisingly successful smartphone-tablet hybrid.

The original Note was quite a hit for Samsung, despite its focus on the stylus — a feature that many had written off with the industry switch from resistive to capacitive touchscreens. The new version adds functionality to the stylus, while also boosting other specifications.

Samsung Galaxy Note II
Samsung has shown off the Galaxy Note II. Image credit: Stephen Shankland/CNET News

The Note II, revealed at the IFA show in Berlin on Wednesday, has a 5.5-inch screen with a new 16:9 aspect ratio, compared with the original Note, which had a 16:10 ratio. The body of the device is marginally thinner than that of its predecessor, at 9.4mm rather than 9.65mm.

The dimensions of the S Pen stylus have also changed. The new S Pen is longer and thicker, and offers a more ergonomic grip, according to Samsung.

New tricks

One of the most intriguing new features of the S Pen is Air View, which brings up previews of emails, image galleries and videos by hovering the stylus over them.

An S Pen button tells the device that selected content is to be copied or edited, while the 'Easy Clip' feature is intended to make outlining and cropping easier.

One handy feature comes into play when the user pulls out the S Pen during a phone call — this fires up the S Note app. The stylus can also be used to make special gestures on the screen, to do things such as initiating calls and bringing up emails.

Inside, the Note II runs on a 1.6GHz quad-core processor and offers HSPA Plus or 4G connectivity. The battery capacity is 3,100mAh, and storage options run from 16GB to 64GB. The device also has expandable storage via microSD.

The rear camera has an 8-megapixel resolution and the front-facing camera 1.9MP. Users can choose which are their 'best faces' — "the most preferred face or pose of each person from group portrait photos" — and the device has the same Smart Stay feature as the Galaxy S III. This uses the front-facing camera to stop the phone going into standby when someone is using it.

The Galaxy Note II will be available in October in "major European, Asian, and Middle East markets", Samsung said. Pricing has not yet been announced.


Samsung also showed off its new 16-megapixel Android-based camera at IFA. The Wi-Fi-enabled Galaxy Camera has 21x optical zoom and runs Jelly Bean (Android 4.1).

In this case, Android makes it possible to edit and share photos and videos, and also to download and use apps such as Instagram.

Samsung is not the first camera manufacturer to incorporate Android functionality into its products: Polaroid and more recently Nikon have already used the OS to beef up their cameras' capabilities.

Topics: Android, Mobility, Samsung, Smartphones, Tablets

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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  • Very Nice!

    Good Job Samsung. Keep innovating!
  • Intesrting

    I saw a couple galaxy notes, they are just huge, too big for my tastes i think, but for some people its a happy medium.
    • Note

      Everybody says it's too huge until they use it for a few days.
      They can't give it back after that.....
  • i want one

    when will it be available in the states?
    • Ditto

      I'd buy...
  • I need one

    I can smell a "just shut up and take my money" moment just around the corner...
  • Galaxy Note is a phone not a tablet.

    I have the Galaxy Note I and I love it.
  • The Galaxy Note is not a phone

    As a Galaxy Note user, the last thing I use my Note for is making phone calls.
    The Galaxy Note is a PC - Personal Computer!
    • SGN 1

      I use it for phone calls as well,no big deal thats what its for its great,roll on SGN2
      • Phone

        yeh I make calls on it, but it's less than 5% of my usage.
        Apple has to be secretly jealous they didn't come out with an iNote before Samsung.
  • Specs

    21x optical zoom? Are you sure it isn't digital zoom? That would be extremely sexy if it was 21x optical zoom...but I have my doubts....
    • Nope

      Compact cameras have already surpassed pocket cameras in optical zoom because bigger size, and have even presented 40x optical zooms.
      Pocket cameras today can have 10-20x optical zoom so I don't doubt there is possibility for optical 21x zoom.

      Of course compacts has gone over SLR's in zoom size, but SLRS wins in quality, features and possibilities (extra size, weight etc) and pockets are just... pocket cameras (small, light and "grandma functionality").
      • SLR Zoom

        want more zoom?
        slap on lens. easy game
  • very nice but...

    I think I'll wait to see what the HTC DLX has to offer, other than its 1080p display.
  • Android rolls on

    How quickly the headlines have changed! A few days ago, Samsung was virtually dead and it was poised to bring down the Android platform with it. In the big picture, I really don't foresee Apple's recent victory as a huge setback for any competing force in the mobile space, and especially not for Android. When you look at the rate of Android adoption in the U.S., the expansion of the Android developer community ( proves this with their recent growth numbers), and industry projections put Android at a 70% market share for all smartphones to be shipped globally for the remainder of 2012. Not bad news Android at all.
  • SGN I vs II

    After investigating smartphones and telecom plans, I decided on the Samsung Galaxy Note (SGN) I and purchased one with a voice+data plan in early May 2012. To say the least, I am ecstatic about the functionality of the SGN I.

    First off, SGN I/II are computers with built-in phone circuit, not cellphones with some computer function. I have heard the term "phablet" used for the SGN.

    The SGN I really fits well with my routine via S Planner, Email, GPS, WiFi, texting, camera for photo shoots and video recording, and the myriad of apps that take advantage of the various built-in sensors.

    I received the SGN I in May 2012 with Gingerbread installed. I upgraded to ICS in July 2012 with no major issues. The only irritance was the disappearance of folders in my home pages that I had created to contain apps per subject matter. Otherwise clean install.

    I use the stylus with S Note / S Memo for simple notes and drawings, and to annotate photos. The other major reason for using the stylus is to avoid fat-fingering unintended actions which I tend to do. The stylus provides precision pointing and touch.

    The photo and video capabilities are amazing, and make a great tool for documenting customer sites I visit for IT work. And it plays movies/videos. And all in HD. On that large screen that is also easy on the eyes.

    I think I will stick with the SGN I for now although the increased S Pen functionality, increased data storage capacity, and increased battery capacity with SGN II are enticing.

    I believe one reason for the 720 pixels is to move to standard HD (720p) display for apps performance so they do not have to draw to non-standard display size ? Just guessing.

    I highly recommend SGN I/II for those that have a busy schedule, especially in the technical fields, as this device can help you communicate with clients and suppliers, get you there via GPS, help document your clients' environment, and give you extended functionality via the rich ecosystem of apps available. On that large screen. :-)
  • the bigger the better

    Love that Samsung is on this track. Heck with bluetooth headsets I'd buy a full tablet with phone capabilities. I rarely hold my phone to my ear anyway.
    • Dockables

      I love my Note a lot.
      The only thing I want is to be able to dock my Note into a 10" tablet + lapdock like the Asus Padfone. Asus Padfone is only 4.3" so it's not as good as the note in pocket form. Make a 5.5" version of the Asus Padfone with Wacom pen like Note and I'm there in a flash!
  • I like it!

    Put WP8 on it and I'll buy 2.
    • WP8 is the way to go.

      WP8 and a quad-core processor will be amazing