Samsung's Mobile Unpacked event has been of the most exciting at this year's IFA tech conference in Berlin and it's down to the heavily-anticipated Galaxy Note II. The next-gen Note, successor to last year's super-sized smartphone sleeper hit, has been confirmed as a 5.55-inch Android Jelly Bean smartphone - yes, Samsung is officially calling it a smartphone rather than waxing lyrical on whether it's actually a tablet.
The display sports HD Super AMOLED screen tech like the original Note, with a 1280x720-pixel resolution and a 16:9 aspect ratio for cinematic movie viewing, while an ever-thinning bezel means the Note II is way more spacious but only slightly arger. The numbers come in at 80.5x151.1x9.4mm, and 180g - just a millimetre here and there and a couple grams more than the original Note.
The Galaxy Note II now packs an immense quad-core 1.6GHz processor with 2GB of RAM, more or less matching Samsung's recent iPad-smashing table Galaxy Note 10.1 for power. Like the Note 10.1, it can perform all kinds of multitasking feats, including split screen for using two apps at once; and Popup Web, allowing you to open a browser windows anywhere on screen without having to shut down your original app. There's also Popup Play, where you can resize a video you're watching into a floating window while you do something else like browse the web or text a friend.
But the real draw is the S Pen, the capacitive stylus that works with the Note II's incredibly sensitive touch-screen for content creation of any sort – illustration, photo editing, handwriting recognition for jotting down ideas. Air View is a new S Pen feature that lets you hover over an email to preview it without neding to open it, while a new gesture pad feature Quick Command lets you use the S Pen to shortcut different actions. For example, press the button on the S Pen to clip or edit selected content – you can then colour, shade, illustrate and of course share it. You can also pop captured shots into the Screen Recorder feature to turn it into an action sequence and make your own stop-motion movies.
The Galaxy Note II is also fully kitted out with an eight-megapixel camera and 1.9-megapixel front-facer, both of which record HD video. As with the rest of Samsung's Galaxy line, the camera is stuffed with quirky extras like Buddy Photo Share and Best Photo, with the new addition of Best Faces allowing you to choose not only your best pose in a series of shots, but everyone's individually. This is one we're going to have to test to see if it's gimmick or gold. With Jelly Bean on-board, the Note II will also run Google Now, the search giant's cool-or-creepy predictive action-launcher based on your past searches and actions. NFC support lets you transfer files and links to other NFC phones over S Beam, as well as connect wirelessly to NFC accessories. Media cred is rounded out by Samsung's standard AllShare wireless sharing. There's a giant 3000mAh battery to offset the energy requirements of the large, super-bright AMOLED display, though we'll have to wait till we get our hands on a review unit to report on battery life. The Galaxy Note II will be released in a 4G LTE version, but sadly at launch time, not for the 1800MHz 4G that the UK will have from September. The Samsung Galaxy Note II will launch in marble white and titanium grey this October.
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