Should I Buy the Galaxy Note 2 or Wait for the Galaxy S4?
Back in December, the Samsung Galaxy S4 leaked to the surface, setting off a torrential onslaught of rumors in regards to its release date, hardware and its software. As we inch ever so closer to the Galaxy S4 launch date, consumers are wondering whether or not they should wait for the Galaxy S4. And in particular some consumers are asking themselves whether they want to wait for the Galaxy S4 or buy Samsung’s most current flagship smartphone, the Galaxy Note 2. Here, we attempt to help conflicted consumers over the fence.
In the summer of last year, Samsung introduced its most popular smartphone to date, the Samsung Galaxy S3, which has gone on to sell more than 40 million units around the globe smashing the records of the previous Galaxy S model, the Galaxy S2. However, the Galaxy S3 wasn’t the only Samsung success story of 2012.
Later in the year, in August, Samsung announced its latest addition to the Galaxy Note series in the form of the Galaxy Note 2, a device that has sold over five million units worldwide and seen heavy marketing including its most recent commercial which appeared during the Super Bowl. While the Galaxy Note was, at first, questioned by critics, the device has proven to be an extremely popular smartphone and one of the best smartphones available on the market right now.
So, it’s no surprise that we’ve been hearing chatter amongst friends, family members and readers about it. Thing is, we’ve also been hearing quite a few questions about the Samsung Galaxy S4 as well.
With the Galaxy S3 now seen on the same level as the iPhone, the expectations of the Galaxy S4 are through the roof. While the Galaxy S3 had seen quite a bit of anticipation amongst consumers, it wasn’t to same level as the Galaxy S4 which has seen furor like no other Galaxy S launch before it.
And because of that, we’re already hearing people wondering about whether or not they should buy the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 right now, or wait for the Galaxy S4 to arrive at some point down the road. And while there may be no definitive answer, we have come up with several reasons why some of you might want to buy the Galaxy Note 2 now, and why others may want to wait and make the Galaxy S4 their next smartphone.
Reasons to Buy the Samsung Galaxy Note 2
One of the most unique aspects of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is its ergonomic S-Pen stylus which comes bundled and takes advantage of several unique applications not found on any of Samsung’s other smartphones.
The S-Pen is able to utilize a number of different on-board apps including S-Note which allows users to easily jot down notes, directions, phone numbers and more. Best of all, it automatically opens when the S-Pen is taken out of its holster. Other apps include Easy Clip which allows users to crop an image and save or share it easily, just by using the pen.
There are also smaller benefits like Color Picker which allows users to capture a color from any image when drawing something of their own.
These features and more make the S-Pen much more than your standard stylus and help transform the Galaxy Note 2 from a simple large-screened smartphone into a productivity beast.
The Galaxy S4, though rumored to have one, will likely not come with S-Pen support meaning the Galaxy Note 2 is a great option for those that want that type of support with their smartphone.
Maybe the first thing consumers will notice about the Galaxy Note 2 is that it’s absolutely massive for a smartphone. The reason for this is its 5.5-inch Super AMOLED display with 720p resolution that dominates its footprint.
The Galaxy Note 2 display might seem big but it’s going to be absolutely perfect for the use cases of many people. Those who enjoy watching video content on the go for instance can do so without compromise. In the event that a friend is nearby, users can easily share the display for movies, television shows or sports highlights.
It’s also perfect for getting work done, especially with the S-Pen. And, the large size also means that it’s perfect for Samsung’s Multi-Window View feature which allows users to split up the display into two apps running at the same time.
While that option is available to users of the Galaxy S3, and likely the Galaxy S4 as well, there won’t be the same kind of real estate that is found on the Galaxy Note 2.
Those that are looking to get the Galaxy Note 2 for a much cheaper price than its listed pricing through carriers can now do so. In fact, we’ve seen the Sprint Galaxy Note 2 drop to $99.99 on-contract, $200 cheaper than its $299.99 price through Sprint itself.
Other carriers like AT&T and Verizon offer the device for $299.99 but through Amazon, the devices are much cheaper on-contract. The Galaxy S4 will likely start at $199.99 and while its pricing will likely drop, it may not be as low as the Galaxy Note 2′s pricing for quite some time.
So those not looking to break the bank will want to give the Galaxy Note 2 a long hard look.
Has Longevity Despite Age
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2, despite being released in August, is well-equipped for the future and will likely be able to ride out the duration of a two year contract on all five of the carriers that currently have it.
It features a display that, while not 1080p, still produces gorgeous content. It has a Exynos quad-core processor which means that it will be able to handle not only current software but software of the future. It has a massive battery that gives it fantastic battery life, even on 4G LTE. And it has a solid polycarbonate design, one that Samsung might even employ on the Galaxy Note 3.
We’ve also seen Samsung commit to its older devices which means that it should be updated with new software in the months and the years to come. So, those worrying that it might lose its luster any time soon needn’t worry. It should hold its own well into the future.
Don’t Want to Wait
Very simply, the Galaxy Note 2 is a better looking option to those that don’t wish to wait for the Galaxy S4 to arrive. As it stands, rumors suggest a late March launch with a release in the U.S. in either May or June. That’s several months from now. At the very least, it will likely be a two month wait for the Galaxy S4 and for many, that’s not possible whether it’s for monetary or patience reasons.
That said, the Galaxy Note 2 is on shelves right now and readily available and as we’ve said, it will hold up well into a two-year contract so those that don’t wish to wait don’t need to force it.
Reasons to Wait for the Samsung Galaxy S4
Even Better Display
Indeed, the Galaxy Note 2 has a fantastic display, but the Galaxy S4 display should be even better. Thus far, rumors suggest that, at the very least, it will be a 4.99-inch 1080p display with a high pixel-per-inch count. If true, that will already put it on par with the best displays that we’ve seen emerge thus far.
In addition, Samsung is rumored to be including touch less gestures to the Galaxy S4 which would allow users to manipulate content on the display without having to actually touch the display. The technology has been featured on the Pantech Vega 4G LTE and Xperia Sola from Sony, but hasn’t caught on yet with a big name phone.
Again, at the very least, it should be 1080p, far exceeding the 720p display on the Galaxy Note 2, and those that like their content as crisp as possible will likely want to hold out for it.
As we said, the Galaxy Note 2 is a large smartphone, so large in fact, that it is often difficult to use with one hand. While not a problem for some, being able to comfortably hold a smartphone in one hand and use it is extremely important. And while we don’t know the exact dimensions of the Galaxy S4, we expect it to be much smaller so as not to infringe on the Galaxy Note’s territory.
Rumors suggest a 4.99-inch or 5-inch display but we could see Samsung simply make the phone taller rather than wider while slimming it down from the 8.6mm Galaxy S3.
This would mean a much lighter, much slimmer Galaxy S4, something that would appeal to those turned off by the size of the Galaxy Note 2 and those that have small hands.
Speedier Software Updates
While software updates for Samsung’s Galaxy S series, specifically the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy S2, have trickled out faster than in the past, the Galaxy Note is still much slower likely due to its screen size and complicated software.
For instance, while the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy S2 were both updated to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, the Galaxy S3 back in September, the Galaxy Note is still without its software upgrade. The Galaxy Note 2 runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean out of the box so it’s impossible to tell at this point if its updates will be slow, but given the past, we expect it to be slower than updates to Samsung’s new flagship, the Galaxy S4.
The Galaxy S4 will likely be given the royal treatment, not just because its the latest smartphone, but also because it could be come the companies most adopted smartphone.
Samsung aims to please and it will want to please the millions upon millions of customers who buy it. No disrespect to the Galaxy Note 2 sales, but they won’t come close to the Galaxy S4′s.
Android 4.2 & More Out of Box
Again, the Galaxy Note 2 is now on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, which was Google’s most current software until Android 4.2 Jelly Bean arrived back in November of last year.
Android 4.2 boasts a number of additions to Jelly Bean including better Google Now, a gesture-style keyboard, lock screen widgets, and a new Quick Settings menu. All are fantastic additions to Jelly Bean.
Galaxy Note 2 owners could be waiting awhile for this update though. There is still no timetable and we imagine a reason for that could be because Samsung will be launching the Galaxy S4 with Android 4.2 out of the box. It could use it to tout the benefits of the Galaxy S4.
What’s more is that the Galaxy S4 should come equipped with new software, whether Nature UX 2.0 or not, software that may not be available to Galaxy Note 2 owners in the near future either.
So for those that don’t want to sit around waiting for the most current Android or Samsung software features, the Galaxy S4 might be worth waiting for.
The Galaxy Note 2 cameras did little to improve upon the cameras found in the Galaxy Note. That’s not to say they’re bad, they’re decent, but they left consumers wanting more.
That more should come with the Galaxy S4 which is rumored to have a 13MP camera. Nothing else is known about the sensor, but we expect it to be a huge upgrade from the Galaxy S3 camera and thus, an upgrade over the Galaxy Note 2′s.
So those looking for a stellar, next-gen smartphone camera should wait for the Galaxy S4.