The Samsung Galaxy Note 2, its Android 4.4 KitKat update and its cheap price tag provide a nice combination to those that want a solid experience without the steep price. But while the Galaxy Note 2 is still a solid smartphone, there are some very compelling reasons why you shouldn’t buy Samsung’s Galaxy Note 2 right now.
Nearly two years ago, Samsung took the stage ahead of IFA 2012 and announced a brand new Samsung Galaxy Note dubbed Galaxy Note 2. The Galaxy Note 2 arrived with an array of high-powered specifications including a large HD display, improved S Pen, new software, quad-core processor, tweaked design, and a release on all five top carriers in the United States.
Those features combined with Samsung’s crucial updates to both Android and TouchWiz and a price that’s been in decline have kept the Galaxy Note 2 relevant in the two years after its arrival. And while it’s no longer the top Galaxy Note on the market, it’s still a device that some consumers are considering as we head into the fall. Unsurprisingly, we’ve heard from many people who are investigating the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 as their next smartphone.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is still a good phone but it’s an extremely hard device to recommend especially right now as we push closer and closer to the month of September and the fall.
The next 40 to 60 days represent the absolute worst time to buy the Galaxy Note 2 or any other smartphone for that matter. That’s because we’re hitting the tail end of the yearly smartphone cycle. The devices that arrive in the next two months or so will likely represent the top smartphone options until the cycle begins anew in the beginning of 2015.
Samsung Galaxy Note 4
We’ve used the Galaxy Note 2 extensively since launch. It’s a device that was once among the Android elite but now, two years later, it’s been bypassed by a number of new devices including a Samsung Galaxy Note 3. And in just a few weeks, it looks like the Galaxy Note 2 and the Galaxy Note 3 will both be trumped by something new and something better.
Last week, Samsung confirmed the Galaxy Note 4 release and gave the device September 3rd launch date. The Unpacked 2014 Episode 2 event will take place in New York City, Berlin and Beijing as Samsung attempts to pull in eyes from key battlegrounds. Samsung is in for a dog fight with Apple and its Android competitors in the United States, Europe and Asia moving forward.
September 3rd is important because it means that in just a few short weeks, we’re going to see a new Galaxy Note option emerge. This only happens once a year. And if rumors are correct, the Galaxy Note 4 could be a pretty big step up from the Galaxy Note 3 and the Galaxy Note 2 as Samsung looks to compete against the LG G3 and the iPhone 6.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is expected to deliver a number of changes including a better 5.7-inch QHD display, a more efficient Snapdragon 805 processor, an upgraded camera with optical image stabilization, a UV sensor, a fingerprint sensor for added security, and a design that could combine sleek looking plastic with a metal frame.
All of these are a huge step up from the Galaxy Note 2. The QHD display, if real, will provide better looking gaming and better looking content. The processor will likely deliver enhanced performance including better battery life. The camera will offer better looking photos and video, better than the Galaxy Note 3 even. And the Galaxy Note 3 camera is much better than the Galaxy Note 2’s.
And the design. The Galaxy Note 2’s polycarbonate plastic design is old, outdated and ugly. The Galaxy Note 4’s design, which has evidently leaked out, should be a dramatic step up from the Galaxy Note 2’s. Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 is also expected to deliver the latest Android software, likely Android 4.4.2 KitKat or above, with some new TouchWiz features attached to it.
It’s possible that the Galaxy Note 2 might get some of these features but it won’t get all of them. Older devices never get the full blown feature set because Samsung needs to use those software features to sell people on its current flagship.
The important thing is this. By waiting a few weeks, you’ll give yourself another Galaxy Note option, a Galaxy Note 4 that might just be the Galaxy Note model you’ve been waiting for.
If you hold off for a few weeks, you’ll probably find yourself looking at a new iPhone and one that could potentially match the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, and Galaxy Note 4, in size.
The iPhone 6 is rumored to have two new screen sizes, 4.7-inches and 5.5-inches, both of which will provide more screen real estate for gaming, web browsing, getting work done, and television shows and movies. And it’s that 5.5-inch model in particular should be of interest to prospective Galaxy Note buyers.
In addition to the screen size changes, the iPhone 6 is also rumored to have a higher-resolution display, a slimmer and better protected design, a camera that’s improved over the iPhone 5s’, and an A8 processor that could deliver better performance and battery life. It might also offer more color options and NFC (Near-Field Communication) a feature that’s currently on the Galaxy Note 2 and has been rumored several times for the iPhone.
Apple’s iPhone 6 launch is expected to take place on September 9th. That date isn’t confirmed but Recode’s John Paczkowski is a solid source. iPhone 6 release date rumors peg September 19th as Apple’s big day. In other words, you don’t have long to wait for two of the biggest smartphones of the year.
Maybe the Galaxy Note 4 and iPhone 6 disappoint. Maybe they’re out of your price range. There’s a good chance they will be if you’re looking to buy a Galaxy Note 2 nearly two years after it was released. Well, fear not, because the Galaxy Note 3 and the Galaxy Note 2 should both get even more attractive in the days and weeks ahead.
We’ve already seen AT&T drop the price of the Galaxy Note 3 and we expect other carriers and retailers will follow suit either in the build up to the Galaxy Note 4 release or after the Galaxy Note 4 release itself. Right now, the Galaxy Note 3 (a device that’s far and away better than the Galaxy Note 2) is available for a mere $100 or less at Amazon but we would not be surprised if that price dropped even further after the arrival of the iPhone 6 and Galaxy Note 4. The Galaxy Note 2 is a little harder to find but like the Galaxy Note 3, it’s cheap as well.
Same goes for other top smartphones. Devices like the iPhone 5s, LG G3, Samsung Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8 will likely see their prices drop in September as sweeten their offers after the arrival of the Galaxy Note 4 and iPhone 6.
Point is, the Galaxy Note 2 isn’t going anywhere and there’s a good chance that it, and its rivals, are going to get even cheaper once the Galaxy Note 4 makes its arrival next month. This is important because unlike the Galaxy Note 2, most of these phones have long lives left ahead of them.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is teetering on the edge when it comes to software updates. Samsung typically supports devices for 24 months and with the device’s second birthday taking place next month and Android 4.4.2 KitKat still rolling out, there’s a chance that it will stay on Android 4.4 KitKat, at least officially, forever.
There is also a chance that it will get Android L down the road but that remains unconfirmed, just like the Android L release date. Because it sits in this gray area, the Galaxy Note 2 is an extremely hard device to recommend right now and going forward.
So, if you’re not in any hurry to replace your current smartphone and you aren’t one hundred percent sold on the Galaxy Note 2, we highly recommend holding out, at least until September. In September, you’ll have two more options to weigh against the Galaxy Note 2 and you should also have access to cheaper devices including a cheaper Galaxy Note 2.
We understand that every situation is different. Phones break, money appears, whatever. If you simply can’t wait, make sure that you don’t pay a ton for Samsung’s Galaxy Note 2 and avoid a new contract if you can. There’s no sense in signing on the dotted line for a smartphone with two year old hardware and software that’s in decline.