Samsung Galaxy S4 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2

March 15, 2013
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samsung galaxy s4 vs galaxy note 2 1 aa 600

Arguably the most important Samsung announcement of the year has just passed earlier today, as the South Korean manufacturer has raised the curtain on the Samsung Galaxy S4. Now that the Galaxy S4 is official, we take the time to compare it against the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, and learn how the two size up.

As the freshly unveiled Samsung Galaxy S4 is the first high-end smartphone that the South Korean manufacturer has unveiled since the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, a comparison between the two should reveal the progress of Samsung’s technology in the past six months.

It’s no news by now that the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 was a major hit for Samsung, as the second generation phablet has received positive feedback not only from the online tech media but, if you take into account a few sales reports, regular consumers as well. By the looks of it, we’re in for an interesting battle.

Additionally, it is my belief that this article might help some of our readers to better understand the differences between the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, should they ponder upon buying one of the two.

For a video comparison, you can jump to the bottom of this article. Those of you interested in learning all the details might want to bear with us as we divide this battle in four equally important rounds: display, design and build quality, internal hardware and Android version.

Specs


Specifications
Samsung Galaxy S4 Samsung Galaxy Note 2
Dimensions 136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9mm130g 151.1 x 80.5 x 9.4 mm (5.95 x 3.17 x 0.37 in)183 g (6.46 oz)
Display 4.99-inch, Super AMOLED1920 x 1080 Full HD, 441ppi 5.5-inch Super AMOLED720 x 1280, 267ppi
CPU and GPU International version

  • Samsung Exynos 5 Octa
  • Quad-core A15 (1.6GHz) + Quad-core A7 (1.2GHz)
  • PowerVR SGX544MP3

US version

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 APQ8064T
  • Quad-core Krait 300
  • 1.9Ghz
  • Adreno 320
Exynos 4412 QuadQuad-core 1. 6GHzMali-400MP
RAM 2GB 2GB
Storage 16GB/32GB/64GB internalmicroSD, up to 64GB 16/32GBmicroSD, up to 64GB
Cameras 13MP rear, LED flash, autofocus, burst mode, Shot with Sound, Dual record, Smart Erase 8MP rear,  autofocus, LED flash1.9MP front, 1080p, 30fps
Battery 2600mAh, removable 3100 mAh16h talk time (3G)
Networks GSM, UMTS, HSPA+/LTE GSM, UMTS, CDMAHSPA+, LTE
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n acWi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot, DLNA, NFCBluetooth 4.0 A2DPmicroUSB, MHL 2, infraredA-GPS Wi-Fi 802.11 a, b, g, nWi-Fi hotspotmicroUSB, DLNA, MHLNFCA-GPSBluetooth 4.0
Operating system Android 4.2 TouchWiz UIAir View, Smart Scroll, Smart Pause,S Translate, Knox, S Drive Android 4.1.2 TouchWiz Nature

Display

samsung galaxy s4 vs galaxy note 2 2 aa 600

The Samsung Galaxy S4 uses a 4.99 inch Super AMOLED display that runs at a 1920 by 1080 pixel resolution, at a 441 Pixel Per Inch (PPI) ratio.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 uses a 5.55 inch SAMOLED panel that displays 1280 by 720 pixels at a lesser 267 PPI ratio.

The only noticeable difference (besides the size, of course) is an extra crispness on the Galaxy S4 display. Both panels are very bright and display good contrast ratios, but they also bear the mark of the traditional issue with SAMOLED displays, meaning that color reproduction is not very accurate. Some can live with these oversaturated colors, some can’t.

Verdict: The Samsung Galaxy S4 wins this round thanks to the enhanced crispness of its display.

Design and Build Quality

S4-build-quality

Samsung seems to be very fond of the design language that they’ve used on the Galaxy S3, and then on the Galaxy Note 2, as the Samsung Galaxy S4, at least from the front, appears to be little more than a Galaxy S3 with a larger display. But if you examine the bezel and the periphery of the device, you will find that Samsung is opting for higher quality materials here, giving it a more refined and luxurious aesthetic and feel.

Both the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 make use of the same rounded corners, the same glossy plastic back and the same navigational button style (a hardware button flanked by two capacitive buttons). The metallic frame that the Galaxy S4 uses is a welcomed addition, although some were expecting a bit more from Samsung in the design segment.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 measures 151.1 x 80.5 x 9.4 mm (5.95 x 3.17 x 0.37 in) and weighs 183 g (6.46 oz), while the Samsung Galaxy S4 measures and weighs in at an incredibly svelte 130 grams.

Verdict: Some love larger devices like the Note 2, whereas some don’t. Samsung has managed to fit a very large display with seemingly higher quality build materials into a device that is substantially lighter, too. Our hats go off to Samsung here for making it so compact, yet a large, high resolution display. Plus that thin bezel is a very welcome addition for people, too!

Internal Hardware

Galaxy-S4-vs-Galaxy-Note-2-

CPU, GPU & RAM

For the international variant, the Samsung Galaxy S4 will use a Samsung Exynos 5 Octa SoC, one that consists out of a quad-core A15 CPU and a quad-core A7 CPU in big.little configuration, a GPU and 2GB of RAM memory. For LTE markets like the US, the Samsung Galaxy S4 will use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 600 SoC, which is the one depicted and benchmarked in the image above.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is based on Samsung’s Exynos 4 System on a Chip (SoC), one that combines a 1.6GHz quad-core A9 CPU, a Mali 400MP GPU and 2GB of RAM. Benchmark results as well as real life performance have proven the Exynos 4 as the fastest chip for the main part of 2012.

Six months is a very long time in the mobile device market, and the Samsung Galaxy S4 seems to be the faster smartphone of the two, whether or not it’s the LTE specific one with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 600 or whether it’s the international variant with the Exynos Octa SoC.

Internal and Expandable Storage

Both the Galaxy Note 2 and the Galaxy S4 can work with microSD cards of up to 64GB in size and are available with either 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of internal storage.

Cameras

samsung galaxy s4 12 aa 600

The Samsung Galaxy S4 features a 13MP primary camera and a 2MP secondary camera for video calling, an upgrade from the Galaxy Note 2 and its pair of 8MP and 2MP cameras.

Battery

To power all its components, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 uses a 3100 mAh battery and features great battery life. In the other corner, the Samsung Galaxy S4 uses a 2600 mAh battery, but we’ll have to wait for more time with the device before we can assess its battery life rates.

Verdict: The Samsung Galaxy S4 is likely to have comparable or better battery life compared to the Note 2, due to its more efficient SoC, because it has a smaller display, and because it uses a more advanced display technology compared to the Note 2.

Android Version and Software Tweaks

Both the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 run Android 4.1 Jelly Bean out of the box. The Samsung Galaxy S4 uses a newer version of the TouchWiz custom Android UI, although only the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 has access to Samsung’s range of S-Pen enabled features and apps.

Verdict: Draw

Video

Conclusion

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As one could expect before Samsung’s announcement, at the end of the day, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is inferior to the Samsung Galaxy S4 in terms of display quality and internal hardware. Despite this, I personally know a bunch of Galaxy Note 2 owners who couldn’t give up the extra screen real estate and S-Pen capabilities for nothing in the world.

What do you think about this? Between the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 which one would you choose and why? Voice a thought in the comment section below and let us know!

Comments

  • Hanshen Jordan

    Galaxy S4 win. newest always win :D

  • http://twitter.com/rmnhj RamĂłn H. Juárez

    Of course the GS4 wins for now, but just for now. In a few months, the GNote3 WILL be out, it’ll raise the bar, or at least see the GS4’s hardware specs.

    Final veredict: we all win with such greatly crafted devices around us.

    • http://twitter.com/rjlramos Ryan Joseph Ramos

      We win because we get choices. I like that mentality. If only everyone else thinks that way.

  • Ben Barren

    i would love the 441 ppi and thinner is better but smaller screen and no S-pen i’ll still take Note 2 until Note 3 tho i’d love JB 4.2.2

  • Tagont

    I love my note 2 and won’t change it just yet

    • Rex F.

      I with you on this one. Doesn’t mean that I don’t like what I’m seeing with the s4, it’s just that I love my note 2. I’m most likely going to wait on the note 3.

  • brendan soliwoda

    I much as I am digging this new phone, I am perfectly content with my Note II and will not be switching anytime soon.

    • Kaushik Ray

      For Note 2 users like me it feels u r comparing apples and oranges..!!!
      Nothing can replace the luk, feel and pleasure of holding Note 2 in my hand – NO OTHER PHONE…. (may be except Note 3)..:)

      • Mark J Dave

        I completely agree ! Its like apples and oranges !

      • Raja RJ

        true….its much better to wait for note III

        • Frank Kavanagh

          Better still, wait for the Note IV

      • http://www.facebook.com/salvatore.pisanu.7 Salvatore Pisanu

        OFF COURSE…l’M AGREE

  • Elan Kristoffer Lim

    I’m currently using a note 2.. I’ll just wait for the note 3 to come out..

  • http://www.facebook.com/ondhiyachirag Chirag Thakkar

    if i m gonna change my note 2 the only device replacing it will be note 3.

    • http://www.facebook.com/bluemessenger2003 Juned Khan

      Same Here Mahn

    • Devaughn Miller

      Same here as well bro

  • http://www.facebook.com/karmacharya.slassh Sailesh Karmacharya

    Though s4 has improved specs i would stick to my note 2 because some features will surely pass on to note 2 and also i love its 5.55 inch screen and 2 gb ram and quad core processor of note to is definitely not a joke!

    • http://twitter.com/AmadhyaJain Amadhya Jain

      Hey man, I checked up CNET and guess what, most of S4’s features are coming to the S3 (the ones that don’t depend on hardware). I am a proud Note 2 owner, just bought it 2 months ago and was getting disheartened that I will not get thes egreat software features but since s3 is gettinh most of the features, it is sure that the note 2 is gonna get atleat 9 out of every 10 features. There is not much difference b/w the hardware of Note 2 and S4, sure S4 packs a better processor but N2’s processor is good enough to handle most of the S4’s features. Yaa, the S4 does have 1080p full hd but that doesn’t mean that the N2’s 720p is not gonna be good enough for all the features. S4 packs a 2 Mp front cam and the N2 has a 1.9 MP front cam so I believe that there is not gonna be any problem with eye scroll and eye detecting features. I have complete confidence that most of the s4’s software tweaks will come to the n2 but im still a lil puzzled about air gestures (using hand). The air gestures might not make it to the N2 cause Samsung would have added pressure sensitivity and some other features in the hardware of s4 which might not be there in the note 2. All in all im very happy with my Note 2, can’t even think about going small with the screen size and can’t live without the S Pen features. Samsung is doing a good work out there, wanna ask all those people who went gala over the HTC One and the Xperia Z, where are you guys now?? Samsung has really worked hard with the galaxy s, s2, s3, note, note 2 and above all, the s4. I will envy those carrying the s4 but at the same time I’m not gonna give up on my Note 2. I spent money on my N2 and now it is a part of me, besides technology keeps changing every day-today s4, tomorrow n3, then again s5 and you never know if HTC, Sony or even Apple come in between and break Samsung’s reign.

      • http://www.facebook.com/bluemessenger2003 Juned Khan

        well said…

  • http://www.facebook.com/romeo.bucur2 Romeo Bucur

    I already made my choice 3 days ago. Just bought a note 2 and i don’t regret it for a second.. the s pen and the large display make browsing the web a very nice experience.. and about the “ppi” war.. note 2 has a beautiful display.. certenly more than the averege user will ever need… can’ wait for note 3… :)

    • k brooks

      Ive had my note 2 since September and I still love it and it’s still makes the I phone 5 look like a kiddies toy. The screen on the note 2 is still superb (even tho its not full hd) and very bright. I’ve got 118 apps installed , and it is still as fast as it was when I first got it (which surprises alot of people). The battery life is another great bonus. I’ll upgrade , but only to the note 3. I’m sure the S4 will sell very well though and is great for people who can’t handle the extra size of the note 2

    • http://www.facebook.com/aliff.alfiry Aliff Alfiry

      Yeah, been using for the past 5 months, it’s still awesome compared to S4. Heck, my Antutu is at 20.5k, so it’s not that far behind compared to S4. The only successor to us, Note 1/2 users are Note 3, not S4

  • Mathilda

    I can’t let go my samsung note 2, because i always need the S pen for my study and write down my note. Note 2 just like my notebook combine with my laptop. Samsung SIV is good, but for student, the features in Note 2 is the reason i can’t let go note 2.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kunatiabhi Abhishek Reddy Kunati

    Like the New Features of S4, but I love my Note 2, I will wait for Note 3 instead

  • http://www.facebook.com/aliff.alfiry Aliff Alfiry

    Nope, I won’t change my Note II for S4. As you can see by now, Note is in it’s own league, and the only true successor to Note II is the Note III, not S4. Both cater for different market. S4 for mainstream market, Note for niche market. Alas, I’m sure most of Note II users will wait till Note III comes out and then decide to buy it or not, because going to S4 feels like downgrading no matter how great the performance and screen quality are

  • Dominique

    I am happy With My Note 2~Can’t wait till the Note 3 comes out! :)

  • onanonanon

    Love my note 2 but had a funny thought I wanted to switch back to apple last week. After the screen being repaired for a fault under warranty and having used my old tiny nokia for two weeks, I considered a downsize! Reckon I am staying put now, note 2 rules, south korea wins.

  • John Scafidi

    I say the same as all you. I would not give up my note 2 for anything but the note 3. I guarantee the note 3 will have the 13 megapixel camera and the new processor and those are the only things that I liked on the s4

  • http://twitter.com/danmcsw danmcsw

    Why do you keep saying that the GS4 is running Android 4.1? Your own colleague did a hands on video last night that shows it running 4.2.2.

  • http://twitter.com/Gilles__LeBlanc Gilles LeBlanc

    I feel the same way as most I love my note 2 and wont switch. Anyone see the launch gawd why are android users so frikin pompus. If that where apple annoucing those things the entire audience would have overtaken the stage to give that puggy asian guy some head.

  • abdulkadir

    Try to have a change and move with the world. S4 is hot

  • choya7x

    Surely….note 3 will b better……worth waiting for it…..heheje

  • Percy Gonzales

    Share comments with all you, eventhough the S4 sounds great with a better screen and a little bit better performance, I won’t leave my Note 2. Only will change it when Note 3 comes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bluemessenger2003 Juned Khan

    Will upgrade my Note2 only to Note3…Nothing else matches up…

  • phil0817

    As many others are saying, I will wait for the not-to-far-in-the-future Note3… Seeing all the great new software and hardware features in the 4 makes me very excited for the Note3 possibilities! I hope the new Note has the infra-red transmitter for media center control too!

  • Yan Kar

    Been Using Note 2 for almost 4 month, hard to look at something smaller, tough – wanted HTC DNA ( att does not have it)
    My 8 years old now got note 2 ( upgraded fron nexus 4- mostly cause of battery and the size)
    Kids don’t carry phones in the pockets , they carry them in the bag so they prefer a bigger sizes.

    For the Note 3 i sow a rumor somewhere that it will be bigger than note 2 – and this may be the stopper for me.
    if They keep at 5.5 i think it will be the best deal.

    • Wade06

      Doing some quick sums, if the Note 3 is 5.9″ (as rumored and has the same size bezels as the SGS4 it will be 0.5mm wider than the note 2.

  • Bullydogger

    The only way I will change my Note 2 is when the Note 3 is available form VZW. To me Note2 is as perfect a smart phone gets at this moment in time

  • Matt Lamoureux

    I’m confused, Mike – why would a smaller display mean the S4 would have a better battery life? It is a half inch physically smaller, yes – but it has to power over twice as many pixels… Wouldn’t the number of pixels matter more than the size of the individual pixels?

    • Wade06

      You are right. Tests by GSMarena show that the Note 2 still has better battery life than the SGS4. Sure the screen is bigger but it has a bigger battery and less pixels.

  • blackboy

    I love ma note 2 …and nthing will gonna replace dat…..;)

  • Alfonso17

    Last time I checked the galaxy s4 run android 4.2 out of the box not 4.1.

  • gjh

    I own a Note 2 and it’s a fantastic Phone.The S Pen is no gimmick unlike a lot of the features on the new S4 and I use it a lot.for my rota for work and surfing the web.Yes the S4 might be the latest fast machine on the market, but for me my Note 2 is fast enough and does everything I want with a massive 5.5″ screen.Just can’t wait to see what the Note 3 has to offer.Hopefully that 6.4″ screen rumour will be for real.Keep up the great work Samsung.

  • tezza

    the real estate (screen size) and s pen for my business, instagram use are superior in so many ways…. I’ll stay with the Note 2!

  • Utsav

    Note 2 remains phenomenal, although S4 does pack a punch. When is Note 3 expected? Any idea when we get to upgrade our Note 2 to Jelly Bean 4.2?

  • http://twitter.com/irfan0303 Muhammad Irfan Safdr

    For Note 2 users like me it feels u r comparing apples and oranges..!!!
    Nothing can replace the luk, feel and pleasure of holding Note 2 in my hand – NO OTHER PHONE…. (may be except Note 3)..:)

  • Aadiyya

    Note II is my love nd m not upgrading to S4 jst for display and some features .. and only device I will upgrade to is note 3 . Nd none of a device can take place of my noye II

  • http://www.facebook.com/dyson.lu Dyson Lu

    Thin bezel does not necessarily mean a good thing. Too thin and your fingers holding the phone will cover parts of
    the display. Too thin and your fingers may accidentally tap an element
    (e.g. widget). Some people (especially the media) should stop asking
    for thinner and thinner bezel — it comes to a point where form is
    taking over function.

    • Samsungaddict

      True indeed

  • Amit Since 1986

    Sure for this…Note 2 still stands on No.1 in world…as compare to other there is no any model or phablet who can beat Note 2 in features…Note 2 still Rock…

  • Tom

    Just switched from iPhone to Note 2 for the following key reasons – S-Pen features and its bigger screen. Even if Samsung was to introduce the S-Pen on the S4, I still wouldn’t see myself switching to a smaller screen as it would then limit the use of the S-Pen in terms of writing surface area (although it is only by 0.5 of an inch). That said and under normal usability, the additional performance found on the S4 would not be significantly felt.

  • No One Important

    Nope, sorry. I’m not giving up my Note II for anything else but a Note 3 (grin). I still have people stop me and ask me about it, and marvel at the speed, the stylus, the size of the screen. . . I even catch them looking over my shoulder! No, I’m sorry. The S4 is a “phone” – the Note is a micro-tablet. The Note II is a “tool” – the phones are “toys.” That’s the difference in the audiences that you’re targeting. One is practically made to be a business tool, the other is more like a toy for the masses. Don’t confuse the the two markets. I don’t see myself “downsizing” to something from what I have now that is perfect. And I don’t see why I should.

  • Sergio

    “the traditional issue with SAMOLED displays, meaning that color reproduction is not very accurate. Some can live with these oversaturated colors, some can’t.”

    REALLY ??? You just have to change that in display settings… 4 options : Dynamic, Standard, Natural and Video. Personaly I use Natural.

  • AnyManCan

    surely the S4 will be/is a great phone, the galaxy line has just gotten better and better. With bench marks that high, real world performance should yeld little to little to no perceptible difference. If you are rocking an s2, the s4 would be worth a look if you are due an upgrade, but it too is still an awesome phone, screen res not withstanding. the s3 is just a hair behind, and most are still 1+ year from an upgrade. for those of us with the n2, unless you’ve recently switched to skinny(er) jeans, this is not an upgrade. Just my .02

  • sa

    i will only change my note2 for a note3 if it’ll be only as good as my note2

  • Raja RJ

    I would prefer Note 2 still for S-Pen capabilities and Features…there is no major change in S4 as compared to Note 2 except in Camera and Display…and few
    extra-softwares(like S health..etc) which can downloaded from external sources into Note 2…so still,Note 2 is one of the best in class

  • http://www.facebook.com/sam.galaxys.7 Sam Gal

    The S4 definitely seems like an upgrade. Now the question is should i get the S4 or wait for the Note 3?

  • bobbylee Budde

    I like the S4 but ill wait for Note 3

  • Chris Arcadia

    The S4 sounds awesome but I could never give up the extra real estate that comes along with the Note II. I’ll wait for the Note III. Keep on keepin on, Samsung.