Books & Review
Updated: Nov 19, 2012 01:55 PM EST


According to Nenamark 2, the S4 uses a 1.2GHz processor and comes with a screen with a resolution of 480 x 800.
(Photo : Samsung)

As Black Friday approaches, retailers continue to give Samsung customers reasons to get excited for its already highly successful Galaxy Note II and Galaxy SIII smartphones.

Galaxy Note II

Amazon is now offering the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 at a bargain price of $250 along with a two-year contract with AT&T. This is $50 less than AT&T's price for the device with a two-year contract. Amazon looks to have the most competitive pricing on the device around, as all other carriers, including AT&T, price the entry-level Galaxy Note II with a two-year contract beginning at $300.

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When Samsung first introduced the world to its not-quite-a-phone-not-quite-a-tablet, or "phablet," the Galaxy Note, many balked at its bulky size and questioned whether or not there was really a niche for such a device. After a little over a month on the U.S. market though, the verdict seems to be in for its second iteration, the Galaxy Note 2: People can't get enough of the "phablet."

The world's largest maker of smartphones, Samsung continues to build on the success its had in 2012 with the Galaxy SIII smartphone. Samsung announced the company sold more than 3 million of its Galaxy Note II smartphone-tablets in the first 37 days the device was on the market.

Android 4.2

Samsung's Galaxy Note II "phablet," and the Galaxy SIII will be among the next devices to receive an update to Android 4.2 in the first quarter of 2013, according to SamMobile.

Many Samsung fans had merely been waiting for an update to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. If Samsung really does offer an update in early 2013, the company would likely be buying some priceless goodwill with its customers.

Samsung will begin releasing Android 4.2 in "Q1 2013," according to a tip from an insider who spoke with SamMobile. The Galaxy SIII and Galaxy Note II will be the first of the company's devices to receive the update.

Q1 2013 runs from January to March, but expect the update to roll out closer to the end of Q1 2013, because the Galaxy SIII is still in the process of being upgraded to Android 4.1.1, says SamMobile.

Samsung Galaxy Note II specs

The device has a quad-core Exynos processor clocked at 1.6GHz, 5.5″ HD Super AMOLED display, 2GB RAM, 16GB internal storage, microSD slot to expand the storage, 4G LTE (except on the T-Mobile version), 8MP rear camera, 1.9MP front camera, built-in S Pen, NFC, and a 3100mAh battery. The 5.5-inch HD Super AMOLED display on the Galaxy Note 2, has a 1280x720 display, at 276ppi.


Reviews are just as enamored with the device as the public. Most found relatively little to complain about in the second generation of Samsung's Galaxy Note "phablet," outside of minor quibbles with its size, kinks in the software, and handling of apps.

While many reviews questioned the larger-than-average size of the device, reviewers finding themselves missing using smaller smartphones, Time loved the size of the Note II. "It's been a fun experience, but it's also tweaked my thinking; now, even 4.8-inch screens seem reasonable, and anything less feels insufferably puny," said the magazine.

"The Galaxy Note II is an excellent device, however you want to classify it. I've noticed that I'm using my Nexus 7 tablet less, and I'm dreading the idea of going back to the smartphones that I once thought were just the right size. There's room for a device that straddles the line between both, and Samsung is showing everyone how it's done."

Droid-Life loved the Galaxy Note II's hardware, and operating system, but came up undecided regarding the phablet's large size. The tech website didin't prefer it, but admits there are probably plenty of people who won't mind its larger-than-average size.

"This is a tough one. The Galaxy Note 2 is an incredible smartphone, there is no denying that," said Droid-Life. "What you will all have to decide is whether or not you can deal with the size on a daily basis. I personally, couldn't wait to get back to my 'smaller' Galaxy S3, but that doesn't mean that the majority of you won't love the 5.5-inch display and large body of the Note 2."

"There really are few negatives to this phone. It's powerful, polished, stable, and Samsung's best work yet. It's just one of those hybrid products that there is no way for me to say one way or the other if you are going to love it. You are the one buying your next smartphone, so if you think the Note 2 may be it, I suggest you go get your hands on one. Pocket it. Caress it. Use the S Pen. Snap photos. Navigate around the UI. Hold it up to your head and look in the mirror. Like what you see and feel? Then I think you have made your decision."

Galaxy SIII 

Released in May 2012, the Android-based Galaxy S III boasts a bigger 4.8-inch touch-screen, and longer battery life than the iPhone 4S, along with more megapixels in its camera, and the ability to run on 4G cellular networks. Some tech sites have rated it the best smartphone available.

Sprint is offering the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Samsung Galaxy Victory 4G for free during the entire Black Friday weekend: Friday, Nov. 23, to Sunday, November 25. Of course, this sounds amazing on the surface, but you'll only reach the "free" price point after mailing in a $50 rebate and signing a two-year contract.

Similarly, T-Mobile has priced five 4G Samsung smartphones as "free" - after a mail-in rebate and standard two-year contract. The "free" phones are: Samsung Galaxy S3 4G, the Samsung Galaxy S2 4G, the Samsung Galaxy S Relay 4G, the Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G, and the Samsung Galaxy Exhibit 4G.

Sam's Club is certainly in the running for "best deal of the shopping season" with this one: The retailer plans to sell the Samsung Galaxy S3 for 96 cents ($0.96) the day after Thanksgiving. If you're a part of the club, you can pick up the hottest phone of the year for less than a dollar, as long as you sign a new 2-year contract.

Sam's Club is the membership-only chain owned and operated by Walmart. Sam's Club will open their doors at 7:00 a.m. on Black Friday. However, users can shop starting the day before Thanksgiving, Wednesday Nov. 21, at 11:00 p.m. EST. Starbucks will be also be offering free coffee and treats to Sam's Club early bird shoppers.

Best Buy is offering the Pebble Blue Samsung Galaxy SIII for $49.99 with a 2-year AT&T contract.

Samsung's Galaxy S III overtook Apple's iPhone 4S to become the world's bestselling smartphone model for the third quarter (July through September) of 2012. The Galaxy S III shipped 18 million units worldwide, compared with 16.2 million for the iPhone 4S. That's 11 percent of all smartphones shipped on the planet, according to Strategy Analytics. 

Samsung galaxy SIII specs


Android (4.1.1, 4.0.4) TouchWiz UX UI


5.38 x 2.78 x 0.34 (136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6 mm)


4.69 oz (133 g), the average is 4.1 oz (116 g)


Physical size:

4.80 inches


720 x 1280 pixels

Pixel density:

306 ppi




16 777 216


Capacitive, Multi-touch


Light sensor, Proximity sensor, Scratch-resistant glass


Talk time:

22.50 hours, the average is 8 h (487 min)

Stand-by time:

34.6 days (830 hours), the average is 19 days (467 h)

Talk time (3G):

11.60 hours, the average is 7 h (420 min)

Stand-by time (3G):

32.1 days (770 hours), the average is 21 days (506 h)


2100 mAh


System chip:

Samsung Exynos 4 (4412)


Quad core, 1400 MHz, ARM Cortex-A9

Graphics processor:

ARM Mali-400/MP4

System memory:

1024 MB RAM

Built-in storage:

32 GB

Storage expansion:

microSD, microSDHC, microSDXC up to 64 GB


Rear-facing camera:

8 megapixels



Aperture size:



Back-illuminated sensor (BSI), CMOS image sensor, Auto focus, Face detection, Exposure compensation, ISO control, White balance presets, Burst mode, Geo tagging, High Dynamic Range mode (HDR), Panorama, Scenes, Effects, Self-timer


1920x1080 (1080p HD) (30 fps)


Video calling, Digital image stabilization

Front-facing camera:

1.9 megapixels



850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz


850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz


HSDPA+ (4G) 21.1 Mbit/s, HSUPA 5.76 Mbit/s, UMTS, EDGE, GPRS


GPS, A-GPS, Glonass


Turn-by-turn navigation, Voice navigation, Points of interest (POI)





802.11 a, b, g, n, n 5GHz

Mobile hotspot:



USB 2.0




USB Host, USB charging


via microUSB


NFC, DLNA, MHL, Tethering, Computer sync, OTA sync

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