Samsung confirmed Wednesday for the first time that the highly anticipated Galaxy Note II smartphone will be available on Verizon Wireless, Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular in the U.S. by mid-November.
Phone enthusiasts know the current Galaxy Note smartphone for its oversized 5.3-inch display. Amazingly, the new one is even larger, and features a 5.5-inch HD Super AMOLED touch screen with a 16:9 aspect ratio.
Notably, the Galaxy Note II will also come with a 1.6-GHz, quad-core Samsung Exynos processor that’s optimized for LTE networks—significant, since it’s the first application we’ve seen of this—plus 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. Each Galaxy Note II has a microSD card slot that allows for expandable storage of up to 64GB.
Another first: The Galaxy Note II will arrive on each carrier pre-loaded with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, making it the first Samsung smartphone to do run Google’s most advanced iteration of Android out of the gate. Jelly Bean features “Project Butter,” Google’s attempt at smoothing out the interface and animations, as well as Google Now contextual search, among other features.
As we first discussed in our hands on with the Samsung Galaxy Note II a few weeks ago, the device comes with S Pen, a Wacom-designed stylus with 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity, which is four times more than the original version. Pop the S Pen out and the Galaxy Note II will transition to a new home screen with quick access to various S Pen applications, including popup notes and videos, a popup browser, an idea sketcher, and handwritten notes that go on the back of digital photos.
Other features include an enhanced 8-megapixel camera with plenty of app-based live filters and a massive 3,100mAh battery that will hopefully be enough to get owners through a full day without charging. The new phablet-sized phone is also slightly lighter weight than the original Galaxy Note and has a narrower bezel.
Samsung has yet to provide exact release dates and pricing for each version of the phone.
Available accessories for the Galaxy Note II include the Protective Flip Cover, which comes with a leather front, glossy backing, and a choice of seven colors, and S Pen with Eraser, which comes with a gestures button and an eraser tip like you’ll find on the Wacom Intuos5 tablet.
For its part, LG just released the Intuition , its own 5-inch phablet-sized device, albeit with a 4:3 aspect ratio screen instead of 16:9 like the Galaxy Note II, or 16:10 like the original Galaxy Note. Samsung and LG are looking to distinguish their devices from regular touch-screen slab smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S III and the recently announced Apple iPhone 5 .