Samsung Galaxy Note 2 vs iPhone 4S – Comparison

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 vs iPhone 4S

Let’s see where your money is best spent – on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 or the iPhone 4S.

Putting the two devices in front of me, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 vs iPhone 4S, it’s immediately obvious that they are a generation apart. The iPhone 4S is still selling well, despite the fact it’s been superseded by the iPhone 5. People who buy it get all the safety, reliability and customer experience of the Apple brand – without the biggest price tag. The Samsung Galaxy Note 2, on the other hand, replaced the original Galaxy Note.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 vs iPhone 4S – Size

The iPhone 4S looks tiny compared to the relatively massive Samsung Galaxy Note 2. The Galaxy Note 2 looks literally twice the size. It’s almost laughable to compare them on their physical dimensions – it’s like comparing a giant to a child.

The Galaxy Note 2 has a breathtaking  5.5 inch ( across the diagonal ) screen. It’s looks like it’s an inch and a half ( 36 mm )  taller than the iPhone 4s ! The Galaxy Note 2 is more than a centimeter wider than the iPhone 4S, too.

The size is reflected in the weight. The iPhone 4S is 140 grams. The Galaxy Note 2 is 180 grams. The difference is not as significant as you’ll find comparing the new Note 2 against other top selling devices. The quality of the materials in the iPhone 4S give it a solid feel. But all that glass and metal comes with a weight cost. Both devices are fine in your pocket although it’s fair to say you have to stick with the Note 2 and get used it it as part of your life.

Turning the screens on, the interfaces are familiar now. However, with experience of the iPhone 5, where icons are brighter, more colorful and clearer, the screen on the iPhone 4 looks slightly dead in comparison. The situation is accentuated when you compare the high resolution 1280 x 720 pixel Super AMOLED screen of the Galaxy Note 2 with the 640 x 960 ‘Retina’ resolution of the iPhone 4S and realize that the Note 2 is streets ahead.

Watching video, even using the interface to get to music on the Galaxy Note 2 is an engaging process. If you’re getting driven to the shops as a passenger, you’ll go straight to your phone and start playing. The screen on the Galaxy Note 2 attracts you and then immerses you in whatever you’re doing. It’s simply the best feature on the phone.

The iPhone 4S, on the other hand, is like a familiar, heavy, old horse. It plods along, reliable, you still save a fond place in your heart. But it’s nothing really to look at. All this probably shouldn’t be surprising. The Note 2’s defining attribute is it’s screen and the iPhone 4S is last year’s device.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 vs iPhone 4S – Speed

Again, being a more recent release, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is faster than the iPhone 4S. The iPhone 5 has a processor which is 15 times faster than the one they used on the original iPhone 3S, back in 2007, we’re told. Every generation is a little bit faster.

You can see this in the basic operation of the iPhone 4S. It’s not that it’s slow exactly, but when you compare it side by side with the Samsung Galaxy 2, you can see the Note is faster to open applications, start the camera, take a shot, to navigate around.

There are several reasons. The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 runs Jellybean ( also known as the less catchy Android Operating System, version 4.1. ) Jellybean was specifically designed to be much, much faster than Ice Cream Sandwich – Android 4.0 – which preceded it. On top of that, the Galaxy Note 2 has a Quad Core 1.6 GHz chipset. Simply put, it has a lot more power than the Dual Core A5 1.0 GHz chips used in the iPhone 4S.

And it’s not all just about the processors and Operating System. These features are tied in with the network access speed of the device. And the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is an LTE capable device. LTE is 4G network access. Download speeds of 2-40 Mbps are possible. In general terms, it’s probably 5 times faster than you’re used to your phone being.

The iPhone 4S is a 3G device which means downloading music, video and even web pages is at speeds you’re used to. Most phones are 3G enabled right now so it’s likely that the iPhone 4S network access speed is fine for you right now. It’s everything you’ve experienced to this point. But wait until you try an LTE device.

LTE works best with fast processors. 4G, tied together with the Quad Core chips in the Galaxy Note 2 makes browsing a breeze and adds to how enjoyable the product is to use.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 vs iPhone 4S – Memory & camera

It’s hard to rate the iPhone 4S negatively against the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 on account of its memory capabilities. Both devices have 16Gb memory options. You can buy an iPhone 4S with 64 GB or add a micro SD card to a Samsung Galaxy Note to get it up to 64GB.

My preference is to add the Micro SD card. I find it more flexible and cheaper but to their credit, Apple offer larger memory allocations than most people would use right now.

Similarly, their cameras are both 8 MP and produce good shots. Again, personally, I prefer the Galaxy Note’s camera software. The options are better and it’s much easier to switch between them, partly because of the way the user interface works and partly because of the size of the screen, which makes pressing buttons ( choosing options ) easier.

Both cameras record high definition video at 30 FPS ( Frames Per Second. )

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 vs iPhone 4S – Summing Up

Obviously, holding the phone to your head is not ideal with the Note. It’s enormous and you feel a bit stupid. If you’re prepared to try something new, the Samsung Galaxy Note is certainly one of the best Android handsets out there at the moment.

The iPhone 4S is a reasonable and safe choice. But it’s a year old now and the specs have moved on. You’ll save some money but remember, if you’re getting it under contract, by the time that contract finishes, the iPhone 4S will be between 3 & 4 years old ! You’re not exactly future proofing yourself.

Either way, good luck in finding what phone is right for you.


Sarah Kesteven

Having worked in 3 countries for 4 telcos on both voice and data products, Sarah is in a position to give you the inside track. Get beyond the marketing messages to the best plan for you.

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