Samsung Galaxy Note 2 or HTC 1S ? Whatphone compares

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 or HTC 1S ? What phone is right for you

If you’re wondering what device to get, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 or the HTC 1S, you’ve come to the right place. Whatphone has put them side by side in a competitive review so you can make the right choice about what phone is right for you.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 vs HTC 1S – What’s different ?

Screen size and appearance

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is focused on a completely  alternate type of user to the HTC 1S. The primary difference between the two products is the size of the Galaxy Note 2.

The Note 2 has an unbelievably big, almost tablet like, 5.5 inch screen. Side by side with the HTC 1S, the Note 2 is a clear 2 cm taller, 1.5cm wider and the better part of 2mm thicker. But the Note 2 seems bigger in real life than these specifications make it sound. Next to the relatively humble 4.3 inch screen of the HTC 1S, the Note is a giant.

And there’s a screen quality as well as size difference. The Note’s screen is higher resolution 1280 x 720 compared to the 540 x 960 display of the HTC 1S. Both have engaging Super AMOLED screens. Super AMOLED is an unusual choice on the HTC 1S. It’s rare in the HTC range which typically supports the LCD type.

The technology on the two phones is the same but the experience isn’t. The Note 2’s screen size is captivating and attention grabbing. It’s a high end device. The whole aura of the product is of a completely different class. The HTC 1S is a respectable mid tier phone with decent build quality. For me, the Galaxy Note 2 stands out head and shoulders above the 1S.

The 1S is the thinnest smart mobile HTC have ever made and, as I said in the intro, will appeal to a different type of user. The size of the Note 2 is an acquired taste and will put many off before they even seriously consider using it as their primary device. The One S on the other hand is, in comparison, small and ‘tight’ enough to be acceptable to the more ‘normal’ mobile shopper. At 116 grams, the HTC One S is as light as the Samsung Galaxy S2 and one of the lightest devices on the market. The Note 2, 180 grams, is the heaviest by a long way. The truth is that using the Note 2, this weight difference is soon forgotten. However, many users won’t even get that far.

Operating Systems, processors and speed

Both run Android. The 3G dual core ( 1.5 GHz ) HTC One S comes with Ice Cream Sandwich, Android 4.0. The Note 2, Jellybean, Android 4.1.

Put the new Jellybean Android Operating system together with the LTE enabled quad core 1.6 GHz Note 2, the speed of using them is dramatically different. The Note 2 is incredibly fast to use. One of the key focuses in the development of Jellybean was the responsiveness that the user interface reacts to inputs.

The HTC 1S reacts promptly. Screens scroll and populate at the speeds we’ve come to expect from modern Smart mobile phones. If I wasn’t comparing it to the Note 2, I’d say it was fine. But I am !

The Note 2 is next generation fast. I’ve found addicted to using it instead of my tablet in the evening. I get lost in browsing while the TV is on. The Note 2 is always in front of me to answer questions which pop in to my head.


The Note 2 is part of the Samsung Galaxy range. They all have extendable memory capabilities which means you can insert your own Micro SD card. The flexibility this gives in terms of limitless storage for films, music and pictures is a key feature for me of the entire range and positively differentiates the Note 2 above the HTC 1S.

Memory is one of the worst features of the HTC One S which comes with only 16GB of storage. This single element relegates it to a low end user device in my mind. 16GB is barely sufficient for the most basic uses of a modern day phone. Most people will fill it up with just their music collection and will struggle to even get a couple of TV shows squeezed in.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 vs HTC 1S – What’s the same ?

Both devices have 8 MP cameras which shoot at 30 FPS – or Frames per Second. Capabilities and picture rendition is very similar across the 2 devices, perhaps because of the similarities in their SMOLED screens as much as the similarity in their software and camera resolution.

Battery life on the HTC 1S is much better. The demands of the screen tax the Note 2 and I find that it’s usually running low towards the end of the day. Like the Samsung Galaxy S3, it makes sense to support the product with regular charges throughout the day to make sure you’re not caught short.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 or HTC 1S ? Which is better ?

It’s almost no contest. The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is the better of these two device by a long, long way. The Note 2 looks better, has the latest Android software, it’s faster, both processor wise and as a result of the Jellybean Operating System. Memory expansion means the Note 2 can be used for the basics and to store and watch entire TV series and to store your whole audio collection.

If you’re after a cute device and have beginner expectations of your phone, you might want to take a look at the HTC One S. The battery is better and the size will appeal to a broader user base.

But my advice is to challenge yourself and take a look at the Note 2. It literally sets a new standard for mobiles which only the Galaxy S3 and iPhone 5 can seriously challenge.

Good luck finding what phone is right for you.

Neil Aitken

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