The popularity of the Galaxy Note which launched last year suggests that there is a real market for 5-inch plus screens, and next year we’re going to see even more manufacturers get in on this market. Right now though, users have to pick between two new phones, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and the LG Optimus Vu. Which one is the right pick though?
Both are fairly high end phones with very similar specifications—both have 1.5GHz quad core processors and high performance screens, while the Galaxy Note 2 will set you back by just over Rs.35,000 in the market, the Vu is selling for just under Rs.30,000. The big advantages that the Note 2 offers are in the RAM and battery life.
The Note 2 has 2GB of RAM, double that of the Vu, though this is not something that most users will notice. The other major advantage is the battery life—while the Vu gets a very respectable full day’s use on a single charge, the Note 2 is able to keep running for almost twice as long, which is remarkable for the kind of processing power and screen size that it has to support.
The other big difference is screen size—the Vu is 5-inches, while the Note 2 is 5.3 inches diagonally. The net result is however much more dramatic than that sounds, because the Vu has a nearly square 4:3 aspect ratio, resulting in a phone that is a little too wide to hold comfortably with one hand – that means that it’s great for browsing and reading books, but if you’re trying to use it as a phone you may have some difficulty.
On the other hand, the Note 2 has trimmed down from the earlier dimensions of the Note – which itself, with a 16:10 ratio, was easier to hold. The Note 2 has a 16:9 ratio, which is very suitable for widescreen use for movies, but looks a little strange when reading a web page or a book. On the other hand, this also means that it is much more comfortable to hold in one hand, and is much more usable as a phone.
Both phones come with a stylus, though the Vu doesn’t have a slot to store it on the phone itself. The Note 2 does, and also makes much better use of the stylus—someone who wants to use their phone to take handwritten notes or make sketches would be well advised to use the Note 2, and not the Vu.
Another standout feature for Samsung’s giant phone is that it supports a limited multitasking – you can launch certain applications, including the web browser or text and email, or play a video, with two applications running at the same time on the screen. This does slow down the phone, but not unbearably, so if you want to look up a city’s name before you send that email, then the new Note is really the phone to go with.
With all these features, the Note 2 is definitely the phone to pick, though the Vu is priced very competitively. Still, the Note 2 has had a full generation to mature, while the Vu is a first generation phablet for LG, so future editions will likely reduce the gap even further. For now though, if you have the money, we’re recommending the Note 2.