I must start my review of the Galaxy Note II by admitting that I misjudged the original Galaxy Note. After a week with that device, it was my conclusion that Samsung had put together a great package of technical innovations whose premise of an oversized, stylus-equipped smartphone wouldn’t find a receptive audience. As it turned out, Samsung’s native South Korea fell in love with the 5.3-inch Note, which went on to sell over 10 million units in its first year on the market.

As unique and successful as the Note has been for Samsung, a year is a long time in mobile technology and the company has prepared an even more extensive spec sheet for its follow-up, the 5.5-inch Galaxy Note II. Aside from the enlarged display, the two biggest upgrades are a move to the new quad-core Exynos processor that was so impressive in the Galaxy S III and to Android 4.1, Google’s latest software. In fact, the Galaxy Note II is among the very first of a new wave of devices to ship with Jelly Bean as the preloaded OS, scoring Samsung a small victory before it’s even made it out of the box. With such a strong pedigree, the Note II promises much. If you want to know just how much it delivers, read on.