AT&T(s t) will offer an LTE version of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 2 for $299.99 with contract. Pre-orders for the 5.5-inch Android(s goog) smartphone are expected to begin on Oct. 25 and the device will appear in AT&T retail stores on Nov. 9. Unlike several prior Samsung phones for AT&T’s LTE network, the Galaxy Note 2 will use Samsung’s own quad-core chip to power the handset.
I’ve used the international edition of the Galaxy Note 2 for the past month on AT&T’s network — see my hands-on video here — although my phone doesn’t have an LTE radio. The 5.5-inch display certainly makes for a large device, but Samsung has narrowed the width of the phone over the prior model and it feels good in the hand — once you get used to it. The 8 megapixel camera is quite good and the performance of the phone with Samsung’s 1.6 GHz chip is outstanding; this is perhaps the fastest Android phone I’ve used yet.
AT&T will ship the Galaxy Note 2 with Android 4.1 so the phone will be running the most current version of Google’s operating system right out of the box. The price of $299 may seem high, however, given the performance, capabilities and small tablet-like size of the phone, it’s actually not bad, in my opinion and is the same price that Sprint (s s) is charging for its Galaxy Note 2. Surprisingly, AT&T barely mentions the unique S-Pen, which is much improved and offers more functionality that I expected.