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Samsung Galaxy Note II | CNET Rating 4
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Samsung Galaxy Note II | CNET Rating 4 out of 5 (excellent)

The Good: Oodles of screen real estate; a blazing quad-core processor, a great camera; strong battery life
The Bad: The huge display makes it unwieldy to carry; hiccups in the S Pen stylus; steep price.
The Cost: $169.99 to $749.99
Bottom Line: A powerful, boundary-pushing device that gets a lot right.

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Smartphones with speed to spare

Chip-makers constantly push the boundaries, which translates into liquid game play and buttery-smooth video playback, among other finessed touches of a faster smartphone. These four phones -- rated by CNET on design, camera and software -- are envelope pushers that leave rivals in the dust.