If you've been keeping tabs on the worldwide smartphone market, you'll have probably noticed a pretty glaring omission last year – why wasn't the discerning UK phone buyer offered a super-fast 4G connection when many other countries were loving life with fibre-optic speeds on the go?

Thankfully that began to change in September 2012, with EE deploying the fast network throughout the UK – and it was also the first to offer the Samsung GALAXY Note II LTE too, giving this impressive phone another string to an already packed bow.


1. OK – but what actually is 4G?

4G (also known as Long Term Evolution or LTE) is the next generation of mobile connectivity that can bring theoretical speeds of up to 100Mbps on your GALAXY Note II LTE.

While in truth you'll never get that speed on the go (elements like other users and distance from the mobile mast have a huge impact on bitrate) you'll find you're still regularly rocking speeds of around 20Mbps on a mobile phone (and that will get faster in the coming months), which is still hugely impressive.


2. How does 4G work?

There are actually three different 'forms' of 4G on offer, all at different frequencies. 800MHz will allow fewer connections, but has a much greater range, so rural areas can buy a Note II LTE safe in the knowledge they'll be getting the full power of the handset even away from the cities.

1800MHz is the frequency currently used by EE to deploy its super-fast network, and can be used both in cities and further afield, plus also allows access to things like HD voice for ultra-crisp calling.

And finally 2.6GHz will be used mostly in built-up areas; unlike 800MHz it's got a shorter range but a much greater capacity, meaning far more users can get super speed from the same mast.

And the good news? The Samsung GALAXY Note II LTE supports all these bands, so you won't need to worry about checking compatibility before you buy, making it a much simpler choice in your local phone emporium!


3. How much better is 4G than 3G?

4G is both a small step and a huge evolution from the 3G speeds you'll be used to. 4G is designed for data, and is a 'flatter' signal – simply put, this means it's more efficient to get info into your GALAXY Note II, which saves on battery life and consumes less data to perform the same functions.

3G isn't too far behind though - if you can't get a full 4G signal, DC-HSDPA is the latest technology to come from the engineering bods at the networks and while it is technically 3G in form and range, it can't reach the lofty speeds of 4G.

So that's nice if you suddenly wander into a 4G dead zone, right?


4. Good for gamers

There are loads of uses for 4G – it's not about doing the same things you've done in the past but faster (although you can do that just fine).

The short connection time between your phone and the mobile mast means you've now got access to a whole range of activities, like playing multiplayer games on the go – and combined with the mighty GPU at the heart of the Samsung GALAXY Note II, you've got a real gaming machine that you don't have to keep tethered to the home.

So you can all too easily find yourself in a multiplayer frag-fest with titles like Modern Combat 3 or racing to the line with Asphalt 7… all on the bus to work.


5. Movie marathons from the park

One of the biggest changes to the way people use their phone when imbuing it with 4G is video – studies show that the likes of YouTube shoot to the top of the most-visited sites when users get access to 4G.