Described a 'new kind of smartphone', the Galaxy Note comes with an impressive 5.3-inch touchscreen and an included stylus
Editor's Review of the Galaxy Note
The Samsung Galaxy Note is a monster of a phone, touting a mammoth 5.3-inch AMOLED screen. This display is both the handset's main selling-point and biggest drawback, as it's certainly not going to appeal to everyone. Has this Android-powered device created a much-needed new category in the smartphone market, or is it simply a mammoth-screened novelty?
Design & Build
Pardon us for stating the obvious, but the Galaxy Note is a big device. Its dimensions come in at hand-stretching 146.85 x 82.95 x 9.65mm yet, at 178g, its surprisingly light and will sit comfortably in your - albeit large - pocket. That's not to say we didn't feel awkward when holding this phone to our ear to make a call, as, quite simply, we felt stupid. The same emotions will no doubt be felt by those with smaller hands, who may struggle to hold onto the behemoth device.
Of course, this large size is due to its screen. Measuring in at 5.3-inches with a 1280 x 800 pixel resolution, the Galaxy Note boasts 286 ppi. Although that's not as impressive as the iPhone 4S's 330 ppi display, Samsung's AMOLED technology offers up super-vibrant colours and crystal-clear detail. Dare we say, it's even more impressive than that found on the Samsung Galaxy S2.
Design-wise, the Galaxy Note looks like a larger version of the Galaxy S2, arguably the best Android phone of 2011. The only noticeable difference is the home button which sits at the bottom of the phone, which is much-less iPhone like than the S2's effort.
A 1.4GHz dual-core processor powers the Samsung Galaxy Note. Despite the handsets larger size, the phone is noticeable faster than its smaller-screened sibling, and we noticed no sluggishness when firing-up apps.
OS & Interface
The Galaxy Note runs on Google's Android 2.3 Gingerbread software, which arrives skinned in Samsung's usual TouchWiz user interface. We've always been a fan of Sammy's custom overlay, which simply shines on this 5.3-inch screen.
Unlike HTC's Sense user interface, for example, TouchWiz is excellent for making use of multitouch gestures. Although some may see it as a little unnecessary, we loved that you can zoom in and out by resting two fingers on the screen and moving the handset back and forth, and that moving the smartphone from side-to-side will re-arrange your widgets. Samsung's Social Hub also trumps HTC FriendStream, doing an excellent job of showing off your Tweets, Facebook updates and incoming messages from multiple accounts.
Another unique selling point of the Galaxy Note is the inclusion of Samsung's S Pen (stylus), which works effortlessly on TouchWiz. Although we found it tricky to draw anything too detailed, the S Pen will no doubt come in handy for note-taking, doodling on web pages and adding annotations to pictures.
Multimedia & Storage
The Galaxy Note touts the same 8 megapixel camera than you'll find on its S2 brother, complete with autofocus, LED flash and 1080p HD video skills. This is by no means a bad thing, as aswell as being incredibly snappy, it managed to capture some pretty impressive shots. We were equally impressed with the phone's video capture, which footage appearing detailed and smooth.
Our only gripe was, once again, the handset's size. With no onboard camera key, we found it difficult to shoot photos while holding the phone with one hand - which itself can prove quite a feat.
As you'd expect, the Samsung Galaxy Note is excellent for web browsing. By default, you'll get a whole screen view when your first visit a website, and we found our self able to read text easily without having to squint. Saying that, tap to zoom works smoothly on the 5.3-inch Galaxy Note, and thanks to the phones HSDPA connectivity, pages loaded impressively fast.
As an Android device, the Note also delivers Adobe Flash support, and we're pleased to report that it seems to work faultlessly. Flash-based pages loaded just as quick as those less-heavy sites, and looked just as gorgeous on the tablet-sized screen.
The Samsung Galaxy Note is a weird one. If you've been dying to get your hands on a mammoth-screened device, there's no better pick than the Galaxy Note - which delivers excellent browsing and a super-intuitive user interface. However, the size - for some - may create a number of issues, and we personally found the device too large to use as an everyday smartphone.
Samsung Galaxy Note News
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For those of you who considered the Samsung Galaxy Note a bit too glossy black and masculine, there’s a pink version of the ‘phablet’ coming out in June at the Carphone Warehouse. The pink phablet snuck onto the phone retailer’s website this morning. It has already been released in Korea, but it wasn’t certain if [...]
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Puro, an Italian manufacturer and retailer of smartphone accessories, have been kind enough to send over some products for SoMobile to review, including; a Samsung Galaxy Note Booklet case, an iPhone 4 skull case and this quirky iPhone stand/holder. First up, the Galaxy Note case (right) – although without Samsung‘s 5.3-inch phablet to hand this [...]
Samsung has announced that it’ll be bringing a ‘Premium Suite’ upgrade to the Galaxy Note, will will deliver Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and exclusive content to owners of the phablet. According to Sammy, ICS brings an “entirely new look and feel to Android on the Galaxy Note,” equipping it with a redesigned app menu, [...]
Orange has revealed that it’ll also be selling the White Samsung Galaxy Note, following the handsets launch on Three. The network has added the giant smartphone to its Coming Soon page, although there’s not yet any details on Orange’s pricing or release date. If anything like Three’s, you’ll be able to pick up a free [...]
Samsung Galaxy Note Specifications
146.9mm x 83mm x 9.7mm
Full capacitive touch screen
Type: Super AMOLED
Gorilla Glass, Stylus support
Size: 5.3 inches
Resolution: 1280 x 800
Interface: TouchWiz UI
Integrated NFC Chip
External: microSD up to 64GB
CPU: 1.4GHz Dual core
A-GPS with maps
Up to 21 Mbps download speed
Up to 5.76 Mbps upload speed
Wi-Fi: IEEE 802.11 b/g/n
Audio: 3.5mm stereo jack
Data: Standard microUSB
GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
A2DP for wireless stereo headsets
8.0 megapixel camera
Auto Focus and LED Flash
1080p Video Recording
At 30 fps
Front facing camera with video calling
Battery Capacity: 2500 mAh
Radio: FM with RDS
Audio supported formats
Playback: MP3, WAV, eAAC+, AC3, FLAC
Video supported formats
Playback: MP4, DivX, XviD, WMV, H.264, H.263