Samsung Galaxy Note Review [UPDATE: Now With Full Video Review]

The Samsung Galaxy Note has long been the object of controversy in the mobile world. Ever since the device was officially announced last year at IFA, we’ve basically seen two camps form when it came to the Note — those that say it’s too big, and those that say it’s just right. And while we can bicker and scream on who’s right or wrong, who has more “manly” sized hands, and who is just trying to overcompensate for Freudian purposes, it all comes down to one fact: the Samsung Galaxy Note is huge. This is, without question, the single biggest reason why the phone has gained so much attention from the tech media but the question you should be asking yourself is, “Is the phone too big for you?” Well hopefully we will be able to answer that question, as well as cover some of other things that make the Galaxy Note so special in our review.

Hardware and Looks

The Galaxy Note largely follows Samsung’s Galaxy S II line pretty closely, in terms of looks and specs. For the AT&T release, Samsung decided to opt for a 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor (instead of their own Exynos) but everything else is standard GSII specs, like 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage with micro SD card slot, 8MP shooter, 2MP front facing camera, micro USB/MHL port, Bluetooth 3.0 and compatibility with AT&T’s blazing fast LTE network. The real draw is in the Note’s huge 5.3-inch 1280×800 resolution Super AMOLED display (Pentile). While I can hate on Pentile as much as the best of them, the “checkerboard effect” is barely visible thanks to the uber-high resolution display. Because the DPI is set to low, you can see more mail, tweets, pictures and icons onscreen at one time, with less scrolling and panning around.

The Note’s stylings are where I had the biggest issue with the device and while beauty is always in the eye of the beholder, I found the Note’s looks to be bland, boring and uninspired. I suppose the Note’s looks can be described as conservative and professional which, I’m sure, is the target market Samsung is aiming for. And although I never thought I’d say this, I would have like to have seen Samsung include the Galaxy’s line’s trademark “hump” on the back (soft touch battery cover from the T-Mobile GSII would have been nice as well).

S Pen (Stylus)

Call it retro, but Samsung is officially looking to bring back the stylus with their new Note series of devices (a bigger tablet is in the works), introducing the world to their all-new “S Pen.” Unlike your average capacitive stylus, the S Pen features a button along the side of it that when pressed, enables certain secondary functions. Pressing the clicker on the S Pen and long pressing anywhere on the screen will take a screenshot that can be annotated using the stylus. Or you can bring up a quick note to jot down your thoughts using Samsung’s note application, by pressing the clicker and double tapping anywhere on the screen no matter which application you’re in.

As previously mentioned, Samsung has included a robust note taking application called S Memo that is specially designed for the S Pen. You can quickly jot down notes, have them transcribed into text, sort them in stacks or folders, add voice notes — it pretty much covers all the bases if you’re going to be using the Note for, well — taking notes. In my experience with S Memo, it was a tad bit buggy with a few force closes here and there and I did notice some lag. The software is really early so we’d expect things to get tightened up in an update down the road.

Whether you love the stylus or hate it, nobody is forcing you to use it. It’s simply an added option that if you decide to forgo, can be easily forgotten and tucked away inside the device. Options are always good.

Camera

Since the original Galaxy line, Samsung has been known for having one of the best camera sensors in Android. And just like the smaller Galaxy S II, the Galaxy Note with it’s 8MP shooter is no different. Here’s a few sample shots for you to check out.

Battery Life and Performance

Battery life is always a pretty big deal when dealing with Android devices and thankfully, it’s just another area where the Samsung Galaxy Note excelled. I was easily able to crank out a full day — that’s 24 hours — of moderate to mild use, with good AT&T coverage in my area. When making a trip to LA where AT&T’s LTE is in full effect, there was no notable battery drain even after watching YouTube videos and surfing the web on the highway (I wasn’t driving, I promise). Just pure fast data moving at the speed of thought (something I’ve been sorely missing on Sprint).

Performance is where I found the Galaxy Note to be a bit lacking. I understand the device is pushing almost twice the amount of pixels as the Galaxy S II, but I did notice some lag here in there when either opening applications or surfing the web. This could have a little something to do with the device using a dual-core Snapdragon instead of Samsung’s own Exynos (like in the international version) and possibly the software could use a bit more tweaking. I’d imagine once the device is upgraded to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, performance will be vastly improved when the Note is finally firing on all 2 cores.

Software

No matter how much you hate manufacturer skins, there’s not much you can do. They’re not going anywhere. Ever. Like all Galaxy devices, Samsung has chosen to adorn their device with their TouchWiz skin that not only changes up the look of stock Android, but adds extra functionality and increased performance as well. The version of TouchWiz in the Galax Note is actually a little different than what we’ve seen on the Galaxy S II devices, adding small changes throughout. Buttery smooth orientation animations, resizable widgets and an all new lockscreen are just a few of the new changes that come with the new version of TouchWiz. I’ve never been one to fancy the look of TouchWiz but there’s no denying the performance enhancements it brings; silky smooth near 60 FPS scrolling throughout the OS. One of things sadly missing from the Note (and is present in the Epic 4G Touch) was the Screen Mode option (apparently available in the international version) in the display settings. Not exactly sure why all Samsung SAMOLED devices don’t have this option but it was disappointing to see this left out of the Note. Being able to turn down/max out the amount of color saturation on your SAMOLED device is one of the best ideas since.. well, SAMOLED.

All of Samsung’s usual TouchWiz apps made the cut as well as the expected carrier “bloatware” courtesy of AT&T. I counted around 4 Samsung apps, 7 AT&T apps, and a few preinstalled 3rd party apps like Qik Lite, Amazon Kindle, YPmobile and Crayon Physics. The Galaxy Note is also running the latest version of Android 2.3.6 and this seems to be my biggest gripe with the device. Gingerbread is in no way cut out for a device with a 1280×800 display. 5 rows/5 columns of icons make the homescreen look cluttered, widgets are no longer centered correctly, some objects are stretched out, others are really tiny — it’s pretty much a mess. For lack of better comparison, it reminds me back when the HTC Flyer launched with Android 2.3 back in day (thankfully, they had the sense to upgrade to a tablet OS). Gingerbread just isn’t well suited for a device with a 720p display and in fact, was never intended to run on something with a resolution and display this large. AT&T/Samsung did mention that they will be updating the Galaxy Note to Ice Cream Sandwich in the coming months, so we hope this will fix some of those UI issues.

Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Note is a device going through a major identity crisis. I’ve heard many thoughts on the subject and when talking about “At what size does a phone become a tablet?,” I believe an objective opinion can be made here. I’ve been asked, “Can the device fit in your hand?” and the answer is unequivocally, yes. Doesn’t matter if you’re a boy, girl, Asian or American, the Note will most certainly can fit in just about anyone’s hand.

But the better question to ask is, “Can the device be fully operated using only 1 hand?” or even “Comfortably operated using 1 hand?” and to that — coming from a 6’2 blogger — the tragic answer is it cannot. And that’s what I believe makes a phone a phone. It has to provide one hand operation, without the need to have to pull out the other (except to perform secondary functions like pinch-to-zoom or when typing, although Swype kinda solves one of those problems). Just like a medieval 2-handed claymore, you can definitely hold it in one hand but to properly wield it, you’ll need to get a good grips with 2 hands. In that respect, the Galaxy Clay- er, Note is a tablet.

And that was the one thing going through my head the more I used the device.The little tablet wants so hard to be a phone, that it falls short on its most notable feature — its large screen size. It’s sad because I would have considered it to be a near perfect device if it was simply running a tablet OS instead of a phone one. And let’s just dwell on that for a second. This whole time Samsung was caught up showing everyone their “world’s largest phone,” I feel it could have better been marketed as “the world’s first tablet to fit into your pocket: The Samsung Galaxy Note 5.0.”

But don’t get me wrong. Overall, as a smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy Note still gets high marks in almost every area and make no mistake, anyone would be lucky to carry one in their pocket. But even though I’ll always look back on the Galaxy Note with much admiration, I’ll always remember how much more the Galaxy Note could have been if it was simply true to itself — a pocketable tablet.

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  • JulianZHuang

    you said “in their pocket”….. it’s hard for me to pull out my SGN, i cant imagine the note.

    • jeremyseattle

      Ditch the skinny jeans, hipster. :D

      • JulianZHuang

        Skinny jeans isn’t about hipster, it’s about fashion and trend. I don’t want to look like a nerd amount my friends.

        • PatanjaliS

          Why are you even reading about devices then?

          Educating yourself about technology might just put them offside.

        • Zen_master

          Maybe that’s the problem when you wear tight fitting Jeans that look better on girls

          • JulianZHuang

            I guess not everyone can understand Asian fashion style.

  • http://www.twitter.com/90sRememberer NB

    Samsung probably realized that the Note would have just been lost in the shuffle in the tablet market that is increasingly coming down to Apple and (to a lesser degree) Amazon. On phones, they are the king of Android, being just about the only company really making money from it. Having AT&T helping you out with marketing & advertising helps, too.

    I don’t think a 5″ phone is a very good idea, but I can see why they’d want to stay away from marketing it as a tablet.

    I guess the moral of this story is “Maybe Samsung should have just not made this phone and put their money and attention to making their current products even better.”

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dominiek-Leclercq/1296327514 Dominiek Leclercq

       You just don’t get it.. this phone is for people who want the biggest screen format that still fits in the pocket.
      Watching movies on this thing is awesome and when I put it in my car dock I have an amazing GPS / mediacenter in my car.

      • http://www.twitter.com/90sRememberer NB

        I don’t wear sweatpants outside my house so I don’t think “fitting in my pocket” is a selling point

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dominiek-Leclercq/1296327514 Dominiek Leclercq

           True, guys in suits have briefcases.

          • PatanjaliS

            It fits in office work/suit pants with no problem.

      • TechGuy

        Agreed – 100%

      • RichardReich

        Pocketability (sorry) is crucial for me.  I’m lucky enough to have structured my life so I need not carry anything at all when I go out.  That (and poverty to an extent) is why I have a phone, no laptop and no tablet.  If I hadn’t already just purchased a TMo SGSII, I’d have wanted this (pocket-size) monster.

  • addpicsplz

    Uhhh…nice text wall and all, but I’d like some pictures please.

    • dreadnatty08

      Check out the review on The Verge, they have some great shots.

    • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

      Sorry, hit the publish button a little quick. Just added pics. Supplemental video review will be coming in a bit.. 

  • Spoken Word™

    I must be the only man with man sized hands…. I’ve played with it and it’s definitely not too big. I love my Galaxy Nexus, but if the Note had ICS, and wasn’t on AT&T, I’d be all over it.

    • Thamer Binoyed

      You mean gorilla-sized hands eh?

      • Spoken Word™

        Funny! I have regular sized hands. But I find most phones a bit too small. I always end up with my pinky hanging out precariously with nowhere to rest. I had hoped the GNex would solve that but alas it didn’t. This beast of a phone though…. BINGO! It’s kind of funny, just about a year ago as the 4.3″ phones rolled out everyone was claiming they were too big. Now, almost every phone is at least that size.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dominiek-Leclercq/1296327514 Dominiek Leclercq

    they sold 700.000 Notes only in Korea
    it’s a success silly :D

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/MMTCIZBTUY5XV56VWTMBMRWRVI Mintai Kim

    Koreans bought close to a million Notes. Considering the total population is just under 50 million, it’s a huge success. Koreans don’t have large hands. Apparently the size of Note doesn’t bother them too much. Note is selling pretty well in Europe, too. Take a look at Amazon user rating for Note as well. Amazon user rating for Note is higher than for GNexus. Phone or tablet, you cannot deny that people are buying this thing and liking it.

  • http://twitter.com/ElectroGadget ElectroGadget

    It’s sluggish because you have the crappy Snapdragon version. The international version has an Exynos CPU. 

    • dreadnatty08

      Yep, they gimped it. If this came to Verizon with ICS out of the box, I’d be all over it. Still loving my Nexus.

  • Alan

    I have the Galaxy Note( Att version) for 2 days now. I must say while I had 9 different Android phones in the last year including the Dell Streak I was taken back by the size right away. With that being said it only took me a few hours to fall in love with it. I can’t put the phone down no. The size is just a matter of opinion. It’s like anything else in life, u get used it. Can’t imagine having anything else. For all u haters, give the phone a couple hours in your hand and then give an unbiased opinion.

  • AudreyK

    Not everyone carries their phones in their pockets. I have a smartphone and a 7 inch tablet (mostly for reading) that I carry in my purse. The galaxy note could maybe replace both and is actually perfect for a purse (or travel bag, man bag, coat pocket, or big pants pocket). If only it had 4g for Tmobile.

    • PatanjaliS

      I used to carry an original Tab 7in, but it is lying idle now after getting the Note.

      I am still waiting upon someone to explain why LTE is really useful in a phone.

      LTE is great as we use it shared via a laptop to our network and it screams, especially with uploads, which is good if running a business from home.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1359390083 Sodiq Awokoya

    Great review Chris, Apologies on insulting one of the Phandroid Editors, won’t happen again. 

  • Fixxmyhead

    Laggy cuz its snapdragon not exynos

  • shonangreg

    A 7-inch version with cell/WWAN being optional would be sweet. That is the device I would want to generally carry with me (WiFi tethered to a smaller phone we all already always carry away.)

    10-12-inch tablet (with stylus too) for use at office or home or anywhere you can comfortably sit for a long time.
    7-inch tablet for eBook reading, notes, email and web, games etc. while on a train/subway or out and about or lying in bed.
    3-4-inch phone only (WiFi tether for all other devices) for sports and the beach, etc.

    Add in ASUS Transformer-type keyboard ability and android 5/Jellybean with robust USB device/USB hard drive support and a fully functional Google Office for Android, and you’ll have nearly all general computer/phone usage issues covered.

    Google can become a broad competitor to Apple for general computing and phones. Windows would be relegated to specialized tasks.

    • PatanjaliS

      Get an original Tab 7in. I don’t know if the Plus version is still a phone.

  • BigCiX

    I definitely like the size of the phone but the back of it is plain! I’ll go check it out this Thursday.

  • DavidB23

    Its not a capacitive stylus.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lucyparanormal Daniel Tiberius

      Yeah I was about to say this.  It’s all Wacom tech inside.  You can’t use the S-Pen for the capacitive buttons or on any other device because, as David said, it’s not capacitive.  

  • http://www.motoask.com Motorola Atrix

    Awesome! Put it to the test and come back to share more of your thoughts and experiences with this phone!

  • Fred G. Vader

    Well I’ve had the note for two days now and lice it. I’m a pretty big guy (6’2″) and have pretty big hands and texting is not a problem. There are a few times where i haven’t been able to reach an icon our two that was in the far top left corner but i can live with those few limitations.

    Overall i love the note and don’t regret my decision a bit. It’s an awesome phone. I can honestly see myself happily enjoying this phone all the way through my 2 year contract without being envious of any future phones. And that’s saying alot!

    • https://plus.google.com/108596272537415356460/posts Jason Farrell

      We’ll no doubt be envious of the Note II near the end of this year. Lots of room for improvement:
      1) a non-pentile display
      2) slightly smaller bezel and no physical buttons for ICS ootb
      3) quadcore exynos + 2GB ram
      4) microSDXC slot
      5) nfc + wireless hdmi + infrared emitter to act as universal remote + fm radio
      6) louder stereo vs mono speakers
      7) a faster better low-light camera
      8) squeeze more battery in
      9) etc…

      • http://twitter.com/twospirits David Vega

        01- Not going to happen, Samsung seems to use this from now on.
        02- Yes , I agree that would be an improvement
        03- Depends if other carriers LTE interfere with the CPU like AT&T claims the Exynos does with its LTE bands, thus the decision ot use the snapdragon. As for 2GB ram, if it doesn’t kell the battery sure.
        04- Yes if it stays at 16GB internal storage, no, if its 32GB and cloud service.
        05- I like this.
        06- Not necessarily louder (see numerous videos) but at least a dual speaker.
        07- Sure, but from what I read it does low light very well now.
        08- Sure, but it may add more weight and hurt battery life.
        and a few of my own..
        09- I would like more across the board Pen use and apps.
        10- Ability to remove Samsung/ Carrier apps or add them as a separate download without having to root the device. (Even though I’ll root it anyway, but for those that do not root)

        • TechGuy

          It already takes 64GB Mobile Ultra MicroSDXC cards,

          The Note is now my most used device having replaced my old phone and tablet. It fits in any but the tiniest of pockets and beats the Galaxy Nexus hands any day. ICS in the next few weeks and I’ll be in further heaven!

          • PatanjaliS

            Most late model phones (except for you know who’s) seem to be able to handle the 64GB microSDXC.

  • Adam Collins

    “the real draw is in the Note’s huge 5.3-inch 1280×800 resolution Super AMOLED display”?? Really? The fact that the screen is so pathetically big means that I would never want one. What’s the point? Too big for a phone, too small for a tablet??

    • Raveesh Bhalla

      It depends on the target market, Adam. For those who want a “phablet”, yes the real draw is Note’s screen (+ stylus, in my opinion). For those who don’t want a supersized phone, it’s not a phone that’s meant for them anyway. 

      Each phone doesn’t have to appeal to everyone. BTW, I agree with you, it’s too big for a phone, too small for a tablet. But again, I’m not the user they had in mind for it anyway.

    • ozzzy3z

      The 5.3 inch screen is exactly why I want one and what makes this phone stand out from everything else out there.  To each their own.

  • http://twitter.com/amaroth bret

    But is there a car dock for this beast? And is there any truth to the rumor that its supposedly coming to Verizon? I am on verizon now but am about to switch to at&t just for this phone but that rumor is driving me insane. I’d rather stay on Verizon :(

    • http://twitter.com/twospirits David Vega

      Actually there are plenty of accessories already lined up for this device, see link. 
      http://www.samsung.com/us/mobile/cell-phones/SGH-I717ZBAATT-accessories

    • TechGuy

      Yes there is an official Samsung card dock which can also power the Note.

      There is also a desk stand/charger and stand/spare battery charger.

      I have all three and although I am in Europe, I am sure they are available anywhere the Note is sold.

    • Zen_master

      Cardocks are out there, you just have to look for the. I found one in Aktau, Kazakhstan last week

  • Galaxynoteforever

    No matter what others say..I cant help falling inlove with this phone..Ive been using iphone for 2 years and replaced my iphone4 for S2..didnt regret that and much more not regreting having Galaxy Note! ♥

  • http://www.facebook.com/lucyparanormal Daniel Tiberius

    I’m getting two of these once my tax return shows up.  So badass.  

  • Sherry

    I have the note. It rocks. It beats everything. Looking forward to see lg optimus vu and whatever else comes out big. Your review, frankly, is lame.

  • Christopher Ickes

    didn’t the poll just say people with bigger screens watch more porn on the android device? We have a lot of dirty people in here….

  • http://twitter.com/twospirits David Vega

    Its been mentioned elsewhere that the reason Samsung decided to use the Snapdragon CPU instead of the Exynos CPU like in the international version is due to it working better with the AT&T LTE bands. So this leads me to wonder if that change in CPU will be the same case once this phone lands on Verizon and Sprint. 

    Either way, good review (although I expected more and compared to the previous blog a few days ago, seems to be consistent with Chris’s view of the device). Many other reviewers like Lisa over at MobileTechReviews are actually using it as their daily phone for some time now and likes it very much. The verge review is also good.
    With the device having been rooted a day before its availability and Roms coming down the pike, as well as ICS, this device is going to be a hot item here in the US. It has already sold millions worldwide. 

    The arguments of late about its size is similar to comments when the EVO 4G had when that phone came out with its bigger 4+” size at the time. Now a days that size is basically considered fine. With folks wanting more multimedia content viewing with their phones, bigger is better and yet this device isn’t really that much bigger compared alongside the current big phones on the market. True, if you compare it side by side to the iphone, then naturally this is Godzilla in size.

    As for holding it up to the side of your head for calls, some may feel it is too big, but there are bluetooth headsets and speakerphone that can suffice. Plenty of videos showing what it looks like along side folks head ranging from small to big and it really doesn’t look that bad. 

    Besides the larger screen, the S-Pen is the thing I liked the most. The Wacom pen is something that most don’t appreciate and so much better than a regular stylus pen found on Windows Phones. The implementation of the Wacom stylus and the software is reported to be much better than what has been done on other devices like the Lenovo Thinkpad, HTC JetStream and HTC Flyer. That alone makes this device much more interesting. With ICS, that offers built in pen support, will only increase its productivity factor so much more.

    Granted, this is all subjective and only once the device is in your hands and tried out for a few hours can one truly decide if its right for them or not. But on reviews, videos and specs alone, this is one device I would love to get. Although I haven’t decided whether to end one of my 4 Sprint lines and jump ship to get it on AT&T. Only reason I’m holding back is the rumors that it will be coming to Sprint.

    • Charles Kinnamon

      Exynos is developing an upgrade chip that will work with LTE.  If it will be out in time for Verizon and if Samsung will use it….is another question.

  • Josh W

    I just dont like when u guys review a device and then say it has identity issues phone or tablet it is what it is an android device and once it recieves ICS that line will be further blurred. it just seems to be a little to much personal opinion in these reviews instead of letting it be up to the user to define what type of device it is for themselves

    • PatanjaliS

      Let’s face it, these reviewers (including film and TV ones) get to do what a lot of us would like to do.

      However, at some point they seem to start feeling guilty and have to start making their reviews ‘meaningful’, which usually means they get on their high horse about something, and instead of helping potential buyers/viewers, they spend a lot of time ranting about what things SHOULD be.

      In the end, one looks for advice elsewhere.

      A device doesn’t have an identity issue, especially not the Note as it was designed for the specific use cases cited at its announcement last year, and to my mind it fulfills all those.

      The reviewer seems to be the one with the problem, perhaps because his definitions of what device is what are unnecessarily restrictive. That is, the reviewer has a dysfunctional vocabulary and he blames the Note for it!

  • cowgar

    still gets high marks in almost every area and make no mistake…

    don’t be silly, there are so many faults of this device most notably – it’s shitty sound quality by using the cheapest DAC (Yamaha) possible (Samsung needs to save dough somewhere) – the same disaster that plagued its ‘flagship’ GSII…

    as an android lover (and dev) I just hate seeing how those android companies are screwing us over again and again – whereas Apple isn’t cheating on you. Its iOS might be dumb application-drawer-like OS to control and apple crowd stupid – but they do get quality HW for their money in the first place – with top-notch sonic performance (and great camera, hw build, screen, battery life, wi-fi performance…)

    sound quality is the 2nd most important thing that I require from a phone – to replace my portable music player and to have a good sound in videos as well or during podcasts, on youtube and in general – isn’t this toy supposed to be multimedia device with such a gigantic screen? Halooo – multimedia means video AND sound mostly…

    I wouldn’t plug my westone3 into that lifeless-sounding hole…maybe qualcomm version is a bit different than exynos one – who knows…
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/4686/samsung-galaxy-s-2-international-review-the-best-redefined/13

    Samsung, please stop making cheap plastic toys and selling them for £500, is ridiculous..

    • http://twitter.com/sndplace Steven aNd Diane

      Cheap plastic? As a Dev you should know that its not cheap plastic. There phones are super light and the cases are durable. As far as the sound quality, I agree with you there. To the average person the sound is quite good and if they sell 1 million of these and only 20,000 or so complain about the sound not be the best, I think Sammy would be fine with that. TWZ 4.0 is great. Sammy worked hard on making it better that last year. They are also working on bringing the updates faster. I am a Sammy fan and there phones are the best. Can’t wait for the Sprint Note.  

    • renGek

      Well if you’re going to take that line of argument because you’re an audiophile then me being a photographer can say the same about every phone being cheap with the lens that they use for their cameras. This includes iOS. I am not impressed with any phone camera in existence. Shutter speeds are paltry, light meters are pathetic and low light noise is painful. 

      But so what. Most people don’t care about exact light metering. They won’t even know how to meter if you gave them the option.

      • cowgar

        well as a 43rd evangelist I gall into photography enthusiasts category and still think the iPhone 4S camera is alright – as we say – the best camera is the one with you ;)

        of course – despite the dead of P&S cameras which mobiles are set to replace – the phones won’t have better quality (and optical zoom) to do it – unless there will be a significant size growth (better/bigger sensor thus lens) and they start shooting to RAW. This would really help quality wise (it’s no longer tempting to play with E-P3 jpgs for me but when I had G10/12 it made shocking difference and LR was constantly on)

        photography on a phone is a niche requirement, it sufficient that the phone has a camera, stupidly the more the MPixels the better….

        the fact is, music playback on portable device has been here for decades and is very important (or sound quality for that matter – in videos as well) – being incredibly popularized by first iPod and shockingly skyrocketed with first iPhone (being a phone and iPod was their biggest argument at the time) which wasn’t smartphone for the first year or so… but it was a great music player and many people including myself stopped buying portable music players, phone was ‘enough’

        and it stayed like that for many years with iPhones – whereas competition began producing real crap soundwise – even in their flagship devices! The only little stars were Galaxy S 1 variants but maybe Samsung needed to save those 2$ difference per $700 device…

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/6KN4VENIO4CYKUH6AS52IZ7C4U Rita Kark

    Android is bound to fail because of fragmentation. There are hundreds of phones and tablets with different screen sizes and also so many versions of Android. Its a lost cause. A developer has to individually develop an app for each model, so obviously they move to the brighter market which is the iOS. I invite all Americans to buy iPhones just like we British do.

    • TechGuy

      Many apps I use on my iPad are really “blown up” iPhone apps – it’s not really a problem and I think the same is true for Android.

      Android developers do not have to develop different versions any more than IOS developers do as they can build in compatibility between various OS and hardware variants.

      Think of all the hardware/memory/screen variations that software writers deal with for Windows based PC’s. It’s just ridiculous to suggest that each Android phone needs custom software. The Android OS is converging with Ice Cream Sandwich after a Gingerbread/Honeycomb.

      Check the sales figures and I think you’ll find that Android phones now outsell iPhones nearly everywhere, including Britain.

    • ScottColbert

      All the Brits I know use BB’s. 

    • MekoSuka

       The dumbest comment i’ve read online today.  Do you know what ICS or Android 4.0 is?  Do you know what it does to curb fragmentation?  No, you do not.  Go back to school rookie. 

    • renGek

      Then thats a very dumb developer. I’m guessing you don’t do any kind of development because if you did you would know the varying size is not something you need to handle differently. Thats why you set width to a percentage and not a fixed size. duh! Never mind your whole argument Rita has nothing to do with fragmentation.

      You mind as well say land line phones were destined to fail because there are cordless ones, rotary, pulse, ones with giant buttons, one with teeny ones.

  • dannydarko

    I cannot stand bickering. There will always be a phone the we like and someone doesn’t. The my phone is better than yours is just nonsense. I LOVE my G-Nex but I also wouldn’t mind owning the international version of this phone. I feel that the S3 Snapdragon just didn’t live up to the hype and the Exynos processor is fast as hell but can’t seem to play nice with LTE which sucks because we(end-user/consumers) loose out.. The S4 looks really sweet though. So, cheers to “All the Androiddicts” out there who represent for our community on a daily basis. This year is gonna be a beast phone/tablet year for sure.

  • Off_Road_Racing

    I would call it a phone. 5′ has always been considered phone size for me way back when 4.3′ was all the rave. 5.5inches-7.5 is mini-tablet, and higher is tablet. Keep in mind, you bring out a 12 inch device and I’m calling it a monitor.

    P.S. for those that don’t know. Thumb Keyboard will be your friend when it comes to landscape texting. LoL!!

    I want to try out this device. I went from the G2 (3.7) to the Epic 4G Touch (4.5) and it was a hard migration. I was so used to being able to reach any part of my phone with just one hand. Now for some UI actions, I have to use both hands. Though I got used to it.

    I think they should bring back the trackpad/ trackball. That was the most useful thing known to mankind. I HATE selecting text. And trying to select a link!? I have to zoom in lyk 200%. -_-

    Stylus? I have a 3DS, so I think I’d be able to tolerate that.

    • jeremyseattle

      I have an HTC Aria, and while it’s not a great device by any means (I just use it for work email), I love the optical trackpad/trackball/joystick/whatever you want to call it.  It’s so nice being able to move my cursor around and select text instead of having to touch and drag.

  • kenmckean

    I have been using the Note for about 4 months – its fantastic
    anyone says its too big is talking through his/her star. As for general performance
    its as good as the B2b.

  • juan

    Does it have the same performance as the exynos version?

    • http://twitter.com/ElectroGadget ElectroGadget

      Nope! It’s not slow, but it’s not as fast as the Exynos i’m afraid. 

  • ChuckShine24

    I disagree with your definition of a “phone” as a device requiring only one hand to operate.  That’s completely arbitrary on your part.  I always thought a “phone” was a device you could make calls on.  The Note qualifies.

    • renGek

      I recall my old cordless phone being much much larger than 5 inches and never seemed to have a problem dialing #s on it with one hand. 

    • ScottColbert

      Disagree if you want, it still doesn’t make him wrong.

      • Zen_master

        Agree if you want, but it does not make him right. :-)

        We are just passing opinions here, not trial by media to find the guilty party. Like it? Take it and be happy. Don’t like it? Pass on by and findsomething that makes you happy.

    • MarcusDW

      I don’t see why I would need two hands to use it as a “phone”.  I’m pretty sure I could pick it up, unlock it, hit home if needed, press the “phone” button, and dial a number.  Thus it is a phones.

  • thnkthru3

    I went to the at&t store looking to upgrade my htc inspire….I wanted to love the Note as iv’e been disappointed with at&ts’ selection since this past summer,.. however after playing with the Note for a short while it seemed sluggish both opening apps and surfing the web in comparison to my current phone.:-( That said…the screen is really nice and the size didn’t put me off per se.

  • http://www.facebook.com/greg.huddleston Greg Huddleston

    Since the pen is the big differentiator over other devices, how does the pen input/features compare with the HTC flyer/JetStream/Evo View 4g?  How much does it cost to replace a lost pen?  Is there a pen SDK (like there is with the HTC) in-case I wish to make some ‘pen’ s/w (or is it using stock ICS ‘pen’ features?)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UDULQFCLEXI4PRUQGIBNGEWVKQ John

    Senor Chavez – Nice review!

    MTV Cribs Edition!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • billcollier

    The note seems to be a lot like my Sam 5″ player, adjusting to the size was totally natural and seemed to be the natural evolution. As I read one individual say, “the smaller phones seem silly like toys now,” I would concur.

  • cyanogenuser84

    I agree with Chris in the video. If I can’t use it with one hand then it is out. It seems nice, just not practical. For a device to fit me I need to be able to operate all of it with one hand.

  • JustinCrouch

    LAWL! First off, awesome vid. Secondly, who’s doing the “peepee” dance in the upper left corner at about 4:41, Reflection off the door. lol

    • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

      My brother xD

  • SteveDiPaola

    Wow serious inaccuracies through out the review. Here is one huge one: the pen is not a capacitive but with a button as the review states. it is a whole different technology by Wacom with digitizer for pressure sensitive and pixel accuracy. I would just take down the whole review, it is embarrassing for phandroid. Also as stated in so many other reviews, it is usable with one hand, the reviewer needed to do his homework here, Samsung released special software to make this possible.

  • iPhart

    Stop BS about ‘one hand’ use. In Europe is rolling  update with one ‘hand app’. Smaller keyboard for phone and typing  positioned  the side . Easy to use with a thumb. It will come to US too.
    It is normal now , when GNote hit US, the itroops to write hundreds of ireviews:)

  • jshaffer21

    this is probably one of the most entertaining review videos i have ever watched. but i’m just not sold on the phone. it’s nice and everything, i guess it’s just not my kind of thing. it’s a little too big, my phone is 4.3″, and to me it’s the perfect size.

    that being said, i do have to add that i was finally able to stop by my local verizon store and play around with the galaxy nexus, and ICS is even better than i thought it would be, i’m pretty sure i’m set on not even bothering with a phone if it doesn’t have ICS on it.

  • http://twitter.com/leftcoastal sevenvt

    Oh yeah, stick it in that back pocket…

  • http://www.facebook.com/aarontrevor Aaron Sentell

    Lmfao @ the part where you were showing how it fits into your pockets.

  • http://www.facebook.com/skerit Jelle De Loecker

    Before my Note I had an N900, a Maemo phone with a slide out keyboard. That’s another kind of device you can’t use with only 1 hand, but it’s still something many people swear by.

    I didn’t think I wanted anything else then a phone with a slide out keyboard ever again, but the Note proved me wrong.