Samsung Galaxy Note: My First Time and Impressions [Video]


Early yesterday morning, I received the Samsung Galaxy Note on my doorstep and like a little kid on Christmas, I ripped into it. While, some sites would have reviewed the device right then and there — I feel like a more accurate review could be better given once I’ve used the phone as my primary device for the rest of the week.

With that said, the main point of this post was for one — to let you know we have a Galaxy Note in our possession and that a full review is coming. And 2 — that we will actually be giving away the Samsung Galaxy Note to one lucky reader in the coming days, so be on the look out for how you can enter into that.

Despite how unenthusiastic I sound in the video (it was a little after 1AM), I honestly haven’t stopped playing with the device since it arrived at my home. All-in-all, my initial impressions of the Samsung Galaxy Note could be summed in one single phrase, “That’s a HUGE… phoneblet!”

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. Since I asked first, can I have it….;-)

    1. Sorry, how rude of me…”Please!”

  2. …give it to this guy

  3. Hahaha… [o0] weird face 1AM eh? hehe   … where are those headsets? WTF AT&T?

    jody this smartblet is only for geekz0rs you dont look like one :P pfffttt -eof-

    1. Um, I actually have an original Galaxy Tab, a rooted Nook w/ Cynagen Mod, a Galaxy 7 plus and my latest bundle of joy is my Galaxy Tab 7.7 (the screen is beautiful). Am I a geeker yet?!? :-P

      1. Oh, I almost forgot. I have two Galaxy S Vibrant’s (but my wife made her’s do a faceplant and shattered the screen. I was still able to recover the photos/media by enabling USB using my phone simultaneously, since her screen was black but the touch still worked… 

      2. I was just messing with you, good luck winning one from Phandroid over the weekend

        1. Notice the smiley, was messin as well…:-) Good luck to you as well if you enter!

          1. not really interested in winning prizes

  4. does the contest give the winner amazing hair as well?

  5. Chris, excuse me for being rude, but why do you always have to put your face on all of your reviews? Don’t you think that’s a bit of unwarranted self-importance? Honestly, I remember the review of the HTC Evo 3D, and it didn’t have a picture of the phone, but of you instead. Isn’t it the review of the phone, and not yourself?

    1. ego, narcissism.  

      just kidding.  he does a good job.  and he’s self-deprecating, likable, and doesn’t take himself too seriously.

      1. I agree, give the guy a break.

    2. Hmmm… Never really thought of it. But technically, this wasn’t an actual review — just quick impressions — and the phone is right next to my mug in the pic. Personally, when it comes to reviews, I think it’s just as much about the reviewer as it is what they’re reviewing. 

      There’s a lot of great reviewers around the web and the reason I watch them a lot of them (Noah Kravitz, Phone Dog Aaron, John from Tehkseven) is because I know their faces and I know what to expect.  Still, to further explain, when we, as editors on Phandroid, show our faces a lot more around the site — whether in video’s or in our posts — I feel like it’s a bit more personable than some anonymous writer hidden behind the camera or keyboard.
      I guess the same can be said for avatars around the web. Some people have and actual picture of their face, some, as in your case, remain hidden. Not saying that’s right or wrong, but I’ve always been one who likes to see who I’m talking to. I apologize for my face and I appreciate the feedback, Larry. 

      1. Very good explanation, I used to agree with Larry and now I… well, it’s a bit disgusting but… I think different. ^^

  6. Senor Chavez –

    1. how long does it take you to do that hair in the morning?
    2. why do you choose Sprint for your primary carrier?
    3. how old are you and why do you still live with your parents?
    4. is the G-Note pocketable?  (please do various video pocket tests).


    1. 1. Not long. My hair is pretty much just running away from my face O_o
      2. Sprint is the cheapest. With a family plan and dividing it equally, I pay around $45 a month for unlimited everything. 
      3. I am 25 and because of my beliefs, wont move out until I’m married. Or find decent roomates =p
      4. Haha! My pocket test is coming in the full review! :D

      1. dude, seriously, the hair has got to go man. 

        1. i second that

          i swear if i ever see u chris im gonna slap u lol

          1. Gotta get past my hair first O_o

          2. Rock on Chris! _Be_ the hair!

          3. Your hair is boss. It takes balls to walk around like that. Most would say its messy and uncombed or that your looking for a fail ass vegeta look.

            i think of it as its YOUR friggin head. STFU people. Enough with the hair hate already geez.

      2. dude from those pics you posted a while back of your parent’s crib i don’t blame you.  it sounds like you got it good there you might as well hang out and enjoy the free living while you can!  “failure to launch”!  keep up the great work!

      3. That’s a very Italian perspective. I have cousins over in Italy that didn’t move out until marriage, and some of them were closing on 40. 

        1. Sorry, but 25 and still living with Mom & Dad is ridiculous, regardless of your “beliefs”.  I was out of the house at 18 and I was happy to be.  How do you bring a woman home from a date to your parents house?  Sorry bro….man up and move out, you’ll be glad you did in the long run!  The 20s are a time to find yourself, enjoy dating and preparing for the real world.  You can’t do any of that at home. 
          Just sayin….

    2. lol awesome questions.

  7. Lol, your like a cat on a scratch post. 

    I would try not to scratch the phone (if its possible). 

    How do you like your E4GT though? I was thinking about getting it, or Im gonna wait for a Sprint LTE phone (not GN because I need more internal space).

    1. The E4GT is hands down, the best phone I’ve ever owned. Can’t rave enough about it. Came from an Nexus S 4G (good phone) and Evo 3D (great phone). Never been as happy with a phone as the E4GT =)

      1. Agreed.  Loved my T-Mo G2, best phone I’ve ever owned, until the S2.  Now that I have MIUI on it, even better.

  8. yeah you do sound quite unenthusiastic in that video, so much in fact that I get the overall feeling that the final video would be much like it, still it can’t be as bad as the review over at BGR those Apple fanboys really did a number on it. Regardless of the outcome, 3 million folks can’t be wrong. Some folks see a glass half empty others see a glass half full. I see that you have tiny little hands. :p  
    All joking aside, I look forward to the review. Hopefully the rumors are true and this bad boy comes to Sprint. But if it doesn’t, then this might just be the phone, tablet, phablet or Tabone to make me cross over to the dark side.

    Oh and I’ll take now, no need to wait for the contest :)


  9. I like the word “Tabone” better than “Phonelet”

  10. I give Chris a break on showing his face, it gives his reviews some personality.  Keep it up buddy. If I could have a chance to win this device that would be great of course but don’t my kiss ass comment get in the way of choosing a worthy contestant.  That’s legit. lol

    1. You are now officially in the running, sir ;D

  11. Chirs, one request please. Most of all those other reviews of the Note don’t really go too much into the Pen/Stylus as well as the apps/OS use of the pen. Would love to see more of that use in your video.


    1. Will definitely give that a good portion of time in my review video. Thanks, David! :)

  12. Larry – Even though you said you didn’t mean to be that was incredibly rude. If you don’t like it don’t watch. Seriously, there’s no reason to be such jerk.

    QUESTION? How does the size feel in comparison to the Galaxy Nexus? It almost seems like it might be a better form factor.

    1. Thanks, Ian. The G-Nex feels incredibly smaller than the G-Note and (was going to save this for my full review) where the Nexus is completely usable with one hand, the Note is almost completely impossible to use without using both. =/

      1. this is going to be VERY important to people.  what is “too big” and what is not.  i know it’s very personal and relative and each person won’t know until they have the phones in their hands to compare.  but since the G-Note is not out yet we must rely on you to be our surrogate.  so please emphasize this “usability” comparison in your review/video – and try to answer the questions – Is the G-Note too big for normal everyday use ie is it easily pocketable?  is it usable?  will it make me look like a douche?


  13. glad to hear u reallly like this phone. tired of hearing pussies saying “its too big”.i have the s2 and when i look at it i just cant imagine its 4.52 inches cuz it looks small. people fucking over exagerate on the sizes its only like half an inch bigger than the s2 

    1. Hahaha.. You may not like what I have to say in my full review xD

      1. Might be a good idea if you could also state what the average male hand size is in your review (18.9cm from palm to middle finger, and 8.4cm wide – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hand ) compared to yours, so people have a point of reference. My hand and head size are above average (that’s what she said, too), so this is definitely not “too big”.

        1. I’m going to use a few reference objects. Can of soda.. video game case… Galaxy S II. Hopefully it will help. =)

          1. Problem is when you go into a 7-11 or gas station you can’t find cans of 12oz sodas anymore. They are mostly 20oz bottles. :)

            Like I said before the general public used to think 21″ monitors were too big but no longer. 

          2. yea, no joke.  I got my EVO 4G on launch day and everyone said I was crazy for wanting a phone with a 4.3″ screen… now thats like the min.  Anyways.. I upgraded to and Epic 4G Touch (4.52″) and am now using Photon (4.3″)… I have to say, i like the 4.3 in size the best. 

        2.  Really dude, we get it. You have size- compensation issues. You can step out of the H2 and give the guy a break. You’re a big strong manly man

          1. Psst…
            Pro tip: 50% of the rest of the rest of the male population also have above average hands.

          2.  I might need to go open up my old statistics books…I seem to have forgotten what average means. Interesting theory though.
            Super Pro tip: The phone is not specified as “this phone will fit comfortably in any hand which are ever so slightly above average”

      2. damn it chris im dissapointed
        (slap) lol

        come on man its only a little bigger than the s2 its not that big. my s2 doesnt even feel like 4.5 inches

    2. I just don’t get how size can even be a pro or a con in a review. Size is subjective, for a good unbiased review, pros and cons should only be based on objective features.

      I’m one of those people that believe the Note is the perfect size, the same goes for my wife. I really hope the size of the device, doesn’t effect the outcome of this review. (Like it did on Engadget, and pretty much every other tech site.)

      1. well said

        edit:but to me its a pro i just gotta have the big ass screen

    3. I suspect people screaming “its too big” is thinking of it directly from the perspective that its a phone. To them they have never considered that the consumer is actually looking to buy a very portable tablet that happens to have calling abilities. Also, if they are used to looking at a tiny woman’s phone like an iphone then they are used to small things so of course this seems large.

      How many of us think 21 inch monitors are huge? Not many I would guess. How many of us thought 21 inch monitors were too big 12 years ago? Probably a lot. Did our eyes grow? Did we become physically more gigantic. No we did not. Its because we were used to staring at 17″ monitors and 21 suddenly felt huge. Now most of us use 20+ inch monitors so 21 is nothing.

  14. Look forward to the full review, Chris! While we may never agree on beliefs or politics, I do trust your opinions on phones. keep up your awesome work.

  15. Standard McStandard Pants! lol

  16. you had me at hair products…

  17. OK – I had to know how “big” this sucker actually felt in my hands, so I cut its dimensions (147mm by 83mm) out of an old envelope and drew a rectangle on it accurate to the screen size.

    Conclusion: it’s not that big if you have above average “man-sized” hands! :-) For ref in the pic below (that you can’t see on the mobile version of these comments), my hands are 209mm long (avg is 189), by 98mm wide (84mm avg).

    1. im with u too. this phone is not as big as people make it out to be

    2. ordered a case for mine off of amazon and let my co-worker hold it (he has a nexus and always thought the note was waaay too big).  Without hesitation after holding the case he exclaimed, “wow that’s not bad at all – it’s nowhere near as big as I thought it was going to be”. 

    3.  Help. Seek it.

      We are all really impressed about how big your macho hands are. However, any idiot would immediately recognize that it will fit in most people’s hands without trouble. The issue is reaching your thumb across the screen to do something like type the letter “Q”. Why dont you draw up a diagram of your thumb reaching all the way across that cardboard and show us so we can all be amazed and impressed by your awe inspiring manly hands.

      1. I don’t even have big hands, and I would gladly make a video showing that it’s easily possible. It wouldn’t even have to be done with cardboard, since I own the actual device.

        1.  Really, I am very interested in the phone and would love to pick it up someday on verizon. I look forward to different videos showing how it might work out, and trying it for myself. However, I do think its a matter of preference and comfort and not a winkie measuring contest.  I look forward to Chris’s review and wont start prematurely arguing against it.

      2. 1) 50% of the male population also have above average “macho” hands – but thanks for noticing!
        2) The keyboard got an update to add an option that shrinks its width a bit and offsets to the right or left (if left-handed), if you have problems reaching. Granted, not all keyboards (like swype) will be as accomidating

  18. How about giving it to a schoolroom and showing us what they do with it for a month?  Good publicity for Samsung and Phandroid, fun for the kids, fun for us.

    Or is this the kind of sissy suggestion that will get me lashed by Beatz headphone cords?  No, not a request – you guys are bent!

  19. Damn Chris, you are a dead sexy individual. No homo, just the truth.

  20. I have to say this is going to look hilarious next to someones head when they are talking on the phone.

    1. I’d use headphones with that, and I’m surprised not to see it in the package.

  21. I am wondering why the US versions of Samsung phones comes without ear buds while the International versions always have them !  

  22. Please include tablet activities like Google currents on your review. Moat of the reviews of this device treat it like a phone rather than a highly portable tablet with phone capabilities. I think this device appeals to tablet consumers looking to get 2 devices for the price of one on data packages.

  23. *Ahem*….Chris…I’m sure you meant to say ‘phablet’ (not ‘phoneblet’), for obvious reasons.

    As in….”‘Hey everybody!  Enter to win your phirst phuckin’ phablet on Phandroid.com!”

    You’re welcome.

    (Yes, go ahead and enter me in the contest. Thank you, sir.)

    1. nice

    2. I see what you did there… 

  24. “Oh… my mom’s texting me.”

    That was one of the all time better moments in a review video.

  25. Apple patent filing inc: http://www.google.com/patents/US5903668?dq=Google&ei=cKQ9T4bwIMXkggfvt6y4CA

  26. It’s a Phablet, not a Phonblet.

  27. Most of the tech reviews online (of course not on phandroid) are full of g.a.r.b.a.g.e please do a review focused on the user experience not just a write up on the tech specs which we all can find ourselves.

    Things to consider:
    How does the device handle aggressive mulitasking?
    How quickly can a user navigate from one interface to the next?
    How intuitive is the overall user experience?
    How smoothly does the device operate under extreme load (i.e. Gaming for an extensive period of time)?
    What the duration of battery life is under different conditions?


  28. Were I as follicly endowed as you, I would not use my locks to present myself as so hygienically apathetic.  To my knowledge, there is not yet an app for a hairbrush, but turn the brightness up on that Note and you might be able to use it as a hairdryer — or at least get a good tan.

  29. whats the txt message widget/notification thingy on his lock screen?

  30. Great android phone and features as well.

  31. I don’t have a Note and I’m bald.  What has my life become?

  32. Very pleased to read that you’re going to give it a few days – too many reviews say it’s “too big” without actually using it for a few days and discovering just how great it is and that it will fit in all but the tiniest of pockets!

    I am in Europe and had the choice of the Note or the Nexus and am really pleased that I chose the Note. The screen is superb, the battery life excellent and with the card slot I have an extra 64GB of storage. The card is the SanDisk 64GB Mobile Ultra MicroSDXC that despite the Note specs stating “up to 32MB expansion” works perfectly. I would have been very limited by the Nexus.

    I have no regrets at all and with ICS around the corner, the Note is definitely the one for me!

  33. The Galaxy Note is the best phone I have ever held!! I just love it!!

    Now I’ll admit one handed useablity is limited but frankly it stops me from doing stuff I shouldnt be doing (messing with phone while driving etc)

  34. Ready for the contest!!

  35. Ryan Cabrera had that hair……..in 2003.

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