Samsung GALAXY Note Preview
The Samsung GALAXY Note runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread, which is of course disguised by the custom TouchWiz user interface. It is nice that TouchWiz has been tweaked for the Note in a number of ways, so that it better fits the 5.3” realities. For example, the icon grid now allows for five, instead of four icons on a row.
In addition to all the standard Android and TouchWiz stuff, however, Samsung has cooked some apps especially for the Galaxy Note and its stylus. This is to be expected with a device, centered around the experience of note-taking via a digital pen. S Memo is the special notes app, which will allow you to leverage the possibilities of the included stylus. It features some nice options such as brush type, thickness and color. You can also insert text using the on-screen QWERTY keyboard. The app is pretty decent, and it isn't hard to use, but we found the stylus to be a bit inaccurate, thus making the note-taking experience a bit of a hassle. We hope this is just an issue with out prototype unit. You can also take screenshot notes by pressing the key that is on the stylus and holding it on the screen for a couple of seconds.
Another new app is S Planner, which is here to substitute your typical calendar app. Basically, S Planner is just a facelifted calendar, having a more professional feel.
Don't be fooled by the presence of the S Choice app – it's just a renamed Samsung Apps. Still, you do get the Photo Editor app, which allows you to tweak your photos and images, and also draw with the stylus on top of them. It's not much, but at least it comes for free.
There have been no changes made to the Contacts and Messaging apps to differentiate the Galaxy Note from other TouchWiz devices. Speaking of messaging, it's interesting to comment on the typing experience of the Note. First off, the portrait QWERTY is a nightmare. You can't hold the handset comfortably between your hands and type normally on that keyboard. Switching to landscape takes care of the problem for the most part, although there's still just a little bit of that feeling of inconvenience when reaching for the letters in the center.
browsing on a 5.3” screen with a resolution of 800x1280 should be pretty cool, right? Well, it is, but it's just marginally better than browsing on a 4.3” screen. We weren't blown away by any means. Samsung says that the Galaxy Note minimizes the need of scrolling, but rest assured, there's nothing big in this – you'll still have to scroll, and more importantly, you'll still have to zoom in, in order to make the text comfortably readable. Flash Player support is, of course, available, and works flawlessly. One thing we don't like about Samsung's Android browser is that it doesn't enable the pan function while doing pinch-to-zoom.
The Samsung GALAXY Note supports 4G HSPA+ at up to 21 Mbit/s on the downlink, as well as 4G LTE. Of course, your carrier will have to offer such a network, in order to use LTE data speeds. As of this writing, Samsung has not yet unveiled plans to bring the Galaxy Note Stateside.
There's an 8MP camera employed by the Samsung GALAXY Note, coupled with a single LED flash. As usual, we took a bunch of samples for you to check out, but wouldn't comment on their quality yet. Not until we have a final unit on our hands. The Note allows you to record up to 1080p videos at 29 fps.
Samsung GALAXY Note Indoor Sample Video:
The Samsung GALAXY Note left us with a mixed bag of feelings. The smartphone is plenty fast, and offers all that users currently demand from their most personal gadgets, but its size... we think it's more of a downside than anything else.
The Galaxy Note feels like it doesn't belong to this market, at least not now. With only marginal benefits in areas such as web browsing, we only see this handset excel in the fields of video and gaming. As for note-taking using the stylus, if this is exactly the thing that turns you on, well, we guess you'll like the Note, but if you don't see it as such a major benefit, we think there's not much use in it. Of course, we won't draw a final conclusion yet, not until we get to play with a final unit, but as of right now, the Galaxy Note seems like a niche product at best, and a pretty tight niche this is.
Samsung GALAXY Note Video Preview:
1. Joshing4fun (Posts: 968; Member since: 13 Aug 2010)
Giant phone, tiny tablet. Still don't understand the point of this device.
13. rayjones09 (Posts: 149; Member since: 16 Dec 2010)
I wish Samsung would blatantly state what it is. Maybe a large media player? But then again I guess it is a phone, looking at the speaker grill up top.
20. bobfreking55 (Posts: 866; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)
The note does not make sense anymore after the Razr and Galaxy Nexus. It's thes2 tablet version for business people who like writing.
2. kbayer (Posts: 19; Member since: 08 Feb 2010)
Crappy review, Ray S.. You place too many negative "opinions". Just show what it offers and let the reader draw their own conclusions. Phone is "too big"? For who, YOU?
I'm 6'3" and love my Dell Streak 5". Fits in my pocket with no problem, sitting or standing. EVERYONE that sees it wishes that they would have got one when it was available... yes, tall and short people, big pockets and little pockets. The "little people" that I know who have 4.3" EVO's don't carry their phones in their pocket anyway.
Who says all phones must be pocketable?
Also, pretty crappy of you waiting till the end of the review to casually mention that it's not available in the US. Could you have at least offered the expected release date in the US? Never mind, don't go to the trouble. I'll check another site for that.
Great phone, game-changing, check the videos on YouTube.
17. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 2801; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)
Ray S loves his iphone so you gotta expect him to give negative points to anything that is bigger.
21. roldefol (Posts: 2855; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)
"Who says all phones must be pocketable?"
You're kidding, right? How are guys supposed to carry a phone in the summer if not in a pocket? And no, I will not wear a clunky belt clip.
26. gregoryyy3 (Posts: 67; Member since: 10 Nov 2010)
You have hands idiot. Obviously someone's not going to get this phone cause 'in the summer time they can't carry it in their pocket' and who says you have to get this phone? Your annoying
40. RageQuit (Posts: 41; Member since: 05 Sep 2011)
Most women i know carry their phones in their purse or handbag, so the who "can it fit in my pocket" thing is kinda irrelvent for them. Most of my male friends i have asked can fit my 5' Glaxay S wifi in their pockets so i dont see why this slightly larger phone would not be pocketable.
22. _VipeR_ (Posts: 45; Member since: 30 May 2011)
KBayer, I am soo glad that you pointed this out! Reviews of the smartphones these days, however detailed and informative they are, are completely biased. Why? How? Because they are given from the standpoint of the average sized person. To say that the Galaxy Note was designed for the biggest of hands and still won't be handled with ease is pure skepticism! Not only am I 6'3", 275 lbs, I can pick up most adolescent children by their heads with one hand. I look forward to this phone!
24. _VipeR_ (Posts: 45; Member since: 30 May 2011)
Additionally, this PHONE would be perfect for those of us who prefer a physical keyboard. Those individuals, like myself, are being forced to go to all out touch. Seeing as how I always use my keyboard anyway, this device it the first that might actually have a large enough visual keyboard to be able to type with both speed and accuracy in landscape. The SGSII is decent, but for the size of my fingers and speed in which I type, it still presents too much of a hassle. Seeing as how I don't foresee any High-End Powerhouses being released anytime soon with a physical keyboard (preferably the Epic keyboard) I'd say that this would be a "bridging the gap" device as it will present a very feasable alternative to many different facets in day to day life.
25. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 2801; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)
Yes, this is a device for people with large hands that want the super size screen. I would pick this up but at only 5'9 and having average hands, the Epic Touch does the job for sure.
3. marcoguzm (Posts: 1; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)
I'm looking forward taking a look on one of this!
4. AKm007 (Posts: 108; Member since: 06 Sep 2011)
The review is highly biased. I've played around with the SGS2 and while I don't have abnormally large hands, it still felt a bit cramped. The whole review is based on the reviewer's opinion.
6. networkdood (Posts: 4749; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)
ok, why do the review with a prototype?
Be patient, and just do it with the real device.
You can already get touchWix UI with 5 icons across on normal devices, but the change is expected.
I have some cargo shorts that this behemoth would fit into the pockets of, but I am waiting for more phones to come out before I choose another device.
In the end it will get an 8.5 or 9.0 review when it is done with the actual device, as iPHONEARENA always does.
7. henrickrw (Posts: 402; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)
This is a waste of time. I rather if they make an Ice cream Sandwich update for my GS2
8. weishin92 (Posts: 9; Member since: 08 Sep 2011)
seriously, wad to do with those capacitive buttons when the phone is being updated to ICS?
31. andygallo (Posts: 37; Member since: 21 Oct 2011)
They will probably just disable the on-screen buttons and use the capacitive. Saves screen real estate that way.
9. ChodTheWacko (Posts: 3; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)
I made a. mockup and find the phone surprisingly pocketable. I'm 5'7, and it fits nicely. in my front jeans pocket and yes, I can sit down no problems.
I don't. see what the problem is with typing in portrait mode is - seems just fine to me. Can you elaborate?
This is definitely more tablet than phone and even though I have big hands - forget about using this one handed (just like any tablet). That being said, I am 100% interested, due to my hands, in he largest touchscreen phone that still fits in my pockets. so I can't wait for this phone.@
10. jumasidu (Posts: 1; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)
Agree with kbayer.
I have seen the videos and it doesn't seem to have issues about typing portrait, maybe in landscape because is big.
As ChodTheWacko, I had also test the size with a mockup and it fits great in pants pocket. Of course it might not fit in a low-weist fancy jeans type but I don't wear those.
Don't like the review it seems biased and without neutral facts.
11. auramae (Posts: 1; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)
As someone who has had two 5" screen devices, (HTC Advantage and Dell Streak) I can tell you that I have had no problem pocketing them. I like the large screen because I actually use the devices to the limit of their capabilities. I can run my entire business from my phone. Voice calls are only a small portion of what I do in a day. Think of it as a small tablet that has the bonus of making calls and texts so that you can have the luxury of carrying one device.
12. k1ng617 (Posts: 217; Member since: 13 Oct 2009)
Will this receive Ice Cream Sandwich? I am still looking forward to this phablet!
14. rayjones09 (Posts: 149; Member since: 16 Dec 2010)
Still waiting for HTC Titan review though! I love PhoneArena reviews.
15. SavageLucy42 (Posts: 196; Member since: 24 Mar 2011)
I still love it so far, but I do want to handle one in store before commiting to one. Hoping it's released in time for Christmas in the US.
16. vivek.ray (Posts: 21; Member since: 08 Apr 2011)
I didn't owned a Streak and had a GS2 , bcoz these cell are too big and typically "long and thin" there is always a risk of bending them (I bended my GS2) . its nothing that am short in height , am tall @ 6ft and have long hands . but dont want to own a device for which I have to take care off !! . There has to be a sweet spot like 3" to 4.3" , especially with a slide out keyboard if they want to go beyond 4.5" , it helps alot as even in portrait mode these cells are way too big to handle with single hand .
18. JGuinan007 (Posts: 566; Member since: 19 May 2011)
Ray S. you should submit your atricles to Michael H. for review befor you post them. I agree with kbayer 100% This phone is fantastic it fits perfectly into the niche of anyone with big hands, likes large screens, a gamer, an artist, and bussinessmen. As long as this phone gets good marketing like the Atrix's it will sell. I hope AT&T gets this takes off the capacitive buttons, puts on ICS, and makes it LTE. I'm getting this phone no mtter what.
19. Whateverman (Posts: 3066; Member since: 17 May 2009)
I want this phone so friggin' bad, but I hate ATT and I really want an ICS device. If they bring it to VZW, Gingerbread or ICS, this bad boy is MINE!!!
23. kirads09 (Posts: 1; Member since: 20 Oct 2011)
I think this might be the perfect device for me! Is it even available in the US yet?
Do we know which carriers will have it?
29. ChodTheWacko (Posts: 3; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)
Not available in US yet - no announcement yet, although it would be very surprising if they didn't bring it the US. It already has a limited market as is.
You can import it unlocked and it'd work on t-mobile (GSM only) and AT&T 3g (850 band).
27. jimjam (Posts: 225; Member since: 28 Jun 2011)
Don't forget small women would find this a nice sized tablet rather than a big phone. Women are always writing something down in their tiny diaries. Also easy to put into a purse. However I'm not a woman.
I do like this as a travel tablet. Something I don't need to take out and put in the xray machine at the airport. It became a pain to bring my tablet and my laptop with me on trips and I can't ditch the laptop.
Most people buying this if they are not oversized themselves would infrequently use a cellphone. They are looking for a portable data device with the ability to make calls infrequently. It is far more pocketable than a 7" tablet. Its a small tablet with the ability to make the odd call if necessary. Perfect for me.
28. jimjam (Posts: 225; Member since: 28 Jun 2011)
Comparison to a dell streak 5 would be more appropriate.
30. WhoWeTalkinBout (Posts: 4; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
You guys have to understand that most of these iPhoner's (like Mr. Ray here) like to follow trends and right now the trend for the hipster crowd is women tight skinny jeans paired with 2 sizes to small t's with a long sleeve shirt underneath. Granted for someone who most likely has to lie flat on their bed, suck it in and pull up their zipper with a pair of pliers this may not be pocketable. For your average guy who wears comfortable fitting jeans this thing is definitely pocket ready. Owning an Epic 4G Touch I can assure you that this phone would not give the average guy any problems at all.
32. KRONeage (Posts: 27; Member since: 17 Apr 2011)
Effective Resolution? You are most definitely a iCrAppleholic saying lame s**t like this. Effective resolution on this device is it's horizontal pixel Lines x Vertical pixel lines. It is all in line with it's VESA Certified 1280 x 800 lines of Resolution. That is a progressive scan screen too, btw. So lame was this review that I was laughing my head off 30 seconds into it in complete dismay, at your ignorance and lack of technical knowledge. Go out and get real job..... fool. Bet you can't get one! ;-p
If Phone Arena calls your lame dumb ignorant self a professional reviewer, they need to have their heads examined!
35. erikablare (Posts: 1; Member since: 28 Oct 2011)
Wow..samsung galaxy…. It’s perfectly amazing. I want to have this kind of smartphone someday.But hopefully help me from getting payday loans to pay for unexpected cell phone bills. Millions have had “bill shock” then they discover their cell phone bill is way more than they anticipated it to be. Federal regulators declared last year that they wanted it to not occur to consumers. However, cellular providers and the Federal Communications Commission have attained an agreement that may curb bill shock by supplying people more warning beforehand. The phone is good. .but how about its cost?
37. vzwservesmewell (Posts: 29; Member since: 05 May 2010)
Wish Verizon would carry this Device! I Want One! Love the Size!
38. mcstud (Posts: 1; Member since: 30 Oct 2011)
if i buy this phone unlocked from the UK, could i bring it to the U.S and use it on verizon?