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Samsung GALAXY Note Review

Posted: , by Ray S.

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Samsung GALAXY Note Review
Believe it or not, the Samsung Galaxy Note is also meant to be used as a phone. Taking this thing and putting it next to your head is certainly not beautiful, but it's possible. Unfortunately, the earpiece is disastrous, as it fails to emit tones with decent loudness, plus it makes voices coming through it sound muffled. The microphone isn't very strong, but it does pick up your voice well, so at least the person on the other end of the line won't have that much trouble while conversing with you.

With such a huge display, it's only natural for us to be a bit worried about the battery life of the Samsung Galaxy Note. Thankfully though, the manufacturer has managed to fit a pretty decent 2500mAh battery inside, which should be able to provide 13 hours of talk-time and about 24 days of stand-by – a remarkable achievement indeed.


Conclusion:

It should be clear that the Samsung Galaxy Note is a niche product. It's not a phone designed to take over the mass market. Why is that? The big dimensions of the Note make it much more uncomfortable to handle and use than any other smartphone. Some people with extraordinarily large hands may have a chance of finding it okay, but those cases will be extremely rare. Just to give you an example, the device's size means that it's absolutely impossible to use it with one hand only. As a matter of fact, it also makes some normal everyday stuff like typing out messages and emails too much of a hassle.

Of course, the bigger screen has its benefits. Important areas such as internet browsing and multimedia consumption have gained the most, though this doesn't mean that the experience is light-years ahead from that of a normal 4.3" smartphone like the Galaxy S II, for example. If you are a mobile gamer, the Galaxy Note will be a very suitable solution as well. However, where this handset shines is in the process of note-taking, which has been made more intuitive thanks to the ability to write with the special stylus. If you're looking for just this kind of handwriting experience, then the Galaxy Note is sure to appeal to you.

Leaving the enormous screen and dimensions aside, the Samsung Galaxy Note is a pretty decent smartphone, equipped with powerful hardware, delivering zippy performance with all tasks. It's very well feature-packed, although some of its aspects haven't been executed in the best possible way. For example, call quality is very poor, while the camera is fine, but nothing industry-leading.

As far as alternatives go, we would recommend that you consider the HTC Sensation XL, which offers a 4.7" screen, as well as all variants of the Samsung Galaxy S II. If you are in the States, Sprint's Epic 4G Touch and T-Mobile's Galaxy S II come with 4.52" displays, while AT&T will soon join the party with its 4.5" Galaxy S II Skyrocket. And, if you can wait a little longer, we believe that the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Nexus and its 4.65" screen will also prove to be a pretty decent solution. By the way, if the enhanced experience of taking notes is what you're after, you should also check out Sprint's EVO View 4G (or Europe's HTC Flyer), which is a 7" Gingerbread-powered tablet by HTC, having the very same idea as the Galaxy Note, complete with the stylus.

Software version of the reviewed unit: Android 2.3.5, Build: GINGERBREAD.XXKJ4

Samsung GALAXY Note Video Review:



Pros

  • Extremely large screen
  • Great multimedia device
  • Snappy performance

Cons

  • Poor call quality
  • The large screen only brings marginal improvement in certain areas
  • Camera could be better
PhoneArena rating:
7
User rating:
8.7 25 Reviews
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112 Comments
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posted on 02 Nov 2011, 12:00 35

1. Eingild (Posts: 203; Member since: 19 Apr 2011)


A 7? Seriously? This tablet/phone hybrid is a beast.

posted on 02 Nov 2011, 16:55 5

28. shayan (Posts: 145; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)


and galaxy note is the top phone right now in gsmarena.com user ratings...

posted on 02 Nov 2011, 17:47 3

30. xtremesv (Posts: 188; Member since: 21 Oct 2011)


Yeah true but none of them has had it in their hands. That's the only credit I can give to this review but everything else is totally out of place. They should have reviewed the Note as the niche device it is, not as a normal smartphone or an iPhone 4S wannabe.

posted on 02 Nov 2011, 17:05 16

29. buggerrer (Posts: 283; Member since: 21 Sep 2011)


who is Ray S. anyway to review such great device and give it 7/10 !

posted on 02 Nov 2011, 18:29 5

33. xoatomxo (Posts: 56; Member since: 26 Apr 2011)


I want this phone and cant wait until this phone launches in America. What other phones did Ray S. reviewed anyway. I am very curious.

posted on 03 Nov 2011, 07:08 7

55. HTCiscool (Posts: 449; Member since: 16 Jul 2011)


What every1 is ignoring is the price, I would rather have an iPad 2 32GB than this thing. It's too small to be a tab and too big to be a phone, its very expensive, it sucks at being a phone, and it doesn't have the size advantage of a tablet.

posted on 03 Nov 2011, 11:23 13

60. xtremesv (Posts: 188; Member since: 21 Oct 2011)


You said it right, YOU don't want it. The Note is a niche product not meant for everyone. It's a concept phone.

posted on 13 Nov 2011, 13:08 1

90. mills0806 (Posts: 37; Member since: 13 Nov 2011)


I know seriously just buy a galaxy tab if you want to take notes or whatever. Then when you want to use a phone, just use your smartphone.Not that hard to sync data between your tablet,and whatever devices you use.

posted on 03 Nov 2011, 23:38 5

68. tmcr7 (Posts: 148; Member since: 02 Nov 2011)


Looking at his video, he hasn't even shown why typing on the Note is poor because of the big screen. It really doesn't make sense. But in this video,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKk9RZLmoBw

The reviewer clearly demonstrated how thumb-typing on the Galaxy Note is very, very easy. He can also easily touch the keys in the middle of the keyboard without any problems.

And the video also showed how the browsing experience is significantly better, just by holding the device in a landscape position.

posted on 02 Nov 2011, 12:08 1

2. hunted (Posts: 307; Member since: 21 Sep 2011)


Does this mean no use in buying this phone? The mark says SII is better

posted on 02 Nov 2011, 12:26 21

3. AppleSux (banned) (Posts: 20; Member since: 12 Mar 2011)


well, i have read the other reviews, where they say that the call quality, and speaker performance are awesome, n very impressive, even engadget (which is considered pro-apple) talked abt the impressive call quality, and speaker performance of the Galaxy Note. either iPhonearena is totally biased (which it is most of the time), or they have got a faulty unit. one other thing, when phonearena talks about the battery life, they just mention the manufacture's stats, but they should mention the battery life according to their own experience and usage and their own special battery tests. simply quoting the official stats cant be cosidered a good review. dont trust phonearena reviews ever. techradar and gsmarena reviews are way better and comprehensive.

posted on 02 Nov 2011, 12:49 14

6. Mazhh (banned) (Posts: 6; Member since: 02 Nov 2011)


Ray S is on apple's payroll.. !!! phonearena sucks !!!

posted on 02 Nov 2011, 13:34 18

13. Vinopantoz (Posts: 1; Member since: 02 Nov 2011)


They are not phonearena..they are iPhonearena...

posted on 03 Nov 2011, 16:09 2

63. bucky (Posts: 1288; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)


or maybe you cant handle the truth

posted on 09 Apr 2012, 02:41

112. minkhantkyaw (Posts: 5; Member since: 09 Apr 2012)


No , you sucks !!!

posted on 02 Nov 2011, 12:26 8

4. district11 (Posts: 93; Member since: 17 Apr 2011)


Snappy performance

posted on 02 Nov 2011, 12:50 4

7. metoyou (Posts: 277; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


Ouch!

posted on 02 Nov 2011, 13:01 16

8. leftheodo (Posts: 64; Member since: 21 Oct 2011)


If it's not Apple it's not good enough, right? This is getting annoying and iDiotic!

posted on 02 Nov 2011, 13:29 10

10. snowgator (Posts: 3187; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)


That's just crap. They rated the $99.00 Atrix 2 a 9, ahead of the iPhone 4S. They ooze all over themselves over the Samsung Galaxy 2 series. Let it go- they just didn't like this guy.

posted on 02 Nov 2011, 16:38 11

27. xtremesv (Posts: 188; Member since: 21 Oct 2011)


Actually, no. PhoneArena clearly stated on their iPhone 4S review: "Right now, we believe the Apple iPhone 4S is deserving a rating of 9/10, when we consider its overall quality, features and price (...)".
That sounds to me like “we desperately want to give a 10 (overall quality?) to the iPhone 4S but we cannot because we would lose our credibility as reviewers”.
Someone commented that if the Note had an Apple logo on its back then it would have got a 10. Perhaps he is right after all.
I think PhoneArena should disclaim what phones they personally own.

posted on 02 Nov 2011, 13:02 14

9. ph00ny (Posts: 585; Member since: 26 May 2011)


Shouldn't there be at least a whole page or two dedicated to all the functionalities tied to the stylus (S-pen)? Isn't that point of this device?

posted on 02 Nov 2011, 13:30 3

11. snowgator (Posts: 3187; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)


Totally agree. Maybe if it does come stateside, they will.

posted on 02 Nov 2011, 13:32 7

12. snowgator (Posts: 3187; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)


Told my Wife about this beast, and she drooled all over herself. She WANTS a tablet/smartphone hybrid, and I would jump all over an unlocked version of this as a Christmas surprise for her. Here is hoping I get that shot....

posted on 02 Nov 2011, 13:38 1

14. snowgator (Posts: 3187; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)


Also notice they mentioned the HTC Sensation at 4.7" as an alternative, but not the 4.7" HTC Titan, the Windows Phone. I can understand it as this is an Android Tablet... er, phone.. um - whatever. I just had to throw it out there!!

posted on 02 Nov 2011, 13:39 3

15. saiki4116 (Posts: 324; Member since: 31 Mar 2011)


they have released in india today for 35k which translates to ~700$

posted on 02 Nov 2011, 16:27 2

25. SJisaBitch (Posts: 8; Member since: 02 Nov 2011)


and...????

posted on 02 Jan 2012, 05:28 1

104. Jshrd (Posts: 3; Member since: 02 Jan 2012)


And You don't deserve it.. Go troll somewhere else

posted on 02 Nov 2011, 13:50 8

16. Sjael (Posts: 4; Member since: 02 Nov 2011)


The stylus on the Note is NOT capacitive. It uses electromagnetic resonance. EMR blows away capacitive styli for accuracy and features.

posted on 02 Nov 2011, 14:03 5

17. anirudhshirsat97 (Posts: 378; Member since: 24 May 2011)


It costs 35k in india and knowing samsung trends,it will fall to 30-32k in a few months...for 30-32...theres nothing better..

posted on 02 Nov 2011, 16:28 4

26. SJisaBitch (Posts: 8; Member since: 02 Nov 2011)


who cares about what goes on in IINNDDIIAA???

posted on 02 Jan 2012, 05:27 1

103. Jshrd (Posts: 3; Member since: 02 Jan 2012)


Are you insane or what...? Seems like Paki to me lol.. FYI...I am from US and have no problem with India...

posted on 02 Nov 2011, 14:15 11

18. Muhannad (Posts: 455; Member since: 20 Sep 2011)


Very under-rated score, they should seriously have someone better to review it.

posted on 02 Nov 2011, 14:28 9

19. redmd (Posts: 857; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)


totally biased review.

you did not put the awesome screen quality and resolution as pros. but after seeing your preview, I was kinda expecting this.

Now why is typing messages and emails on a large screen too much of a hassle? Please do your job right. Some trolls here make more sense than this review.

I'll be waiting for gsmarena's take on the note.

posted on 02 Nov 2011, 14:57 13

20. 10aera (Posts: 31; Member since: 02 Mar 2011)


Ha, ha... Put an apple logo on the back of the Note and it will get a 10 in the review!

posted on 02 Nov 2011, 15:14 13

21. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 2927; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)


"Our opinion is not affected by any relationships we may have with phone manufacturers, carriers, developers or any other party." Lol really Ray S? Or should I say Ray 4S?

posted on 03 Nov 2011, 07:02 3

54. HTCiscool (Posts: 449; Member since: 16 Jul 2011)


LOL good one

posted on 02 Nov 2011, 15:15 7

22. Commentator (Posts: 2293; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)


Why do you list "screen size" as a pro, and then list it as a con because "it only brings marginal improvements in certain areas"? Even if they're only marginal improvements, shouldn't it still be a pro?

posted on 02 Nov 2011, 15:47 10

23. mctcm (Posts: 204; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


Someone fire this reviewer and get someone who can objectively examine & review mobile hardware. What a joke

posted on 02 Nov 2011, 17:53 8

31. JGuinan007 (Posts: 619; Member since: 19 May 2011)


Seriously poor review I should remember not to read anything by Ray S.

posted on 02 Nov 2011, 18:26 8

32. ivanko34 (Posts: 617; Member since: 04 Sep 2011)


This review is a joke !

posted on 25 Jan 2012, 16:09

108. ledbetterp3 (Posts: 466; Member since: 31 Aug 2011)


Your birth was a joke...

posted on 02 Nov 2011, 18:40 3

34. itsius1 (Posts: 49; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


hold one ray, why are you beeing so negative as giving a 7 where all i see is just a measily 3 page review, and those 3 pages arent exactly what i called a in depth review. the main part of this phone is the pen, where i dont see an in depth part about in... i think PA should just stop with the preview and just stick with a single full review so that there is no excuse to skip a full indepth length video...

posted on 02 Nov 2011, 19:03 3

35. weishin92 (Posts: 9; Member since: 08 Sep 2011)


Initially when pa posted this it was only 6, then they changed it to 7.

posted on 02 Nov 2011, 19:48 7

36. redmd (Posts: 857; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)


Just for the lol, Ray 4S got girly little hands, hated the fact that the 5.3-inch screen is the exact opposite of his beloved 3.5-inch 4S.

posted on 02 Nov 2011, 20:07 2

37. unspec1fied (Posts: 1; Member since: 02 Nov 2011)


I have huge hands. If I don't get a 9900, I'd get this simply because text/email is a chore for hands that can palm a basketball or small child's head.

posted on 02 Nov 2011, 20:30 7

38. tmcr7 (Posts: 148; Member since: 02 Nov 2011)


Hi Ray S. Your review is certainly not agreeable. Why did you say that typing on the Galaxy Note is poor due to its large screen? Common sense dictates that thumb typing on a bigger screen is easier. The keys are just bigger as compared to an iPhone which has a smaller screen, and therefore, the keys are cramped up.

posted on 02 Nov 2011, 22:34 4

39. andulas (Posts: 3; Member since: 12 Dec 2010)


i actually got it and it I recommend! Everything about it is FLAWLESS except for the voice which is not the best but its more than enough to get by. I'm in high school in the states and about 5'4 but texting is awesome on the phone even though i'm pretty small especially in portrait. Its AMAZING!!!

posted on 19 Nov 2011, 13:40

92. RamyAbdelbadea (Posts: 17; Member since: 07 Nov 2011)


So Please Come On Give US more information about this phone .. The screen, How do carry it ?? Cause this review is ... ( let us say Incomplete )

posted on 02 Nov 2011, 23:47 3

40. ngo2dd (Posts: 775; Member since: 08 Jul 2011)


Wow, people because you feel that this product should a higher score don't mean that you are right and he is wrong. Have any of you use the phone before? Okay then STFU and phone arena being biased. It is funny because all the top of the line Android phone been rated around a 9 or how are they being biased? And for call quality it base on a group test not the one reviewer. You people need to read the review first.

posted on 03 Nov 2011, 00:37 5

42. Retro-touch (Posts: 248; Member since: 24 Oct 2011)


Giving a 7 is downright biased. Comparing the specs and performance of the galaxy note to those high end should give you a clear indication that it deserves a similar score.It provides the same package as the S2 in a larger package,faster stock processor plus stylus in tow. Just cause the reviewer couldn't understand how it would be successful and is at best a niche product. All his opinions btw, his analysis doesn't represent reality as everyone in the iPhoneArena office could agree with him but ultimately its success will depend on consumers and 99% of them don't come to phone arena.The small minority that decide to research before buying might have their opinions swayed by this crappy review.

Great device, challenging the boundaries between smartphone and tablet that provides great performance and good (acceptable) call quality,deserves and 8 or 8.5

posted on 03 Nov 2011, 03:47 1

47. tmcr7 (Posts: 148; Member since: 02 Nov 2011)


@ngo2dd, Are you blind? The guy on top of you just answered your question with a resounding YES, so shut up!

posted on 03 Nov 2011, 00:36 1

41. tmcr7 (Posts: 148; Member since: 02 Nov 2011)


Are you blind? The guy on top of you just answered your question with a resounding YES, so shut up!

posted on 19 Nov 2011, 15:42

93. RamyAbdelbadea (Posts: 17; Member since: 07 Nov 2011)


yeah that is right .. all the guys who have this phone tell how it is so awesome .. i Know someone had some problem with the phone but still can't Give up that phone !!

posted on 03 Nov 2011, 01:13 4

43. Mozarrt (Posts: 294; Member since: 08 Oct 2011)


People getting all worked up because their precious Android only got a 7. I thought the review was okay.

posted on 03 Nov 2011, 06:58

53. HTCiscool (Posts: 449; Member since: 16 Jul 2011)


You my good good friend, are an idiot

posted on 03 Nov 2011, 07:10 2

56. HTCiscool (Posts: 449; Member since: 16 Jul 2011)


You my friend are one of the few people here with a brain.

posted on 03 Nov 2011, 04:21

50. AngusNG12345 (Posts: 37; Member since: 19 Jul 2011)


lol it dosent work for me too.

"Your post contains banned words. If you believe this is due to a mistake, please email us, copying your whole post. Thank you."

posted on 03 Nov 2011, 06:37 2

51. longhairbilly (Posts: 61; Member since: 23 Aug 2010)


Please bring this to the United States Samsung.

posted on 03 Nov 2011, 06:56 2

52. HTCiscool (Posts: 449; Member since: 16 Jul 2011)


Hmmmm, if you are interested in this then you are one of two people,

1. Those who should get a GSll or other 4"-5" phone
2. Those who should get a galaxy tab 7.7

And could they have not been a little more original with the design?

I think Mr. S makes a point, you're paying little under $850 for this beast, if i I were making that investment, I'd be wanting something a lot bigger such as an iPad2 or a 13-inch notebook.

Hell! for that price you can get a good ultraportable let alone a small tablet.

posted on 03 Nov 2011, 07:13 2

57. HTCiscool (Posts: 449; Member since: 16 Jul 2011)


It's funny how a lot of the commentors think they will die if the Galaxy Note didn't get a good score.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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Samsung GALAXY Note

Samsung GALAXY Note

OS: Android 4.1.2 4.0.4 4.0.3 2.3.5 2.3.4
view full specs
Display5.3 inches, 800 x 1280 pixels (285 ppi) Super AMOLED
Camera8 megapixels
Hardware
Samsung Exynos 4, Dual core, 1400 MHz, ARM Cortex-A9 processor
1024 MB RAM
Size5.78 x 3.27 x 0.38 inches
(147 x 83 x 9.65 mm)
6.28 oz  (178 g)
Battery2500 mAh, 26 hours talk time

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