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Samsung Galaxy Note LTE Review

Posted: , by John V.

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Samsung Galaxy Note LTE Review
This is a review of the AT&T LTE version of Samsung Galaxy Note. Click here for the review of the European version

Introduction:

Taking a trip back to memory lane, it was hard to imagine smartphones packing displays anything larger than 3.5-inches a few years ago, but as reality has proven time after time, it seems that we have an insatiable desire to keep moving forward. In fact, our jaws all dropped in unison when the HTC HD2 came romping onto the scene flaunting a then larger than life 4.3” display. Soon afterwards, we’ve all come together as a society to regard devices with these sized displays to be the norm.

Well, the Samsung Galaxy Note came to fruition back last fall pushing the limits of how big is too big for today’s modern smartphone. The insanely large device is finally making its way to AT&T’s lineup with 4G LTE connectivity in tow to match its prestigious status as being a formidable Android powered smartphone. Interestingly enough, this isn’t the first time we’re seeing a device on AT&T’s lineup breaking the barriers with a 5-inch display of some sort – as the Dell Streak from 2010 brought BIG to the masses. Having spent an astronomical amount for a fancy Super Bowl commercial, Samsung clearly has high expectations for the Galaxy Note, so let’s see how this version fares!

Samsung Galaxy Note LTE Review
The package contains:

  • microUSB cable
  • Wall Charger
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Health & Safety and Warranty Guide

Design:

Let’s get the obvious out of the way – again! This isn’t a handset fit for those with small hands, because honestly, it’ll inevitably prove to be too much, as frustration to hold and operate the device settles in. Wide figured and all, we find it necessary to have a two-handed operation approach when handling the Samsung Galaxy Note, especially when our thumb is unable to encompass every corner of its display. In all fairness, the handset’s sheer size is conveniently its most prized feature, since people take notice of it more than anything else. Actually, it’s the kind of fresh device that’ll circumvent conversation from random strangers who are intrigued by simply looking at it from afar.

Overlooking its beastly figure, the Samsung Galaxy Note bears many of the same design characteristics that have been established by the Galaxy S II family. Sporting that typical Samsung construction, with its all-plastic casing and all, it’s hardly anything that stands out, but we’re grateful to find it retaining the same streamlined (0.38” thin) appearance of the international GSM version – especially when it’s packing an LTE radio. With its accompanying weight (6.45 oz), it’s minutely heavier than the original version, but warranted in giving it a solid sense of durability.

The Samsung Galaxy Note LTE bears many of the same design characteristics that have been established by the Galaxy S II family - Samsung Galaxy Note LTE Review
The Samsung Galaxy Note LTE bears many of the same design characteristics that have been established by the Galaxy S II family - Samsung Galaxy Note LTE Review
The Samsung Galaxy Note LTE bears many of the same design characteristics that have been established by the Galaxy S II family - Samsung Galaxy Note LTE Review

The Samsung Galaxy Note LTE bears many of the same design characteristics that have been established by the Galaxy S II family


Samsung Galaxy Note LTE Review

You can compare the Samsung Galaxy Note LTE with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

Overall, there isn’t a whole lot different with the handset’s design, but it now features the usual set of Android capacitive buttons beneath its display, as opposed to finding the physical home button like before. Additionally, it bears AT&T’s name below its earpiece, with its front-facing 2-megapixel camera positioned nearby.

Samsung Galaxy Note LTE Review
Android capacitive buttons - Samsung Galaxy Note LTE Review
Front-facing camera - Samsung Galaxy Note LTE Review
 

Android capacitive buttons

Front-facing camera


There’s nothing out of place with the rest of the handset, since we find its volume rocker, power button, 3.5mm headset jack, noise cancellation microphone, and microUSB port around its sides. With the latter, we gain video-out functionality with the aid of an optional MHL adapter.

microUSB port (bottom) - Samsung Galaxy Note LTE Review
Volume rocker (left) - Samsung Galaxy Note LTE Review
3.5mm jack (top) - Samsung Galaxy Note LTE Review
Power key (right) - Samsung Galaxy Note LTE Review

microUSB port (bottom)

Volume rocker (left)

3.5mm jack (top)

Power key (right)


In the rear, its 8-megapixel auto-focus camera with LED flash is perched in its usual spot, while yanking apart its plastic rear cover grants us access to its SIM card slot, microSD card slot, and generous 2,500 mAh battery. Inconspicuously hidden away, the included S Pen (don’t call it a stylus, says Samsung) is firmly held in place within its slot, which is located in the bottom right corner of the device.

Back - Samsung Galaxy Note LTE Review
Rear camera - Samsung Galaxy Note LTE Review
Battery compartment - Samsung Galaxy Note LTE Review

Back

Rear camera

Battery compartment


The included S Pen - Samsung Galaxy Note LTE Review
The included S Pen - Samsung Galaxy Note LTE Review
The included S Pen - Samsung Galaxy Note LTE Review

The included S Pen



Display:

Equally as eye-catching as its ginormous size, the 5.3” WXGA (800 x 1280) Super AMOLED display of the Samsung Galaxy Note is undoubtedly blessed with so much real estate. Magnificent in so many ways, some might be bummed to know that it utilizes the less favorable PenTile matrix arrangement, but nevertheless, we’re impressed by its immaculate detail (285 ppi). Furthermore, it exhibits all of the qualities we adore with Super AMOLED displays in general – like its overly saturated color tones, deep contrast, wide-viewing angles, and a noticeably bluish tinge. Combining all of those elements, it removes the shock factor of being so large in size for a smartphone, but rather, it culminates all together to reel in prying eyes from afar to take notice of its polarizing beauty.

The 5.3” WXGA Super AMOLED display of the Samsung Galaxy Note LTE - Samsung Galaxy Note LTE Review
The 5.3” WXGA Super AMOLED display of the Samsung Galaxy Note LTE - Samsung Galaxy Note LTE Review
The 5.3” WXGA Super AMOLED display of the Samsung Galaxy Note LTE - Samsung Galaxy Note LTE Review
The 5.3” WXGA Super AMOLED display of the Samsung Galaxy Note LTE - Samsung Galaxy Note LTE Review
The 5.3” WXGA Super AMOLED display of the Samsung Galaxy Note LTE - Samsung Galaxy Note LTE Review
The 5.3” WXGA Super AMOLED display of the Samsung Galaxy Note LTE - Samsung Galaxy Note LTE Review

The 5.3” WXGA Super AMOLED display of the Samsung Galaxy Note LTE



Samsung GALAXY Note LTE 360-degrees View:



45 Comments
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posted on 15 Feb 2012, 07:07 26

1. kshell1 (Posts: 1143; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)


good review but yet again putting down for not having ICS, give them some time. you have to remember the transition for 2.3-4.0 is much more massive than earlier updates

posted on 17 Feb 2012, 17:43 2

27. devon613 (Posts: 38; Member since: 13 Oct 2011)


just got the note at my store this thing is sick....great size and screen better than i thought it would be already got tons of preorders for it....

posted on 23 Feb 2012, 02:09

39. gkquiambao (Posts: 62; Member since: 23 Nov 2011)


This isn’t a handset fit for those with small hands, because honestly, it’ll inevitably prove to be too much, as frustration to hold and operate the device settles in.

---this is so wrong. Do you also suggest that we should not use TABLETS if that is your case?

Furthermore, it exhibits all of the qualities we adore with Super AMOLED displays in general – like its overly saturated color tones, deep contrast, wide-viewing angles, and a noticeably bluish tinge.

---you praised it, and then you put it down with your words!

Some of us have this innate ability to effortlessly type messages with one hand, but honestly, even the best of individuals with this special skill will find it nearly impossible to do with the Galaxy Note

---again how about in the case of tablets???

Coughing up the same level of quality produced by the original model, we’re content with the photos snapped by AT&T’s version as well – though, they’re nothing more than passable.

---"nothing more than passable"? are you serious?

posted on 26 Feb 2012, 17:18 1

44. Asphyxiation (Posts: 3; Member since: 26 Feb 2012)


Chill out. Do you get paid to review reviews? Shut up. You are never going to try and hold a tablet with one hand and type on it with that same hand.
For those of us that know what Super AMOLED displays are like, his words were no downer.
Considering that Samsung is not the leader in mobile phone cameras, yes, what he said is correct. Again, chill out.
There are funny trolls and obnoxious ones. You are the latter. The latter is also extremely annoying. Do your homework before you criticize someone else next time. Good day to you.

posted on 23 Feb 2012, 02:19

40. gkquiambao (Posts: 62; Member since: 23 Nov 2011)


GSMArena.com says:

Speaking of the Samsung Galaxy Note size, there are two approaches to it. Its measures of 146.8 x 83 x 9.7 mm, coupled with 178 grams of weight, qualify the handset as huge by any smartphone standards. If you look at the I717 as a tablet however, the perspective changes completely. It is easier to carry around than any tablet, without (mostly) compromising on functionality.

*this is a more comprehensive review. Comparing the Note to both phone and tablet, because its a phablet after all.

posted on 26 Feb 2012, 16:43

43. E.N. (Posts: 2231; Member since: 25 Jan 2009)


Phonearena's review is fair. The Galaxy Note is a phone first, tablet second. This review, I think, is based on the assumption that people were going to carry this device around in their pocket and in their hands every day. In that case, their review was on point.

"This isn’t a handset fit for those with small hands, because honestly, it’ll inevitably prove to be too much, as frustration to hold and operate the device settles in."

- As a phone, this point is completely true and is going to be the factor that is going to turn you off/on at first sight. The tablet perspective is not too important because most people don't have the tablet on their person everywhere they go (mall, grocery shopping, class, gym, work, friend's house). When you're using a tablet, you're expecting a largish device. When you're using a phone, you're usually not.

posted on 15 Feb 2012, 07:51 18

2. droiddomination (Posts: 203; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)


typical PA, unless there is a krapple icon on the back, they take two points off the score. your guys are so biased. it is blatently obvious if a modern spec'd beast like this gets an 8/10, and iturd scores higher on a rehashed model from 2010, something is wrong!

posted on 15 Feb 2012, 08:02 3

4. kshell1 (Posts: 1143; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)


i understand some of the points why it got knocked down, like performance, i would have taken just hspa+ using the og 1.4ghz exynos or clock it up even more, over the lte crapdragon they put in it

posted on 15 Feb 2012, 08:47 7

8. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


the constant switch to crapdragon is really annoying. I want to know who made the decision to use crapdragon instead of OMAP, which is also LTE capable... and stronger. Why would you flip out the best chip set for the worst?

Honestly, Id only give it an 8 because of the screen and pen. Anything that has been switched from exynos to crapdragon should be reduced to 7 to adjust for poor performance.

posted on 15 Feb 2012, 17:10 1

13. Birds (Posts: 971; Member since: 21 Nov 2011)


I actually played with the Note and I can tell you that this phone is the most optimized phone to ever run a snapdragon. Samsung did a really good job at software optimization of this device but it still lagged. Not like anything that is a super deal breaker or even super noticeable. It lagged with the live wall paper because I had tons of background applications running. So Remixfa, you are right.

posted on 19 Feb 2012, 11:11

32. NeXoS (Posts: 278; Member since: 03 May 2011)


GSMArena.com

A much less Apple Fan ass boy site than this place.

posted on 15 Feb 2012, 08:11 2

5. maherk (Posts: 798; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)


well.ma glad i bought the international version, i prefer the in the middle physical home screen button, specially for such a huge phone. plus this way, i ll get the ics update much much earlier than the branded versions. by the end of march, i ll be licking my teeth cuz of the sweet taste of ics

posted on 15 Feb 2012, 08:44 3

6. snowgator (Posts: 3197; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)


Fair review, I think. This is a fun device for those who are interested, but it isn't practical for everyone.

I am also a little critical of reviews that pound on Android devices for not being released with ICS. We saw this last year this about this time over dual-core processors. Why detract from a device over something that is not the industry standard yet?

posted on 15 Feb 2012, 08:50 4

9. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


im with you on that one. If its Q2 and super devices still dont have ICS, then pound em. But no major US phone has ICS yet that isnt a nexus, so why detract? Seems very arbitrary and sore.

But detract all day for those crapdragon chips. I cant wait for the S3 to become trash... well.. in the trash.. because its already trash.

on a side note, its nice to see more and more people saying crapdragon :) look at me, im adding new words to the lexicon! :) lololol.

posted on 15 Feb 2012, 11:00 3

10. kshell1 (Posts: 1143; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)


you remixfa are awesome xD you and your fancy words lol but seriously crapdragons suck

posted on 15 Feb 2012, 08:47 2

7. Jeradiah3 (Posts: 977; Member since: 11 Feb 2010)


my only concern about this phone is the price. I know that this sounds crazy, but i'll wait for the price to do down b4 i get it. I like everything else that comes with it and im waiting for LTE to come to st louis

posted on 15 Feb 2012, 18:03 4

14. theo14461 (Posts: 157; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


You can thank Verizon for starting this $299.99 price point. It was just a matter of time before others followed suit.

posted on 15 Feb 2012, 12:36 1

11. MobileCaseReview (Posts: 240; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)


I'm very excited about this phone. Yes it is disappointing about the snapdragon, but after seeing it in person at CES. I was truly amazed and sold on it. I'm predicting this can be amazing office device for many companies to utilize is multi-functionality. A lot of companies have been switching to tablets to save money and some companies often defer to company phones. It a lot of ways, this device can knock out two birds with one stone. Looking forward to picking mine up soon.

posted on 15 Feb 2012, 15:25 2

12. ghost__uwi (Posts: 175; Member since: 28 Nov 2011)


Too big. No way. S3 plz.

posted on 15 Feb 2012, 18:13 4

15. Joshing4fun (Posts: 1047; Member since: 13 Aug 2010)


I remember the huge debates about whether of not the Droid X was too big when it was coming out... That phone would like tiny compared to this. Crazy how things change in such a short amount of time.

posted on 26 Feb 2012, 13:07

42. ghost__uwi (Posts: 175; Member since: 28 Nov 2011)


by next yeah iPad sized tablets will be the new phone :S I don't like where this is going now.

posted on 15 Feb 2012, 20:28

16. JGuinan007 (Posts: 626; Member since: 19 May 2011)


I want it bad have to wait 3 mo days Im jonezn for it gimme gimme gimme!

posted on 15 Feb 2012, 21:25

17. isprobi (Posts: 193; Member since: 30 May 2011)


No ICS is not a big deal. Let Google get the bugs out of it first. The pathetic battery life of EVERY LTE phone is much more important. This phone should have a 4000 MAH battery. And every other phone should be another half as thick so a bigger battery can fit. Maybe Moto will start a new trend with the Droid Max.

posted on 16 Feb 2012, 00:54 1

18. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5555; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


oh so it's justified for AT&T to have a crapdragon powered phone cost $300 but it's just too much for Verizon's awesome high-end line up? lol okay. xD

posted on 16 Feb 2012, 04:57

19. maen555 (Posts: 8; Member since: 04 Feb 2012)


299 2 year contract?
that's about 7176 $
i prefer to buy it cash from any store it still a lot cheaper :D

posted on 16 Feb 2012, 08:53

20. Jeradiah3 (Posts: 977; Member since: 11 Feb 2010)


I totally agree. im a big man (6'7" 235lbs) and this is the perfect phone for me....................but im not paying $300 for a 2yr contract when there are tablets that cost the same!! i'll wait for the price to go down

posted on 16 Feb 2012, 14:55

25. Alantef (Posts: 279; Member since: 14 Sep 2011)


6'7 and 235....why aren't you playing WR for the Browns lol???????

posted on 20 Feb 2012, 06:27

34. Jeradiah3 (Posts: 977; Member since: 11 Feb 2010)


LMBO!!! Had surgery on my knee playing basketball...great reply lmbo

posted on 16 Feb 2012, 11:31

22. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5555; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


were you not going to be with AT&T for two years anyway? xD

posted on 16 Feb 2012, 11:47

23. Jeradiah3 (Posts: 977; Member since: 11 Feb 2010)


yeah, but I dont think that you should pay $300 for a 2yr contract phone. I thought it wouldve been $200 like the Skyrocket...which i would pay for to renew with AT&T. i know that the phone itself is over $600 retail, but i might change my mind later

posted on 16 Feb 2012, 09:41

21. gotti88 (Posts: 101; Member since: 06 Jul 2011)


300 for 2years. ill take it thats not bad to me.

posted on 16 Feb 2012, 14:54

24. Alantef (Posts: 279; Member since: 14 Sep 2011)


the only reason i didn't get the note was that is doesn't have NFC....i know that's weak and lame of me but after getting the nexus i wouldn't want the note anyway and paying using NFC is dumb cool....sorry lol

posted on 17 Feb 2012, 03:19 1

26. Myrith (Posts: 54; Member since: 17 Feb 2012)


I had been looking forward to a tablet-like device with accurate, pressure sensitive pen input, and I was excited to find out that the Note carries a Wacom stylus. It seems like every digital artist's dream. Drawing on a plain graphics tablet is less than ideal, and LCD-type digitizing tablets can cost $1000 or more, and still need to be attached to a computer.

I hope more devices like the Note come out in the future. Hopefully we'll also see some advanced illustration software for Android that takes advantage of the pressure sensitivity. I'd even consider getting a used Note in a few months -- not for the phone, but for the drawing capability.

posted on 17 Feb 2012, 21:56

28. Donte_W (Posts: 3; Member since: 23 Nov 2011)


I got the phone, now my only problem is disabling the mobile view of webpages. Any suggestions? I have the AT&T version

posted on 18 Feb 2012, 23:53

30. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5555; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


wait for ICS. :P

posted on 20 Feb 2012, 23:02

35. oddmanout (Posts: 435; Member since: 22 May 2009)


Download dolphin browser HD. From there you can select which method you'd like the pages to render. Just select desktop.

posted on 19 Feb 2012, 10:23 1

31. BenCjamin (Posts: 78; Member since: 13 May 2011)


My question is WHERE IS THE NEW EXYNOS CHIPSET ? the nexus, note and sky rocket were rumoured to be using it but it didn't happen. The reason i buy Samsung was because of their amazing hardware and now they are selling out to qualcomm... At least put an OMAP chip in it. Damn you samsung.

posted on 20 Feb 2012, 23:12

36. oddmanout (Posts: 435; Member since: 22 May 2009)


They still haven't worked out the kinks to have it perform well with 4G bands here in america so they stick in a snapdragon as replacement. There would be a lot more buzz going around if the phone launched with an exynos processor and was limited to 3G speeds though. Until they fix their chipset to work along with US 4G, I think its a fair sacrifice.

posted on 19 Feb 2012, 13:28

33. Bowingchu (Posts: 4; Member since: 19 Feb 2012)


I will guaran damn tee you that if this phone was on Verizon, it would be the top phone the carrier will have to offer. Nice move Samsung. Really good.

posted on 20 Feb 2012, 23:44

37. Forsaken77 (Posts: 547; Member since: 09 Jun 2011)


This phone is ideal for artists, but just too damn big otherwise. It's almost the same as a Skyrocket except the bigger, lower resolution screen. And as far as the Snapdragon processor... it works great in all the recent Galaxy phones. I have the white Skyrocket and the thing fly's. So having an Exynos in it would make it .0005 seconds quicker, then it doesn't matter to me. I don't care about benchmarks because they're so far from real-world performance and saving a fraction of a second here and there makes no difference. I stay having live wallpapers on and never had a hitch. And my live wallpaper is clouds scrolling with rain hitting the screen and lightning flashing multiple times every second. So if any wallpaper would cause slowdown, it would be this one.

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 07:52

38. christy4fun (Posts: 1; Member since: 22 Feb 2012)


Its a Pure Tablet Phone. Battery life is bit concern, reports From phonearena and by
http://tinyurl.com/75xbma5 Suggests a low a battery power. Unless that its a perfect phone.

posted on 23 Feb 2012, 11:44 2

41. MobileCaseReview (Posts: 240; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)


I've had the phone now for 2 days and have been abusing my LTE very hard! It's a great phone, the battery is great. I have no complaints. I will be doing my own review for it soon. Thanks!

posted on 01 Mar 2012, 21:44

45. 860007 (Posts: 1; Member since: 01 Mar 2012)


Why people "adore" Super AMOLED??? There's no "White" color ion that

posted on 11 Mar 2012, 20:57

46. dvdboxroom (Posts: 1; Member since: 11 Mar 2012)


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Display5.3 inches, 800 x 1280 pixels (285 ppi) Super AMOLED
Camera8 megapixels
Hardware
Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 MSM8660, Dual core, 1500 MHz
1024 MB RAM
Size5.78 x 3.27 x 0.38 inches
(147 x 83 x 10 mm)
6.28 oz  (178 g)
Battery2500 mAh, 10 hours talk time

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