Samsung Highnote Review


Like the Rant, the Highnote is a launch device for Sprint’s new One Click UI, which we really love.  The Highnote’s wheel isn’t the best navigation method for it though; it’s easy to quickly roll thorough but fine movements aren’t sensitive enough and there is no setting to change that.  We much preferred clicking the pad, though due to its free-wheeling nature we often found ourselves both clicking and turning at the same time.

“carousel” similar to HTC’s TouchFLO 3D.  Simply click to the left or right on the d-pad to navigate through the tiles, and when you pause on one it will bring up information.  For instance, if you stop on the Messaging tile a menu slides up that allows you to access voicemail, send a message and your text, picture and email inbox.  The Internet tile has a shortcut to your homepage, favorites and recent pages, allows you to enter a URL and also has a Google search box.

The carousel can be customized as well.  The Home tile has no popup menu by default, but the user can add “bubbles” for Finance, Horoscope, News, Sports News and/or Weather.  Everything but the home tile can be removed, though seven must be active at all times, and tiles can be rearranged to the user’s liking.  There are eight stock tiles and the user can have up to fifteen total, but right now there only six more available.  Preloaded tiles are Home, Messaging, My Account, Personalize My Phone, Shortcuts, Sprint Navigation, Google and Internet.  Others available right now are Call Log, Email, Get Stuff, Music, Text Message and Yahoo.  If left idle for a few seconds the carousel will fade and become transparent.

We particularly like seeing the Google and Yahoo options, each with links to very useful information.  The Google tile allows the user to choose four items from the following: Maps, Gmail, YouTube, News, Photos, Google SMS, Okrut, Calendar, Reader, All Products, Docs and Notebook.  This One Click UI is not only useful, but with Google App integration is also powerful and makes the users lives more seamless.  Verizon Wireless really could learn a thing or two from Sprint on how to implement a UI (or release a worthwhile phone, for that matter.)

Clicking on the Home tile brings up Sprint’s traditional 12-item menu found on all Power Vision (EVDO) phones.  It has the new visual style that launched on the Katana Eclipse, which by the way will be getting a software update for the One Click UI, and the icon layout is identical.  Submenus are a high contrast, easy to read white on black and we enjoy the font Samsung uses.  It looks like Sprint is ditching the theme option we’ve seen for a few years, but given how wonderful One Click is we’re ok with it.  The entire interface is very snappy, and there is zero menu lag.

Other features, such as the phonebook, threaded messaging and other PIM applications remain identical to the Rant.

A new feature to the Highnote is Samsung’s Driving Mode.  It is activated by pressing the car button on the keypad, and when in this mode incoming calls and messages are announced.  For messaging, it will not only tell you that the message has arrived, but also who it is from and then it will read it to you.  If it doesn’t recognize words it will spell them out, meaning phrases like “btw” and “omg” are spoken as you would read them (and yes, it will curse at you).  It does not allow for dictation, but the feature is definitely not only cool but a safety measure.


The Highnote is billed as a multimedia device, but other than easier access there is nothing really new here.  It supports all of Sprint’s multimedia offerings: Sprint TV, Sprint Radio and the Sprint Music Store.  It features the same redesigned Sprint TV we first saw on the Katana Eclipse, and the Music Store is the same as well.  It serves as both a storefront and a music player, and can be quickly accessed by pressing and holding the side Music key.  When the phone is slid down the user is given quick shortcuts to Music, TV and Games.  Games, however, are most often played with the slide up so the user has access to the number pad.  Like the Rant, the 2-megapixel camera performed surprisingly well.  It will never get the accolades its big brother Instinct does, but the Highnote delivers as an all-around multimedia.

Despite ditching the Bang & Olufsen amplifier the Highnote sounded good.  There are three options for 3D sound (Dynamic, Surround and Wide) and the user can turn it off as well.  There is also an equalizer with Normal, Classic, Pop, Jazz and Rock options.  For such small speakers we were surprised how good both the lows and highs sounded.  It will not be mistaken for a high end music player, but compared to most phones on the market the Highnote performed well.



1. ryanb unregistered

you should get a different hand model. that hand is to big. lady hand please

2. unregistered

the thing next to the earpiece is the led light for when your charging your phone or you get a message it lights up or flashes
  • Display 2.0" 176 x 220 pixels
  • Camera 2 MP
  • Storage 0.032 GB
  • Battery 960 mAh(5.60h talk time)

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