Known by some as a “phablet”, the Samsung Galaxy Note is most certainly the largest smart phone around, its overall size and particularly the size of its screen bridging the gap between smart phones in general and full-sized tablets. But is it any good? Is it too bulky to be of any practical use as a phone? Here are our thoughts:
In terms of design and style everything about the Galaxy Note seems to come back round to its size. For many, the size of the device will be seen as its greatest strength, while others will view it as an insurmountable obstacle to convenient use as a smart phone. The Galaxy Note is heavier than some of its rivals weighing in at 178g, compared to the Samsung Galaxy S and iPhone at 130g. From a practical point of view one-handed operation of the device will be a bit of a challenge, with a width of 8cm. Build quality is decent, with perhaps the only slight negative a flimsy looking rear panel.
The operating system for the Galaxy Note is the Android 2.3 Gingerbread with an upragade to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich due at some currently unspecified time in the future
The impressive screen deploys Samsung’s high def AMOLED technology, with a resolution of 1280 x 800. The device is equipped with a 1.4GHz dual core processor, 1GB RAM, together with support for the HSPA+ mobile network, which means the user will have access in some parts of the country to faster speeds than 3G.
Wireless streaming via Bluetooth as well as DLNA networking are available and the device comes with a 16GB internal memory together with a microSD card slot enabling you to create additional storage should the need arise. As you would expect, the Note is capable of shooting both still and video, the latter at 1080p quality, and has twin cameras to the front and rear. The front camera is 2 MP, the rear 8MP.
Arguably, the feature of the Galaxy Note which has attracted most attention is the on-board stylus which Samsung call the S Pen which you can use to create short messages directly on to the device’s screen. The pen fits in to a slot in the corner of the device and with a soft tip makes writing up quick notes a simple affair. It’s a fun addition, but in truth is perhaps more of a gimmick than anything of real practical benefit.
Browsing the internet using the Note is a breeze thanks in no small part to the size of the screen. If you have previously strained to read information on the web on a smart phone then the Notes large, clear screen will be something of a revelation. With support for Flash, the Note provides an excellent overall browsing experience.
So, all things considered, the Galaxy Note is a fine, capable piece of kit. It’s just that we keep coming back to the sheer size of the device. The large screen will make this perfect for someone who views a lot of HD video – the quality of the screen is truly excellent – but purely as a phone it may take a little getting used to the sheer bulk. Some rivals offer a fuller spec and a more advanced operating system, but the Galaxy Note is nonetheless an impressive addition to the roster of smart phones