When I first saw the Samsung Galaxy Note, I said to myself – “That’s either a very big phone or a very small tablet”. Upon further research it turns out that it is neither. Samsung had combined the best of both worlds into a new class of device that is both powerful and sleek.
The ‘Note’ could very well be the Galaxy S2′s big brother. Aside from the obvious difference in size, they look very similar – from the Home button to the slim rectangular design down to the metallic bezel. The front utilizes Corning Gorilla Glass which is highly resistant to scratches. The back cover is made of a textured plastic that is very flexible and tough.
If were asked to describe the Note’s screen in one word, it would be ‘Gorgeous’. With a screen resolution of 1280×800 and an effective pixel density of 285ppi (pixels per inch), everything that comes up on screen is very clear and crisp. Whether you are looking at photos, watching HD movies, or just texting, the 5.3 inch HD Super AMOLED display is simply stunning. Text is easily readable. The Note has a superb viewing angle (180 degrees) and there is little to no discoloration even when the screen is viewed from the side.
Ironically, the large screen size contributes to some difficulty in using the on screen keyboard. Typing in portrait orientation requires both hands and reaching the middle letters (G,H, etc) in landscape orientation proves very difficult unless you have long fingers.
The ‘S Pen’ as Samsung calls it, is a capacitative stylus that’s a blast from the past and is actually fun to use. I played around with the included S Memo app which is like a digital notepad in which you can scribble or draw; add text, photos, or voice annotations. It also has a handwriting-to-text feature that does a pretty decent job of translating my hastily scribbled words into, well, text.
There is also a button on the stylus that is used to take screenshots. You just press and hold it, then tap on the screen for a few seconds and voila! You have a screenshot.
Under the Hood
The Note is powered by a 1.4Ghz dual core processor that is lightning fast. It has a 1GB RAM and 16GB built-in memory that is expandable to 48GB by adding a 32GB microSD card. Bluetooth, GPS and Wi-Fi (a/b/g/n) come standard. Aside from the usual 3G and 2G capability, the Note also supports HSPA+ and LTE. The Note supports the 5Ghz Wi-Fi frequency which translates to faster throughput and less interference.
The Note has an 8 Megapixel still camera with auto focus, LED flash, blink detection and Anti-Shake features. There are also 13 scene modes. There are several manual settings for those who like to feel more in control of the shots – exposure value, focus mode, effects, white balance, ISO, and metering. The camera can also shoot videos from 176×144 to 1920×1080(1080p).
Photos shot in low-light are good enough but exhibits a bit of noise. You can use the LED flash to compensate though.
The 2500mAh Li-ion battery has a manufacturer-rated standby time of up to 960 hours on 2G or up to 820h on 3G. Talk time is up to 26 hours on 2G or up to 13.5 hours on 3G.
If you enjoy watching movies or TV shows on the go but don’t want to carry a lot of different devices, then the Samsung Galaxy Note is worth a look. The gorgeous 5.3-inch screen itself is almost worth the price.
The Galaxy Note is available in black or white and retails for about Php32,000.
Pros: Big, contrasty 5.3-inch HD Super AMOLED screen; Very slim and feels solid; Playback of HD videos is smooth and image quality is top-notch; 5Ghz Wi-Fi N provides lag-free HD content streaming; Ultra fast 1.4Ghz dual-core processor
Cons: Touchscreen keyboard is hard to use in landscape mode (keys near center is hard to reach); Power button is too soft resulting in too many accidental presses; A bit too big to put inside your front pocket