Review: Samsung Galaxy Note

By Mike Wheeler

There is no way we’re going to call the Samsung Galaxy Note a Phablet. What is a Phablet supposed to be? A cross between a smartphone and a tablet. To be fair, this is what the Galaxy Note is, but we think we’ll stick with it being a smartphone with tablet functionality.

Out of the box it is lightweight and fits in the hand nicely, but also being a tablet means it is bigger than most smartphones. Is fits in the palm of your hand, and also your pocket, but somewhat awkwardly as it is almost 14cm tall and 8cm wide. But Samsung can be forgiven the form factor due to what is under the hood.

What we noticed straight away was that although the height and breadth of the unit was bigger, it was fairly light at it came in at under 1cm in thickness. It has a glossy black body, and a nicely sized 5.3-inch Super AMOLED HD screen. And this one of the selling points of the device. When streaming videos and the like, it uses all of its 1280×800 resolution, which makes the pictures clear, crisp and well defined. Something that can’t be said for a lot of other Android devices.

Peripherals include the usual fare of front and back facing cameras, video, earplug jack and SD card slot. It does have minimal buttons around the outside, and it took us some time to get used to the ‘on’ button on the side with the past several smartphones in our possession having the button on top of the device.  As you would expect it is pretty easy to navigate, and being part tablet it is designed to watch videos and conference call etc. It uses the Android Gingerbread operating system – which seems the norm at the moment – and we assume you will be able to update to Ice Cream Sandwich in the near future. It did feel a bit weird when being used as a phone due to its size, but not as weird as the first 7-inch Galaxy Tab. In saying that, the speed of video streaming and uploading files was very fast.

And just to let you know that it more than just a smartphone, Samsung includes a stylus (which they have called the S-Pen) that you are supposed to use to doodle and write on screen. We assume they thought that as it is a supposed to be a tablet as well, users would find the stylus handy. Unless you’re a fan of the Nintendo DS or similar, the stylus does seem redundant. Sure, you can use it to doodle and write on screen, but you can use your finger to write, too, and the virtual keyboard to write notes.

Overall, it is a nice little device although we are unsure of its niche. Expect more hybrids to come out over the next couple of years as microprocessor get more powerful and allow industrial designers to pack more into less space without compromising on functionality.

Pros: Lovely big screen, tonne of features, top-notch resolution when watching vids
Cons: Maybe too big, it doesn’t know what it is,

From $89 depending on plan

4.2 Shacks Out Of 5

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