Samsung Galaxy Note Smartphone Review

By on November 13, 2011
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With a 5.3″ screen, is the Galaxy Note too big to be a Smartphone?

Good: Stunning screen, amazing resolution, extremely fast and a good camera
Bad: Writing letters using the stylus, less than expected battery life and no HDMI output
Price: AED AED 2,995
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

Although I have pointed the large size of the Galaxy Note a few times already, it all becomes irrelevant once you power the device. Without any doubt, the Galaxy Note has the best screen I have ever seen on a mobile device. Sporting a 5.3” Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 1280×800 pixels, the Galaxy Note will make you go WOW. Everything on the screen- from text to colors look razor sharp and mesmerizing. Although the Note has a sports a 285 PPI screen which is lower than some of the other Smartphones, I would gladly take it over anything else- including the iPhone 4.

The Galaxy Note runs Samsung’s Touchwiz UI on top of Android and it brings some interesting additions with the Galaxy Note. You can have a total of seven home screens that you can populate with widgets and shortcuts. Samsung has re-done some other their widgets for the higher resolution screen on the Galaxy Note making them look beautiful. I especially liked the S-Planner calender app which looks really nice and lets you easily switch between different views such as Year, Month or Week.

Besides the screen, the other thing that differentiates the Galaxy Note from the rest of the Smartphones is the inclusion of a Stylus that works very much like the one we saw included with the HTC’s Flyer tablet. The Stylus has a button that, when you tap and hold, takes a screenshot of your screen and allows you to highlight objects or write notes that can then be shared with others. You can also use the stylus to write messages and the letters you draw are converted into text. The following video shows you the Galaxy Note as well as it’s UI and Stylus capabilities.

I had a bit of a hard time getting the stylus to recognize my letters- especially when holding the device in the hand which generally results in trying to write at weird angles. My palm kept touching the bottom half of the screen triggering some action that would, at times, take me out of the application. Keeping the Galaxy Note on a flat surface provided a much better experience when trying to use the Stylus to write stuff out.

Samsung has also added some gestures to the Note for getting some things done easily. For example, you can place your palm on the Note and it will pause whatever you’re playing. Lifting your palm undoes that. Also, swiping from the side of your palm takes a screenshot. You can also zoom in and out by holding two fingers on the screen and then rocking the device back and forth.

Coming the camera, the Galaxy Note is capable of taking 8MP shots and in general, I was quite pleased with the results. While they were not as good as the ones from a Nokia N9, they are better than most other cameras I’ve tested on other Smartphones. The Galaxy Note also supports recording 1080p hi-def videos which turn out quite well. The following is a sample picture from the Galaxy Note of my two little princesses.

Wrapping things up, Samsung bundles the Galaxy Note with a battery that has a huge capacity of 2500mah, however, the incredibly larger screen doesn’t necessarily provide as long of a battery life as I was expecting. I got a full day out the Note without an issue but generally, that was about it. At times, the battery would be depleted by the following morning or by noon at best. My usage involved the usual/moderate amount of checking emails, browsing, listening to music and taking pictures/video.

Overall, the Samsung Galaxy Note is a unique device in the sense that it can be used as a Smartphone and somewhat as a tablet because of it’s large screen and high resolution. The question most of us would ask is if it’s too big to be a phone and too small to be a tablet. I strongly suggest you to check it out for yourself as there is no right answer to that question. For me, it worked wonderfully and if I was to buy an Android handset today, I would pick the Galaxy Note without any hesitation. And it will get even better once Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is released for it.

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Abbas Jaffar Ali is the founder of and a blogger, geek and self-declared tech pundit who can't stop talking about technology. Find him on twitter as @ajaffarali

  • Manoj Damani

    I have the dell streak which is bigger and can use it with one hand

    • Abbas Jaffar Ali

      HAvent used the Streak but it has a smaller screen size of 5″ right? And you must have really big hands ;)

  • Me

    ill have it, i use internet on my phone heaps since browsers have become capable.
    its a bit big, but omg the screen resolution, yes please

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