The Samsung Galaxy Note is (for now), a unique Android smartphone. Call it a phablet; a really big phone or a small tablet. It shares some Galaxy S II DNA, but it lives larger in terms of dimensions and specs. The Note has a superb (an adjective I don't use all that often) Super AMOLED HD display running at a mind boggling 1280 x 800 pixels. That resolution is standard for 10.1" Android Honeycomb tablets, but the Galaxy Note is an Android 2.3.6 smartphone with a 5.3" display. Serious pixel density! Fonts are smooth as a Samsung Galaxy S II's polished plastic bottom. Blacks are extremely deep and colors are richer than life, which is typical of Samsung's Super AMOLED display technology. For this high end phone, Samsung spent some time calibrating and tweaking it, and the blue color cast found on other Galaxy phones is at a minimum, and pure black images are pure black with no banding or light patches.
But wait: there's more. The Samsung Galaxy Note has a dual digitizer. That means it has both capacitive multi-touch and an active Wacom digitizer complete with a small Wacom pen that lives in a homey little silo. It supports pressure sensitivity for drawing and painting (if the app supports Samsung's pen SDK, as do a handful of apps right now). The pen is much more precise and reliable for drawing and writing than a capacitive stylus. Handwriting recognition in addition to the stock Android keyboard and Swype? Check.
And here's a little more icing on your dessert: Samsung says the phone will get an upgade to Android OS 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. That should be uber cool because ICS adds some serious pen support and is designed to look good and work well on both smartphones and tablets.
Above: the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket and Samsung Galaxy Note.
The drawbacks? The biggest is that no US carrier yet offers it. A variant just passed through the FCC this week with AT&T bands, but it's hard to say what that means, since our already on sale Euro version also had to pass through the FCC (as do most phones that might vacation in the US). That means you'll be buying it SIM unlocked for around $700 from importers in the US (Amazon, Expansys and others sell it). The good news is that it's SIM unlocked and has AT&T 3G and 4G HSPA+ 21Mbs on both bands. It works great with our AT&T SIM. If you're a T-Mobile US customer, you'll get GSM (voice, SMS, MMS) and 2G EDGE.
The other drawback? It's obviously a large phone. If you've used a Dell Streak smartphone, it won't seem big at all, but it makes even the HTC Titan and 4.5" Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket seem portable. The plus? You probably won't have an urge to carry a tablet with you anymore.
5.3", 1280 x 800 Super AMOLED HD display (dual digitizer with EMR pen and capacitive multi-touch).
1.4GHz dual core Exynos CPU with 1 gig RAM and 16 gigs of internal storage.
MicroSD card slot.
2500 mAh Lithium Ion battery
Weight: 6.4 ounces.
Front video chat camera (works with Skype and Google Talk), 8MP rear camera with LED flash and 1080p video recording.
WiFi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0 +HD and GPS (GPS, AGPS, GLONASS)
Quad band GSM world phone with 3G/4G HSPA+ on the 850/900/1900/2100MHz bands (compatible with AT&T 3G/HSPA+ in the US)
Here are the APN setting to use on AT&T for your data connection (assuming you have a 3G/4G postpaid plan):
Name: HSPA+ (can name it whatever you want)
Proxy: leave blank
Port: leave blank
Username: leave blank
Password: leave blank
Server: leave blank
Mms proxy: proxy.mobile.att.net
Mms port: 80
Authentication type: none
There's lots more to see and learn about the Samsung Galaxy Note; so check out our 28 minute video review that covers most everything you need to know. Our full written review will be out next week.
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