(Head Honcho)
12/11/11 04:27 PM
Samsung Galaxy Note Video Review, Seriously Lovely and Large Android Smartphone

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.

It doesn't stop there. The Samsung Galaxy Note runs on a 1.4GHz dual core Exynos processor, one of the fastest CPUs you'll find in an Android phone, and clocked higher than the already fast GS II with a 1.2GHz CPU. Even though its pushing an extreme number of pixels around, the Note does extremely well in synthetic benchmarks, getting up to 2x the score of some dual core Android phones (4100 on Quadrant and 1920 on the Sunspider JavaScript test). The phone has the usual Galaxy S II 8 megapixel rear camera with LED flash that can shoot 1080p videos. Shoot a photo or video and play it back in the post view--it's like looking at a photo frame.

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)
APN: phone
Proxy: leave blank
Port: leave blank
Username: leave blank
Password: leave blank
Server: leave blank
Mms proxy:
Mms port: 80
Mcc: 310
Mnc: 410
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.


12/23/11 04:12 PM
Re: Samsung Galaxy Note Video Review, Seriously Lovely and Large Android Smartphone

Great review. I just ordered one to try out!

12/25/11 08:53 AM
Re: Samsung Galaxy Note Video Review, Seriously Lovely and Large Android Smartphone

Cool. I can't wait for mine to come.

I was a little frightened, over at XDA a lot of people complain about the screen, ram, CPU and so on. I ran a little poll there, and it seems that they're a small amount of people that had issues, and I'm glad. Your review is fantastic. It was the deciding factor for me, along with the commercials of the Note. Have you seen them? Samsung's youtube has a lot "everyday uses" for the note, which is just so practical. I love it

12/30/11 03:39 AM
Re: Samsung Galaxy Note Video Review, Seriously Lovely and Large Android Smartphone

Make sure to get the new KL7 update!

(Head Honcho)
12/30/11 04:37 AM
Re: Samsung Galaxy Note Video Review, Seriously Lovely and Large Android Smartphone

Got it!

(Head Honcho)
01/17/12 12:05 AM
Re: Samsung Galaxy Note Video Review, Seriously Lovely and Large Android Smartphone

Our full written review of the Samsung Galaxy Note is posted, after 3 weeks of testing it, I still love this phone!

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