The ATT version of the venerable Samsung Galaxy Note will be in stores February 19, and if you pre-order it, it will be yours on Feb. 17 for $299. We've got the ATT version in house, and I'd say it's worth the premium price. In fact, very little has changed from the excellent international version that we reviewed back in December.
This is an Android smartphone with a 5.3" Super AMOLED HD display running at 1280 x 800. Smaller than a tablet but bigger than even the fairly large Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket; this "phablet" isn't for those with small hands and pockets. But if you're looking for a simply remarkable pocket video player that can display spreadsheets in heretofore-unseen mobile glory, the Note is the ticket. Another rarity is the Wacom dual digitizer that handles both capacitive multi-touch and input from the included digital pen. It offers pressure sensitivity for natural drawing, and the phone is great for note taking.
So what's changed from the international version? AT&T has added LTE 4G support for seriously fast data speeds. The dual core Samsung 1.4GHz Exynos is replaced by a 1.5GHz dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU with Adreno 220 graphics. Now, the Exynos is generally the fastest dual core on the block, but the Qualcomm S3 is no slouch, and as you'll see in our video review, it manages very healthy synthetic benchmarks and feels fast. Why the CPU switch? Some CPUs and companion chipsets work with cell radio chipsets better than others, and Qualcomm's pairing makes for fast performance, stable radio performance and good battery life. We're not complaining at the switch.
Other than the addition of AT&T's usual small army of apps like AT&T Navigator, AT&T Live TV, YPmobile and the like, the phone is identical to the international version. It has a front video chat camera, rear 8MP camera with LED flash, dual band WiFi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth and a GPS. The AT&T Samsung Galaxy Note has a gig of RAM and 16 gigs of internal storage (10.8 gigs available) and a microSD card slot. A 2500 mAh Lithium Ion battery powers the smartphone.
The Galaxy Note runs Android OS 2.3.6 Gingerbread, but it will get an upgrade to 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
Another great look at the new AT&T GNote! I love my International GNote but am interested in LTE. You mention the battery life and bluetooth which are my two concerns. I easily get through a moderate day on my skyrocket but it is close on heavy days without plugging in. Of course the International GNote battery goes on and on! My skyrocket bluetooth is completely nerfed up. Will you be giving more info on battery and bluetooth in your full review or have you tried the bluetooth with a portable and vehicle bluetooth with no issues? Just might have to replace my skyrocket with this LTE model GNote!
Wow, that's strange, my Skyrocket's Bluetooth works extremely well. I use it with several different headsets and my car's built-in BT, and I get reliable connections and good audio quality. I wonder if some piece of software has gone a little wonky on yours?
So far, battery life seems comparable to the Skyrocket's, but we'll have to test it a few more days before delivering a verdict. BTW, the Mugen extended battery should fit the AT&T version of this phone-- same hardware, battery and design.
At any rate, we will cover Bluetooth and battery life in our written review.
-------------------- Lisa Gade Editor in Chief, MobileTechReview
Thanks Lisa! Yes I updated my skyrocket to 2.3.6 when they had that update out for a few days then pulled it, so I do not know if that did it or what but there are several threads on the bluetooth and all the special ways to get it to work. I was hoping the LTE radio did not mess it up which is why I am very interested in how BT works on the LTE GNote. I will look forward to full review and the battery data as well although with the Mugen, it would surely last well over a day! lol! Have a great week!