Thursday, April 12, 2012

Samsung Galaxy Note for AT&T Review

Samsung Galaxy Note for AT&T Review

The Galaxy Note is not your typical smartphone. Dubbed the "phablet", the 5.8 inches tall Note has been marketed as a combination tablet, phone, and notepad all in one package. In addition, Samsung has included a stylus- the S Pen. Does the Galaxy Note have the best of three worlds? Read on to find out!

Design and Hardware

First, let's take a look around the Note. On the top, there is a headphone jack; on the left, a volume rocker; on the bottom, a microUSB port and a handy niche to store the S Pen; on the right a power button; and a two megapixel front-facing camera in the right corner.

Hit the power button and you are greeted with a HD Super AMOLED display. (Super AMOLED is the industry standard for beautiful smartphone and tablet displays.) The Note also sports a resolution of 1280 X 800 pixels- which, interestingly enough, is the same resolution as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7. In short: the display is gorgeous. The blacks are very deep, the whites are very bright, and the colors are rich.

The Galaxy Note feels solid and well made in hand.

Practicality of The Note's Size

First, I have adjusted to the size of the Note after using it for the past two weeks. Compared side-by-side to a regularly sized phone, it seems huge. After I spent time with it, though, it didn't seem awkward at all.

So, to what does the Note's size lend itself? I found it to be an excellent size for watching videos, playing games, web browsing, and taking notes. All these tasks were easier/more enjoyable on the Note than on a regular four-inch phone because of the large screen size. On the other hand, I feel a tablet would be more practical than the Note for careful drawing and reading e-books.

What about portability? To be blunt: you will find a way to carry it somehow. :) My transportation of choice was my jacket pocket.

Finally, will you be happy with the size of the Note? That's something you have to decide for yourself. Personally, I like the size, but hey- I'm not you. I would highly recommend going to a store to get your hands on the Note. This huge phone isn't necessarily one-size-fits-all.

The eight megapixel camera takes all-around great shots. The pictures were crisp, well-exposed, and naturally colored. In low light, the camera takes decent pictures. (For more pictures taken with the Galaxy Note, check out this link.)

Software and Performance
The Note is one speedy phone. It boasts a 1.5 Ghz dual-core processor, so it is no surprise that it handled every web page, game, or app with ease.

The Galaxy Note is currently running Android 2.3, or Gingerbread. However, it seems that the Ice Cream Sandwhich OS will be coming quite soon. It's already been leaked. When the Ice Cream Sandwhich update arrives, it will also come with more S Pen-optimized apps. Speaking of which...

S Pen and S Memo App

Besides being pressure sensitive, the S Pen features a button on the side. When the user holds this button down and double-taps on the screen, the S Memo app launches. (More on the S Memo app in a minute!) The S Pen also utilizes other handy gestures for taking screenshots, etc.

Doodling with the S Pen is moderately accurate. I found that, when held at an angle, the S Pen doesn't always draw in the exact location where I anticipated it would would draw.

The S Pen works quite well for taking notes. When you don't want to type, it is compatible with a handy writing-to-text input feature. Text can get garbled if you have messy handwriting, though. It works best if you write in cursive or in very neat printing.

The S Pen App allows the user to jot notes via handwriting or on-screen keyboard, insert pictures and voice recordings into memos, and share them via social media.

Personally, I have not found the S Pen to be a "to die for" accessory. Granted, the S Pen makes drawing and note taking very easy and accurate. However, I probably will not miss this feature a lot.

Call Quality
The call quality on the Note is better than average. For both parties, calls on the Note were loud and clear.

Battery Life
The Note lasted at least a full day during moderate use (taking pictures, a phone call or two, checking e-mail, checking the Twitter app, playing a short game of Fruit Ninja or two, and a web browsing). Considering how much juice the screen and internals must take, I was surprised to find that it had the battery life of a long-lasting, regularly-sized phone.

The Galaxy Note's size isn't for everybody. Those who appreciate the huge form-factor will be hard pressed to find fault with the Note. It has speedy internals, a beautiful screen, an accurate camera, and an excellent battery life.

Product Info

Price:$ 300 from AT&T with 2 yr. contract
    Fast, gorgeous screen, huge form-factor, accurate camera, very good battery life  
  • Giant size isn't for everyone

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