Although the box doesn’t allude to it, the Samsung Galaxy Note is quite a big phone at 5.3 inches. With this size in mind, at first glance you are left debating with yourself whether it’s a tablet or a smartphone. All that doesn’t matter though as it has some of the best specifications on the smartphone market once you can look past the size.
At 5.3 inches, it doesn’t qualify as a tablet. With the smallest tablets coming in at a size 7 inches, the Samsung Galaxy Note (Note) comfortably qualifies as a smartphone given that it comfortably fits in one hand (unless you have very small hands) and easily fits into most pockets — unless you wear skinny jeans, then you have a problem.
If you are familiar with the with the Samsung Galaxy S range of phones you’ll notice that the Note resembles the Samsung Galaxy S2 in design with the main difference being the size.
It has a 3.5mm audio jack and a microUSB port for charging and data transfer along with a spot at the top of the phone to hold the stylus pen — which makes for a pleasant touch screen experience if you have big fingers.
The Note’s back cover is made of textured plastic material whose only criticism is that it felt brittle like it would break every time one needs to take it off.
Overall, it’s aesthetically pleasing and surprisingly thin for a 5.3-inch smartphone.
The Note has a dual core 1.4GHz processor, which is comparable to what modern-day laptops are manufactured with, giving you an idea of the type of high performance the smartphone is capable of.
Although it comes with a comparatively big 2500MAh battery, the battery life is rather limited thanks to the dual core processor, a large screen and ability to run many Apps at once smoothly.
As a super user, I use the Note for social media, Web browsing, some writing, photo taking, e-mail among other options, I barely got 12 hours per day of usage out of the Note without requiring to recharge. With lighter usage, one can get approximately 36 hours of usage out the smartphone, which is relatively good.
Display and Cameras
The 5.3″ Super AMOLED (no Plus) screen is capable of 1280×800 resolution which makes colours to be displayed more vibrantly and text much crisper.
The Note also comes with a scratch resistant Gorilla screen, which is quite handy especially when using a stylus.
Screen responsiveness was good and any lag that experienced could be attributed to the Android OS rather than the screen itself.
The Note comes with a 8MP rear facing camera capable of taking 3264×2448 shots which are rich in detail as well as colour. This camera is also capable of 1080p High Definition (HD) video recording.
It also has a 2MP front facing camera which should be used for video calls, Skype Video calls or a Google+ Hangout.
In Africa, the Note ships standard with Android 2.3, Gingerbread, although in Europe and North America an Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) is available for the super sized smartphone.
The only difference in the user experience between the Note and the Galaxy S2 would be with some added apps and add-ons for the S-Pen (Stylus).
It also a lot more bundled software, like Polaris Office, Video Maker, Reader and Social Hub, Mini Diary, and the stylus specific S Memo.
No smartphone in the market has similar specifications.
Is it a tablet?
The answer is no, It’s simply a smartphone with a slightly larger screen than most (the new Samsung Galaxy S3 has a 4.8 inch screen).
It is however, a smartphone for the super user who wants the best money can offer as far as user experience (display and user experience) and performance.
It is also worthwhile to note that Samsung SA have informed HumanIPO that the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 (new version) is expected to be launched in Q4 of 2012.