Samsung Galaxy Note Review (AT&T)

Posted by: Brett

It sure is hard to tell from the above picture what exactly that device is, a tablet or a phone, but by looking closely, you should be able to determine that it is both. Yes, you read that correctly (I think). That right there is the 5.3 inch GALAXY Note from Samsung. Some call it a phone, some call it a tablet, and some call it a phone-blet (or sometimes even a TV), but no matter what you call it, it’s still a really nice device, despite it’s gargantuan screen. Keep reading for the full scoop.

Device Specifications

Software: Android 2.3 and Samsung TouchWiz UX

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 dual-core 1.5 GHz processor

Display: 5.3 inches, Super AMOLED HD, 1280 x 800 resolution

Size: 3.26 inches x 5.78 inches x 0.38 inches

Weight: 6.3 ounces

Hardware

With the GALAXY Note, you get the typical plastic Samsung design with a slightly curved back, bearing no Samsung “bump”. Also on the back, you’ll see an 8 megapixel camera capable of 1080p video capture and playback. The camera is comparable to all other 8 megapixel cameras deployed by Samsung. Also on the back is Samsung branding and a stylus slot at the bottom, which will covered shortly. Above the screen on the front is some AT&T branding, as well as another Samsung logo underneath the screen.

Above the AT&T branding is your speak grill, proximity sensor, as well as the ambient light sensor, and 2 megapixel front facing camera, similar to the one found on the Galaxy S II models. Below the screen are the standard capacitive touch buttons; menu, home, back, and search. On the left side of the device, you’ll see your volume buttons and a power button on the opposite side. The top has the lone 3.5mm headphone jack and the bottom has the USB charging and syncing port. The device runs on Android 2.3 with TouchWiz UX by Samsung. If you’re looking for a few words on that, check out the Samsung Galaxy S II review.

On the inside of the device, you get a Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 dual-core 1.5 GHz processor (the 1.4 GHz Samsung Exynos chip was omitted due to LTE incompatibilities). You also get 16GB or 32 of internal storage, upgradeable via a microSD card containing up to 32GB, and 1GB of RAM. The battery capacity is 2,500 mAh, which is pretty large, but it’s without a doubt to keep your device alive when using AT&T’s 4G network, but also to power the large 5.3 inch display.

Display

It’s not often, in fact it’s pretty rare, that we find a 5.3 inch display on something that functions as phone. The large display of the GALAXY Note is either it’s selling point to some, or it’s the reason people refuse to buy it. No matter the reason, the Super AMOLED HD display is amazing. The pixel density is not on par with Apple’s Retina Display, but the colors pop and web browsing is a breeze on the Note. If you’re interested, here it is next to an iPhone 4S, for comparison’s sake. In addition, the front panel is strengthened by Gorilla Glass. The screen also makes the use of the S-Pen possible.

S-Pen

The S-Pen is a fancy stylus included by Samsung as part of the GALAXY Note which allows you to do some neat things. It slides in and out of the slot at the bottom left of the device and can be used throughout the OS, as well as in 3rd party apps which have been updated to support it. It can be used for text input when you write in a text field or on an image. The stylus can be used to initiate the screenshot feature, then giving you the option of writing or drawing on the image. The pictures app allows you to edit pictures with the stylus. The intended use for the pen is when writing notes, as the device’s name implies.

Connectivity

The GALAXY Note utilizes AT&T’s LTE quad-band HSPA+ network, with speeds up to and sometimes exceeding 21Mbps. Network speeds on 3G and 4G LTE vary depending on your location and distance from a cell tower. The Note also has 802.11 b/g/n support for Wi-Fi, features a GPS radio, WiFi Direct, and support for Bluetooth 3.0.

Conclusion

There’s no denying the Note is a solid and great looking device. The fact of the matter is that it may be a little to big for someone to carry around and may or may not fit in your backpack pants pocket. Make sure you think it through before purchasing this product. Off-contract, the device will run you a hefty $649.99, and even with a new contract or upgrade, $299.99 is still a lot for a phone. Unless you’re specifically looking for a note-taking device that also does phone calls and text messages, you’d probably be better off with a tablet or a Galaxy S II, if the Galaxy line interests you.

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