Samsung Galaxy Note Review

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What's This?

Samsung galaxy note comes neither under the category of phone nor tablet.  This is the perfect example of the hybrid device which slots in perfectly between the smartphone and tablet, while it may not appeal to everyone, the performance boost is undeniable and could be meant for those who find a tablet too big, but at the same time, find the 4.0-inch smartphones a little too small!
 

 

Key Specifications

  • Quad-band GSM and quad-band 3G support
  • 21 Mbps HSDPA and 5.76 Mbps HSUPA
  • 5.3″ 16M-color Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen of WXGA resolution (800 x 1280 pixels)
  • Android OS v2.3.5 with TouchWiz 4 launcher
  • 1.4 GHz dual-core Cortex-A9 CPU, Mali-400MP GPU, Exynos chipset, 1GB of RAM
  • Pre-bundled with the S Pen active stylus
  • 8 MP wide-angle autofocus camera with LED flash, face, smile and blink detection
  • Video recording of up to [email protected]
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 b, g and n support; Wi-Fi Direct and Wi-Fi hotspot
  • GPS with A-GPS connectivity; Digital compass
  • 16/32GB internal storage, microSD slot
  • Accelerometer, gyroscope and proximity sensor
  • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Charging MHL microUSB port with USB host and TV-out (1080p through optional adapter) support
  • Stereo Bluetooth v3.0
  • FM radio with RDS
  • Great audio quality
  • 9.7 mm slim and weighs a reasonable 178g
  • 2MP secondary video-call camera
  • Full Flash support and GPU-acceleration for the web browser permit 1080p flash video playback
  • NFC support (optional)
  • Document editor
  • File manager comes preinstalled
  • Extremely rich audio and video format support
  • 2500 mAh battery

 

Design

 

 

At 146.9 x 83 x 9.7 mm the Samsung Galaxy Note is not your ordinary smartphone.   Samsung have done well to keep the waistline so slim. Big devices are extremely sensitive to that kind of thing.  The Galaxy Note is huge but not the solid muscular type. The slim body and massive screen have a sense of fragility about them, lacking physical strength.  The Galaxy Note is the thinnest device in the hybrid category. It also weighs only 178 grams making the Galaxy Note a very pocket friendly device.  This, however, does not necessarily make the Note a small device in itself.   In fact, quite the opposite. Its 5.3-inch display takes is massive in terms of size.  The device borrows its heritage from fellow Samsung products like the Galaxy S2 and the Galaxy Tab, but after handling it for a few minutes it became quite clear the Galaxy Note was basically a slightly plusher and much larger version of the Galaxy S2.If you use this device to make calls in public places, I would recommend you to use an earphone. Samsung has made subtle changes to the design of the Note from the Galaxy S2, where the sides are now tapered with a chrome like metallic material instead of the black one employed on the Galaxy S2.  For the back cover Samsung employed a similar super slim plastic as it did with the Galaxy S2, but this time around it is tad a softer to touch.

 

Display

The Samsung Galaxy Note N7000 features a 5.3” Super AMOLED screen of WXGA resolution. 1280 x 800 pixels of unmatched contrast on the largest AMOLED screen on the market (a title the Galaxy Tab 7.7 is soon to claim for itself). Super AMOLEDs were impressive enough on a smaller scale, but this one is spectacular. With a pixel density of about 285ppi and infinite contrast, the huge AMOLED is a joy to behold.

Brightness levels are adequate and have flawless outdoor performance. Everything remains perfectly legible on the Note’s display, no matter how bright the sun is. Viewing angles are also top notch – it almost feels the icons are painted on the top of the glass.

Like the other recent AMOLEDs by Samsung, the Note display has a setting for the color saturation. You can choose between the super punchy but not quite real colors and a more natural look. The only downside of the 5.3” screen is that, unlike its Super AMOLED Plus siblings, it uses a PenTile matrix, instead of a conventional RGB one. It means that each pixel is composed of two, rather than three sub pixels, which lowers the effective resolution whenever sub pixel rendering is used. However, with the Galaxy Note having so many pixels the infamous dottiness is much harder to spot. Basically, you’ll need to look from a much shorter distance than what feels comfortable for working with the smartphone. Bottom line is that with that kind of pixel density, PenTile makes much less difference. The true strength of the Galaxy Note’s display lies in the way it displays WebPages. The display shows more content thanks to the higher resolution and that too in a more beautiful way. Here is the comparison of an iPhone and Galaxy Note’s display.

 

Camera Quality
The Galaxy Note boasts of the exact same camera sensor as the Galaxy S2. The image quality is impressive and keeps noise levels suitably low. The 8 megapixel camera on the Galaxy Note offers a plethora of customization options that shutter bugs are definitely going to like. These include: Self Portrait, Scene, Focus, Effects, Exposure mode, Self Timer, ISO, White Balance, Metering, Anti shake, Blink detection and Auto contrast. On the whole images are very sharp and color contrast is quiet impressive though at times, due to post processing, the colors tend to look artificial. In low light conditions the camera performs admirably though some glitches do pop in due to the flash and there are a few over exposed grainy images, but for the most part it’s more than satisfying. Let’s just say you will not need a point and shoot after you purchase the Galaxy Note. The Galaxy Note ably shoots 1080p full HD video at 30 frames per seconds with minimal hiccups. The performance is at par with Galaxy S2, if not a tad better. On the whole Samsung has packed the Galaxy Note with a very strong camera package.

 

Battery Life

 

In terms battery performance, Galaxy Note is impressive. Samsung has packed a 2500 mAh battery. Samsung claims the battery life to be 12 hours. For the most part, the Galaxy Note lives upto Samsung’s lofty claims as it managed a decent 10 hours which included us making our regular calls, a bit of web browsing via 3G and Wi-Fi networks, and listening to music for a couple of hours.

Operating System and Interface

 

The Galaxy Note runs on Android 2.3 Gingerbread on which Samsung has applied its TouchWiz layer. TouchWiz is quite handy. Samsung adds its Live Tile widgets for the device and there are numerous interface enhancements, which enrich the Android experience. There are nice touches inside the contacts and call logs where we can swipe on the name to either message or call. Other niceties include tilt zooming inside the web browser which is assisted by the accelerometer and gyroscope. However, these features are not unique to the Galaxy Note but are part of the TouchWiz user interface. Samsung has also spruced up the Music player and Video Player apps but they do not offer anything revolutionary. They just look different from their stock Android cousins. All features seem to be the same with the MP3 player playing most of the standard formats including lossless formats such as – FLAC and also offering numerous equalization options. The video player plays most of the standard formats – except for HD video encoded in .mkv format, unfortunately.

S Pen

 

The S Pen is probably the most dramatic change to the user interface that the Galaxy Note brings. We know many of you are sceptical about using styli on a capacitive screen, but there’s a reason why this one deserved a name.

The S Pen is a passive device (as in, it has no battery), but it still offers some extra functionality thanks to the button that’s built into the little stick. You can simply use it to replace your finger of course, but that’s hardly the point here. The S Pen isn’t exactly instant – in fact it’s slightly on the slow side, but with the kind of precision it offers does its job quite well. There is room for improvement, of course, but even as it is the fancy stylus opens quite a lot of doors to the Galaxy Note.

Performance

Samsung has armed the Galaxy Note with their latest Exynos processor dual-core which now clocks 1.4 GHz, a 0.2 GHz boost from the Galaxy S2’s 1.2 GHz processor. All this firepower works in concert with I GB of RAM and, needless to say, the Galaxy Note is by far the fastest Android device. This is a claim made on the basis of daily usage rather than on the basis of synthetic benchmarks such as Quadrant where the device scored a class leading 3980, besting the Galaxy S2’s score of 3212.
The Galaxy Note has massive computing power and this fact was further vindicated by the Linpack Pro benchmark where it scored 96.54 MFLOPS in 1.75 seconds on a multi-thread analysis. In comparison to, this the Galaxy S2 lagged behind with 47.75 MFLOPs in 1.77 seconds. Even on the BenchmarkPi test, the Galaxy Note had the chops to take on the best as it managed to calculate Pi in just 578 milliseconds while the Galaxy S2 trailed slightly at 617 milliseconds. As far as web browsing went, it is already mentioned that was the best we had experienced with Flash running smoothly. To check the web browsing capabilities, Rightware Browsermark test was carried out where it scored in excess of 55456 which, again, class leading.

Call quality is pretty good, though not top notch especially in crowded areas. In comparison, BlackBerry Bold 9700 maintained stellar calling performance. At the end of the day, most people will be quite satisfied with call quality. Apart from all these performance related goodies, Samsung also packs in 16GB of Flash based memory and for a memory card slot for added storage.

 

Verdict

There is absolutely no doubt that the Samsung Galaxy Note currently offers the most cutting edge Android experience with its stunning high definition Super AMOLED display and super fast processor. The questions you should ask is – Am I comfortable with this form factor, or will I use the large display for productivity? If your answer is a yes, then go ahead and buy the Galaxy Note because it not only offers the best hardware on the market, but also the most slick form factor amongst all the hybrid devices.

 

 

Pros

Stunning Super AMOLED HD display
S-Pen is actually useful
Best in class performance
Battery Life

Cons

Average build quality
Slightly Expensive
No confirmed ICS upgrade date

 

If you have any further questions, you can ask me.

 

 

 

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About Author

I love gadgets and technology, so i write about them. +Tomi Adebayo

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