Samsung Galaxy Note Android phone
Samsung Galaxy Note review: The appeal of the Galaxy Note will depend on whether you can handle its large size
- Excellent 5.3in Super AMOLED screen
- S-Pen is unique and works reasonably well
- Great battery life and excellent performance
- Uncomfortably large
- Feels awkward when making phone calls
- Button on S-Pen is poorly designed
The Samsung Galaxy Note is an interesting device that’s been designed as an all-in-one smartphone and tablet. Whether it holds any appeal will depend on you getting your head (and hands) around its mammoth size. If you’re comfortable with the design of the Galaxy Note, you’re left with a phone that has a brilliant display, excellent performance and slick software.
With a huge 5.3in touchscreen and an included stylus, you would be forgiven for thinking the Samsung Galaxy Note is a tablet. Samsung, however, is positioning the giant device as an all-in-one smartphone: big enough to function as a tablet, but small enough to be classified as a smartphone. Ultimately, whether the Samsung Galaxy Note is the right phone for you will depend on getting your head (or hands) around its sheer size.
UPDATE: The Galaxy Note was officially launched in Australia in mid-March. It is available now through both Optus and Vodafone, and will be available through Telstra in April.
Samsung Galaxy Note: Design and display
The Samsung Galaxy Note is big. Very big. It measures almost 150mm tall and 83mm wide, so it does feel awkward to hold single-handedly. It also looks strikingly odd when held up to your ear on a phone call. If, like us, you have average sized hands then you're more than likely going to find the Galaxy Note too big to use as your primary smartphone.
We found the Galaxy Note uncomfortable when trying to touch the other side of the screen with one hand — moving your thumb across the radius of the screen is a stretch. However, whether you find the Galaxy Note too big will depend on your hands: each and every user will be different so the appeal of the Note should be measured on a case by case basis. Some users will love the size, others will hate it.
The Galaxy Note's sheer size may be too big to handle for some but Samsung deserves plenty of credit for a great design. For starters, the Note is just 9.7mm thin. As a comparison, the Apple iPhone 4S is 9.3mm thin and Samsung's own Galaxy S II is 8.5mm thin, so there's not a huge difference. When you take its extra large footprint into consideration, the Galaxy Note is quite thin and light.
Make no mistake, the Samsung Galaxy Note is big. Here it is alongside the iPhone 4S.
The Samsung Galaxy Note has minimal hardware buttons. On the right there is a power/lock key and on the left a volume rocker. Both of these keys are high along the side of the Galaxy Note: we think they would have been better off slightly lower, as this would have made them easier to access with one hand given the large size of the phone. The Galaxy Note looks similar to the Galaxy S II: it's basically a larger version of that chassis. Like its smaller sibling, the Galaxy Note has a thin, plastic battery cover that feels flimsy when removed, but its etched finish once again makes the device easy to grip.
The advantage of Galaxy Note's size is all the room it's left to include a 5.3in Super AMOLED HD display. The screen has a whopping resolution of 1280x800, making it a WXGA panel with 285 pixels per inch (ppi). That's a notch below the iPhone 4S's "retina" ppi of 326, but it's a massive improvement over many other Android phones on the market, including Samsung's own Galaxy S II. The sheer size of the screen naturally makes it a great device for reading, Web browsing and video playback: colours are vibrant, text is crisp and visibility in sunlight is excellent. Our only issue is that some apps in the Android Market don't scale correctly (most notably the game Doodle Jump) and can appear pixelated. We suspect this issue may be corrected when the Galaxy Note is upgraded to the latest 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" version of Android in the coming months.
Despite the Galaxy Note’s large size, its actually a pretty thin smartphone.
Samsung Galaxy Note: S-Pen, otherwise known as a stylus
Steve Jobs hated the mere thought of a stylus, but that's exactly what Samsung has included on the Galaxy Note. Called the "S-Pen" (Samsung doesn't seem to like the word stylus either), it's stored in the bottom right of the phone and allows users to take notes and draw onto the screen.
The S-Pen is a little tough to remove — you've really got to dig your fingernail in the slot to pry it out — and it's also a bit short for our liking so it doesn't feel like a real pen. That being said, it's reasonably comfortable to hold and is both accurate and responsive. It's also pressure sensitive. When drawing or writing there's only a very slight delay before the text appears on the screen. The lag is particularly noticeable when you move around quickly, for example if you are scribbling on the screen. It doesn't really detract from the S-Pen feature on the whole but it's definitely a noticeable issue.
The S-Pen has a small button on it that provides some extra functionality, but the design of the button is poor. It's not raised so you can't feel it without having to look for it and it requires a pretty firm press to activate, too. The button enables you to capture a screen shot while pressing it and holding the S-Pen on the screen, and will also bring up a quick memo app by holding it and double tapping the S-Pen on the screen. Once you’ve grabbed a screenshot, the S-Memo app will immediately open allowing you to draw, scribble and write on the image and then immediately save it or send it via e-mail, SMS, Bluetooth or a number of other methods including uploading it to Facebook or Twitter. You can also press the button on the S-Pen and swipe the pen backwards to go back in a menu, or do the same and swipe up to open an in-app menu.
Samsung’s S-Memo app allows you to draw and write with the S-Pen. You can select four different pen types and multiple colours.
In addition to drawing and scribbling on-screen with the S-Pen, the Samsung Galaxy Note features handwriting recognition, which means it will type words and letters you write. Results are hit and miss: you really need to write as accurate as possible to avoid mistakes. This is hard to achieve if you want to jot down some quick notes in a meeting, for example. Unfortunately, handwriting recognition is a feature of the Samsung keyboard, so using another keyboard (like the included Swype) removes it.
Join the newsletter!
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44
cloudandco Smart Cane
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
Apple iPhone X
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
Toys for Boys
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
UBTech First Order Stormtrooper Robot
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
Bose SoundLink Micro
Lego Mindstorms EV3
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
Google Daydream View VR Headset
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
Xbox One X
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
Fallout Geeki Tikis
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Hisense takes the fight to home entertainment heavyweights with flagship Series 8 and 9 ULED TVs
- 2 Sony's latest Ultra HD OLED debuts in Australia
- 3 Panasonic Ultra HD OLED TV Review
- 4 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
- 5 Oppo A77 smartphone: Full in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- HP Omen laptops include a first: Nvidia Max-Q graphics technology
- HP's Omen X Compact Desktop can morph into a backpack VR PC
- HP's Omen Accelerator can give your laptop some guts
- HP reboots Omen desktop with more of what gamers love
- Samsung to detail new Tizen OS for smart home appliances, IoT devices
PCW Evaluation Team
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
- LG V30+ review: The videographer's smartphone arrives
- Fitbit Ionic review: Impressive but not quite iconic
- Xbox One X review: Brave new world
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTEnterprise Architect - ApplicationsOther
- FTSenior Security ConsultantACT
- FTSenior Power BI Developer, AzureOther
- CCSolution ArchitectNSW
- FTSenior .NET DeveloperWA
- CCRelease Management LeadNSW
- FTSenior .NET Developer - Back EndOther
- CCJava Developers (EOI)QLD
- FTEnterprise Lean Agile CoachOther
- FTETL DeveloperOther
- FTDevelopment manager - Product and PlanningOther
- TPProject ManagerVIC
- CCAutomation Test AnalystNSW
- TPSolution Architect - ServiceNowQLD
- FTSenior .Net Developer - (Australian Citizens Only)Other
- FTInfrastructure ArchitectOther
- FTSERVICE DESK - ENTRY LEVELSA
- FTBusiness Project ManagerOther
- TPSenior Project ManagerNSW
- FTDeployment TechnicianVIC
- FTPlatform Architect - InfrastructureOther
- TPBusiness AnalystACT
- FTTransition ManagerOther
- FTDevOps Engineer - Financial ServicesOther
- FTFinancial AdministratorOther