Samsung Galaxy Note

Is it a phone? Is it a tablet? As smartphones move to sizes of 4.5 inches and beyond, it's a question we've found ourselves asking more and more. The Samsung Galaxy Note is a new "flagship" product which straddles the line between both categories of device. Technically it's a phone, and you can make calls on it, but the large 5.3-inch 1280x800 display means it's not a million miles away from the Honeycomb-powered Galaxy Tab 7.7 in terms of specs. And the Galaxy Note has another trick up its sleeve, in the form of Samsung's new "S Pen", a pressure-sensitive stylus similar to what we've seen from HTC in the past. Samsung's keen to tout the Galaxy Note as a high-end product for business professionals and creatives alike, and we got to see its note-taking and drawing capabilities at today's Galaxy Note World Tour event.

Join us after the jump for a full video run-through of the new features of the Samsung Galaxy Note, along with our complete write-up.

YouTube link for mobile viewing

Unsurprisingly, the first thing that strikes you about the Samsung  Galaxy Note is its sheer size. It's big. Dell Streak big. At 5.3 inches diagonally, the Galaxy Note is the largest device that you could reasonably still call a mobile phone. It follows the same design cues as Samsung's Galaxy S II series, and has the same half-physical, half-capacitive button setup as the European version of that phone. Round the back it's the same story, pretty sparse, except for the 8-megapixel rear camera. Hidden away on the bottom bezel of the Galaxy Note is the slot for the S Pen, which we'll talk about in more detail shortly.

What's most surprising about the Galaxy Note is that it's amazingly thin and light for a 5.3-incher. Even with the gigantic 2500 mAh battery on-board, it doesn't feel excessively heavy, and actually feels lighter in the hand than the HTC Titan, a 4.7-inch device.

Samsung Galaxy Note Samsung Galaxy Note

Inside the Galaxy Note there's a 1.4 GHz dual-core Exynos chip and 1GB of RAM, along with 16GB of internal storage, which is expandable by adding a micro-SD card. Like the Galaxy Nexus, it sports an HD Super AMOLED display, this time at 1280x800 (WXGA) resolution, and the screen looks just as delicious as it does on the Nexus. The UI's bright colors jump out of the screen, and thanks to the higher resolution, fine details like small text in the browser was easy to make out, too.

Like the rest of Samsung's current high-end line-up, the Galaxy Note runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread with the TouchWiz 4.0 UI. Visually it's almost identical to what's offered on the Galaxy S II, the main differences being a few customizations to take advantage of the pen input and higher resolution screen. For example, you've got space for a few more icons in the dock in the launcher, and the browser has been re-tooled to bring in desktop-style navigation buttons. The phone's keyboard also allows words to be written in using the bundled S Pen, which we found worked surprisingly well on the pre-release demo units at the Galaxy Note World Tour event.

Samsung Galaxy NoteSamsung Galaxy Note

There are a number of unique apps pre-loaded on the Galaxy Note which take advantage of the  combination of the S Pen and large high-resolution display. There's a dedicated drawing app, which Samsung showed off with the help of cartoonists and other artists. Like the HTC Flyer, there's also the ability to take full-page screenshots and annotate them, or immediately jump into a note-taking app to jot down your thoughts. Samsung's taken things a bit further in the Galaxy Note software however, by integrating pen input with its photo and video editing software. Sections can be cut out from one image and pasted into another, and videos can even be annotated or doodled on using the built-in video editor, which can handle videos at up to 1080p resolution.

The S Pen itself comes with an optional full-sized pen adapter, which makes it a little easier to grip, or drop into a jacket pocket. Good news for anyone worried about misplacing a tiny plastic stylus.

The Galaxy Note makes its international debut in Germany on October 29, with other European and Asian territories following in November.

Samsung Galaxy NoteSamsung Galaxy Note

Samsung Galaxy NoteSamsung Galaxy Note

Samsung Galaxy NoteSamsung Galaxy Note

Samsung Galaxy NoteSamsung Galaxy Note

Samsung Galaxy NoteSamsung Galaxy Note

Samsung Galaxy NoteSamsung Galaxy Note

Samsung Galaxy Note


Reader comments

Samsung Galaxy Note hands-on [updated with video]


This size exceeds that of a comfortable phone, especially for carrying in one's pocket. Where do you put this thing?...and don't EVEN say "belt clip."

I use a Dell Streak 5" as my primary (only) device and it fits FINE in my pockets. I'm so glad to see more 5" phones hit the market. This is a great form factor and as more sell, it means more will be availible if/when I have to replace the Streak. Which, hopefully, won't be for a long time.

normal pants won't have problem, also my girlfriend tried it with her tight pants and no BIG problem there, but i wouldn't recommend it to a woman tho ^^

If you have little hands like Alex you may not be able to easily hold a larger phine. Are you able to use a full size computer keyboard?

oh, if alex is not able to use a normal size keyboard then its different. it fits in a pocket but, its a machine to hold, one handed writing is basically out of the question, but holding and two-handed is fine, my little niece was able to play and write just fine with it

Yup.... This is about the only phone (at the moment... IF they come to Sprint) that could keep me from buying the Galaxy Nexus.

Ditto. If Sprint carried the Nexus Galaxy and the Galaxy Note, I'd most likely get the Note, mainly because of its screen size. I don't wear skinny jeans, so the size wouldn't be an issue to me. I used to even carry my PSP in my pockets. :-P

i second that ,am upgrade ready,was going for the epic 2,then prime comes out but not on sprint,figure soon tho,then this beast of a phone the note!! am standing fast and wait for the note,lots of bells and whistle!!!!!

"Join us after the jump for a full video run-through of the new features of the Samsung Galaxy Note. "

I only clicked on the damn link because they said they had a video lol

I've had a Dell Streak in an Otterbox Commuter case for close on a year now. It fits in my pocket without a problem and I can't really imagine going down to a smaller screen. The Galaxy Note is definitely top of my list for next phone.

As an aside, I think asking 'Is it a phone? Is it a tablet?' is like asking if a phone that plays mp3s is a phone or an mp3 player insofar as something that is/does more than one thing doesn't necessarily require any depth of thought.

medcur, I could not have said it better myself. -- Alex, Thanks. I did not see the overall dimensions here though? I want to mock this up in plastic block at work, on my CNC mill. Carry it around for a while.


The trend towards thinner and lighter to me has been very troubling. People want good battery life, and yet at the same time, they want a super-thin phone.

As phones become more powerful, they will generate more heat, which in turn means that they need a better way to dispose of heat, not to mention the bigger battery. That of course adds weight. What I am shocked is that people are complaining that phones that are only at most a couple hundred grams are "heavy". I read on the XDA forums that someone was complaining that the Galaxy Nexus was 19 grams heavier than the Galaxy S2!

I am seriously considering this (or a future version of this phone) because my Galaxy S variant after a year of loyal service, I realize has just too small a screen for me.

Most jean and pant pockets should fit a 5" device fine, except for those super-tight jeans.

Is it a phone, a tablet, or a phablet? Does it matter? It gets the job done and that's all that matters.

I am in the UK and have chosen this over the Galaxy Nexus. Smaller screens are really frustrating and the size is just right for me. At the London launch last night, the guy presenting it, got it out of his inside jacket pocket. When the hands-on video is available, you'll see that it is easily held in one hand.

Remember that only a few years ago, cellphones were larger and heavier than a brick and we still loved them!

I would love the Galaxy Nexus mainly to experience/use ICS but I'm sure it won't be long before the Note gets ICS as it has more than enough processor power and memory to run ICS. Another plus is that ICS has native stylus support that will complement the Samsung functionality.

The Note WILL be available in the US when the European roll-out is complete and the Global roll-out starts. By the time it gets to the US, it may even come with Ice Cream Sandwich as standard!

Yes this is the only device that I would purchase over the Galaxy Nexus only if it had ice cream sandwich. It's hard for me because I am starting to see my dream come true a 5inch phone/tablet. Only turn off is gingerbread no more devices should launch with gingerbread any longer because that just means the longer it would take for ice cream update. Galaxy Nexus still rules for me especially on Verizon. But boy it's very very very close...

Completely agree, this would be tempting alternative to the galaxy nexus. However, given it took 6 months to get the galaxy S2, I don't have a lot of faith this will come to Verizon anytime soon.

I'm curious what the battery life is on all the new phones ( this, nexus, and Razr), particularly on 4g. We need detailed reviews from someone who had the phone for a week or more.

...the screen alone is enough to make me buy it because that is one of the most IMPORTANT parts of the phone.

At what point do we start to see blue tooth headset accessories for these hippo-phones that actually look like phones? You know, one that you hold in your hand.

Now that I think of it, one of these in a business planner and then a small, BT based flip phone for the pocket wouldn't be half bad.


"Join us after the jump for a full video run-through of the new features of the Samsung Galaxy Note."

I jumped AC... Now, where the hell is my vid?!?

Alex, how precise does the pen input seem? If you use a narrow line width, can you write small enough and clearly enough to get a lot on the screen? In all the videos I've seen folks are writing so big you can't get much on a page. I am very interested in pen input but only if I can write and draw as if it were paper, and I trend to write small. Anxious to see the video too!

very precise compared to anything i tried so far, once you get used to holding the pen kind of straight otherwise its just a slight bit of, writing is amazing drawing takes a little adjustment. yes you can write very tiny, and read it perfectly. well the videos i have seen so far are just from shows so people didn't have time to get used to. writing is after a few words just like on paper, i didn't really draw on it yet BUT my friends tried and they seemed very happy with it, the delay is forgotten after a few minutes as well as the fact that its still not 100% at the point where u touch the screen, but again that nearly disappears once u get used to it and find the perfect angle to hold the pen.

Because Honeycomb is only for tablets. Ice Cream Sandwich is for phones and tablets and it's not out yet.

"The Samsung Galaxy Note is a new 'flagship' product which straddles the line between both categories of device. ***Technically it's a phone***, and you can make calls on it"

Honeycomb = tablets only

well, samsung takes months to bring phones to America. Europeans are too lucky. maybe by march? plus, they probably have to add the search buttom. They should just put ICS wih their native stylus support and bring it to america with no buttoms.

Lighter than the HTC Titan?? not a good thing, it means more plastic from samsung!! I rather they make it just as heavy as the Titan or even a little more, it's a bigger phone/tablet anyway. just give me the best quality, i dont want to use a case! especially if it is this big.

You have to understand the plastic Samsung uses is extremely high stregnth. I've dropped my Fascinate numerous times on a variety of surfaces and it's come out unscathed every time. While it may look/feel cheap, it's actually very durable.

i received the phone 3 days ago, and my first impressions are:
it fits easily in any pocket, even my girlfriend has no problem. the phone is far too light for its size feels like there is nothing it it lol. the battery lasts even with heavy use easily a whole day and more. compared to anything i used on iPad and iPad 2 the stylus is very accurate, you just have to get used to actually push a little, just like a real pencil. the pen also gives some nice extra options aside the screenshots. oh yea the pen thats supposed to be included wasn't with my box, and it also doesn't state that it conclusion i had the past months a s2 and the iPhone 4, and wouldn't return to them. its fast its huuuuge, i am about to sell my iPad ^^. i hope that helps with some decision making, and sorry for my english, i am not a native speaker.

hey bro....u used samsung galaxy s2 also..i am looking for a entertainment phone in which video and gaming is good....whisc one will u prefer galaxy s2 or galaxy note.....
does samsung galaxy note has motion sensor?????????
please tell me

I did get a chance to mock this up in plastic today, on my CNC mill. To exact size of course. The plastic I chose, ended up weighing within 3 grams of the 'Note', which was nice. This thing is not nearly as big as one would think. I think this will be another Samsung Hit! Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy S II, Galaxy Note, Ice Cream Sandwich, = Apple Loses!

Personally I thought the Samsung Galaxy S2 was pushing the limits going over 4 inches. However, having played around with my co-workers GS2 today, I was pleasantly surprised. It IS a large phone, but borders on "just right" imo. I honestly can't imagine going any larger than a GS2, and this thing at 5.3", just looks huge! Honestly, I would feel stupid holding that thing up to me ear to carry on a conversation in public. While at the same time, it would be great for web browsing, email, YouTube, and pretty much everything else. I just think they went a tad too far with this one. I remember back in the "feature phone" days, everyone was all about having the smallest phones possible, nowadays with smartphones, the mentality has completely shifted the opposite direction. I currently have a Samsung Fascinate, and at 4" it's perfect imo. I intend on upgrading spring of next year and will more than likely go with a 4.3 - 4.6" device, I just think 5.3 is a bit too large. (While an amazing device overall, I would be forced to use my bluetooth for all phone calls. at least in public!) :)

this phone is indeed A BEAST hopefully sprint is on the waiting an htc fan,but samsung is blowing the tech game away.