Galaxy Note

As 2011 draws to a close, we’ve started to see a convergence of Android phones and tablets. Honeycomb-powered tablets are available in more form factors than ever before, and smartphones are growing larger still, with 4.3- to 4.7-inch devices quickly becoming the norm. Combine that with the phone and tablet software lines being reunited in Ice Cream Sandwich, and you start to see a landscape in which there’s very little separating a large Android smartphone from a small Android tablet.

The Galaxy Note is a device which Samsung is positioning between the traditional smartphone and tablet spaces. You can make calls on it, but you’ve also got a beastly dual-core Exynos chip inside, along with Sammy’s bleeding-edge HD SuperAMOLED display tech. The manufacturer’s also included a capacitive, pressure-sensitive stylus, dubbed the “S Pen”, with optimizations for pen input throughout the software. But despite the wealth of high-end tech, is there room in the market (and your pocket) for a 5.3-inch smartphone? Read on to find out what we thought of the Samsung Galaxy Note.


The Good

Extremely fast smartphone with a beautiful screen, and a thin, light chassis considering the screen size. Pen input works well.

The Bad

A 5.3-inch device will be too big for most. Note-taking focus could limit it to a niche market.

Conclusion

If you can get over (or even embrace) the Note's size, you'll find it's a powerful device with some unique functionality that you won't find on any other smartphone.

Inside this review

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YouTube link for mobile viewing | Read our intial hands-on feature

Hardware

The Galaxy Note is, for all intents and purposes, a super-sized Galaxy S II, and its design is strikingly similar to that of Samsung’s leading mainstream device for 2011. The phone is thin and relatively light for its size, with a large HD SuperAMOLED display dominating its front, and a textured “hyperskin” back cover. There’s also the same half capacitive, half physical button setup that’s found on the international Galaxy S II, with a physical home button in the middle, and capacitive menu and back buttons at either side. Same 8 megapixel camera around the back, and 2 MP sensor on the front for video calls.

In basing the Galaxy Note on the Galaxy S II, Samsung has itself a solid foundation upon which to build. The most significant change is the larger screen offered by the Note. The Galaxy S II is fitted with displays between 4.3 and 4.5 inches diagonally, while the Galaxy Note ships with a humongous 5.3-incher. The only smartphone we’ve seen come close to this was the Dell Streak, which during its brief shelf life was something of a niche product. The Galaxy Note is a far more svelte and pocketable device than the Streak, however. At 9.65mm thick, it’s still just about pocketable, and at 178 grams, it matches the weight of the HTC Thunderbolt, a 4.3-inch phone. As this weight is spread over a larger area, though, the Galaxy Note doesn’t feel excessively heavy in the hand.

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With the jump in screen size, Samsung has brought an equally substantial increase in screen resolution. The Galaxy Note is the first device to ship with an HD SuperAMOLED display, at a resolution of 1280x800. The result of SuperAMOLED at this kind of resolution on a hand-held device is a screen that’s bright and ludicrously sharp, with vivid colors and blacks so dark they blend into the surrounding bezel. Sure, it’s PenTile rather than RGB, but we’ve been over that argument before. The higher pixel density means you won’t notice the trademark jagged edges associated with PenTile, unless you’re holding the device right up to your face.

Outdoor usage has traditionally been an area of weakness for AMOLED displays compared to LCD-based competitors, but we didn’t have any problem using the Galaxy Note screen outside during the day. Admittedly, bright sunshine is something of a rarity in England in mid-November, but regardless, we didn’t find ourselves having to shield the screen from the sun at any point.

The main trade-off with a device of this size comes in ease of use. Put simply, unless you have gigantic E.T. hands, you’re going to have a hard time with one-handed use of the Galaxy Note. Pulling the status bar down to view notifications is particular problematic, and reaching the capacitive button furthest from your thumb requires a bit more effort than we’re used to. For some people, particularly those with small hands, this will be a deal-breaker. We recommend trying out an in-store demo unit to see you’re able to use the Note comfortably. If not, the Galaxy S II offers a similar user experience in a more compact (and cheaper) package.

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The other trick up the Galaxy Note’s sleeve is pen input, thanks to the bundled S Pen. We’ll cover this in more detail in the software section, but on the whole the pen works as advertised, and fits neatly into the bottom of the device when it’s not needed. We’ve seen HTC attempt stylus input before on the HTC Flyer, and during our completely unscientific testing, we through the Galaxy Note’s S Pen was a touch more responsive, with only a minimal amount of input lag. Our only complaint with the S Pen’s hardware has to do with its action button, which is used for tasks like taking screenshots and using gestures. Unfortunately it’s small, fiddly and doesn’t give much feedback when pressed. Samsung offers a larger adapter for the S Pen, which is designed to make it easier to hold, however one wasn’t included with our review unit.

Hardware-wise, you might expect Samsung to have some fairly beefy internals powering a device like the Galaxy Note, and you’d be right. Inside there’s Sammy’s latest 1.4 GHz dual-core Exynos chip, along with 1GB of RAM, 16GB of USB storage and 2GB of app storage. On top of that, you can add up to 32GB more by installing a microSD card, so you should find that there's plenty of space on the Note for all your stuff.

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We know we always go on about how benchmarks are easily manipulated, and not necessarily reflective of real world performance, but regardless, we decided to put our Galaxy Note through a quick Quadrant test to get a general idea of how much horsepower’s on offer. The result was a score of 4117, smoking just about every high-end Android device out there. Again, benchmarks aren’t everything, but as you’ll see in the software section, the Galaxy Note backs up this score with an equally slick user experience. The bottom line is that the Galaxy Note is probably the fastest smartphone you can buy right now, and it’s unlikely to be dethroned until we start to see the first Tegra 3 phones next Spring.

The Galaxy Note we reviewed was the HSPA+ version, though Samsung plans to offer an LTE model in some markets (no word on which markets yet, unfortunately). HSPA+ worked as advertised, though, delivering data speeds of up to 10 Mbps down and 1.6 Mbps up on Three’s HSPA+ network, which is comparable to what we’ve achieved on other HSPA+ equipped devices. Voice calls worked without a hitch, too, with the rear mic helping to cancel out background noise.

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The specs

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Software

The Galaxy Note runs Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread, along with version 4.0 of Samsung’s TouchWiz UI. TouchWiz on the Note is just as bright and colorful as it’s ever been, and Samsung has included some helpful new enhancements that optimize its software for the high-resolution screen and optional pen input. If you've used a Galaxy S II, you'll be right at home on the Galaxy Note. TouchWiz 4.0 on an Exynos chip remains a slick and lag-free experience.

This starts on the phone’s home screens, where many (thought not all) of Samsung’s TouchWiz widgets have been redesigned to take advantage of the the additional screen real estate. At the home screen, or in any other app for that matter, there are a number of shortcuts that can be activated using the S Pen. For example, holding down the pen button and touching the screen will immediately take a screenshot, which you can then annotate using the pen. Equally, if you find yourself needing to make a quick note, holding down the button and double-tapping the screen will open up a quick memo window on top of the current app. As the S Pen doesn’t work on the Note’s capacitive buttons, Samsung’s also built in a few gesture controls to replace these keys -- hold the pen button and swipe up for “menu” or left for “back”. A nice touch, but we found it was easier to just prod the button with a finger.

While much of the Note’s software is designed to work with S Pen, we have to admit that during most of our time with the Galaxy Note, the pen remained in its holster, and we were happy to paw at the screen just like we would with any other smartphone. When we did bust out the S Pen to make a quick note or drawing, though, we found it intuitive and easy to use, particularly in the excellent bundled memo and photo editing apps.

S Memo is the main note-taking app that you’ll be dealing with on the Galaxy Note, and it’s pretty fully-featured, allowing you to jot down notes using the pen, the on-screen keyboard, as well as including pictures from the camera and voice recordings from the built-in mic. If you wanted to, you could create rich, multi-page notes consisting of photos, recordings, clip art, drawings and text, which in the right working environment could be really useful. Of course, this is functionality we’ve seen before on the HTC Flyer tablet, and just like we said in our review of that device, the usefulness of this kind of note-taking app depends solely on who you are and how you work. For our part, we found it impressive, though not indispensable.

The Galaxy Note comes with two virtual keyboards -- the Samsung keypad, which has been adapted for pen input, and Swype. While Swype was a joy to use with the S Pen (or with a finger) on the large screen, we had less luck with the Samsung keypad’s pen integration. The text entry area, activated by tapping an icon on the keyboard, provides a space for you to write, with the phone’s handwriting recognition software then turning your scrawlings into proper text. While this is a great idea, it unfortuantely doesn’t have the speed or accuracy to replace a button-based keyboard. We’d love to see this idea developed further, though.

The Galaxy Note’s browser has also undergone a minor overhaul in order to take advantage of the larger screen. As you’ve got a few more pixels to play with, you’re given a full compliment of browser controls around the address box, including back, forward and a tab-switching button. Most of the time the browser is fast and responsive, just like on the Galaxy S II, although we did notice a software glitch that occasionally slowed browser performance to a crawl. The bug would strike seemingly at random, when the browser had been open in the background for a while, and resulted in extremely laggy graphics performance on image-heavy pages. Kill the browser in the task manager and re-load, and everything would be back to normal, fast as ever. Hopefully this is something that’ll be ironed out in an upcoming software update.

Photo and video editing apps are included on the Note too, and both have been optimized to work with the S Pen. While we can question the efficiency of editing photos or videos on a phone, the editing apps bundled with the Note provide a wealth of features if you decide to give it a try. You’ll find the usual options for altering contrast, saturation and brightness, along with more advanced effects like radial blurs and speed line effects. If you’re looking to get really creative, the cropping tools allow you to copy and paste selections between images and videos. You might struggle to get any serious editing done on a handheld device, but the tools offered by the Galaxy Note are surprisingly powerful when you use the S Pen and a few of the more advanced features.

Samsung’s also bundled a selection of its own custom TouchWiz applications, along with a handful of third-party offerings, many of which will be familiar to Galaxy S II owners --

  • Social Hub - Social networking aggregation for Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  • Music Hub - Integrated music store powered by 7Digital.
  • Readers Hub - E-reader portal featuring newspaper, magazine and book stores.
  • AllShare - DLNA-powered media sharing app.
  • Kies Air - Administer your phone and change settings, view text messages and download/upload media over a wireless network.
  • Voice Talk - Voice command hub allowing you to perform tasks like sending text messages and updating social media status using your voice.
  • Samsung Hub - The manufacturer’s own area for showcasing a selection of apps from the Android Market.
  • S Choice - An exclusive app store for Samsung devices.
  • Polaris Office - MS Office document and PDF viewer.
  • Crayon Physics - A drawing-based puzzle game.

Battery Life

The Galaxy Note comes equipped with a huge 2500 mAh battery to power its demanding high resolution screen and speedy CPU. Battery life is always a concern on phones with AMOLED screens, as the display tech has a reputation for burning through batteries very quickly, especially at high brightness settings. During our testing, we used the automatic brightness setting, and found that with normal usage patterns consisting of browsing over Wifi and HSPA+, as well as music and video playback, we could manage well over a day on a single charge.

It’s a testament to the efficiency of the Note’s internals that it uses next to no juice while sleeping, even while syncing our Gmail, Twitter, Facebook and Google+ accounts over Wifi. Unsurprisingly, we found that the only major battery drain was video recording -- if you’re planning on shooting a lot of HD video, you may want to consider a mid-day charge, otherwise, you’ll be fine for 24 hours or more.

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Camera

Like the Galaxy S II, the Galaxy Note has an 8 megapixel main camera around the back, with a 2 megapixel front-facing camera for video calls. While the camera on the Galaxy S II impressed us across the board, we found that camera performance on the Note was a bit of mixed bag. When it was able to focus properly, the Note’s rear camera was capable of capturing good-looking images, particularly in macro mode. But therein lies the problem -- we found that the camera consistently had trouble focusing, even in ideal lighting conditions. The problem is particularly evident in our test videos, where it’s often either slow to focus, or completely fails, resulting in blurry, unfocused footage.

We hope this is a software bug rather than a hardware problem. If so, it’s likely it’ll be addressed in a future firmware update. Regardless, the current wonkiness of the Note’s camera is something you should be aware of if you’re considering picking one up.

Focusing issues aside, video recorded by the Note is actually of pretty good quality, and we were particularly impressed by its low-light performance. The device records video at up to 1080p using the main camera, and VGA (640x480) using the front-facing shooter. Bare in mind that you’ll be limited to 25 frames per second at 1080p, as opposed to the smooth 30 fps that you get at 720p. The difference in frame rate is subtle, but noticeable in our sample footage below.




YouTube link for mobile viewing

Hackability

As a relatively new device, there’s not much amateur development activity around the Galaxy Note just yet. It has been rooted, however, and there’s a version of ClockworkMod available, along with unofficial ports of CyanogenMod. Given the Note’s similarity to the Galaxy S II, we’d expect to see more custom ROMs available in the months ahead, for those interested in taking a break from TouchWiz. Bear in mind that you’ll sacrifice your warranty if you choose to do this, and it’ll probably be a while before community developers fully get to grips with S Pen support.

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Wrap-up

When you consider its niche appeal and premium price tag, it's clear that the Galaxy Note isn't going to be the device for everyone. In fact, it probably isn't the device for most people -- after all, this is no mainstream smartphone. Personally, I couldn't use the Note as my primary device, simply because it's too big. I want a phone I can hold and use comfortably in one hand, and the Galaxy Note is not that device.

Some people will be perfectly happy with a two-handed smartphone, though. If you're one of them, then by all means take a look at the Galaxy Note. Right now it's the fastest Android phone you can buy. It has the best display on any phone, and yes, that includes the iPhone's retina display. The S Pen integration is thoughtful and useful. For the right person, this is one hell of a device.

In many ways, though, the Note feels like more of a technical showcase than product with mass appeal. Samsung has produced an extremely impressive piece of technology, but in doing so it's limited itself to very specific audience. The best way to work out if that audience includes you is to spend a few minutes sizing up a demo unit. If you can get over (or even embrace) the Note's size, you'll find it's a powerful device with some unique functionality that you won't find on any other smartphone.

Availability

The Samsung Galaxy Note is being launched across Europe this month (November), with SIM-free prices starting at around £500 (~$800). For details of launch dates and carriers for each territory, check out our complete list. Samsung has yet to announce any plans to launch the device in North America.

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Reader comments

Samsung Galaxy Note review

62 Comments

I agree. Sometimes it feels like 4.3" is too big when it's up to my ear, although the screen size is awesome for non-phone uses. There really is a balance requirement here, too big is bad for phone functionality and in hand feel. IMO, anything over 4.3 - 4.5" is more tablet like and not suited very well to be considered a smartphone. Not many want a slab/tablet up to their ear!

I use the Dell Streak 5" as my only phone, and it works brilliantly. The 5" form factor is so good. I have a hard time using smaller phones, and the iPhone is just tiny. I think more people should try going a week with a large-screen device. You'll never go back to anything small again.

It's funny to see all the people saying how brilliant this phone is and how it's the perfect size -- and I'm willing to bet many are the same people who mocked the Streak 5 only last year. Poor Dell, they just pushed the envelope a little too fast on that one. I have an iPad2, a Galaxy 2 phone and a Droid 3, and my humble little Streak 5 is still the best of the bunch. Razor thin (no pun intended), huge screen, still plenty fast -- Dell was really on to something there. If they'd been able to launch it with Froyo instead of Eclair I think it would have really changed peoples' minds about size and form factor. Maybe it will become a cult device someday since there are so few. :)

Actually i wanted the streak, but I never got it sadly. Now this phone is a chance to right that wrong... =P

My sentiments exactly. I use the Dell Streak 5, and love it. I have been using the microSIM (with adapter) from my iPhone 4 in the Dell Streak since August 2010 except for the one day it returned to the iPhone 4 to activate the iOS 5 upgrade. If I had to give up all my devices aka toys except one, the one I would keep is the Streak 5. It is the best combination from web viewing, video viewing, pocketability, weight, bulk, cumbersomeness, and overall PIA to carry around all day perspectives.

You don't really look geekier holding a 5" screen phone up to your ear than 3.5" / 4" smartphones. Like many other posters, I don't make many phone calls, but love the web, video, and all apps on the bigger screens. If you make many phone calls, a Bluetooth headset is probably in order regardless of the screen size you are using.

I am trying the 5" Galaxy Player which I have fallen in love with as well. Love the 5" screen on basically a 5" S class device without the phone part. I like my regular apps, video, and web so much on the 5" screen that I am using my Nexus S as a hotspot point for the Galaxy 5 Player about 90% of the time when I am out. After using the Streak, and Galaxy Player 5 for awhile, the 4" phone screens seem too small, and my iPhone 4's screen seems puny.

I respect other opinions, but do not discard the 5" range screens as too large until you try one for awhile. You may just change your mind as you enjoy all your apps, web, and videos on the larger screen. If / when the Note is available in the US, it is definitely a priority purchase for me.

I wish one manufacturer would give me a high end phone with a 4 inch screen please. Something with a gig of ram and a dual/quad core processor.

Droid 4 will be here in no time. D3 formfactor but with LTE and and a better keyboard. Hopefully it will be slimmer than the D3 and hopefully with ICS, though that slimness comes at the expense of a removable battery

I think I'm in that niche market. I rarely use my 3VO for calls. I use it more as portable computer and I'd like a bigger virtual keyboard. I like the idea of tablets, but I don't want 2 devices to carry around. I love the idea of the stylist for sketching too. I hope it comes to Sprint.

I want this phone; the larger screen size is welcoming. It'd be my secondary device since my BlackBerry Bold 9930 fills the role of "communication device" already. Bigger screen is no problem since I'd mainly use it for multimedia and browsing purposes. Besides, pair it with a bluetooth headset or use speakerphone (I normally use speakerphone even when I'm holding a phone anyway) and you're good to go.

Hats off for yet another thorough and balanced review!! As far as objectivity exists, this is a very objective review. As a note user myself I am able to verify and indeed confirm most in this review. I would love to add though, that I am finding myself using the phone in a much more productive manner with the pen facilities . But I guess this is addressed in " the usefulness of this kind of note-taking app depends solely on who you are and how you work. For our part, we found it impressive, though not indispensable." ... For me it is indispensable :-)

I would say that Samsung is working to make this a niche product. Why hasn't this even been announced for the US yet. Why couldn't they make it work on the 1700 band so someone on T-mobile here that is willing to import it can actually use it. More carrier/manufacturer BS. How long do you think these carriers can continually screw with their customer base before we give up and move on. I know I'm getting close.

Many people are leaving T-Mobile, it just don't have the choices of other carriers.

This phone is too big for most people, but it is good Samsung is releasing a niche product.

...i think i will wait for the GALAXY S3. Its been 2months and my EPIC TOUCH still feels like a new device.

Actually, I think that this phone appeals to a much larger audience than Alex thinks and will become a hit when released. I think that a lot of people have been dreaming of a phone like this for years (I have) and for those who are tired of lugging a 9.7" tablet AND a phone around, the Samsung Note is ideal!

BUT RELEASE IT IN THE US, ALREADY!!!

If this were available in the US, and on Sprint - I'd jump all over it, eligibility for upgrade or not. 5.3" would honestly be the BIGGEST I'd want in my pocket.. Anything bigger and you're talking a carry case like a Nook color and that's just not practical for every day.

People laughed at the infuse's puny 4.5" and said it was wayyy to big, now its becoming starndard, and is smaller than the latest Nexus... and Titan.

I predict inside of two years this 5.3" won't be unusual, there will be a half dozen phones at this size and probably some that exceed it.

Exactly, this is going to be the future I think. We rarely use our phones for calling anyway, so holding it up to your head is nearly irrelevant. And with all of our files in the cloud now, these devices will be most of our computing interaction. I'm still waiting for the flip flop on data and voice plans though. $50 for 5GB of data and $30 for unlimited minutes and text as an add-on. Trust me it's going to happen sooner or later.

Look at you predicting the future like a boss! You freaking nailed it 2 years ago lol kudos to you time traveler

Drooling over the screen size, I always use bluetooth anyways so never holding the phone to my ear and screen size is oh so important to me. The bigger the better since i use it a lot as a tablet. Lets hope VZW will carry it with more RAM of course...

PROS -

5.3" Display

CONS -

Capacitive Buttons (Don't want them no mo'!)
No Ice Cream Sammmmmmmmmmmmich
TouchWiz (Don't want no skin!)
Home Button
Too Much Bezel
Stylus (Don't want no pen!)

---------------------

Samsung - Just give me a Galaxy Nexus "XL" which is basically a G-Nex with a 5.3" Display and all else the same as the G-Nex. it'll sell like hotcakes in spite of all of the whiners.

CONS -
Capacitive Buttons (Don't want them no mo'!)
-They're included free of charge, lol

No Ice Cream Sammmmmmmmmmmmich
-It's coming sooner than (Insert name of any device except G-Nexus) :)

TouchWiz (Don't want no skin!)
-Root Root Root!

Home Button
-It's a bonus! (And it tastes like chicken.)

Too Much Bezel
-You have to be able to hold it without accidental touches...

Stylus
-Just don't use it then, lol Although I'd bet you'd play with it if you had it. :D

I had become used to the pentile display on my N1 even though it bugged me a lot initially. But Ager using the Note, I really notice it again and boy does the N1 seem tiny. The GNote screen really is gorgeous. Battery seems pretty good though I just got it yesterday. What I really noticed is the keyboard. I normally use Swype but the screen is too big for one handed use. I can type really fast in portrait with the Samsung keyboard using two hands. Landscape is too big. I still need to see if thumb keyboard might be the best option. The pen is very accurate, but you need to hold it at just the right angle and that seems to change a little at the bottom of the screen or it isn't as accurate there. Is there any way to calibrate the pen? I couldn't find that option.

NOT TOO BIG! For once and for all - THIS IS AN IPHONE KILLER! I Want. ON the S2 for Sprint there is a display setting called "dynamic" and I can just imagine this on full brightness with Dynamic turned on watching HD video...eh...in between texts and phone calls lol -

had this phone for 3 days now after upgrading from and iphone 4, was hoping an iphone 5 was coming out with a bigger screen...so i have jumped the apple ship, I have no regrets the note is a fantastic phone, i dont give sh=t what people think when i hold up to my ear :), the phone has a better screen, its quicker than the 4s, the stylus is a brilliant addition.
Total all round better experience... a must for any businessman or media fun.

9/10

Since you already have one can you tell me if it auto wraps your text in emails or when viewing webpages when you are in pinch to zoom mode? My IPhone phones pinch to zoom was always useless because I had to scroll the zoomed in text left to right. I have an HTC Flyer that auto wraps the text nicely, I noticed that HTC phones and tabletsx do this nicely but other phone manufactures don't have this feature. That being the case, I think it might be easier to read enlarged text on an HTC smartphone then it would be on the Samsung note.

Does the Samsung have this Capability? I used to own an old HTC Advantage 5 inch phone. I loved it but people would freak out when I used it in public. I didn't care because I loved the big design. But with the text wrapping issue may be a deal breaker for me.

Live in the US as well, so no Note yet. I do like the HTC Flyer's constant word wrap ability on just about all pages. The slobbering general tech press basically ignores the iPhone's requirement of reading single column webpages / forum posts in either a too small for comfortable reading font size, or horizontally scrolling to read each line. Both options are terrible, but the press rarely mentions the situation because of their overall fascination with the iPhone, or maybe they enjoy reading some pages in a 7 point or so font size.

Have you tried Opera Mobile (not to be confused with Opera Mini) on your Android device? When the user agent (advanced setting) is set to desktop vs. the default mobile setting, I have found Opera Mobile word wraps when zooming most pages that Safari, or the stock Android browsers do not.

I hope Verizon gets this phone. I drool every time I read an article about it. I hope I don't have to settle for a Galaxy Nexus, but I'm willing to wait a few months to find out. I wish my Droid X was larger...

Nice unit, if huge. What I want to know is when they're going to do reviews on the HTC Vivid and Samsung GS2 Skyrocket. They've been out for 5 days now. You guys are slacking.

I have to say, I agree with JtothaR, aapold, PhilipC, JRAnciano, bullydogger, jhag47 totally! And I think this is the first time I have read so many word's in one comment section, that ring so true. Not much I can really add here. It's all been said.
But I will say. I can't even remember the last time I held a phone to my ear either. This phone (slab I'm calling it now) is making me sick with anticipation! So much so, I bought the 5" Galaxy Player 5.0 to practice with. I put a wi-fi caller on it (GrooVeIP), a thumb keyboard, and have been using a Samsung stylus. This Player is Fantastic! I can't wait for this Note to get here. It truly is for me, a Dream come true. For the First time I will be able to say, after getting this gadget. I will want for nothing, for a very long time.

Personally I applaud Samsung and this product as we move forward into the future this device lays the groundwork for exactly what device can be down the road. I am awaiting the Galaxy Nexus and will be proud to have that device but I will say I would buy this in a heart beat if given the chance. To each's own but I feel this would be a great phone to have perfect size.

i have read all the forums on the Note and i want this phone so bad, i'm praying they release it here in the states by Christmas,so my kids can play with there toys and i can play with mine!

Wow! That thing is huge. It is like a cross between a phone and a tablet. Does that make it a "Phablet"? :)

I could never see myself carrying that thing as a primary phone. Kind of like a 5.3 inch 3g tablet. I am sure that there are many excited to use the device and I applaud those who can accommodate the size.

It is definitely impressive...but too big for me.

now this is the upgrade from my OG Epic that I've been waiting for! For the love of all things good, please come to sprint!!

Are HTC phones and tablets the only devices that are capable of auto wrapping text of emails and browser webpages when enlarged by pinching, or will the Samsung Note fail because you can actually read text better on a smaller HTC phone then you can with this larger device that doesn't autowrap enlarged text? IPhones and Samsung phones pinch to zoom but its useless because you have to scroll the enlarged text left to right in order to read it. Even my original Ipad is like that. Its just stupid to have to scroll back and from left to right. HTC devices don't seem to have that flaw. My HTC Flyer wraps the text and so do HTC phones.

Most book readers already have that functionality. But most other manufactures left that feature out on there mail programs and browsers

This phone is for me. I use around 3gbs of data per month and only make 400 minutes of phone calls or less. We are in a new era and people communicate via FB, Twitter, G+, SMS or IM first before making a call. With that being said the devices have to adapt. This is my problem with the way carriers bill there customers, but that's a whole different topic. I notices immediately after purchasing an iPad, I put down my smartphone as soon as I got home from work and picked up the iPad. I also noticed I miss the experience the larger display offers when I'm out conducting business. I need a device that offers the portability/pocket-ability of a smartphone but with the largest screen possible. I realize the Galaxy Note pushes past the tolerable limits of those of us w/ smaller hands but hey, that's not me. Give me the Galaxy Note AT&T so I can give you my cheddar. Charlatans love cheddar...

Just got my hands on one yesterday evening and so far, I am mighty thrilled with the Device -- the size for me, is not so much of an issue as its made out to be. I have been able to use it one handed as well. However, will post again after a week's use so that any niggling issues will surface. Otherwise, a great device :)

Great review Alex. Im not a fan boy (I prefer Android) but I think this statement wasn't accurate:

"It has the best display on any phone, and yes, that includes the iPhone's retina display."

Maybe you can justify that qualitatively but based on purely numbers that doesn't seem accurate.

iPhone = 326 PPI (Retina Display; whatever that means)
Galaxy Note = 285 PPI

Does that matter? Maybe. Some say anything less than 300 PPI can be differentiated by the human eye. But for what it's worth at least the Galaxy Nexus is a fair comparison at 316 PPI (and thus above the 300 threshold of the human eye)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_displays_by_pixel_density

i think the number 1 thing i hate about having a phone that is over 4 inches is that when i lay in bed i cant use it laying on my back.

i cant just hold it up with 1 hand and pick up a call, or do anything i have to always use my other hand, and often i lay back in the morning and check the news, and its quite annoying how i have to use my other hand or else the phone starts falling out of my hand.

Who uses their smartphone to make calls anymore anyways? lol. This looks cool. I used to think Droid X was too big when I saw it at the store, but when I saw it in the wild with a coworker I was like: "that's not too big after all". So I got it and would never go back to anything smaller. I'm pretty sure this phone would fit on my Dickies phone pocket, but I would have to try it out first.

I had a Dell Streak and loved it. I would love to get this phone/tablet. Its a toss up between this and the galaxy nexus. This phone will be upgraded to ICS so that makes my decision even harder.

I actually I have always been a blackberry fan. Just recently I got rid of my blackberry Torch for the samasung galaxy and let me tell you I love it. Everyone was telling me about the size and things like that, but I am a texter I dont talk on the phone alot so it works out great, plus when I am texting they have voice command that does all that for me.

What really sold me: When I have had an IPAD and IPHONE before and all of them broke or cracked causing me a fortune. I also hated using nothing but apple products in order for the product to work. Just recently when my Ipad screen cracked, I really needed to get another one because I am a business owner. I needed something that was compacted, that was a phone and minture computer like the galaxy. I got so tired carrying my phone, IPAD and my laptop around at times. Not only did it make things easier, but I am a Fashion Designer and now I can design all my lastest designs and send to my customers even when traveling, I can have my customers sign invoice using the "stylus" right on hand, and its voice program captures everything I need when speaking directly in the phone. It everything I need in one. The last great thing is that I can easily download music with out having to download any program on my computer (ITunes) just to get my music. Very user friendly and I am not the person who knows nothing about technology. It is an awesome phone! If you are worried about the size. You really have to weigh you the pros and cons. I would rather carry a 5inch screen any day then have to carry my phone, Tablet and maybe my computer to get business done. Its a phone and Tablet in one. Great for business owners.