Samsung Galaxy Note

In regards to this AT&T Samsung Galaxy Note review, we, the writers, editors and readers of Android Central, hereby stipulate the following:

  • It is a BIG smartphone. Anyone who says differently is just wrong.
  • Not everybody's sold on using a stylus; nor will everyone ever be - and that's OK.
  • If we never see another Galaxy Note press release, it'll be too soon. (Unless it's the one saying it's being updated to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.)
  • Anyone who calls the Galaxy Note a "phablet" in an un-ironic manner should be unmercilessly ridiculed even more than they likely already are.

Seriously. It's BIG. We know it. We get it. Nothing we say will change that fact.

So what it is about the Galaxy Note that's made it so popular? Samsung's shipped more than 1 million so far. That's different than "sold," but a million is not a small number. And will that popularity translate over to the North American markets? Will Samsung's aggressive marketing win out? Will it just be too darn BIG for our American sensibilities?

It's a smartphone. A BIG smartphone. With a stylus. Not so hard to wrap your head around. But wrapping your hand around it? That's another matter.


The Good

A BIG, beautiful display. Fast processor. Great software tweaks. The optional stylus is nicely hidden away when not in use. Has access to AT&T's new 4G LTE network.

The Bad

It's friggin' HUGE for a phone. Not quite comically so, but it's certainly a handful. Launches with Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread instead of the newer Ice Cream Sandwich. Does not have NFC.

Conclusion

If the 5.3-inch display isn't too BIG for you, and if you don't have to have NFC, and if you're willing to wait for an update to the latest version of Android, the Galaxy Note is a great OVERSIZED smartphone. That sounds more negative than it should. But save for the stylus and SUPER SIZE, at its core it's a very solid Samsung Android smartphone.

Inside this review

More info

The video walkthrough


Youtube link for mobile viewing

The hardware

AT&T Samsung Galaxy Note

Pop the Galaxy Note out of the standard (read: boring) orange and white AT&T packaging, and it doesn't look all that different from ... well, a normal phone. You've got the classic Samsung design. BIG display, rounded corners and capacitive buttons at the bottom. Sure, it feels a little bit BIGGER than our current daily driver, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. But we already know that it's BIGGER. So that's not a huge surprise. 

The heft of the Galaxy Note isn't a shock, either. The phone feels nicely balanced, and the weight seems to be proportional to the overall size of the phone. The damn thing's just WIDE and TALL. Otherwise, things are exactly as you'd expect. It looks like a smartphone. It feels like a smartphone...just BIGGER.

AT&T Samsung Galaxy Note

The display in and of itself is plenty impressive. And at 5.3 inches diagonally, it damn well better be. (Can you imagine the poop storm otherwise?) The Galaxy Note's got 800x1280 resolution. That's the same as the Galaxy Tab 10.1 -- a traditional tablet --  in about half the size, for nearly double the pixel density. Colors are vibrant and blacks are black.

AT&T Samsung Galaxy Note

There's s 2-megapixel front-facing camera just above the display and four capacitive buttons (menu-home-back-search) below the display. Samsung's always been great in the display department (it owns the AMOLED market, after all), and that continues with the Galaxy Note.

AT&T Samsung Galaxy NoteAT&T Samsung Galaxy Note

Like we said, the Galaxy Note has a traditional Samsung smartphone design. The power button is on the right-hand bezel and the volume rocker is on the left.

AT&T Samsung Galaxy Note

The top of the phone has the 3.5mm headphone jack and a secondary microphone.

AT&T Samsung Galaxy Note

The bottom bezel has the microUSB port and main microphone and the silo for the S Pen (hereafter referred to as the stylus, because that's what it is). The stylus fits neatly into the phone. You can feel that it's there if you rub your thumb along the edge of the phone, but it's just as easy to forget about it. That's good design.

AT&T Samsung Galaxy Note

Around back is the EXPANSIVE battery cover, speaker port, 8-megapixel camera and flash.

AT&T Samsung Galaxy Note

Pop off the battery cover and you've got the 2500 mAh battery, SIM card and microSD card slot. That's it. Looks pretty normal, except there's room for the parts to breathe. No weird mechanisms. No weird releases here, just plenty of SPACE.

The obvious question: How does it feel in the hand? BIG. IT's too big for proper one-handed use. But then again, that's something we've had to get used to with the 4.65-inch Galaxy Nexus. It's just taken BIG to a new level here.

The other dilemma is what to do with the Galaxy Note when you're not using it. It'll fit in your pocket, most likely, unless you're wearing Size 0 jeans. (In which case, more power to you and you've probably got a purse anyway.) Samsung's got a bunch of case accessories, too, so you can properly protect that gorgeous display.

The stylus (erm, S Pen)

AT&T Samsung Galaxy Note

It was a year ago when HTC introduced the Flyer tablet, which also sported a stylus. It wasn't quite dead on arrival, but it had one major flaw, on which the Galaxy Note has greatly improved. What's different? Two major things, really, neither of which really involves actually using the stylus.

First is that with the HTC Flyer, you weren't actually guaranteed to have the stylus when you bought the tablet. In many cases, it was sold separately. The other strike against the Flyer was that once you had the stylus, there was no elegant storage solution.

The Galaxy Note is meant to be drawn on and used to take notes. That's part of the reason it's so BIG. The stylus stays hidden in the body of the phone when not in use, and that's perhaps the No. 1 way Samsung's improved on the stylus experience. If you want to use the stylus, it's there. If you don't, it's not in the way but  you won't accidentally leave it at home.

Rule No. 1 to get someone to use a weird feature, make sure it's available all the time. Samsung's accomplished this. with the integrated silo.

AT&T Samsung Galaxy Note

The stylus itself is a simple enough proposition. It's a slender pen-type thing with a tip and a single button. Touch it to the Galaxy Note's screen, and it does stuff. That's oversimplified -- you can do a bunch of stuff with it -- and it also ignores the fact that this isn't just a plastic pen that touches a display. The stylus is as important as the digitizer (the part that actually recognizes the input) in the display itself. The Galaxy Note's stylus and digitizer are made by Wacom, a long-recognized leader in digital input. So it comes as no surprise that the stylus works really well on the Galaxy Note. It's not perfect -- there's still a little bit of lag when you're writing notes or drawing. But for gestures, it works great.

Oh, and if you need a stylus with a little more girth to it, Samsung has an "S Pen Holder Kit" -- essentially a standard-size pen that the stylus slips into. It's actually pretty nice - with your thumb hitting right where the button is on the stylus. The catch is you have to make sure to line it up properly.

What (else) is under the hood

The internals of the Galaxy Note really aren't any different than that of a more traditional smartphone. The AT&T version has a dual-core 1.5 GHz processor from Qualcomm and 1GB of RAM (with about 731MB available for apps and what not). AT&T's Galaxy note also has a 4G LTE radio in addition to HSPA+ for data.

The Galaxy Note has a 2500 mAh battery. That's a little more than 50 percent more juice than you'll get in a traditional smartphone. (Though it's still a smaller capacity than that of the Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX, with its 3300 mAh battery.) And the kicker is that the Galaxy Note has a removable battery, so you can keep a spare handy if that's how you roll. 

Battery life on the Galaxy Note is quite good. It's important to remember that it's got a LARGER-capacity battery than what you're probably used to, but that doesn't change the fact that even with a HUGE (and HIGH-resolution) display, the Galaxy Note not only rocks hard -- it rocks well into the night. Standby time was very impressive. If you forget to plug in the Note overnight, you're not going to wake up disappointed. (Or, at least it won't be the Note's fault.) LTE data, though, still chews through a battery at a pretty good clip.

AT&T Samsung Galaxy Note

By now you've noted that the Galaxy Note doesn't have Samsung's Exynos processor. If that sort of thing keeps you up at night, well, better reach for the warm milk. In our usage, the Galaxy Note performed just fine. The user interface was as smooth as it's ever been, and apps worked as expected.

Something that's not under the hood is near-field communication. That's the sexy little short-range radio that lets you do things like mobile payments and "bumping" to share contacts or webpages or whatever. There actually are some NFC files buried in the Galaxy Note's ROM, but that's not necessarily an indication of dormant hardware. We see phones share code all the time. And unlike AT&T's Galaxy S II, there's no mention of an NFC antenna baked into the battery casing. At least we're not being teased too badly.

Android Central

The software

Probably the strangest feeling you get about the Galaxy Note is that save for its SIZE, it acts just like most every other late-model Samsung smartphone we've had through these offices. OK, it acts a little better, thanks to the customizations for the stylus. But the point is you don't get a grossly different experience than what we've seen from Samsung in the past six months or so.

AT&T Samsung Galaxy Note

You've got seven home screens by default. They've got perpetual scrolling -- that its, when you get to the far left screen, you just keep going 'round the bend to the other side. (Or you can scroll to the right, if that's how you roll. Weirdo.) You can rearrange or remove home screens if you want.

AT&T Samsung Galaxy NoteAT&T Samsung Galaxy Note

You add and remove items to the home screens in the usual way -- long press on the home screen to see the options. Samsung's excellent tweaks via its TouchWiz UI shine through here.

AT&T Samsung Galaxy NoteAT&T Samsung Galaxy Note

AT&T's loaded up the Galaxy Note with a bunch of preloaded apps -- bloatware, if you will. Sure, there are the regulars like Amazon Kindle and Kik Lite, but you've also got a bevy of AT&T apps like myAT&T, AT&T Code Scanner, AT&T FamilyMap and AT&T Ready2Go. Some of those are just stub apps that take you to the Android Market, but they're no less annoying. (And unlike, say, Motorola's UI, you can't hide unwanted apps from the app drawer.)

As far as stylus-ready apps go -- they're all ready. Web browsing is especially fluid, though having the stylus in your hand makes pinch-to-zoom a little awkward.

AT&T Samsung Galaxy Note

Samsung's got its S Memo application preloaded. It's an easy way to take notes either with traditional handwriting, or you can use the stylus on a keyboard. Swype is preloaded, and it works great with the S Pen.

AT&T Samsung Galaxy Note

Fun fact: Hold the S Pen button and double-tap on the display to quick-launch S Memo Lite.

All in all, the software experience on the Galaxy Note is pretty much like that of any other recent Samsung phone; that's not a bad thing, either.

The cameras

The Galaxy Note has a front-facing 2MP camera and a rear-facing 8MP camera. Samsung's done quite well with its camera optics and software over the past year or so, and the Galaxy Note is no exception. The camera app has plenty of options but remains easy to use. We'd love to see a quick-launch option from the lockscreen, though, like on other phones. A physical shutter button would hurt on a device this SIZE, but that's not a deal-breaker.

AT&T Samsung Galaxy Note

Warning: Images below open in a new window in full resolution

The front-facing camera


Youtube link for mobile viewing

AT&T Samsung Galaxy Note

The rear-facing camera


Youtube link for mobile viewing

AT&T Samsung Galaxy NoteAT&T Samsung Galaxy Note

AT&T Samsung Galaxy NoteAT&T Samsung Galaxy Note

Other odds and ends

A few things not to miss:

  • GPS locked on quickly and easily.
  • The speakerphone is LOUD. Not sure if that has anything to do with resonance and the SIZE of the phone, but we're pretending it does.
  • Phone calls sound good. Yeah, you look a little silly with this 5-inch thing held up to your face; either get over it or use a headset.
  • Get ready to be asked "What is that?" (Or, "Dear, God, what is that thing," depending on who's asking.) It's a conversation starter. (Though not necessarily a deal-closer.)
  • You've got three keyboards preloaded -- the stock Gingerbread keyboard, Samsung's keyboard, and Swype. You can also load your own.
  • The backlighting on the capacitive buttons (at least on our review unit) is a tad inconsistent. Not a big deal, but noticeable. 
  • The Galaxy note has USB OTG (On-the-Go), which is a suppliment to the USB 2.0 specifications that uses a master/slave architecture to allow things like USB flash drives and computer mice to be attached to the USB port. Using a special microUSB to USB Standard-A adapter, you can plug a flash drive full of music or documents into your Note and access them the same way you would if there were on your SD card. 

So what's the BIG deal?

I tried to fight it. The Galaxy Note is HUGE. It's got a stylus. Two things I've been fine without. And other than that, it's nothing we haven't really seen before. So why the hell can't I put it down? That's the $65,000 question.

At the end of the day, I think the Galaxy Note's appeal comes down to a few things:

  • The stylus is there when you need it, and invisible when you don't.
  • The stylus is pretty responsive. Not perfect, but good enough.
  • Using the stylus is mostly intuitive. That is, you can use it to unlock the phone. To swipe between home screens and active on-screen menus.
  • The apps that take advantage of the stylus do so pretty well.
  • The optional "S Pen Holder Kit" -- which turns the thin stylus into a more traditionally sized pen -- works very well. But guess what -- I managed to lose it. That's why being able to slip the stylus into the phone is important.

What's not the BIG deal?

The Galaxy Note is GIANORMOUS. It's THIN (and it damn well better be), but there's there's no denying that thins thing take some square footage. Like we said at the outset, you've got to get over that. Otherwise, why the hell did you buy it? That said, it's not all skittles and beer. A few things about the Galaxy Note that got our goat:

  • Once again, we've got a phone that's waiting on Ice Cream Sandwich. That's not to say the Galaxy Note isn't a perfectly capable Gingerbread device, but the principle of the thing is starting to wear thin.
  • For as intuitive as the stylus can be, it is frustrating  that it doesn't work on the capacitive buttons. We get that we're talking about different technologies here. It's not just that the stylus interacts only with a capacitive display. Intuitively,  you expect it to work with the capacitive buttons.   Having to learn when to press the button on the stylus means you've lost that intuitiveness.
  • There's still a pretty limited number of apps that can really take advantage of the stylus. Or, rather, they use it as a stylus and not as the S Pen with extra functionality.

The wrap-up

And perhaps that's the real question; will developers create enough new apps to take advantage of this technology.  We've seen other .. interesting ... design choices hit the streets in hopes that developers would follow, most notably with the Kyocera Echo and its dual screens and the Samsung Continuum with its secondary notification display. In both cases, the phones hit the streets with the promise that developers would work their magic and create new applications to justify the hardware. 

In the cases of the Echo and the Continuum, that developer support never happened. We'd argue that neither device had the full​ weight of Samsung behind them, whereas the Galaxy Note obviously does. And it has the added advantage of also serving as a traditional smartphone, albeit an OVERSIZED smartphone. So even if additional developer support for the stylus never really takes off and we don't see more S Pen-optimized apps, the Galaxy Note is still a more-than-capable device.

At the end of the day, perhaps the Galaxy Note's SIZE really is the deciding factor and not the stylus. It's BIG, for sure, but the Galaxy Note is a great Android device regardless.

 

Reader comments

Samsung Galaxy Note review (AT&T)

60 Comments

I would say it is comically huge when held up to a face. It looks pretty ridiculous. It's pretty nice though.

Stop complaining about the size of this phone until you've actually held one.

Ive had mine for almost a week now and its anything but "too big" and yes, it does fit in my front or back pockets WITHOUT any bulge.

In fact, the more I use it the smaller it feels. when I pick up my iPhone 4 for a few minutes then yes, it does look giant but that's because the iPhone has a tiny screen.

"Like we said, the Galaxy Note has a traditional Samsung smartphone design. The power button is on the right-hand bezel and the volume rocker is on the right." = Oops :)

Great review Phil!

I just saw this! Good review! While I am not sure of bias, I feel there has been too much made of the size on AC (not to the degree of that nutjob on bgr). Could be my imagination. I got the International GNote last December and picked up this version on launch day since I live in an LTE area. The appeal for me is the gorgeous screen and ease of typing of the larger keyboard! Also Phil, I thought the NFC was baked into the back cover, which the International Version does not have. There is clearly something in the back cover that makes contact with the two brass contact points to the upper right of the battery? I think the sales of this device will speak for themselves!

I completely disagree on one point. I don't think sales of the device will be very good overall. It is big no matter what you say. Most people already thought 4.3 was too big really and now this is 5.3 so that is going to hurt sales. Second the "S Pen" will catch some peoples eye but not as many as you'd think. I don't want to use a Stylus in 2012. Maybe if we were back in the day I'd be all giddy about it but not for a smartphone in 2012 no thanks. I'd take the SGSII over this phone hands down at any cost.

Regardless of what you think of the sales, we will know what they are and they will speak for themselves. Samsung originally said the Galaxy Note was not for the North American market. That is until they saw the uptake and the rate at which they were being imported into the US. AT&T also noticed and jumped on it. The International GNote was launched in Germany in November 2011 and launched in the USA in February 2012. A bit faster than your SGSII was brought to the US...either way, the sales will speak for themselves!

Unfortunately what may hurt sales in the U.S. is the idiot salesmen. I have had my note for a while and I love it. I bought the international version of course. I didn't order any accessories for it as I figured I could just wait for att to release there stuff. As I was shopping for a case in the att store the other day I hear the rep tell someone "look how huge this is, when we were in training for it it felt like I was carrying around a brick in my pocket". This kind of negativity and not thinking outside of the box may hurt sales in America.

What will hurt sales is being on only one carrier AT&T. If they bring it to my carrier Sprint, I would be all over it but carrier first phone 2nd. I refuse to play carrier ping pong just for a phone.

well, yes and no. if someone is on at&t not seeing the note on Verizon, Sprint or Tmo will not hurt them. however i do agree, having it on at&t only will hurt the potential sales that could have been with those customers that are not willing to switch carriers.

im on Sprint as well and do wish the note came to us. even though im contemplating getting the at&t note in reality i probably will not. i still love my Epic 4g very much and really don't mind riding out the rest of the contract with it(i have until august).

the one thing is at&t is gsm and i really want to have MY phone working when i go overseas. iphone 4s from sprint is a possibility, and i think they were really smart about it - making it cdma/gsm... but i dont want to jump to ios, android is much better, and im just left hoping that there will be some sweet android phone on sprint that is cdma/gsm... THAT will be my next phone

Hmm, the device is going to sell well PRECISELY because it has a big screen. Your opinion is obviously oblivious to the existing success of the phone and completely without basis.

And whenever some idiot says "at any cost" you know they are just that, being an idiot for affect.

All I want to know is if Sprint will be getting this device. I would switch to it in a heartbeat.

Since I'm not in high school and I don't watch The Jersey Shore, I don't give two sh!ts how I "look" when talking on a phone. I can't wait til this thing is on other carriers.

Amen! I'm so damn tired of reviewers of this phone bringing that up. It's a non-issue for anyone other than an iTard. I bought one to test drive for a few days and I swear it almost makes me wanna leave my Galaxy Nexus. But alas, it's on AT&T and it doesn't rock ICS. Bring this bad boy to VZW with ICS and no capacitive buttons and I'll gladly give them my $.

Personally I don't get it. I think I'd be more interested if it was a tablet that could also make phone calls... rather than a phone... that's gigantic.

Like if this was a 5" honeycomb tablet that could text and call?? I'd be all about that!

But maybe honeycomb wouldn't work on that small of a screen. *shrug* I don't know. I just know Samsung didn't ask for my opinion so.. oh well.

Interesting angle. When it gets updated to ICS, it might be cool to have the option to switch between the tablet version and the phone.

I've heard a bit about the software being laggy. Have you experienced any of that yourself? A speed comparison to the Galaxy Nexus would be nice. (UI-wise)

i predict these new big giant phones will be the next status symbol among the kids. i think Samsung is on to something here.

I am a female, and not a six foot giantess. I love this phone. I use it with two hands and have a wired headset attached for calls. The screen is absolutely gorgeous...

Even though this is not the phone for me, I think it's *great* that it's being made. I love that manufacturers are pushing the envelope with Android phones. There are so many people who say "Why would they make a phone with a stylus?" I say the more variety the better. Personally, I can't wait until there's a tablet with a stylus...I'm partially holding out for one at this point. I may not use it much, but it's just one more tool to have available. I like taking notes on pen and paper rather than with a keyboard. If I could move that to a tablet with a stylus and handwriting recognition, that would be great.

People like to bash the stylus, but I bought one for my non-Note. It makes signing CC payments and contracts easier for my clients. Using the finger isn't natural.

Just out of curiosity, do you use a smartphone for said CC payments and contracts? If so, which and what apps?

I am tired of people complaining about no NFC. It was created 8 years ago and has NOT been widely adapted yet. Honesty what would you use if for even if the phone did have it?

This was a very balanced review. The writer more than did his due diligence in advising the reader about how HONKING big this thing is....compared to other phones. I hope readers will do themselves a favor and go check the phone out....and play with it for awhile.

What is impressive about this phone are the actual user reviews and comments. Consistently...95% of actual owners of the phone give it 4 stars or highers. Almost to a person they comment on how after a few hours...up to a couple days...the size is no longer a negative. In fact...many comment that they could never return to a smaller screen.

I have a sneaky feeling...this could be the sleeper smartphone of 2012.

Say what u will but I tried to drop a bunch of random movie codecs in my nexus and some didn't play. I did that with my galaxy note and it played everything. Sometimes skins can be helpful. Also I like a lot of the tweaks Samsung made. That wouldn't be possible use stock 4.0

In Hong Kong for the last few days; it is quite popular here. I have seen about 10 of them on the streets and subways in 5 days. I am not seeing the stylus in use; most people are using it with two hands (only saw one-handed use once, and it looked awkward, although the phone is squeezable in one hand, so it can be securely held for e-book reading, etc.), and using a wired or wireless headset if using it to make calls.

+1

...and Sprint, while you are at it, please add a gsm capability in there like the 4s. those of us that travel outside US sometimes will love you for it.

I have the phone in white and I absolutely love it. I also have a galaxy nexus also both on at&t. I've been getting 20 megabytes To 30 megabytes down on l t e on my galaxy note and it's pretty sweet. It's big enough that it could be a tablet, and it will be a tablet for some people. small enough that you can put it in your pocket and in addition make calls. Its a mini tablet the size of a notepad or a small book. Say what u will but I love it . I don't believe 4.0 will make it better. It will only bring compatibility issues with apps. Also UI will remain mostly unchanged. My galaxy nexus is my favorite phone right now but the note is my favorite device. I have the kindle fire, iPad 2, and now the note and I love it.

Are you noticing any lag in the UI, either waiting for scrolling lists to appear when trying to install a widget or anywhere else?

I played with one yesterday at AT&T store, but didn't notice what some reviewers were saying about lag. I will likely pick this up when my contract renewal comes up in March.

I don't think I can wait for the Skyrocket HD or GSIII.

So many keep asking, "Why did they make it so big?" Simple. Because they could. Samsung pushed the envelope, and in the process they made a great Android device. It's not perfect. But no Android device is. So what! If you're not happy with this phone's size, don't buy the damn thing! You don't have to be a hater. Tony Soprano is not going to fire a piece of lead behind your ear if you don't get one. What do you call a phone of this size? I don't think Samsung cares what the hell you call it, especially if it's a good seller. Personally, I think it's a fun device. Would I buy it? I'd definitely consider it, if appears on Sprint's menu. I definitely wouldn't switch to ATT to get it, though. So, like so many others, I'll wait to see what other services get it. Then, I'll see...

The Smartphone merged a cell phone, a PDA, and a MP3 player.

However, now we are faced with carrying a Smartphone and a Tablet.

Frankly, I like the idea of carrying one device that can function as both a phone and a tablet. Voice call usage on phones is down and digital usage is up. So why don't you get over how it looks when making a call, and focus your review on how well that large screen works as a tablet.

Finally a phone of the future! It fits in my hand as I build and present my work on the go. My customers can read it without feeling violated. Who talks without Bluetooth anymore who can read this anyway? By the way where can I get replacement stylus, because I will lose mine by March...

You guys made a small when you were writing about the hardware part of the phone. In this article it says that "The Galaxy Note has a traditional Samsung smartphone design, the power button is on the right hand side and the volume rocker is on the right". See what's wrong with that sentence? The volume rocker and power button are not on the same side on a Traditional Samsung smartphone. The volume rocker is on the left hand side.

I have not spent any time using the Galaxy Note. For those of you who have, Phil specifically, and who also own and use a Galaxy Nexus, what do you think of it in direct comparison to the Galaxy Nexus? I am only interested in the opinion of those who have used both devices for at least a week.

I own them both and hands down if I had to own one phone it's the galaxy nexus. It's quick, it's new, and gorgeous to look at. 4.0 is great but every now and then I do run into compatibility issues. The note is big and beautiful. Touch wiz added a lot of nice ui tweaks that make the phone awesome to use. Things could be a little snappier on the note. In terms of navigating. But beside that and occasional loading issues its amazing. I carry the nexus and note everywhere and all the attention is always on the note. as if the nexus's 4.6 inch display was iPhone small. The note casts a big shadow on any device. If you live in ny the note lte has been averaging 20mb down, but I have seen 40mb. I use the stylus when ever I don't want to get finger prints on the screen. It's easy to use but I've notice if your not careful you can lose it very easily .

Phil - anyone - I can not believe that I am a minority of one when I say . . . WHAT ABOUT THE NOTE AS A TABLET? It's a phlabby phone, I get it (ad nauseum). Of course there are those who will like to carry one device for all tasks and will compromise to do it (understandable -been there, done that).

I like a compact phone, myself, AND a compact e-ink reader. For mobile communication, googling, photographing, exporting media to TV, I now know the big tabs are far larger than I need.

I am an iPad owner because ( we hafta give it to them) Apple did it best, first. I have an unlimited data plan and have 'been waiting' to buy a tablet outright, no subsidy, and try a sim-swap, with AT&T help.

For two years, I have not been tempted to risk my data plan . . . until Ice Cream Sandwich.

I am concerned that the Note is 'jumping' from gingerbread-to-ICS. I am too concerned to get it, as a tablet, without at least Honeycomb. I am concerned that ICS has it's own Stylus coding, which could gum up the works for the Note.

I'd love to see these topics debated, but one topic may have enough evidence to discuss right now . . . I am concerned that the Note may be too small for me to use as a tablet! Too small, too small, I worry about too small.

hello? is there anyone out there who has actually used a different device as a phone, and the Note for tablet tasks?

You won't lose unlimited data if you get a new phone and or change plan or sign a new agreement. As long as you don't change data plans or add tethering u will be fine. I have the ipad2, kindle fire, the note and galaxy nexus. Its a cool size but it depends on what you want that size for. I read a book on it just fine. I also watched a movie on it. Try it out for a couple weeks you have 30 days to bring it back if you don't like it. Then u can stick with whatever phone u have now.

Thanks Richillion - My unlimited data originated in a tablet, an iPad, so it has no voice component. It also resides on a differently sized SIM than the Note's. I do believe that 'it can be done', but I also believe the chances for a savvy carrier to get rid of me abound in this scenario!

For instance, If I put my phone's SIM (not my unlimited data tablet SIM) into any locked-or-unlocked AT&T compatible smartphone, I am informed that my plan has changed to 'an appropriate voice and data plan'.

However, as you might imagine, when I revert to any locked-or-unlocked AT&T compatible 'dumb phone' . . . I have to call to get the data plan removed!

Hence, I strongly suggest that anyone attempting to go 'tablet only' with the Note go to a corporate AT&T store, discuss tactics and enlist the assistance of a qualified, game-on representative!

First, NFC might be in it, there is definitely something in the backplate that indicates it might be built in. Is there a way to check in the settings of the phone to verify its functionality?

Also, when we performed speed tests around the Boston area, we averaged a little over 40 MB/s on LTE. The highest download speed we got was 62 MB/s. Ridiculous.

As my boss said, this phone would only look normal sized if Kevin Garnett was using it. I think AT&T should market it as "the official phone of the NBA".

I'm too lazy to get links now, but from other reviews specs I've seen, yes, that is NFC hardware in the back cover, but it has been disabled by Samsung/ATT for now.

I've also been amazed by the speeds. Speeds on LTE consistently beat the speeds on Wifi.

I went to the store again to play with the Note and the guy who approached me. He was fairly knowledgeable about the device. Seeing as he has been using the device for a little while now. He said he really liked it and made his Iphone feel like a brick. Their is a part of me that wants this device partially just because the AMOLED display is just beautiful on that much real estate but also a very capable phone. Also knowing that Samsung is pretty hacker friendly their would be custom ROMS soon. Heck root was acheieved before it was released.

I love my Galaxy Nexus, but if this comes to Verizon I will jump all over it. I just hope they wait a little while and upgrade the specs. Slap a Tegra 3 or something in this and I will pay anything for it. Atleast that way it is a big upgrade from the nexus.

Coming from the Iphone 4 and previously the iphone 3G this is a HUGE upgrade. Android is so much better than the IOS. So less restrictive and just awesome. The note is the Iphone killer, looks like apple will as usual just be playing catch up when they drop the iphone 5. The note is amazing and with ice cream sandwhich will get even better, which is hard to do with this device as is.

Honestly the size is not that big of a deal. It took me about a day to adjust but now there is no turning back. I had to use my HTC Evo briefly and it didn't feel right any more. I even used my wife's iPhone 4 and I felt like an old man trying to read the text on the screen. As far the S-Pen goes, I'm not sure why there is anyone complaining about it. You don't even know it exists unless you want to. I find it extremely helpful for editing photos and sketching, I even got the lead singer from Thousand Foot Krutch to sign my phone with it.

Is the screen tech the same as my Galaxy-Nexus ? I was at Worst Buy and they had the Note on display, and it looked very sharp and detailed, beautiful screen. It looked a lot clearer than my Galaxy-Nexus.

I bought the Note the first day it was available. What drew me to it was the stylus. As far as I was concerned it was about time a stylus came back. Too big? That's pure BS. I'm 6'2" and this fits just right. I'm also at older edge of life so I need reading glasses and with this large screen I can actually read things when I don't have the glasses on. It's not awkward at all and for all you young ones out there, the brick phones of the early days of cellular where the monsters and no one complained about them.
Everyone that has seen my phone was impressed and really liked it, even people with small hands. I have yet to hear anyone say "what's that thing" or even hear a smirk. It seems that the snobs of tech media are the ones that get bent out of shape (probably all part of the Apple cult and can't see see beyond their iPhone.).
Seriously this is a great phone and fits in pockets. I bought a bluetooth earpiece to use (since you basically have to have one by law in most places to talk and drive.

many yrs ago, I had a O2 XDA Exec that did everything today's tablets do and people back then laughed at the design of the Exec because of its size (domestically also known as the JasJar). As yrs went on, I moved to blackberries but complained to RIM R&D that their screens were too small for us older folk who are tech savvy but don't see so well. He laughed and said the popular trend was "smaller and smaller." Now RIM is in the toilet and iPhones and Android smartphones with big screens are dominating. Wish I could find that tech today at RIM & do the "told you so." So now people say this Galaxy Note is comically big? Go ahead....laugh. I'm sure RIM is real amused too at having missed the bigger is better boat!