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Hands on with the 5.3″ Samsung Galaxy Note

Been playing with the Samsung Galaxy Note for the past week. It’s a peculiar device, being the biggest smartphone to date yet doesn’t seem to have that bulky feel compared, say to Dell’s Streak. I’ve shown this phone to a lot of friends and the most common reaction is that of intrigue accompanied by the question, “would I look stupid carrying this around?”

The Samsung Galaxy Note is the latest smartphone from Samsung. It’s 100% similar to their flagship release, the Galaxy S II but with two key differences: a larger 5.3″ screen and a stylus pen.


Screen size and real estate
The Note comes with a 5.3″ Super AMOLED screen giving it an awesome WXGA 1280×800 resolution. That’s HD. This means that by far, this is the best device below 7 inches that you can own to view photos, video and browse the Internet at epic quality. Super AMOLED is one thing — the images are already crisp and bright — but add the fact that the screen is now bigger makes this device great for multimedia while still be easily pocketable (not in skinny jeans!).

Samsung Galaxy Note

Super AMOLED also accounts for the fact that this phone can stay very thin. If you look back at the design spec for Super AMOLED, it doesn’t just account for brightness — it also accounts for the tech to be very thin while at the same time conserving battery life (this was really the selling point of OLED screens back in 2006; today we have upgraded to AMOLED, Super AMOLED and Super AMOLED+)

Stylus: What’s it for?
I’ll state on record that I’m not a huge fan of the stylus text input. It reminds me of the dark ages of Windows Phone and Palm. I got used to it and quickly ditched it for better UI and touch screens. It’s been a long time since Android perfected the art of touch so what’s the point of the stylus?

Samsung Galaxy Note

I’m glad to say that the Galaxy Note doesn’t force you to use the pen. You CAN use it for text input but everyone will agree that the keyboard gets the job done faster. Especially since the entire keyboard is now bigger due to the larger screen. The pen is used to doodling, taking notes, taking screenshots + writing on them. Now that’s useful. The pen is used for activities that are better suited for a pen and that’s what’s great about it.

Worth it?
Yes. If you think a tablet is too big. But if you already own a 4.3″ device, you might see the upgrade as very incremental. I think the sweet spot would be to buy this if you have a device in the 3″ and below category because you will really feel the difference browsing from a crisp 5.3″ screen. There’s a world of a difference.

The Note comes with the latest version of Android, v2.3 Gingerbread and it runs on a 1.4GHz dual core processor. So there’s really no lag in video and other multimedia. If you want me to nitpick to find something wrong with this phone, it would be its price point which is nearly USD $100 more expensive than the Galaxy S II when it first launched early this year.

In the Philippines, the Samsung Galaxy Note retails for PHP 34,xxx.00 (USD $1.00 = PHP 44.xx)

[Disclosure: This post is part of a paid campaign for Samsung]

By Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast, EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

9 replies on “Hands on with the 5.3″ Samsung Galaxy Note”

Wow, just looking at your photo Sir Jayvee, the resolution is already great.

When I saw the stylus, I suddenly remembered Jobs was quoted as saying, “As soon as you have a stylus, you’re dead.” 🙂

what do you think is it worth it to transfer to samsung note or wait for iphone5? is android better than iphone? i find samsung note16gb intriguing it sells higher than iphone4s 16gb

the next iPhone is due to come out late 2012. As for “better” it’s a matter of preferences. I prefer an iPad for tablets because the game offerings are better but I prefer Android for phones.

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