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Samsung Galaxy Note – Review
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Samsung Galaxy Note – Review

One thing be assured, when you hold Galaxy Note on hand in public, you would get curious stares.  People might like it or hate it or ridicule it or be awed by it but there is no getting away from being the focal point coz first thing that strikes you about this  Samsung’s latest addition to its galaxy pantheon is it’s monster screen display size. Sporting a 5.3″ display area,  it dwarfs almost all the phones in the market but the phone is more than just the massive screen field. It comes packed with some amazingly rich features, lets note down all in this review.

So the question is. Is it a phone? Is it a tablet? The answer would be it is both and more. It has the best of both worlds and also packs its own rich additions.

wondering what an antiquated stylus is doing here? Well Samsun calls it S-Pen and it can do lot more than your regular stylus. More about that later.

Ok so here you have the Note, I shot with my camera. Sorry for the poor image, after shooting Galaxy Note on camera, I realized its no mean task to product shoot mobiles especially those with shiny screens. Hoping to perfect the art soon. Anyways, back to Note.

Even for the most skeptic user who might feel it is quiet big to hold, the size of the screen would make one go awestruck instantly.  With more apps providing sizzling graphics and utility apps that looks neat in larger area and not to forget the browsing experience in bigger screen, the bigger screen is a delight for many smart phone user experiences.

So what we like on external form factor?

  5.3″ HD Super AMOLED screen. Carrying forward the now almost perfected art of making good screens, the Note’s screen is sheer brilliant. Packing a 285ppi, the colors are vibrant, crisp and rich and can rival Apple’s famed retina display.

  The back panel got a nice texture that aids in the grip. For a phone of this size, the texture is very important to keep it intact in palm. (Though, when you open the back panel, you might be alarmed by the thin sheet of plastic that actually it is, but after couple of times fiddling around opening and packing again I got used to it)

There is only one touch button on the front panel on the bottom middle. When pressed it brightens up the screen as well as while working it takes you to the recent task manager. Other than this there are two touch navigation on the either side of the center button, that glows when you touch them.

What all there on the external form?

  • The charger port/data cable port is on the bottom
  • Volume rocker is on the left top.
  • On the left side, you find the on/off  power button
  • On top you have the 3.5 mm audio jock.
  • The speaker is on the top front panel above the samsung logo
  • There is a front 2 MP camera and a rear 8 MP camera  with LED Flash with Action Shot, Beauty, Panorama Shot, Smile Shot settings.

The side of Note gleams with a nice oxide finish  metal rim. On the left corner of the back is docket neatly the S-Pen. It is well packed that it is not obtrusive otherwise while holding.

For a phone of this size, Note is well lean and mean. With a dimension of 146.85 x 82.95 x 9.65 mm and weighing 178 gm, it is quiet an impressive figures for a phone of this monster size. The right bottom shows how it compares alongside a pencil.

Bigger screens means more power hungry. Thankfully, Note comes with a bigger batter too. So we got a 2,500 mAh,  Li-on, standard battery fueling the demands of the device.

Other tech spec:

  As mentioned above it has a 2,500 mAh li-on battery

  Android™ 2.3 (Gingerbread) With IceCream Sandwhich released, one can hope for a firmware update in couple of months and that should bring out the best of Note further.

  1.4GHz Dual Core Processor

  16GB Internal memory + microSD (up to 32GB)

  Accelerometer, Digital compass, Proximity, Barometer, Light sensors.

  connectivity: Bluetooth, Wi-fi, Wi-fi direct and network 3G, HSPA+ up to 21Mbps, EDGE, GPRS

  1080p Full HD video recording &amp playback and plays varied formats like MPEG4/ H.263/ H.264/ DivX, Xvid, WMV, VC-1

  Music player with Sound Alive and FM with recording capability and audio supporting format includes: MP3, AAC, AMR, WMA, WAV, FLAC, OGG

Now let’s check out the features one by one.

The highlight of the phone as the name suggests is the note features aided by the S-Pen. The S-pen is pressure sensitive and can perform quiet a lot of brilliant stuff that we will see further in the article.


One of the main selling point of Galaxy Note is what Samsung calls as S Memo.

You will find the app on the home screen on the bottom app panel. You can open one of the many note listed that comes in various paper patterns – lined, plain, ruled and checks and in few tints.


With the S-Pen you can doodle, scribble, take notes etc… As mentioned earlier the pen is pressure sensitive so you can bring out all your artistic skills. You can change the size of the brush, change colors and if you want you can even use the keypad to type.

Another best thing is you can import images either from gallery or directly shoot it and import it into the memo and then edit it, add whacky captions, do brush effects or scribble and do whatever and then you can share via it to your social network platforms like facebook or via Wi-Fi or bluetooth or social hub or as message or picasa or mail it or simply leave it in memo or export to gallery. You can also send it for print, in case you want to. So if you are in a middle of a meeting or class and want to take a quick note or bored and want to doodle or just kill time scribbling, memo is a best thing to do. Though, the S-pen lags a little while writing but still it is an amazing tool.

Apart S-Pen can also be used to navigate pages. Good thing about S-Pen and Samsung’s piece of engineering  is while the pen is in action it disables any accidental touch activity of palms while S-pen is at work.

So I like:

  The power to scribble, doodle or whatever and the versatile functions and features of the S-Pen

  The ability to import images and annotate it with S-Pen and create a memo or any whacky or serious stuffs. It makes to put across your ideas, thoughts conveniently and easily.

  The multiple share options available.


Mini Diary:

When you browse the app section, you will find something called Mini diary.  On first thought, it might sound simple but then there are quiet a lot of wonderful  possibility to document you life and incidences during various instances of life with this seemingly simple app.

So what this app allows is to create diary to document slices of your life. When you click the create diary option, it takes to you a screen that looks like the one on the top right image. It documents it as per the current date and you can tap to add photos from gallery or direct shoot and import. Then you can add location and also tap to add text to go along with the images. Then, save it. All the events gets added to the diary and you can list later by date or location for convenient filtering. You can also publish the events to social network like facebook.


Android market might have various planner apps but Samsung has packed its own planner to make life easy and calls it S-Planner.

The screenshots are quiet self explanatory of the app.


Samsung has added a tool to make sharing easily via Wi-Fi.

So you can share your videos, photos and music easily between DLNA compliant devices thought Wi-Fi easily through All share tool.


Being a bigger screen, you got a bigger virtual keyboard as well as you can use S-Pen to scribble your messages and they automatically gets converted. Ofcourse, your handwriting has to be neat for proper detection. If you have a loose noodle handwriting, you can only pray and see if it gets analyzed correctly.

Also the bigger size of the phone makes single hand holding and messaging almost impossible. It is not that you cannot message with single hand but then it is not quiet comfortable especially if you have small palm and fingers. So you need both the hands to type message, unless you got a bigger palm and fingers.


5.3″ screen with 1280 x 800 resolution makes browsing a treat. The images are crisp, vibrant and rich.

Pages loads pretty fast and also again the best thing about S-Pen is you can take screen shot of the entire page on screen or clip any particular particular portion of the screen with just a tap of the pen.

Hand motion gestures:

Samsung has added some brilliant and fun additions with the motion capabilities.

  Slide you side palm on the screen and magic! it captures a screen shot. It’s fun to do and at times very convenient.

  While  the video/audio are on, just place your palm on the screen and it gets paused. Dirty minds! I know what you are thinking right now! Yes, if someone comes across all of a sudden, you can just pause on the video as well as hide it by placing a palm over the screen. Ahem! am leaving further to your imagination.

  Apart from the above gestures, you can tilt to zoom, pan to edit, shake to update and turn over to mute.

Camera functionality:

Samsung is getting better and better with its camera functions and Note’s 8 MP delivers a good, rich and crisp images. Holding a bigger phone of this size might be little ackward but then it is better than shooting with a tablet. But then hey, when I attempted pictures  I only invited curious looks and not a frown.  Video is decent enough too.

To edit your videos and photos, Samsung has packed in a pretty neat editing tools, which is surprisingly good enough average users.

Apart from this being an Android phone it comes with all the regular android apps and the market where you can download free/paid apps for various needs.

Galaxy Note is not just your regular smart phone but packs much more features and functions. The S-Pen for one is a very impressive addition that brings alive the Note’s awesomeness.  It is not your any other regular plastic pen and the best part of the Note is S-Pen is not restricted to certain usages but can be used extensively for all the functions and some “super” functions.

Yes, the Note is BIG. No denying. It might look a bit awkward to hold it and make calls especially if you are someone like me with short stature.  But if you get over that mental block, based on the sheer value additions and some amazing functionality, Note stands apart from the rest and it is easily the best Android phone on market now.

Naturally with so many rich features and a bigger screen, it is not everyone’s gadget at the  price of  around Rs. 35K in India.

To be Noted or Noted is all about your perceptions now, do take a note and then decide.

0 20 November, 2011 Technology November 20, 2011

About the author

He is the lead man of GingerChai and plays the multi role of chief author, editor, business development and also of a chaiwala! (Tea maker!) He is the master brewer at Ginger Chai.

View all articles by Lakshmi Rajan


  1. gautam

    Amazing amazing piece of art jst waiting for the upgrade now which will make it mind blowing Ph+ tablet I am very happy to owe it very diff experience wit it I am loving it

  2. Pingback: Ghajini Gets Noted! | Ginger Chai

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