The Galaxy Note is designed with a two-handed approach, try using it with one hand and you'll struggle to do basic things. Making calls in a hurry with one hand is a curse-inducing task. You could try using Samsung's Voice Talk, but it never worked for us with the Galaxy S II and it wasn't a great experience with the Note as well, so it's best avoided.
For details on what’s available in the package, head on over to our hands-on preview.
A bundled stylus that enables you to scribble...take notes
Now for some irritating nits, although most of them are minor, they can frustrate you if you don’t adjust around them. The placement of the volume and power buttons, as many have already pointed out is a major pain point. You will keep hitting the volume buttons with your index finger when you press the power button with your thumb. Moving them just a couple of centimeters off each other would’ve solved this. The buttons themselves are too narrow, not raised enough. The feedback from these buttons is weak, and what’s worse is that the time-gap between power-off and lock-screen is probably just a fraction of a second or more. So, if you keep it pressed for just a tiny bit longer, it will pop-up the power-off menu, instead of just locking the screen.
I also found the main Home key a bit too thin for my liking. Because it’s thin and long, it tends to see-saw, instead of giving you a firm solid-feedback.
Features and Performance
Halfway through my first month of ownership, I was beginning to get a pretty good picture of the Galaxy Note’s strengths. The large, vibrant 5.3-inch WXGA screen and 1.4GHz of dual core goodness have clearly enhanced its usability. And a more accommodative 2500mah battery pack, makes it more open to use for extended periods of time. It is this troika of power, battery-life, and screen size that makes the Galaxy Note really leap ahead into a self-created league of its own.
Space for a ton of apps and media
The phone shows no signs of hiccups during its initial usage, but as is the nature of the Android OS, it will bloat itself up and start showing signs of impending slow-down. If you keep spring-cleaning its innards from time to time, you should do okay. There have been instances when the OS has stuck itself into a loop: click back would take me to messaging, then back again to messaging, and then again! A hard reset was required to get it out of this vicious loop. These and many other nonsensical Android and Samsung TouchWiz UI specific problems can and do occur from time to time. It will sometimes lag behind your clicks for no apparent reason, and sometimes start typing after you’ve nearly finished the sentence. The delay from getting a phone call and the screen lighting up is also very discernible, so is the delay when you want to disconnect the call. As a pure phone-messaging device, Samsung’s TouchWiz UI really leaves a lot to be desired.
But as a content consumption device, the device is just unstoppably fast. I have started using the Dolphin HD browser heavily, and it just rips out pages from the web. Twitter and Facebook apps work without scroll hiccups, and jumping from app to app is a pretty smooth experience. I have now become accustomed to shifting to landscape mode, whenever I want to read a web-page, the extra width gives the text enough breathing space, and while it still requires zooming into sometimes, it’s not very strenuous on the eyes.
Linpack and Antutu benchmark scores
In terms of sheer performance, its dual-core 1.4GHz processor doesn’t disappoint. Churning out 90.341 MFLOPs in the Linpack benchmark for Android, it demolishes its competition. Higher priced products, such as the HTC Sensation XL are left trailing behind. It’s no different with the AnTuTu benchmark. The Galaxy Note scores an impressive 6320 points, as compared to the 4,500-odd points of some of the other dual-core processor-powered devices in the market. So, it’s very clear that the Galaxy Note is more than just marginally faster.
With regards to video playback, Samsung has been always known for infusing their devices with plenty of codecs to suit your needs. The Galaxy Note is capable of reading MP4, DivX, XviD, WMV, H.264, H.263 file formats and even supports video playback of up to 1080p, if coded correctly. Sticking to the trend with their high-end and mid-range devices, Samsung has also provisioned the Note with a 5.1 surround sound enhancement setting. Unfortunately, you’re stuck with MHL (Mobile HI-Def Link) AV connectivity, rather than HDMI, which would have been a better option in this case. The audio player also includes features like EQ presets and an eight band graphic EQ option for those who prefer manual control.
Identical to the Galaxy S2's camera
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