Samsung Galaxy Note Review – Phone + Tablet = Awesome!

Samsung Galaxy Note - Review and ComparisonIf you haven’t heard of the Samsung Galaxy Note, now is the time to educate yourself. It’s a phone. It’s a tablet. And I absolutely love it.

At the moment, the Samsung Galaxy Note is only available on AT&T, and even though I’ve inquired of my friends at Samsung about when this is coming to other networks (specifically Verizon, since that’s what I’m using) they claim they have no idea other than when Verizon decides to take it. Someone needs to make this happen.

Form Factor

Samsung Galaxy Note - Size ComparisonThe Note is called a phone/tablet hybrid because of its size. You can see that, in comparison to my current phone (the Samsung Charge), the Samsung Galaxy Note is much bigger. The screen is 5.3 inches big, housing a resolution of 1280 x 720. Thanks to the larger resolution, the home screen can now fit a 5×5 grid of apps instead of the regular 4×4. This added real-estate is great if you have a lot of apps to manage. Consuming media on the go is also much better because of the high-quality large screen.

Samsung Galaxy Note - Size Too Big for HandsOf course, this larger screen comes at a bit of an ergonomic price. Admittedly, I have fairly large hands but even I cannot grip the Note all the way around with one hand. This makes texting a take a bit more work than I’d like unless I use both hands which isn’t always ideal, especially when driving down the road. (Just kidding, obviously!)


Samsung Galaxy Note - Internet 4g Speed TestAnother Note-worthy detail is the speed at which the phone and the web perform. The phone performs great, even on the AT&T 4G LTE network which has been known to have some issues, at least from personal experience. I’ve been getting about 20 megabits down and 10 up, which is impressive! Apps and games run smoothly thanks to the dual-core 1.4 GHz processor which makes even the most intensive apps feel snappy.

Overall Review

Samsung Galaxy Note - S Pen Stylus from WacomOverall, this thin phone is great. Cali and I both loved it and the added stylus (which utilizes Wacom technology) is great for note takers and artists alike. All of this combined with the 8-MP camera, there’s no reason NOT to want this phone and if I could, I’d switch to it permanently in a heartbeat!

One last little detail. As Cali and the rest of the gang will attest, it’s extremely rare that I actually get excited about a phone. Like, it’s never happened before. So, for getting me jazzed up about anything mobile, we’re awarding the Samsung Galaxy Note a Geek Beat Editor’s Choice award!


  1. Albert says

    Yeah, no clue what the other person is talking about. Leaks of ics for att galaxy note has been out, It’s on a second run now. And I have been flashing about 5 different roms now on my note to see which is the best for my needs. xda has a forum dedicated to i717, which is the att version of the note. Sure the international version has a faster CPU and better GPU, both are dual-cores, so speeds are acceptable in any standard nowadays. And 4g lte speeds vs 3g/fake 4g, night and day. Wifi wherever you go. The only gripe I have is the battery life. I get about 8-12 hours out of the battery. Which is pretty good considering I use it as a mini laptop and tablet. 80% of what I do on a PC can be done with my note, for an iPhone I’d say about 40%. I fitted the 64gb micro sdxc card into my note and now it’s a multimedia device on the go. Couldn’t think of any device out right now that can compete with the functionality and capabilities of the galaxy note, maybe galaxy note2?

  2. Elizabeth says

    Has anyone run the Quadrant Standard app on it to see how it compares to other Android devices?

  3. says

    I love the note’s hardware. that being said, it’s just a tiny bit slow compared to the international version and other international quad-core phones like the galaxy s3, international htc one x, international htc one s, etc. We here in the US are in the bad situation of all of the cellular providers pushing 4G LTE like there is no other option, and are thus demanding that all phones they choose to carry USE the 4G LTE network that they are building and the newer phones with the ultra specifications don’t support LTE and thus won’t be subsidized by cellular providers.
    tl;dr: new international phones are awesome, companies are making slower, less sophisticated versions for american markets because they can be fitted with LTE compatible modems.

    the international version of the note, which uses a samsung exynos cpu is *much* faster and already has ICS… which brings me to another thing…

    the at&t galaxy note came out several MONTHS after the release of Android 4.0.x (Ice Cream Sandwich). and yet, people here in america, with the 4G LTE AT&T model, STILL DON’T HAVE ICS!

    A legitimate first party ice cream sandwich ROM could go a LONG way in making the note work and feel faster as well as updating it’s user interface elements and bringing with it the much nicer app switcher, and a slew of other ICS features.

    As much as I love the note’s hardware (it’s big, beautiful (sharp, dense, well saturated display), great industrial design), I can’t properly recommend it to anybody while it’s still running gingerbread (android 2.3.5) because the app switcher is horrible, it’s slower, and missing many of the ui niceties that make tablets good these days. I’m sure once the new OS hits the note, it’ll be a great platform… but if at&t/samsung wait too long, it’ll be too late and phones like the htc one x, and samsung galaxy s III will have already taken over the market space.

    and outside of consumer space, I wish there was a little more development support for the at&t version over on and other such rom development sites to aid in pulling apart the stock roms, removing the bloat, and optimizing this phone to be it’s very best.

  4. Florin says

    Were you folks paid to do such a positive and limited review? I would expect from Geekbeat that they mention at the least that the stylus isn’t that great.

    The stylus has an offset, which differs per orientation. When using the standard included app, you will see that when you touch the screen with the stylus, that the line will not be drawn at the tip of the stylus. There is an offset. The size off the offset and the direction of it, seem to differ based on the orientation of the device.

    The same notes app doesn’t recognize pressure levels, so although it might be using wacom like stylus technology, we haven’t been able to find an app where we can find out if it actually has pressure levels.

    We have 2 Galaxy Notes at work, both having the same poor stylus performance.

    • says

      there is a calibration utility that is either an app or in the settings (i’m sorry I can’t remember which, I only had about 4 hours with the device that I tried out). this calibration tool basically allows you to train the note both in landscape and portrait (much in the same way as old palm and windows mobile devices calibrated) so they can learn your personal writing angle so the offset will be “correct”.

  5. Felipe Baez says

    You say that is difficult texting when you’re driving. You’re not supposed to be texting while you’re driving!! That’s dangerous for you and for people around. i believe we all have the responsibility to preach the best practices in Technology usage, also WHEN to use it.

  6. Jomichael Porter says

    But can it fit in the front pocket of your jeans? This seems to do so many things that I need in a smartphone, but if I can’t easily carry it in my pocket everywhere, its utility falls so much as to be nearly pointless.

    • says

      It DOES in fact fit in the front pocket of pretty much any man’s jeans. I have personally pocket tested the galaxy note for a few hours (was borrowing a friend’s phone for my personal review). Further, I found that my samsung galaxy tab (and other 7″ devices) also fit just fine in most of my front pants pockets (albeit with a very slight bulge), but the 5″ note, fit with 0 problems and very little bulge (it’s big in the x and y, but it’s super thin 😀 )