Hands-on with the Galaxy Siblings - Samsung Galaxy Note and Galaxy Nexus


Samsung Galaxy Note - Split Personality?

Does Size Matter? 

If there is one thing that distinguishes between a smartphone and a tablet, it would be the screen size. Compared to their smartphone counterparts, tablets generally have larger display sizes ranging from 7-inches to 10.1-inches. Well, Samsung is set forth to blur the boundary between them with its Galaxy Note smartphone, which sports a mammoth 5.3-inch display. Is that all? Let's find out: - 

 Samsung Galaxy Note

  Key highlights of the Samsung Galaxy Note 

  • Android 2.3 Gingerbread with latest Samsung TouchWiz UX
  • 1.4GHz dual-core processor
  • 5.3-inch HD Super AMOLED / 1280 x 800 pixels
  • 1GB RAM
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, WiFi hotspot
  • 8-megapixel rear camera / LED flash + 2.0-megapixel front facing camera 
  • 16GB + microSD expansion(up to 32GB)
  • 2500mAh battery
  • 178g
  • 146.85 x 82.95 x 9.65mm
     
  • Price and Availability: S$998 (from 18 November 2011) at all three telcos  

 Gregory Lee, President and CEO of Samsung Asia Pte Ltd was present at the event to announce the debut of the Samsung Galaxy Note in Southeast Asia.

You are looking at the largest display ever on a mobile phone. The whopping 5.3-inch display is really gorgeous to look at although some people might have problems holding it in one hand, especially those with smaller hands.

We tried stretching our finger to the other end but failed due to the huge display and width of the Samsung Galaxy Note.

It is a pity that the Samsung Galaxy Note does not run on the latest Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. It currently ships with Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread.

Do not be deceived by its massive screen size. The Samsung Galaxy Note is actually quite slim at 9.65mm.

The round edges of the Samsung Galaxy Note helps in having a better handling of the massive device.

You can find the Samsung Galaxy Note's S Pen at the bottom left hand corner of its back. It requires quite a bit of effort to take out the S Pen from its slot.

We found the S Pen to be extremely handy in jotting down quick notes, sketching and drawing.

You can use the S Pen for typing out messages if you find touch typing to be a chore.

We decided to test the screen sensitivity by attempting to write with our fingers. The screen did register the input. Pretty impressive uh? You likely won't have space to attempt such on smaller phones though.

A bigger screen means a more spacious virtual keyboard. This translates to a more comfortable typing experience as the keys are sufficiently spaced and larger in size.

The virtual keyboard can also be used in landscape mode.

If you are concerned about its portability, don't worry as it can easily fit into a back jeans pocket.

What about the front pocket? Well, we gave it a try in a pair of slim fit jeans and ...

... it fits perfectly fine! Fortunately, it doesn't feel heavy, nor caused a bulge to appear. We guess Samsung has done a bit of homework.

The Samsung Galaxy Note is clearly in a league of its own. Looks like the Galaxy S II has to make way for its larger sibling.

The Samsung Galaxy Note dwarfs the 3.5-inch display of the Apple iPhone 4S. Will the same happen for its sales? That's a good question.

The Samsung Galaxy Note will be available in Singapore from November 18 onwards at all three telcos. The device will also roll out in Vietnam and Malaysia on Nov 11, Indonesia on Nov 12, Thailand on Nov 18, Philippines on Nov 19 and Australia on Feb 1st 2012.

After seeing the Samsung Galaxy Note, you must be wondering which groups of consumers are Samsung targeting. Well, Samsung positions the Galaxy Note as a new product category which combines core on-the-go benefits of a smartphone and a tablet, to create a whole new user experience.

The Samsung Galaxy Note is targeted at business users and the young generation. Samsung is enhancing the enterprise capabilities of the device through its partnership with Juniper Networks to provide secure remote access to corporate network resources. The young generation can also use the Galaxy Note to express their creativity through user-generated content on the device.

From our hands-on experience, we were duly impressed with the Samsung Galaxy Note. First and foremost, you cannot deny that it has one of the most beautiful screens ever with its 5.3-inch HD Super AMOLED display. Multimedia content and web browsing experience have never been better on a smartphone. Second, the massive size of the display allows you to do more things as it allows split-screen operation for the most frequently used apps, hence saving the trouble of switching between apps.

Third, while styluses or pen inputs disappeared after the demise of PDAs, it has made a comeback recently with the HTC Flyer, the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet and now, the Samsung Galaxy Note. According to Samsung, the S Pen on the Galaxy Note utilizes the most advanced pen input technology. Our experience with the S Pen was largely positive as it was quite accurate and responsive. You can use the S Pen in specially designed apps such as Soonr Workplace, which allows team collaboration through direct annotation on various file formats stored in the Soonr Cloud. 

The only drawbacks of the Samsung Galaxy Note were its larger than normal screen size and dimensions. While screen size does matters in some circumstances, it may turn off some users who are concerned about their privacy. Those around you can easily take a peek over your shoulder and see what you are doing on the Galaxy Note although you can address this with a privacy film. Dimensions-wise, you have to consider the daily usage of the phone, especially when conversing on the Galaxy Note. It does look weird to be seen walking around with a large phone beside your ear, which resembles close to being a small tablet!

If you do not mind using a large phone, the Samsung Galaxy Note is actually quite a capable device. 

How The Samsung Galaxy Note Compares with the Competition
Specifications Samsung Galaxy Note HTC Sensation XL Motorola RAZR Apple iPhone 4S
Operating System / User Interface
  • Google Android 2.3 / Samsung TouchWiz UI
  • Google Android 2.3 / HTC Sense 3.5 UI
  • Google Android 2.3.5 / Motorola RAZR UI
  • iOS 5
Processor
  •  1.4GHz dual-core 
  • 1.5GHz single-core
  • 1.2GHz dual-core
  • Apple A5 dual-core 1GHz
Built-in Memory
  •  1GB RAM
  • 768MB RAM
  • 1GB RAM
  • 512MB RAM
Display
  •  5.3-inch, 1280 x 800 pixels, HD Super AMOLED Display
  • 4.7-inch, 800 x 480 pixels, S-LCD Display
  • 4-3-inch, 960 x 540 pixels, Super AMOLED Advanced Display
  • 3.5-inch, 640 x 960 pixels, TFT capacitive IPS touchscreen 
Camera
  • 8-megapixel / Autofocus / LED flash / 1080p@30fps video recording
     
  • 2.0-megapixel for Video Call
  • 8-megapixel / Autofocus / LED flash / 720p video recording
  • 1.3-megapixel for Video Call
  • 8-megapixel / Autofocus / LED flash / 1080p@30fps video recording
     
  • 1.3-megapixel for Video Call
  • 8-megapixel / Autofocus / LED flash /  1080p@30fps video recording
     
  • VGA front facing camera
     
Storage
  •  16GB + microSD expansion (up to 32GB)
  • 16GB + microSD expansion 
  •  16GB + microSD expansion (up to 32GB)
  •  16/32/64GB (no storage expansion options)
Battery
  •  2500mAh
  • 1600mAh
  •  1750/1780mAh
  •  1432mAh
Dimensions
  • 146.85 x 82.95 x 9.65mm
  • 132.5 x 70.7 x 9.9mm
  •  131 x 69 x 7.1mm
  •  115.2 x 58.6 x 9.3mm
Weight
  •  178g
  • 162.5g
  •  127g
  •  140g