Samsung Galaxy Note Tablet-Smartphone

February 14, 2012 by staff 

Samsung Galaxy Note Tablet-Smartphone, It’s impossible to ignore the Galaxy Note’s centerpiece – that’s the 5.3-inch Super AMOLED display with a 1280×800 resolution that matches those found on large tablets and laptops.
The Galaxy Note has an identity crisis it needs to clear up. On the one hand, it’s sort of a mini tablet due to its huge 5.3-inch display (largest of any smartphone on sale) and fancy stylus. On the other other hand, it also functions exactly like an Android smartphone on AT&T’s 4G LTE network, meaning you’ll be required to get a two-year contract chained to your leg and pay for a voice plan.

Either way, AT&T just let us rub our greasy fingers all over a Note. Read on for our hands-on impressions.

Drop Dead Gorgeous Display

It’s impossible to ignore the Galaxy Note’s centerpiece — that’s the 5.3-inch Super AMOLED display with a 1280×800 resolution that matches those found on large tablets and laptops.

Regrettably, there’s really no proper way to describe just how fantastic the Note’s screen is. If you’re already rocking a smartphone that sports a 720p display such as the LG Nitro HD or Samsung Galaxy Nexus, the Note’s screen won’t make you skip a beat. But, if you’re coming up from an iPhone 4 or anything smaller, the Note’s display will knock you off your feet.

Not only does the screen fill up with more content when browsing the Web, but photos look so crisp you can literally see details you normally wouldn’t have noticed before. It’s like going from a 480p standard definition TV to a 1080p high definition set. The difference is night and day. The only thing to be bummed about is that it’s a dust and fingerprint magnet. Be sure to have a microfiber cloth handy. You’ll need it.

Not Bad For A Stylus

Remember the Palm Pilot? (Without looking at Wikipedia, that is.) Before capacitative touchscreens paved the way for finger-friendly multitouch and gestures, mobile devices that had touchscreens worked primarily with a stylus.

The iPhone changed all of that in 2007. Steve Jobs famously said after the iOS 4 unveil event, “If you see a stylus, they blew it.” He was referring to Apple’s competitors.

From what I could tell, the “S Pen” stylus is fairly responsive, but it’s not pin-point accurate, which is disappointing after you hear it uses Wacom technology. Samsung did benefit, though: the S Pen is pressure sensitive, allowing different pen thicknesses to carry through when you fancy a sketch. You’ll notice that when you start drawing on the S Memo app (you hold the S Pen’s clicker and double tap the screen to bring it up, which makes the Note extremely doodle-friendly). For the most part, I had no trouble tapping onscreen elements, jotting down notes or even drawing with it.

With that in mind, is the S Pen really the second coming of the stylus as Samsung’s Galaxy Note Superbowl commercial would have you believe?

Frankly, the answer is no. While the S Pen is useful for certain tasks such as note-taking, it’s still another extra step between you and your content. The S Pen is more of a complementary input to the Note’s standard finger-activated touchscreen. It’s there when you need it, and not necessary when you don’t. It’s like a nice backup.

That said, I imagine if you’re even remotely considering the Galaxy Note, you might already love using styli more than most people, and will make more of an effort to reach for it. Of particular interest is that the S Pen feels a tad bit short and plasticky. It would have been nice if Samsung had made the S Pen an extendable one (like the one bundled with the Nintendo 3DS). Samsung does sell an “S Pen Holder” shell that gives the S Pen a little more girth. No pricing on that case has been announced yet.

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