Samsung Galaxy Note – A Personal Smartphone Review

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Samsung Galaxy Note – A Personal Smartphone Review

One of the most notable Android smartphones of the last year or so has to be the Samsung Galaxy Note. This supersized phone which some people have been calling a Phablet took consumers in a direction that most manufacturers had not dared to tread whilst most manufactures where designing smaller Samsung decided to do the opposite.

My Samsung Galaxy Note

This approach intrigued me so 2 months ago I decided that my trusty 2 years old HTC Desire had come to the end of its usefulness and got myself the Note. In this article I’m going to share my opinion of this super sized Android Smartphone, read on for a frank and honest review.

Screen Size

Ok when this handset was launched critics and people who hadn’t touched one let alone owned one where saying all sorts like a handset with a 5.3-inch display would be almost impossible to hold and it wouldn’t be able to fit in your jeans pocket.

I’ve had my Samsung Galaxy Note nearly 2 full months now and I can tell you that with or without a case for protection the Note fits into my jeans pocket, so don’t believe the hype

I’ve had my Samsung Galaxy Note nearly 2 full months now and I can tell you that with or without a case for protection the Note fits into my jeans pocket, so don’t believe the hype

If you can go into a shop and actually hold one I’d advise you to do so. I’ll admit that when I first held the Samsung Galaxy Note the first thing I noticed was the width of the screen it surprised me as to how much of my hand it took to hold it. I quickly realised that the Note was a handset that needed 2 hands to operate.


The first thing other than the screen size I noticed was how smooth the touch screen felt when swiping through the 7 home screens. Clicking on apps and exploring the phones many functions is also a joy as they respond immediately to a single tap of the finger. I’m assuming this is due to the Samsung Galaxy Note having a dual core 1.4ghz processor unlike the single core 1ghz cpu of my previous handset.

That said though I have noticed that a Twitter widget I use sometimes does require 2 or sometimes 3 taps to open, so far this has been the only widget/app to behave this way.

S Pen

Using the S Pen or finding a use for it up to this point has been something that has avoided me, yes I like to take pictures but up to now I’ve had no desire to edit them or colour them in using the S Pen. The same can be said to taking notes, I find using the keyboard to jot down notes and shopping lists quicker and more intuitive.

I’m not saying that the S Pen is useless it’s just “SO FAR” I don’t have a need for it, having said that I do know people who use it all the time for note taking and drawing so I suppose it comes down to personal preference.

Pre installed apps

Most handsets these days come with preinstalled manufacturer apps and the Galaxy Note is no exception. Pre-installed apps include Social Hub, Music Hub, S Memo, Mini Diary, S Note and Crayon physics these are just a few of the pre installed apps.

The Samsung Galaxy Note comes packed with samsungs own apps.

Whilst Samsung may have considered these apps to be useful I would have liked to have the ability to uninstall the ones I don’t use, unfortunately though this is not the case and as a Note owner I’m forced to have my phones memory clogged up with unused apps.

The only Samsung app that I do use on a regular basis is Social Hub, this app amalgamates all of your social and email accounts into one easy to manage screen and gives you the ability to choose each account individually and update / download email at the swipe of a finger. I use this app for work related email, unlike the stock Samsung email app Social Hub is easy to use.

Battery Life

Giving the Samsung Galaxy Note a full charge enables me to use the handset without a further charge for roughly 24 hours, that being said though it does depend on what I’m doing. If I just use the handset without browsing the web and watching videos, so that’s Wi-Fi or mobile internet switched off I would expect it to last longer probably 36 hours or so.

Unfortunately though I use my handset to browse the web “A LOT” so most of the time I’m updating my Facebook status, tweeting and watching handset review videos the downside to this much Wi-Fi usage is that the Galaxy Note needs charging again before I go to bed.

Browsing the Web

Web browsing is an interesting if not sometimes frustrating experience on the Note; the first thing I would say is don’t use the pre installed browser quite frankly it’s useless! Instead I have downloaded Chrome and FireFox both of these Android browsers are better than the stock one and each offer pros and cons when compared to the other.

Each browser renders the blog slightly differently on the Samsung Galaxy Note.

The images above are from a recent app developer interview I helped with, on the left is FireFox with Chrome on the right. As you can see each browser renders the blog slightly differently on the Samsung Galaxy Note.

The display of the Note makes browsing the web an interesting experience, colours are vibrant and text and images are as detailed as you would expect. Zooming in and out on websites is easy with pinch to zoom however I have discovered that some sites do not respond to this a quickly as I would like. Whether this is the note, site or the browser having problems at this time I haven’t quite worked out which one it is.

Overall Opinion

I could have included a lot more information in this article but honestly there is too much to talk about, this 1000+ word article could easily have become a 3000+ words in length.

Overall my opinion of the Samsung Galaxy Note is that it’s a good looking slim but huge screened handset that in my opinion does not quite know what it is. If Samsung had left out the S Pen I believe this would have been no great loss. In fact there’s a lot about the Note that Samsung could have left out but not one of them would have been its screen size.

Once you’ve used its 5.3 inch display for a while you become desensitised to it, this makes every other handset apart from the Note 2 look small and eye squinty when browsing the web or using apps etc.

What is exciting about the Note is the fact that I know that I haven’t even scratched the surface in what it can do yet, so it could grow on me some more.

Should You Get One

If you want a handset with a bigger screen, then apart from its successor there isn’t any bigger. Its light weight and full of possibly fun features than anyone can get to grips with quickly. As I said earlier if you can get yourself down to the shops and ask a sales assistant to let you have a look you should do it.

Whilst it isn’t the most inuitive of smartphones (That honor goes to my old HTC Desire) I beleive that once you have this handset it’s extremely hard to turn your back on.

Main Image Source: John Biehler

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