on February 19, 2012
Mine came in Saturday the 18th so only one day later than promised. I'm OK with that. Spent the day playing around with it. I lead an enterprise mobility team and lab for a Fortune 500 company and have access to a lot of the bleeding edge technology coming from vendors these days (except Apple who doesn't share much).
I have to say this thing is excellent. It is big. It fits in one hand for me but being a musician I'm used to stretching my fingers and such so it was no biggie for me. I could see how someone with smaller hands might have trouble using it one handed. Even with my finger stretch I was worried about holding it just in one hand.
I live in an area where AT&T is just now rolling LTE and it isn't anywhere near me but I was getting close to 8Mb down and 1.5 Mb up yesterday in a few areas. The notification bar showed 4G but not 4GLTE so I'm assuming it is HSPA+. (???)
GPS is fantastic. Works like a charm. No problems with Wi-Fi at all and getting great speeds on it.
I really like the S Pen. So many have said "the stylus is dead". Well I have to say after using an iPad and iPad 2 with a capacitive pen and loving Penultimate to the point of no longer taking paper notes (until my work iPad bit the dust) I like taking notes electronically. I have tried every mainstream Android tablet out there in my lab or in stores with good pens and none are that great. Just not good. Until I tried the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet. It has a "stylus" type pen (digitizer) and an app (Notes Mobile ... man I wish they would release for all Android devices not just Lenovo and iOS) that is just out of this world. it got me back to thinking that a stylus is the way to go for accurate note taking and ultimately got me thinking about the Samsung Note.
All that to be said I am fairly impressed. The S Pen is very accurate in its capture of my writing and drawing. It is fast and smooth with not "catches" or "snags" in the writing. Very well done hardware wise. Software wise I am NOT impressed. The handwriting recognition is so Palm. :-) It is only about 50% accurate with my handwriting when trying my best. The Notes Mobile with Lenovo was probably 90% accurate with my WORST handwriting and it converted LIVE on the page as I was writing. It was FANTASTIC. Bottom line on the S Pen ... great hardware ... not so great software.
The screen. Oooohhhhh the screen. I am in love. Yes ... the screen is simply AMAZING. The color is great, the viewing angles are good. I have a Kindle Touch for reading as I've never found another device as light, comfortable, yet big enough to read (as I am a prolific reader). I would have to say the Samsung Note is pushing the envelope. If battery life is good enough to get me through a six hour flight (in airplane mode) or several days of average use then I'm sold and might not need the Kindle. The text with the Kindle app (and in general) is sharp and very easy to read. Video is just astounding.
Performance wise the device is very good. I know there were concerns that the performance of the AT&T (US) Snapdragon 1.5 GHz CPU wouldn't hold up to the 1.4 GHz Exynos that was in the non-US devices. I can't compare the two but the benchmarks I've seen online do show that difference. All I can say is that this is my third Android (had iPhones and WinMobile before that) and it outperforms anything else and has handled all of the 3D games and such I throw at it so unless you are going to be doing massive 3D rendering on this thing (HA) I wouldn't worry about it.
Sound is good. Being a musician I like to take a lot of music with me and the sound has been more than sufficient so far. I haven't tried recording on it yet with my audio interface for Android but let's hope it is quiet. I do like the music app that is included better than others I've used on both Android and iOS. I have am not a fan of bloatware but so far the apps have been useful. I wasn't a fan of TouchWiz when I first saw it on other devices but as other reviewers have state with the extra screen real-estate I think this implementation is nice. I'm VERY much looking forward to ICS on this device if AT&T doesn't take a year to get it to us. I think the "phablet", "phoblet" or "phone tablet" (whatever you want to call it) implementation is nice and ICS would probably work well on this form factor.
Overall build quality is good. Even the plastic back feels OK compared say to the Infuse. I've ordered an oleophobic screen protector that has good reviews with the S Pen and a "case" that goes over the back to protect it but that's it for now until I get used to it. Just want to protect it at this point. The buttons for volume and power / sleep feel nice and solid and comparable to other devices I've had and tested in my lab.
So overall it seems to be a fantastic device. This will be my main device now so we'll see how she holds up under heavy use and handling. Very pleased with this purchase so far. S Pen software could have been better implemented and in a more modern way but it will suffice for now. Also hoping Notes Mobile might make it on the device ... grin. Nice job Samsung.
on February 26, 2012
It's a big phone for but if there's one thing you should be aware of, it's the back. The back can be slippery, I don't recommend letting people who aren't careful hold it or pick it up. My phone has already been dropped, on the back from a short distance to the ground.
The actual design of the phone is in my opinion is A+. The phone is pretty slim for such a big battery and screen size. The only physical button, the Power button is located on the right side. It's pretty much a giant Samsung Skyrocket with a stylus. It feels great in my hand(s) and I have normal sized hands. My personal preference for color is white.
I played with it for a few hours and screen is pretty responsive. I watched a netflix movies and 1080p films over wifi, which were beautiful. The processor seems to move just as fast the one in the skyrocket. There's no lag and handles everything well. South Florida should get 4g next month but HspA+ is enough. 5 to 8 down, 3 to 6 up.
Accessories to buy
I recommend getting a TPU hard gel case with a kickstand.(Not sure if the ones with the stands on amazon)
Leather case for your waist that goes through the belt.
Other thoughts on this phone
Many say you can't use this phone with one hand but why would I want to use it with one hand? (Outside of making a phone call) It better not be for texting and driving. This phone is great for web browsing, watching movies and have fun. This phone is a fun phone and stylus isn't bad.
If you think this phone is too big answer a call and use your ear, then go buy an In-hear Microphone or Bluetooth. I can't give personal experience about the battery life yet until I return my skyrocket. I can tell you that even with JuiceDefender(Battery saver) the skyrocket barely makes it through the the day. This should easily.
Today I got to test battery without modifying any of the settings. 6 or 7 hours later I'm 25% with extremely heavy usage. This is with facebook, 2 emails pushing and heavy browsing.
Battery will last the entire the day with normal useage despite the huge power hungry screen. I watched a few movies and NBA Games. The big 5.3 screen on this phone is just impressive. A few of my co-workers thought the phone was too big until I showed them a few videos. I also don't have any issues holding the phone with one hand.
on March 11, 2012
I am a gadget geek and love to try new electronics. I have been using an iPhone since the 3GS came out, and no matter what phone I tried, I always went back within a few days- Backflip, Tilt, Blackberry Bold, HTC Inspire to name a few.
I ordered the Note from Amazon Wireless, as it was cheaper than AT&T. I haven't played with it as much as I'd like to (not a good idea to order a groovy new phone in the middle of finals), but am so far beyond impressed with it. I haven't even missed my iPhone.
Texting and emailing is much easier due to the size of the screen, and it only took a couple of days to get used to the larger size.
The speaker doesn't seem quite up to par with the iPhone, but is far superior to the Inspire. The screen is just plain beautiful, and the touch interface is outstanding. Setting it up with my ringtones, pictures and whatnot was a breeze, and the battery life has been great- two days between charges.
The internet is lightning fast and blows the iPhone internet out of the water- the Note is great for work or play.
I honestly didn't think I'd find a phone that could come close to the iPhone, I was wrong. Excellent job Samsung, I am impressed.
on February 21, 2012
This will be a quick review for me. If you know the size of this device and pick one up I don't think you'll be disappointed. It's fast. Real fast. The screen is the highest resolution of any current Smartphone and the extra screen real estate takes advantage of it. Video playback (many codecs supported) is amazing. Web browsing is fantastic and very fast on LTE in my area. Camera is basically the same as the GS2 and that's alright by me as it's an excellent camera.
S Pen is very cool and works very well.
The review regarding the plan pricing should be tossed as it has zero to do with the actual device. People like that just skew the average ratings for no reason. I went from an iPhone 4s to the Note and I'm not going back.
I also picked up the Samsung OEM folio style case that replaces the back battery cover and it's pretty sweet.
on February 21, 2012
I have not been this excited about a cell phone since waiting for the original iPhone one to come out. Yes, I am a early adapter.
I love the huge screen. Yes it is big and to some that is a draw back, but I use my phone a lot, but rarely to make phone calls. I am going to school and like to place my PDFs, books, Tabers medical dictionary and other school books on the phone. It really beats having to carry them around, or carrying a separate phone and tablet. I am a little older and my vision is not sharp as it used to be, but the screen is really clear and easy to see. The phone will fit in my dress shirt pocket and any pants or shorts front pockets that I wear.
As for the "wow!" factor. If you remember, I said that I was attending school. The younger students thought the phone was huge and the females thought it was to big for them to carry. But when they saw the PDF notes and the information for the classes I was able to keep on the phone, there still wasn't a "wow" factor or even an "I am impressed" moment, but maybe they understood a bit more. But I did not buy the phone to impress a bunch of young 20 something ladies. So, minus one star for the pretty ladies being unimpressed. LOL
I use the phone a lot for the GPS function. The GPS is very fast to pick up the satellites and find my position. Since the screen is so large, I can easily see where I am going. The screen has wonderful sharpness and contrast. I will not comment of the color quality since I cannot see colors.
Processor speed: I did a bench mark test on the CPU, and CPU coupled with the GPU is fast. Bench marks do not mean to much because they are just numbers, but the dual core processor is pretty quick once in the application and out of the touch whiz interface.
The Samsung interface is a real let down, especially with the included bloatware provided by our friends at ATT. If you are willing to root your phone, you will pick up speed in the main screens and apps screens. I had mine for less than an hour and rooted the phone. I have also modded the lock screen, it is not hard to do. With that mod I can get to my text messages, camera, main menu or adjust the ringer settings with a swipe of the finger instead of having to get to the home screen and then choose what I want to do. But regardless of rather you root your phone; from time you press on the app from the time it launches is fast. My last phone was the infuse, which is very slow and the GPS is even painfully slower.
Stylus: I have play4ed with the stylus a bit and i really cannot see a real use for it except maybe jotting down a short note. I am not going to use the stylus to scroll through screens and pick apps to launch. I makes a nice easy way to write "I love you" to your wife during church. Other than that it is not very useful to me.
Battery: The battery is more difficult to get to then the other phone that I have owned, save the iPhone. Plus, getting the battery cover back on is even harder. I have been playing with my new phone like a child would play with a new toy, so the battery does not seem to last long, but longer than the Infuse or the Skyrocket II. I really wish Samsung would have used the extra real estate, due to the [hones size, to put a little beefier battery.
Conclusion: I really do like the phone. More icons per screen and larger items are easier to see. I spend a lot of time on my phone with internet, apps and texting so ease of use is a huge bonus. I no longer need to carry around a separate tablet or laptop, I have all the information in one place. With the few customizations that I have done, the phone is fast and user friendly. The phone is wide and the need for big hands is a must. The stylus for me is a big looser.
on March 18, 2012
I purchased the Samsung Note a week ago and all i can say is WOW!This is truly the closest thing to a handheld pc i have ever used,only this is much better than any netbook i have owned in the past.The dual core processor running at 1.5Ghz makes this one of the most powerful devices on the market today,not only that but the 1GB of ram,16GB of internal storage and powerful gpu are also what make this phone a must have for a person on the go.Every single app i throw at it starts up instantly,runs smoothly and i have yet to see any programs force close.
This is hands down the best mobile device i have ever used and here is why
The 5.3 inch HD Super Amoled display is bright,colorful and just plain beautiful.Its high resolution allows for a ton of content to be displayed at once.When browsing the web you get a desktop view of sites instead of a cramped mobile view like on other devices such as the Galaxy S II or even the Galaxy S II Skyrocket.
I have a strong AT&T signal in my area so the calls sound crystal clear both with the earpiece and the speaker.When i go out of town and sometimes get 1 or 2 bars of reception the calls still sound good.No dropped calls.
I do not live in an LTE area,i only have hspa+.The data speeds i have been getting are between 3 to 7 mbps download and 700kbps to 1.2mbps upload.Youtube videos play smoothly in high quality mode and most web pages load up in a couple seconds.
I have only used it once or twice so far but it is very responsive and i do think using this could replace a piece of paper for jotting down notes.The other thing that makes this useful is the ability to accurately draw and paint on the Notes screen with it,very nice feature for artists on the go.
It works well in that you don't have to lean in to hear things but i do wish it was louder overall.When you have it at max volume there is some distortion but not too bad.
Samsung got it right!The Vibrant and Captivate that i owned before both had trouble locking on to my location,it would take over 5 minutes to find me and half the time it would show me a mile away from where i really was.The Infuse i bought later did not have as much trouble getting a lock but it just wasn't consistant with accuracy.I am happy to say that the gps on the Note finds my location within a matter of seconds and is accurate to within 9 feet.It has no issues finding satellites.
This has a more of a premium feel to it than other Samsung phones i have used such as the Vibrant which felt very cheap due to the plastic it's made out of.Because of its light weight and slim profile this thing probably would not fair too well after being dropped from waist high.Get a TPU case so the phone has some protection,they are easy to apply and do a great job of keeping the device's body free of scuffs.
There is 16GB built in and you can also use a micro sd card in it.I am currently using a Komputerbay 32GB class 10 card and it works perfectly.
Android Gingerbread is the OS on the phone,it has a much cleaner look to it but other than that i don't see much of a difference between this and Froyo.If you're new to Android or have used it before you will like this OS.
The 8mp camera does an outstanding job of taking pictures (3264x2448).They look colorful and sharp.Even in low light the camera does a good job,not as much noise as was the case with older Samsung phones.When taking in door shots the flash comes in very handy and does its job well.My only gripe with the camera is the HD video recording.When recording in 1080p you will notice that the camera is zoomed in just a little bit,there is no way to unzoom.When you go back to recording 720p or lower resolutions everything looks like it should,not zoomed in at all.It's not that the 1080p looks bad ,it looks quite nice and most people might not even care about the slightly zoomed in effect,but i do hope this is fixable with an update.
The 2mp front camera takes nice self shots and records video that looks smooth & clear,no dropped frames from what i have seen so far.I used it to video chat over Skype with my family and was pleased with the video quality,they were using a T-Mobile Galaxy S II which has a similar camera.
There are 2 of them and they both work well.When making phone calls the other person said my voice was loud & clear.When recording videos my voice was picked up even when i was 4 feet away and recording with the back camera.
On Screen Keyboard
As stated before i have used the Samsung Vibrant,Captivate and Infuse,i never had an issue with typing on the screen and so is the case with the Note.The on screen keyboard is a pleasure to use due to the responsiveness of the capacitive touch screen and how large the keys are since the screen itself is so big.
Entertainment And Work
I have only put 720p movies on it so far and the built in media player handled them like a champ,no skipped frames or other issues.As for gaming all i can say is ONLIVE!Download the app from Android market and enjoy full pc or console games on your phone.Connect the device to an HDTV using the MHL adapter and you will be as amazed as i was the first time i tried it out,seeing everything mirrored perfectly and run smoothly on a large display.If you are doing work such as creating or editing documents the ability to connect to an HDTV or Monitor really does make this a hand held office pc.
I fully charged the battery and then started using the phone.After making some calls which lasted 90 minutes,sending and receiving 20 text messages,using WiFi to browse the internet,check email,use Yahoo Messenger and also download apps from Android Market for 40 minutes total,Playing Need For Speed Shift for 15 minutes,using the gps and AT&T's data network for 35 minutes and taking 33 pictures using the back camera & flash,the battery was still half full by the end of the day.Turning off WiFi when not using it really helps you get the most out of your battery.
It comes with standard stuff such as a usb cable and wall charger.
First of all i have to say that i purchased the Note at full price because i will NEVER sign another cell phone contract again,i am done with them.What i do now is i go prepaid.I just activated an AT&T sim card through their website and chose the gophone plan.When the site asked me to enter the phones IMEI number i just used the one on my cheap AT&T gophone i had for years.After the sim was activated & loaded up with prepaid minutes and data i popped it in the Note....everything works!Phone calls and text messaging worked right away but to get data going i just entered the AT&T apn info i found online,after doing that and restarting the phone data and mms worked perfectly as well.
Other than the 1080p video recording zoom issue i can't really say anything bad about this device.I no longer carry around my netbook on trips since this can do everything that machine did plus much more.I don't think i will be upgrading for a while,i am very happy with this phone and i think you will be too :)
I recently noticed that my Note had white blotches and dead pixels on the screen,the blotches were most noticeable when there was a grey background.This is very annoying,it really upsets me because i paid full price for this phone (Over $600).All together i bought 3 Notes,one for myself and 2 for family members.I told them about the defects on my screen so they decided to use a dead pixel finder program to check theirs,guess what THEIRS HAD DEAD PIXELS AND BLOTCHES ALSO!These were all brand new in box AT&T models,I717.Needless to say i am getting a refund for all the defective Notes i purchased,2 of which were bought from places other than the Amazon Wireless site.If you have this device make sure to use a dead pixel finder program to check if your screen has defects.I really loved the phone but after this i will not be getting another one,3 strikes against it.Back to the Samsung Skyrocket until i can get the Galaxy S III.
on March 4, 2012
I had no reason to get rid of my iPhone 4S, I loved it. Rumors of a larger iPhone 5 were a turnoff to me, I saw no needto carrier around a bigger device. But after a week with the "Note" I sold my 4S on Craigslist.
I'll jump to the short list of negatives, compared to the 4S
The battery is about haft as good as the iPhone in terms of usage time.
It recharges very slowly no matter what charger I've tried.
It's not as usable in bright sunlight.
It's very easy if you're careless to turn the phone off unintentionally.
The volume button being opposite the on off button can exasperate the problem of unintentional button use.
The materials used in construction are not up to par with those used in the iPhone, but then no other phone is either.
The high points for me are, ironically the large. - luxurious - display, especially considering I never wanted to have a bigger devise to carry. I had an iPad 2 in conjunction with the 4S, but it wasn't always at hand. This isn't nearly as large as an iPad, but it's always right there. I treat it differently than the iPhone, I take my time more with it and don't toss it around as much because I don't think it can take it. But that's making for a more satisfying experience overall. The most engaging aspect however is the liberation that you feel with this operating system. It's like removing hand cuffs.
The iPhone types easier, and does what it does very well, but it's inhibiting in that one size fits all philosophy ignores our individuality.
I created this review on the Note. We'll see how it goes in time...
on March 5, 2012
I love this phone, so much so that I was willing to leave the Apple ecosystem for it. The screen is beautiful. Web pages and movies pop. I tested some of the complaints about color banding and found the phone display to be fine. The 4G is super snappy. Pages that make my i-phone spin loaded quickly. Streaming HD movies over 4G look very good. Again, I tested some of the complaints about pixilation and didn't find a problem. The s-pen works well and is a cool feature that replaces the need for my sticky note collection. The camera takes great pictures. The phone is quite large, and is not a good one handed phone, but it does fit in your pocket.
It's a 5 star phone, so why 3 stars? Ironically, what I love most about it is what I like least about it. The gorgeous 5.3 inch screen collects scratches more than any other phone I've owned. I noticed the display model was scratched but chalked that up to abuse. However, when I asked one of the AT&T reps for a sample to walk around with to see how it felt in my pocket, she brought me the one she had been testing for 2 weeks. It had more than 10 small scratches on the screen. When the screen was brightly lit they disappeared, but when viewing dark images they were noticeable. She told me she had been careful with the phone and recommended a screen protector. In comparison, my `naked' 3 year old phone screen looked brand new next to her 2 week old Note. I researched online and found several reviewers who had owned the Note for more than a week saying the same thing. Scratch magnet. Get a screen protector.
I don't mind learning a new operating system, or repurchasing apps I already own. I'm even willing to give up one handed operation and the convenience of a smaller device. But I can't cover the feature I love the most with some cheap plastic that will make it look worse. Screen protectors inevitably trap air bubbles, dirt, and start peeling away. I prefer to use my device in its natural state. This doesn't seem practical with the Note. Samsung needs to come up with a more scratch resistant screen. If you don't care about using a screen protector or scratches, then I strongly recommend the phone.
on April 4, 2012
As an avid iOS user for many years, beginning with the 3GS (both jailbroken and not), I was hesitant to try an Android phone. My issue: I was noticing that I needed to put on my glasses every time I used the phone, and with the release of the 4s which still had the 3.5" screen, I thought I was going to just have to live with this screen size.
I saw an advertisement about the Galaxy Note (from AT&T), and laughed out loud about how huge it was. I showed my family and co-workers and they all laughed as well!
After a month of watching dozens of YouTube video reviews on this phone, and the size and clarity of the screen began to intrigue me enough that I went to the local AT&T store to check it out. I was pleasantly surprised at how well it fit my hand, and as I typed with both thumbs in iOS, the need to type with both thumbs on a bigger screen did not bother me at all!
I bought one on the spot, and decided to give this Android beast a fair shake!
I LOVE IT! I have used the Galaxy Note for over a week, and only had a couple of moments where I thought I was in a pickle. One of those was my need for visual voicemail, which was quickly solved with the Youmail app, and the other was the android messaging which was fixed by downloading Chomp SMS.
Many family and Co-Workers are now wanting one, and at least two of them said they will buy one in the next few months. If you are hesitant to get one, do like I did, go down to a phone store and try it out! It feels a little weird for the first few days putting it up by your ear (as it is like a mini tablet), but that feeling goes away within the first few days of use. The phone is a bit of a battery hog (mostly due to it's awesome screen), but I have yet to run it dry by the end of the day, but I have come close. As you can swap out batteries easily, and Amazon has the batteries available with charges for under $25.00, I don't see this as a problem even for the non-stop phone users.
In short: Buy it - Even a hardcore iOS fan like me will get converted by this great phone!
A funny note: A buddy of mine got the iPhone 4s yesterday and asked me to help him set it up.... I felt like I was cramped up in a tiny box trying to type on it!
on March 12, 2012
The first time I saw this thing reviewed on YouTube ,I said to myself "No way! That thing is stupid big!" .
Well, my opinion changed the first time I held it in person at the ATT store. I was up for an upgrade from my old Samsung Captivate and was originally thinking of switching to the Iphone4 GS (Mostly because of the commercials featuring Siri, the voice assistant) I saw that this particular IPhone had actually gotten smaller, (my husband held his own older IPhone up next to the 4GS and confirmed.) I was hesitant since even WITH Siri, such a small phone did not appeal to me, and started changing my mind and deciding to stay with Android.
It was then that I picked up the Note, and all I can say is...I fell in love. As a Boomer with aging eyes, I have in the past had to put on my reading glasses to send a text. The moment I picked up this gorgeous thing, I realized I could text without my glasses! The big bright screen makes my Swyping so fast, so accurate that texting is no longer an annoying squintfest. Being that Swype is my favorite way to input any kind of text, the size of the phone does not bother me, since I hold it in my left hand and Swype with my right. The fact that the screen is bigger makes it so I can glide my finger over the keyboard at crazy speeds without making mistakes, whether it is writing a text message or searching the web.
It is a bit big looking if you put it up to your ear to make calls if you are a woman with a smaller head like me, but not overly so, especially if you are already an Android user and used to slightly larger phones. I use a headset when I am out and about anyways so that makes that a non issue.
I use Skype video calling a lot, and that works great , with video quality top notch.
I did not think I would use the S Pen, (stylus..but different) , but have used it many times now when I am out and have to jot down notes. No more digging in my purse for a pen!
Battery drain is not really an issue which was surprising for a phone with such a big screen. I did however download a battery saving application to extend it even more. I usually use my tablet to watch movies and read books, but since since I have gotten the Note, I find myself watching Netflx and reading my books more on my phone , all in all, I cannot seem to put it down . That being said, I will most likely buy an external high capacity battery for long trips.
I live on a small military base and really did not expect to have 4G capability here, but I was surprised that I did...and was pleasantly surprised on just how fast it was .
This thing is powerful, fast and beautiful. Everything I do on it seems easier and more fun.
All in all, I am 100% happy with this phone .. well okay maybe 99.9 , because it still has the Gingerbread software build (even though it is solid and fast enough honestly.) I was told that the update to ICS would be in the next month or so, which is fine.