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Samsung Galaxy Note – Review

It was in the January of this year that I bought myself a smart phone, my first smart phone. Buying a phone is not an easy decision, you know. And so, I spent more than a whole month in zeroing in on the device that seemed fit for me. I read reviews after reviews of all the latest handsets then in market, watching scores of  videos of all of them on Youtube, and then finally decided upon the best device that I could get in my budget. But anyway, it was all worth it. When I held my first smart phone in my hand and switched it on, it looked like the most beautiful phone in the whole world. And its screen looked oh so bright too…at that time.

But then, a month ago, I won a Samsung Galaxy Tab 750. And my phone’s brightness diminished in comparison to the high resolution Super Amoled screen of the Tab.

And now, here comes something that has dimmed even the brightness of my still almost brand new Tab!

This gorgeous device that covers my whole palm in the above picture is Samsung Galaxy Note. It’s a mobile phone, that’s also a tab! Or is it a tab that’s also a mobile?

Hmm…never mind. It’s both. And it’s also a very good camera and gaming and multi-media device. Not only that, it’s an efficient note taker, a newspaper and magazine vendor, a photo editor, a movie maker, and your very personal diary keeper too.

Having won the Samsung Mobiler contest, I got the opportunity to use this amazing device for some days. My verdict? A big WOW! Even at the very first look, the brilliant display and the super smooth performance was just amazing. For almost a whole minute I just kept on flicking the home screen from left to right, right to left and so on, marveling at the super smooth transition.

However, before I start gushing over the features that I love best in Note, let’s first take a quick look over it’s more important specifications (the rest you’ll find at the end of the post.)

Samsung Galaxy Note runs on 1.4 GHz Dual Core Processor, has Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) platform, 5.3” WXGA (1280 x 800) HD Super AMOLED screen, 8 MP back camera with full LED flash, also has a front facing camera of 2 MP, is capable of full HD video recording, has 16 GB internal memory, upto 32 GB expandable memory (SD card) and has L9-on 2,500 mAH battery. And of course, it has Touchwiz interface and Google Mobile Services.  The phone also comes with a S Pen or Advanced Smart Pen. I found it very efficient input device. I could even write in my small and cramped handwriting and the letters came out looking no crappier than they normally do in my handwriting.

Anyway, let me now begin showing you the ten best features of Note that interested me the most.

Well, I’m a professional writer. I love writing so much that the first draft of my novel ‘Dream’s Sake‘ was so long, the publisher told me straightaway to halve it! Yet, this time, I’ll keep my writing to minimum and let the phone do most of the talking. And as the pictures talk louder than words, the phone’s pictures and screen captures are what will show you what it’s capable of.

1. SIZE

The first thing one notices upon seeing this phone is it’s size. Being a hybrid device, a combination of a phone and a tablet, it’s pretty big in size. It’s 146.85 x 82.95 x 9.65 mm, in size but weighs 178 g only. So, despite being big, it’s very light. Its only 9.65 mm thickness makes for one super slim device.

And though it’s a big phone, it was still a joy to hold it. It may feel a little uncomfortable in a pocket though! The picture given below will give you an idea of how it compares to a tab and other smart or ‘unsmart’ phones.

Size Comparison

2. Display

The display of the phone is brilliant, simply brilliant. It has 5.3” WXGA (1280 x 800) , HD Super AMOLED screen. Yeah, it’s big and and it’s bright. The pictures look brighter, crispier, the videos look High Definition, even if they aren’t. And reading books on it was a joy. The screen of Note is bigger than other phones, so it’s much easier to read books from, and the device is lighter than a tab, so it’s easier to hold for long duration while reading.

Here’s a screen capture of the home screen.

3. The S Pen

The S Pen is a very handy and efficient input device. You can use it to write notes, scribble in your diary, draw and paint pictures, doodle over your photos and videos (yes, you can write over your videos too!), get a screen capture of a map and scribble over it and many such things. It registers even tiny strokes very smoothly and efficiently. I gave it to my father for testing. He used it to write the Gayatri Mantra in Hindi. And it was just like he had written it with normal pen on paper.

The Note with its S Pen

 Using S Pen was a pleasure. Here’s one of the many art ‘masterpieces’ that I created using the S Pen. Had I devoted myself so dilligently to art while in school, I might have probably become an artist instead of a writer! (That’s, actually what my mother had to shout out to me to separate me from the Note and its painting bursh, or pen – the S Pen.)

4. The Photo Editor

In the Photo Editor, you can crop your photos, rotate them, SELECT a portion of them and COPY it to some other picture, add effects, add frames, and write or doodle on it using the S Pen. You can capture a new photo right from the Home Screen of the Photo Editor, or use an already existing photo. Here are the screen captures of Note’s Photo Editor to give you a better idea. The ‘Pen’ option in the first image loads paint brush, allowing you to write or doodle on the picture using different colours and stroke types like pencil, pen or brush.

5. Video Maker

Samsung Galaxy Note is capable of 1080p full HD video recording. But better than this, it is also capable of trimming and editing those videos! This means, if you don’t like a particular part of the video, you can clip it out. And in the editor, you can add themes to the video. You can also make videos by joining pictures and adding music to them. AND, you can also scribble and doodle on a video clip!

Here you can see the various options available in the Video Maker:

 And here’s the video I recorded and edited on Note. This video combines in it not just a recorded video, but also still pics, the party theme, and some doodles, all joined to form one video. Take a look, though I must say the video looked much better on Note!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4YwbHotcLk&feature=feedu]

6.Reader’s Hub

In the beginning of this post I wrote that Samsung Galaxy Note can also function as your newspaper and magazine vendor. Well, I don’t want to rob the newspaper vendors of their livelihood, but it’s really so much cooler to have a newspaper delivered to your phone so that you can carry it along in your pocket. Reader’s Hub is what enables you to carry your favourite newspapers, magazines and books in your pocket, and keep them well organized, ready to be read whenever you have the time.’

7. Diary

Yes, you can not just make notes on Note. You can create your own personal diary in which you can add your thoughts, pictures and your current location. But I don’t think you can password protect it though. I wish that option was there too. Most people would like their diary protected from prying eyes.

Anyway, here’s the screen capture of a diary page:

8. Voice Talk

Okay, it’s not exactly Siri of the Iphone, but it’s still pretty efficient in getting the task done. Unlike Siri, it probably won’t tell you where to best hide the body if you have murdered someone, but it can surely call your best friend to help you in your time of need.

I usually have a lot of trouble making voice recognition Bots to recognize my voice and understand what I’m saying. But the Voice Talk on Note managed to understand me three out of five times.

9. Polaris Office

Did you notice that so far I have described only the fun features of the phone? But what to do? Life is not all about fun. One has to work too, for affording such high end gadgets, if for nothing else 🙂 Well, in Note you will find Polaris Office to handle your work too. In Polaris Office, you can create, edit, save and share all popular document formats. Take a look

10. S Planner

Okay, so when there’s so much to enjoy, and yet the necessity to take care of your work routine, one thing that becomes most vital is time management. Not that I’m very good at it myself. If I were, I’d be spending more time at writing my next novel instead of thinking of my next update on Facebook. But anyway, time management is vital. And as vital it is to remember all your engagements, meetings, schedules and birthdays and anniversaries. And Note has a S Planner to help you do that. It can, of course be synced with your Google and Facebook calendars. I’m afraid I can’t describe it in much detail. Since all my important events were automatically added to it as soon as I logged into Gmail and Facebook, I didn’t bother to check it much. There was plenty of other, more interesting stuff in Note to keep me engaged, you see. But here are the screen captures of the S Planner. They will surely give you some hints as to what it is like. One more thing, S Planner has several widget options to give you the most convenient access to your schedule and calendars.

Okay, when I started this post, I had intended to describe the ten things about Note that I liked the best. But there are so many other features of Note that I really like. So here, very briefly, are ten more cool features of this super cool phone.

11. Radio: I know there’s nothing special in a phone having a radio. But the radio of Note offers recording too, and that’s one feature that I had always longed for in my phones. It’s there on Note, and I like it!

12. Swype: Typing on touch screen really isn’t very easy. But Note, besides the Samsung Keyboard, also comes with Swype typing. I have Swype on my Galaxy 3 and Galaxy Tab too and really like it. It makes input of text very easy and convenient, and fast too.

13. Gestures. Pinch to Zoom is not the only gesture that you can use on Note. There are several other gestures that let you act quickly on Note. For example, you sweep the side of your hand across the screen, and instantly you get a screen capture. And you can pause a video or an audio file being played by just laying your palm down on the screen. Cool, huh?

14. Wallpaper Setting: The Note gives you option whether you want the wallpaper to scroll or not. It also supports Live Wallpapers.

15. Camera: Camera is one of the best features of Note. The 8 MP back camera with LED Flash shoots awesome pictures. Used as I am to the 3 MP camera of my phone, I was very pleasantly surprised when I saw the first photo I shot from Note.

16. Social Hub: Social Hub is where you can access the feeds and updates and messages of all your online social networks all at once. And it is from here that you can post a status update to Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin all at once too. Very convenient.

17. News and Weather: An app and widget that updates you with latest News and Wather conditions based upon your location. Very quick, smooth.

18: S Memo: A handy notepad on which you can type using Samsung Keyboard, or Swype, or write using the S Pen. It has several background options, and you can also use it to exhibit your drawing talents. You can scribble or draw on it using different colour and brush options.

19: S Store: Of course you can get all sorts of apps for your Note from the Android Market. But Samsung also has a specialized store called S Store offering you more excellent apps.

20. Call Quality: And finally, let us remember that Samsung Galaxy Note is a phone. And a phone’s primary function is to help you talk to people away from you. (I almost forgot that myself!) Well, the sound quality was good, and I did not experience even a single incidence of call drops. But of course, I only tried it in a well connected city, and not at any place where the connection could be interfered. But as far as my limited experience goes, the calls went without a hitch.

So that was what I felt about the phone. But you may still want to delve into its specifications and figure out its worth for yourself. Well then, here they are:

Specifications:

Network

  • HSPA+ up to 21Mbps 850/900/1900/2100
  • 4G LTE
  • EDGE/GPRS 850/900/1800/1900
  • Network differs by country

Processor

  • 1.4GHz Dual Core ProcessorDisplay
Screen
  • 5.3” WXGA (1280 x 800) screen
  • HD Super AMOLED
Platform
  • Android™ 2.3(Gingerbread)
Camera
  • Main(Rear) : 8 MP with LED Flash
  • Front : 2 MP
  • Action Shot, Beauty, Panorama Shot, Smile Shot

Video

  • 1080p Full HD video recording & playback
  • Recording: 1080p@24~30fps
  • Playback: 1080p@30fps,Codec: MPEG4/ H.263/ H.264/ DivX, Xvid, WMV, VC-1

Audio

  • Codec : MP3, AAC, AMR, WMA, WAV, FLAC, OGG
  • Music Player with SoundAlive
  • 3.5mm Ear Jack, Stereo FM Radio with RDS

Connectivity

  • Bluetooth® technology v 3.0 + HS
  • USB 2.0 HOST
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct

Multi Input

  • Full touch
  • S Pen (Advanced smart pen)

Sensor

  • Accelerometer
  • Proximity
  • Barometer
  • Light

Memory

  • 16GB Internal memory
  • MicroSD (up to 32GB)

Size

  • 146.85 x 82.95 x 9.65 mm
  • 178g

Battery

  • Standard battery, Li-on 2,500 mAh

Value-added Features

  • S Memo/ S Planner/ S Choice (Apps for GALAXY Note)
  • Samsung Apps
  • Samsung Touchwiz/ Samsung Live Panel UX
  • Google™ Mobile Services : Gmail™, Google Talk™,Google Search™, YouTube™, Android™ Market,Google Maps™ with Google Places™ and Google- Latitude™

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How far can a person go to fulfill the dream’s of someone else?

Read Dream’s Sake to find out. Click on the picture for reviews and free preview of the novel

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