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- - - - -

Does size matter? Spending time with the Galaxy Note.


I have to confess I’ve never been that interested in the Samsung Galaxy Note. When I had a 4" device I was kinda happy and thought 4.3" was a bit big. When I had a 4.3" device I was kinda happy and thought 4.65" was too big. When I had a 4.65" device I thought... well, you get the idea.

That said, I've had large devices in the past - I had a Dell Streak (a black one, then a red one!) and I really liked it. Well, apart from that time in a bar when a girl asked if I was compensating for something but, well, moving swiftly onwards...

SO... back to the Galaxy Note, yeah, I hadn't really been tempted. I had heard quite a few people raving about it, I was intrigued by the 1280x800 screen and the 2500mAh battery, but not enough to get one.

Up until this week.

This week, Asda Direct dropped the SIM free Galaxy Note to £369 minus cashback. And in white too! What a deal! A sucker for a 'bargain'... I couldn't resist... and I bought one.

The device arrived, I unboxed it, learnt all I could about the 'brick bug', upgraded it to ICS, rooted it, and put a 'safe' kernel on. Ready to go!

Now, one of the main reasons I bought the device in the end was the battery. I really REALLY love my One X, but, well, on a full, busy day of work out of the office the battery just doesn't cut it, it's flat before the day is out. A trip to London today gave me the perfect opportunity to put the Note through it's paces.

I set the note up with all my usual apps, Apex Launcher and various tweaks and set off for the day on a very early train. I used the device LOTS on WiFi and 3G, used GPS for Google Maps, browsed, tweeted, played the odd game, took pictures and posted them to coveritlive. I REALLY worked it hard... yet the device kept going until after I’d got home with juice to spare. This is without using the devices built in power saving features, messing with the screen backlight etc. etc.

This is something of a revelation for me... the Galaxy Note is a huge device, but, well, maybe it's worth it to get a big battery...?

So what about the rest of the device? Well, i'm somewhat undecided. It IS big. Too big. Uncomfortably big. Awkward to sit down when it's in your pocket big. I haven't really worked out if the S Pen will be useful for me yet. The camera is so-so. I'm not a fan of TouchWiz. But, the screen is glorious, typing on it is great - oh, and it's white. :D

I'll report back when I’ve used the device a bit more, but I do have a new found appreciation now I’ve used it and I can certainly see why a number of you have totally fallen for the device. It's fatally flawed and yet somewhat appealing.

Strange. :)

About the author

PaulOBrien's Photo
Paul O'Brien founded MoDaCo in 2002 as a site focused on Windows Smartphones and has grown it since then by concentrating on providing a friendly community for both experienced and beginner mobile enthusiasts.

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20 Comments

The only time I used the S Pen was to play Fruit Ninja. Apart from that it is kind of useless :D
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Haha!

Handy for annotating screenshots maybe?

P
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Another con as with most Samsung products....its feels like its made out of recycled plastic cups ;) I too found I liked it when I trialled one for a week on loan from a friend as far as its mini tablet credentials go its superb. As a phone though it falls a bit flat.
Nothing worse than feeling like a complete pleb with a flat recycled plastic cup slab to your ear to make a phone call. I'd have looked less conspicuous and suffered less ridicule if I'd had a "retro" eighties briefcase phone.
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Well... I have a Note for about 5 months and I really LOVE it. The phone is not that huge (remember when you used the fixed phone? The receiver was way bigger than the Note and it didn't feel awkward). The screen is impressive and the battery life is amazing. It makes my old Galaxy S look puny; after using the Note for 3 months I needed the Galaxy S to search for some files on it and the feeling was that I was holding a toy phone...
I suppose I'd change it only for a S3 right now.
As for the S Pen, I think I used it for less than 1 hour in 5 months. IMHO it's just a marketing gimmick and is probably really useful for 1% of the Note users :)
So yes, the Note is really a great device! And it seems it's like a drug or cigarettes: you say NO because everybody tells you it's no good, but if you start using it you won't be able to quit...
Maybe we should start our own group, Note Anonymous? "Hi, my name is John and I managed to stay away from my Note for 3 weeks...".
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I have to disagree with the cheap plastic feeling.
Yes, it's plastic. But IMHO the Note has nothing to do with the "cheap plastic" feeling. It's quite elegant and incredibly thin, but I don't feel like I hold a piece of plastic ready to break :P
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I've had an SGH-I717 for about a month now. I originally had the AT&T HTC One X, and I like this phone much more. Mostly because of more stable/tested software, external sd, removable battery.

I feel like the s-pen has a lot of potential, but more app devs need to consider adding s-pen support to their apps/games. Maybe also support for other pen devices (*cough*htc scribe*cough*) ;)

We have the technology... we can make it better... shunanananananana
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I disagree with the "cheapness" argument too. I had a Dell Streak before which was mostly metaly and the build quality was pretty bad compared to the Note. Stuff began peeling off after about 6 months of use. I have the Note for nearly 6 months now and it still is in perfect shape.
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I should get my Note next week hopefully, will compare it with the One X and report back.
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which "safe" kernel are you using, and how are you sure it is? ics lpy kernel seems causing problems to many, in case of high I/O, like copying large files, mass app restore or full wipe/factory reset (especially as many are suggesting full wipe after ota update, to have the best performances)... i don't feel so confident, at the moment... chainfire, chasmodo and other valuable xda developers bricked their devices, and not necessarily because of modding...
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Had my Note for 3 weeks. Amazing device. My bro-in-;aw got one a few months back...and i pssd my sides when I saw it. Then I actually tried it out. What a screen! And v responsive (that's stock). I don't mind the Touchwiz interface, prob use it for a little while before putting on a launcher. I have tiny hands, the Note is the size of my palm yet I became completley used to it after 2 days of use. Now when I use the wife's iPhone4 it just seems so tiny and the screen on that...spit. 2 friends bought their Notes on the same day, both v happy. The only negative for me is the stock browser and then the Opera browser is a bit flaky for me, in fact it didn't even render this page properly, the comment box just wouldn't activate. Also had to put it into desktop mode but even then find it a little lacking but still a big improvement on stock. Any browser recommendations?

The S Pen is used for the app it was obviously made for....DRAW SOMETHING! lol. Apart from that I'm not a great user myself but others are.

I haven't had any funny looks when using it as a phone but then again I'm not really into the whole image thing so maybe I'm just oblivious to it. All comments so far start of with 'LOOK AT THAT! Is it a phone or tablet?!...and turn into...wow that's really nice!

Installing SwiftKey after swapping from the Desire made me chuckle, it wanted me to d/l the tablet version lol

All in all great purchase. I think the S3 at 4.8 is only marginally smaller so it's not really that big as to how it was perceived when compared to 3.7" and 4" phones that were the main phones when it was first launched.
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I've had the Note for a few weeks now and am amazed that I managed with the tiny iPhone screen till now! I've had a few Android devices in the but this is the first that hasn't made me want my iPhone back after a day or so -in fact I just sold it.

Yes the Note seems huge at first but you get used to it quickly, and it just feels normal now. One handed use is tricky but not impossible, and it's fit into every pocket I've tried.

I don't get the amazing battery life that you mentioned, but haven't upgraded to ICS yet. Mine will last most of the day with everything enabled, if I disable 3G then it will do two days. Overall I love it!
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Btw my comment was done using the stock browser no problem. I don't mind it too much, apart from that it doesn't remember open tabs. Dolphin isn't bad too but I prefer using stock apps if they do the job ok.
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my note is awesome. finally...a real pda/phone. android no less. those old days on windows mobile pdas seem like a bad dream. i use spen to snote in meetings. with a brodit car mount i can actually see and use apps in car. the sammy all in one battery cover with leather(ish) flip cover makes this business tool seem like an old school daytimer/dayplanner. remember those? for me as i walk the executive hallways tied to exchange it is great. size matters :P
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Photo
herculesksp
Jun 01 2012 02:27 AM
Interesting.... I too just cannot bring myself to buying a Note just because of the sheer bulk. How is texting on the Note? Is it easier to send messages and email on the huge screen? That would probably swing things a bit for me. Oh, and gaming on that screen would be mind blowing.
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@ M@rtin : The sissue with the text box was in Opera, I just find the stock one slow and clunky (tabs being a pain in the ar$e.

As for texting and emailing? It;s fantastic, trust me the screen is huge but ina good way, just try it out that's the only way to sell it to you!

Gaming is good, well my 3 yr old seems to love it, esp Raging Thunder 2 lol

Got the brodit car mount too, had one for my Desire...Navigation is great. Guess why? THE SCREEN MAN THE SCREEN!!!!

Did I mention I like my Note?
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I'm using my note as a lightweight tablet while travelling, replacing a 3G Flyer and I'm loving it.

The battery life isn't as good and the physically smaller screen can make some things harder to read but generally the screen is a huge improrvement in legibility and resolution, it's infinitely snappier and more responsive and it's much less size and weight to be carrying around every day

(Being able to use it as a proper phone as well is a big advantage when I forget to charge my main mobile.)

Oh and the official UK/Ireland ICS firmware has been released this morning as well
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Does the UK ICS also suffer from the potential wipe bug mrshark mentions - sounds like a real problem, although I believe so far no one on XDA has demonstrated the bug exists on a completely stock handset (i.e. not even rooted).

EDIT: Likely to since it is XXLPY.........
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Review above is very poor... why put a custom ICS on it, when not official and GB works absolutely fine. It's well documented that ICS makes the Note perform less well too. I have owned mine one month now and as another has observed, other mobiles feel like toys and the Note size is forgotten. Rarely use laptop now other than downloads etc., and the phone has not stalled once, not even a hint of freezing. Looks a lot nicer than the SIII too, which is f-ugly if you ask me. Quite simply the best mobile I have had to date, and I work in the business so get my hands on a lot.
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EDIT: Likely to since it is XXLPY.........


The UK release is XXLQ2 so it's up in the air exactly what that means for the bug
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Well... I have a Note for about 5 months and I really LOVE it. The phone is not that huge (remember when you used the fixed phone? The receiver was way bigger than the Note and it didn't feel awkward). The screen is impressive and the battery life is amazing. It makes my old Galaxy S look puny; after using the Note for 3 months I needed the Galaxy S to search for some files on it and the feeling was that I was holding a toy phone...
I suppose I'd change it only for a S3 right now.
As for the S Pen, I think I used it for less than 1 hour in 5 months. IMHO it's just a marketing gimmick and is probably really useful for 1% of the Note users :)
So yes, the Note is really a great device! And it seems it's like a drug or cigarettes: you say NO because everybody tells you it's no good, but if you start using it you won't be able to quit...
Maybe we should start our own group, Note Anonymous? "Hi, my name is John and I managed to stay away from my Note for 3 weeks...".


Like you I've got a Galaxy S and a Note for two months and I totaly agree!

And my name is Kath and I managed to stay away from my Note for a couple of hours ;) (I had to sleep)
The Note is really addictive. But I love to be addicted.

What did I hear? The Note II will be there before Christmass?
A 5.5" screen, quadcore, 1,5/2 Gig Ram
Please give it to me, I can't wait.
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