back to article Hands on with the Samsung Galaxy Note

Samsung's Galaxy Note Android Gingerbread-based device is undoubtedly an oddity. The South Korean giant claims it brings the best of the smartphone world - cellular comms, a relatively compact casing - with the best the tablet offers: a big (ish) screen. Whether you agree will depend on whether you see the value in a notepad- …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    That's my next handset. Thank you Sammy.

    1. ZillaOfManilla

      for the


  2. tmTM

    What is it?

    Too big to be a phone, too small to be a tablet.

    The market for this is who exactly?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      As the review said

      People with unusually large thumbs.

      May be the perfect phone for E.T. to call home.

    2. Anonymous Coward


      Why do people have to categorise things? Too big for this, too small for that ...

      A fondleslab and a smartphone are to all intents and purposes just derivations of the same thing ... voice comms, some simple browsing, email, music, video etc. What screen size you have is a significant determining factor and people who don't want to lug around something the size of a sheet of A4 and in the same way cant get adequate resolution on a tiny screen are a significant market.

    3. Robert E A Harvey

      The market for this is who exactly?

      Well, me perhaps.

      I like the bluetooth headset idea (why isn't it integrated and sold with it?).

      I like the stylus idea.

      I could use it as a super notepad for working on things, and making notes as I go, photographing serial numbers and writing down test results.

      It would make a fantastic satnav for those of us oldies who take a long time to change focus from infinity to tiny writing on the autobahn, especially at night.

      nearly sold. Does it take two sim cards?

    4. David Dawson


      Who wants something bigger than a phone, yet smaller than a tablet.

      I'm sure there's a fair few.

  3. JDX Gold badge


    Dunno, people with big hands and poor eyesight?

  4. Notorious Biggles

    Sold! as well

    I've come to the realisation that I want a good portable internet experience/media player/casual games console/camera more than I do a nice small telephone. I don't make many calls - of 600 minutes a month I can't remember the last time I used more than 50 of them. But I do send a lot of texts, a fair amount of emails and I surf the web a lot.

    And for that reason, a really big screen is a good thing, even if I have to hold it to the side of my head once in a while.

    1. uhuznaa

      Try it

      I thought along the very same lines as you and thought the Dell Streak 5 was a lovely idea. Until I held it in my hand. No. It's too large and too heavy to carry it all day every day and if I have to have another phone anyway I can as well get a tablet with an even larger screen instead.

      I mean, I somehow like that thing, but it's just good for being *another* device and then you can have a really useful display size easily with a real tablet. And how many SIM cards and phone numbers and data costs do you want to have?

      1. Philolai

        But it's not a Streak...

        The Note is 42g (20%) lighter than the Dell Streak 5, and only 41g (30%) heavier than the iPhone 4.

        I'll want to play with one before I buy, but (if you'll forgive the capitalist product-lust) I'm just as as if not more enthusiastic about this than the iPhone 4. I don't find tablets that appealing - they're too big, and too expensive given that I also need a new phone - whereas a larger phone that is more usable for tablet-like activities can do the job of both. If Samsung can get this thing a bit of coverage I think they might be on to a winner.

  5. Dave 126 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Why not integrate Bluetooth headset into pen?

    Pen can be the size of a normal Parker pen and live in your breast-pocket. It could double-up as a Bluetooth headset- either held in the hand to make/take calls, or be equipped with a socket for your choice of wired headset, with a twisty end (like those Network Walkmans) for volume/track jog functions.

    It would be also be convenient for making voice memos.

    A phone this size is not for everybody, but I'm surprised so many appear shocked by Samsung's reasoning... A Moleskin journal or Filofax is no smaller. The market for a good note-taking device must be big enough for at least one manufacturer to reach out to.

    I personally would love an AutoCAD-style (or hell, a 3D parametric CAD) application on a pocket-able device, and my finger just ain't the right input tool.

    1. Robert E A Harvey

      re: Why not integrate Bluetooth headset into pen?

      Why not? There is a long tradition of sticking a pencil behind yer ear.

      Or of the Man from Uncle talking into his pen.

  6. Roberto99

    But I don't know what to call it!!!!!!!!!

    Got to love the people who immediately question products that don't fit into THEIR current form factor framework. As if they even knew what a tablet was until they saw an iPad. Or that it had been preceded by poorly executed devices going back almost a decade. This device actually makes great sense for business people. They tend to have sufficient pocket space and would often rather use a headset anyway in order to multitask. If the implementation/integration is good its success only comes down to marketing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Don't know what to call it?

      How about ... phondleslab?

  7. ZillaOfManilla

    I love my desire hd but

    this better, as mentioned before great for taking notes, but small enough to always have on you. Although didn't Dell do something this size a year ago?

  8. Anonymous Coward

    ...too small to be a tablet - hmmmm

    So what Samsung need is, say, a 7" tablet. It would be easy to carry yet have a big-enough screen to do just about anything - browse the web, read books, watch videos. Oh, hang on, that would be the (original) Galaxy Tab I have in front of me then.

    1. Arctic fox

      RE ".too small to be a tablet - hmmmm"

      I think that we have all noticed that different form-factors have their adherents (the 7 incher is indeed my personal favourite). That is I think what Samsung are trying to take into account by trying to cover several different areas of the market. There are after all customers who say the 7 inch form-factor is too small and some who say its too big - horses for courses and all that. As I commented in my previous posting I believe that there are quite a number of people who might find this to be a very useful device indeed even though it does not float my personal boat.

  9. Arctic fox
    Thumb Up

    Usage area/market?

    I would say just about anybody whose job involves taking a lot of notes, rapidly annotating photographs and viewing documents with a lot of fine detail "in the field" who also needs to make calls, and send e-mails/text messages (a surveyor or an insurance assessor for example?). This device appears to be perfect for someone with that kind of job. I don't need one but I can think of a lot of people who might be *very* pleased with something like this. Well done indeed Sammy - as long as the basic specs are ok you deserve some success with this one.

  10. John Sanders

    Me likes it

    Big phone?

    I need one thanks.

  11. ~mico
    Thumb Up

    Definitely sold!

    Almost makes me sorry I bought Galaxy phone. I've felt that forgetting stylus was a huge mistake ever since first capacitive phone appeared on the market. Now i still don't have any tablet, and the choice is now either this one or Lenovo's Thinkpad tablet - only because it too has a digital pen option.

  12. b166er

    Me too

    when a keyboard/case combo comes along for it

    1. Mr Floppy

      thumb typing

      Yeah, if there is a proper bluetooth HID stack, then I'd happily carry around a rollup keyboard. I dont like typing with my thumbs.

      But, theres a stylus so graffiti for android would be perfect us old palm users who have got quick at it. It's the only thing that'll stop me using my N900 with garnet VM.

  13. Nights_are_Long

    Could be sold on this...

    I really could be sold on this, most touch screens are too small for my liking and tablets are just to big for mobile use for me. This seems like the 3rd way option that might just might work well for me, i'll wait till they have them in a phone store and see why I think.

  14. A 20

    Coat, done.

    Take two smartphones/tablets into the office? Not me I just want to scribble on this and go!

  15. Peter Galbavy
    Thumb Up

    Replacement for my Streak ?

    As a happy Dell Streak user I am happy to see someone continuing this size phone. Good to see the screen density growing, just hoping it can be charged using a non proprietary connector - my only real hardware bugbear on the Streak.

    Might just become the replacement once the initial premium price drops.

    1. Arctic fox

      Re "Streak replacement"

      According to Sammy's own website it has "USB 2.0 Host"


      The specs in general appear to be rather good.

      ......and "" say explicitly that the USB connector provides both for recognition as a mass storage device and charging.

    2. Samuel Penn
      Thumb Up

      Looks good

      I really like my Streak, and this seems to be like that but better. I don't particularly want a phone - what I want is mobile access to email/web/satnav etc that does phone calls on the few occasions I need to. For this the Streak is great, and the Galaxy Note looks like it'll fill the same niche.

      A tablet, even a 7" tablet is too big to carry around in a pocket, a 5" phone however fits in my pocket just fine, but is big enough to be used for other things. I'll definitely consider the Galaxy Note when I need a new phone - probably sooner if it doesn't require special connectors.

  16. neminnen

    actually it's the perfect size for the rest of us

    Another Dell 5 user here. Really the only awkward about it is holding it while talking (but you could say that's true for the iPhone 4 as well). All other phones look funnily small afterwards...

    With bluetooth everywhere, the size it's a non-issue though. The screen is good for my aging eyes, and just about perfect for a car navigation piece as well.

  17. Wisteela
    Thumb Up

    A superb idea

    I first saw this on YouTube. Check out the Samsung promo vid.

    A great idea. Sometimes you really do need a stylus.

  18. The Infamous Grouse
    Thumb Up

    Spiritual successor to the larger iPAQs?

    We have a stylus-driven HP iPAQ hx4700 VGA PDA which Mrs. Grouse still uses to check her e-mail and calendar appointments, and whenever I use it I'm reminded of what a tragedy it is that HP seemed to lose interest in the PDA market just as smartphones took over. For a while their industrial design was second to none, and while the 4700 itself is criminally underpowered by today's standards it is still exceptionally good at what we ask it to do; present information on a large, easy to read screen and allow deletions and simple edits with a pen-like device instead of probing, screen-blocking digit. By contrast my iPod touch, which can do a gazillion things the iPAQ can't, feels strangely awkward in comparison when performing those same tasks.

    Perhaps inevitably then, I'm rather taken by this new Samsung because of its similarities in form factor to the old HP workhorse. It's about the same size (although the screen resolution is much greater) and it can be driven with a stylus. Aside from its styling pretensions towards being an iPhone rather than a PDA, it's almost exactly what I would have expected had the iPAQ brand continued into the smartphone era.

    It's unlikely I'll ever actually own one of these; I'm enough of an old fuddy-duddy to prefer a decent feature-phone for making voice calls, and the editing functions, nice though they sound, are of little use to me or my lifestyle. But it's nice to see that some manufacturers are still willing to step outside the predefined boundaries once in a while and to create products that are thought through and designed to purpose rather than simply cloned and tweaked from what's gone before.

  19. Alan Brown Silver badge


    The only reason I didn't buy a galaxy tab was it was too big to lug about and I bought a GalaxyS2 last month because my previous phone (7 year old UIQ2 Motorola A1000) finally died.

    The S2 is nice but the screen is a tad small for ssh sessions, even with a bluetooth keyboard onhand. (Touchpad accessories were sold at knockdown prices too and the bluetooth ones will pair with anything)

  20. Michael Kean


    ... let's see Apple resize it to iPad dimensions :)

  21. Anonymous Coward


    I do like my Sammy devices.... now if they could just team up with apple and have IOS on the device they'd be on to a real winner! Sadly I fear they'll stick with Android, with its app store full of garbage!

  22. ramblog

    Damn you Samsung

    Bought the SGSII last month after 5 years with SE K790.

    and now they launch this.

  23. Tejekion

    I'm Waiting on a 7" Phone

    I have an HTC Evo right now and it WAS the biggest phone I could find at the time. I still have half my hand free with that phone. Judging from how the Kindle Reader fit in my hand, I think a 7" phone would ROCK for people with big hands like me! Wished they would have added phone functions to Tablets etc. etc. I would have bought one already if they had.

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