back to article Samsung Galaxy Note

With Android tablets starting at seven inches and phones now reaching just under five, something was bound to come along to occupy what little middle ground remains and blur the distinction between phone and tablet irrecoverably. That something is the Galaxy Note. The Note is a fair bit taller and wider than your average …


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  1. jai


    I can just see Dom Jolly walking around a library with this by his side....

  2. bigphil9009

    Nexus USB Mass-Storage

    Erm, I have a Nexus, and am able to use it as a mass-storage device...

    1. Al Taylor

      My mistake

      I meant the Galaxy Nexus.

      1. bigphil9009

        Me Fail

        Actually, I might be the FAIL here, I misunderstood what was meant by mass-storage. I have the Galaxy Nexus, and can connect it to my PC and drag and drop any kind of files onto it, but I don't think that is considered "mass storage".

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Only on Windows

      The Nexus is an MTP device, it doesn't support the USB mass storage standard.

      Seems similar in Windows but it isn't the same. On Macs you have to use an Android file transfer utility and on Linux you need one of the several (but slightly buggy) MTP plugins - if you find one that works.

      It's not plug and play...

  3. Beastie

    At last, the perfect sized screen.

    The first smartphone I've had that actually fits me. My hands are not exceptionally large (I''m 6'3" in height) but at last a phone I can use the onscreen keyboard and my thumb can access all the icons on the screen. Expensive yes, but I've no regrets yet..everything works and works well.

    1. piran

      ...battery life?

      For how long does this excellence last before recharging becomes necessary?

      1. Thomas 18
        Thumb Down

        48 hours

        according to a recent article by award winning, UK based publication The Register.

      2. IainAM

        ...battery life?

        The review says 48 hours on the last page, but other reviews on the net say 12 hours. That's a huge difference, anyone know what the real figure is?

        1. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: ...battery life?

          It'll do 12 hours when run out flat, but you can expect to go a couple of days between charges for more real-world usage.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Terrible for web browsing.

            GSMarena is saying 3:30 hours of Web browsing


            It's got a good 3G call time and a decent video, but for web browsing (probably it's biggest use) it's horrendous.

            Must be that large OLED destroying the battery with mostly white web pages. I'm surprised this wasn't mentioned in the review.

          2. Steve Knox

            RE: ...battery life?

            12h flat out, 48h "real-world" - fair enough, for a new battery. But how long before the battery loses its zip and that becomes a maximum 3h flat-out, 24h real-world?

            That's the battery life figure I'D like to see.

            1. Neill Mitchell

              @Steve Knox

              "But how long before the battery loses its zip and that becomes a maximum 3h flat-out, 24h real-world?"

              Well, just as well it's removable then.

        2. piran

          ...battery life?

          Yes, I wanted a real life 'battery life' report, that's why I asked, despite attracting the usual nit detractor's down-thumbing. Putting both one's internet connectivity AND phone into one battery leaves one out of contact just because all the other stuff has drained the battery. So, as long as it'll reasonably last for a working day, well that should be the minimum target. Does it get there or near?

      3. Alex Rose


        Gosh, if only that had been covered in the article, then you wouldn't have needed to waste your time asking here.

      4. Gordon 10

        Use your eyes fule.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      The post is required, and must contain letters.

  4. JDX Gold badge


    So you avoid carrying a tablet and phone, but have to pay the same amount anyway?

    1. James Hughes 1


      Does seem rather expensive.

    2. ZankerH

      The UK prices are completely outrageous. I've ordered mine from Germany for €480 - sim-free, unlocked.

      1. conel

        Ordered from?

        Care to let us know the name of the site?

        1. AdamSweetman

, just log in with your normal account, use google translate through chrome.

          I ordered mine from there, £461 including shipping, arrived in 2 days. Bargain!

          No clue why blighty is being price jacked so much these days on hardware, its offensive.

      2. Danny 14
        Thumb Up


        been thinking of one myself. Simply electronics are selling them for £490. Not many in stock though.

    3. Rusty 1

      Being a cross between a phone and a tablet, might it be called a phoblet?

      1. graeme leggett Silver badge


        "tablone" - not to be confused with the pyramidally profiled Swiss chocolate which is also available to purchased in airports between flights.

    4. big_D Silver badge


      It is still half the price of buying a tablet and a smartphone (add up the price of a Samsung Galaxy Tab and a Samsung Galaxy SII and you'll be walking away with more than half of that in your pocket).

  5. Chris 2

    Ohhhh yes it is!

    It is pressure-sensitive, apparently it's using a Wacom digitiser thing. Using S-Memo lines get thinner and thicker depending on how hard you press - it's more obvious with the paintbrush brush style though, maybe you didn't change it? I find it pretty nice for doing little sketches, control and sensitivity is not bad at all to my mind. Not up to full-on Wacom tablet standard, but pretty decent nonetheless, and I like the immediacy of moving the pen on the same surface as the actual picture.

    Also, hold down the button on the pen then "long click" the screen, it takes a screenshot which you can then annotate.

    It's a bloody brilliant phone, tablet, whatever, thing. Very pleased with it indeed.

  6. Al Taylor

    from the author

    Folks, I've had a few e-mails telling me that a double-tap of the screen with the stylus (with the button held down) takes a screen shot. Not for me it didn't. Maybe an issue with my handset or the Wacom pen, maybe me being ham-fisted. Either way none of my efforts to grab a screen shot bore fruit.


    1. Anonymous Coward

      Screenshot ...

      Use the stylus as described in other posts OR

      drag your whole hand across the screen from right to left and it'll grab the screen for you.

      I've had a Note from day 1 in the UK and it's superb. The battery life is entirely adequate unless you're gaming or watching a lot of video in which case connect a charger is my advice. The power life is a lot better than my previous NOKIA N900.

    2. ZankerH

      Stylus double tap while holding the button opens up a quick note window. To take a screenshot, hold down the stylus button and hold the stylus against a screen.

  7. Rhyd


    Does the PPTP VPN work with encryption turned on?

  8. Afflicted.John

    Capture and scribble...

    "there’s no way - at least that I could find - to capture and scribble on what the screen is displaying, so it’s more a diversion than an essential."

    Ummmm....did you not RTFM?!?! ;-)

    Take the stylus, press the button and touch the screen for a second. A single long tap takes a screen cap and a double quick tap brings up the S-Note memo. Peasy.

    Cool phone. Damn fine beastie...

    1. Al Taylor
      Thumb Up

      Now that was something I didn't try.

      Happy to be proved wrong about this and thanks for all the comments about what the stylus can do if you spend a little more time fiddling with it than I did!

      Al slight mitigation my review unit didn't have a box/manual/quick start guide etc.

      1. Mick Stranahan
        Thumb Up


        for admitting to the error.

      2. Scott 26

        " slight mitigation my review unit didn't have a box/manual/quick start guide etc."

        does any smart phone these days?

        (thanks, I was just leaving anywho)

  9. Andy Senyszyn

    Couldn't wait for this review... much as I trust El Reg, I just went with my gut and got one of these for £36pm on Voda about a week and a half ago.

    It's incredible.

    I admit, some of my excitement is due to coming from a borked Symbian handset (SE Satio U1, anyone? Sigh... ordered before Android 'took off' in a big way). Having had to deal with other people's Blackberry handsets and iPhones and associated tat at work and not been impressed, I had a quick fondle with the Sony Arc S and thought that Android was for me and for a time, I ever considered not dumping Sony Ericsson as my handset of choice for the first time since the Razr V3 days.

    It was the lack of decent video file handling that put me off the Arc a little, just enough that when I read the Galaxy SII reviews I thought that in a toss up between those two, the Samsung might just nick it.

    Then the Note appeared on the horizon - all that great SII spec plus lovely screen real estate, a stylus (which keeps my greasy fingers off the screen) and a bit of extra oomph under the bonnet.

    It is everything I hoped and then some - so far, I've already played back 1080p blu-ray standard video without a hic-up, controlled my desktop PC via a VNC app, Swyped entire blog posts, integrated my facebook, google and old phone contacts via bluetooth in about two minutes flat... Android is such a joy for customising and doing things the way you want, not the way an OS tells you to.

    I've stupidly shaped legs... big thighs I inherited from my mother. I tell you this so that you can be happy in the knowledge that this sits in my trouser pocket more happily than even my lil K800i used to; it's so thin and curvy that the size, X & Y axis, is not an issue when holding or putting away and it's just such a boon in use... well, I've not used my netbook since I got it, put it that way.

    Battery life is smashing - yeah, I was worried on day 1 when it fell to 30%... and then I realised I'd been sat on wifi for about 4 hours streaming iPlayer and pulling files across my DLNA network with the screen on almost full whack with bluetooth headphones and GPS silliness on - once you've gotten to know it (with the simple toggles for all your battery drainers) you'll get a full day out of it easy and nearer two if you don't use it instead of your laptop... but you will! It's that awesome. Micro USB charging means easy top ups though and well, it's just wonderful.

    If you think you'd like this kind of device, but are just holding back because you're just not sure but don't really know why, hold back no more - El Reg hath spoken and I concur - the Note is awesome! iPhone? Pffft...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You must be one of those people who buys a huge 4x4 to drive around London in.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    You can scribble on whatever you like with it,

    because if its like the Galaxy S2, you can press the home and power button and do a print screen of anything.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Ideally if you scribble on a PDF you'd want that to remain as scalable vector graphics, not bitmaps like the print screen would produce.

      At least that's how I'd expect it to work. Resizing a "print screen" for an actual printout would ruin it.

  11. Berwhale

    Buying from Germany.

    I bought mine last week from for €524 delivered (=£462 on my CC bill). This includes 19% German VAT, there's no import duty within the EU and warranty is also EU wide.

    You can use your credentials on Amazon's .de and .fr sites, so it's pretty simple to buy from either - hint: using Google Chrome with auto translate makes it even easier.

  12. Jason Togneri

    Did you notice that today's level (day 5) of the Angry Birds Advent Calendar is all themed around the Galaxy Note?

    It's all just a bit of fun, innit.

  13. Arctic fox
    Thumb Up

    Sammy has a very interesting approach to market analysis.

    They plant a flagpole in every conceivable form-factor niche, run the flags up and see who salutes. It is at any rate a refreshing change from the pre-production "focus group" approach. Oh and yes, that is a damn fine phone. It does not answer my personal user case but that is irrelevant - lovely piece of kit.

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Remember the comedy show Big Train?

    Finally a phone for the "fat handed tw*t".

  16. Christian Berger

    The main problem - Software

    Essentially what one would need would be a modern version of GRAIL:

    Otherwise it'll be not much more than a semi-intelligent terminal.

  17. Treeboy
    Thumb Up


    Finally succumbed and purchased this last week. Been using it since Wednesday.

    I am really happy with it but should like to add the bits that annoy me: most of the positives I agree with, but I do have several niggles:

    * Unlocking the screen by pressing the power button takes over a second which means I quite often switch it off again before it offers the unlock pattern.

    * The lack of a notification light is an annoyance. I sometimes have to leave my phone away from where I am and therefore miss messages or calls. The "throbber" I'm used to on every other phone is not possible. I'm looking into seeing if the soft buttons lights can do that instead.

    * I have my phone on silent almost all of the time, and the vibrate on this is one of the weakest I have ever met. This one really is annoying, as I have to check when I am expecting a call.

    * The volume of media is not as loud as I am used to. My wife and I had to concentrate quite hard to listen to jack-jack-attack just now, when it has been fine on other phones.

    Having said all of that: I'm really happy that I have it and hope that some of the issues can be addressed, although none would not stop me keeping it.

    Anyone else have similar or dissimilar negatives ?

    1. Chris 2


      "Unlocking the screen by pressing the power button takes over a second which means I quite often switch it off again before it offers the unlock pattern."

      Apparently this is because it's waiting to see if you're going to do a double press, which activates the vlingo voice command stuff. There was someone on xda-developers who was talking about deactivating this, but as it doesn't bother me I haven't kept up with whether they did or not. Might be worth a look there if it's a problem for you.

      As for the notification, have you tried NoLED? It's on the market now, might be what you're after.

      My only real issue with the phone is the voice commands - the voice dialling (the only bit I ever use) is terrible, at least over bluetooth, compared to the Galaxy S. I often find myself having to cancel it and start again as it tries to ring someone random instead of who I asked for. As this never happened on the old phone I'm pretty sure it's not my speech that's the issue.

      1. Treeboy
        Thumb Up


        Are you some kind of savant ?

        NoLED does exactly what I want.

        Many thanks.

    2. Treeboy

      On eother thing

      Why do Samsung not make it obvious (possible) to sort the app list alphabetically ? I continually forget where things have been installed if it was over a week ago.

      1. Berwhale

        Search the market for 'AppZorter'

  18. Peter Galbavy
    Thumb Up

    might be my next phone...

    As a (the?) Dell Streak owner, I like the big screen and while I've only had it about a year I am tempter by the Note. I don't find the Streak too big for my fat fingers or my shirt pocket as it's nice and thin to compensate. Others make comments, but they're just envious.

  19. AdamSweetman
    Thumb Up

    Its a brilliant device

    Had mine for a week or so, its just great, very very fast phone, you can browse and read PDFs etc without having to scroll around. It goes in your jeans pocket OK, yes its big, but its not outrageously big. Battery life on normal use is 2-3 days for me.

    No complaints except for the UK pricing, get it from Germany from amazon.

    Samsung are onto a real winner here, this form factor is pretty much perfect for a portable consumption device.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Yawn, another overpriced tablet running an abomination of an operating system that no one wants and very few people will buy. I find it funny that the tablet in number 2 place behind the iPad is the discontinued HP Web OS jobby. Google have utterly failed in the tablet space. It cannot be long now until they give up?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      You sir are a twat and a troll.

      Have a nice day :)

    2. Peter Bond


      it's a phone you trolling goon.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It is a dwarf tablet. Calling that thing a phone is like calling the london eye a ferris wheel. You would have to be massively fat to have pockets big enough for that to fit in to. And the key point is, it runs an out of date copy of that nasty, buggy, horrible to look at fail of an operating system called android. And it still gets the thumbs up. Go figure....

    1. Martin


      "...calling the London Eye a Ferris Wheel..."

      I refer you to the picture.

    2. mike_ul
      Thumb Up

      A dwarf tablet is exactly what I want. It has a higher resolution than an iPad and is way more portable (providing your eyes are okay). If you try it you will fall in love with it. As for buggy, that can be applied to any OS. I am using a Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 inch running 2.2 and works just fine.

    3. Arctic fox

      Re: Bolloxs

      Do please clean up after yourself when you leave old chap - we don't want a nasty smell lingering about the place, do we?

  22. Occams_Cat
    Thumb Up

    Great review and the (on the whole!) useful comments have sealed the deal for me. I'm looking forward to this phone / mini tablet with ICS.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    This looks like perfection

    As many others have said, I too am a big bloke, and I want a big phone. A phone / tablet half-breed. I was excited about the Streak 5 for a long time, until it appeared and seemed like Dell really had no idea who to market it to.

    But now, this. I hope it sells like hot cakes, as I'm currently half way through my contract, and don't want this to die an unloved experiment. Kudos to Samsung.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Worried about battery life

    3.5 Hours of web browsing per charge is not good enough for me.

    Not sure where the reviewer got the 48h. Maybe only if you're not using it...

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "there’s no way - at least that I could find - to capture and scribble on what the screen is displaying"

    If you hold the button on the side of the stylus and press and hold the stylus onto the screen, it takes a screenshot and automatically moves you to an editor so you can scribble on it. Handy for writing directions on a screenshot of a Google Maps screen.

  26. Lord Midas

    I've got a big head...

    No, it's true. I can't find hats to fit me. So in theory the Note wouldn't necessarily be too big if I was to use in in a phone conversation.

    I just wonder if the screen is big enough for webbage. I currently have the HTC Desire and find the screen is just too small for my needs.

    Finally, do I stick with Android or go for something almost as big with the HTC Titan with Windows Phone 7. With this I can get Xbox achievements whilst sitting on the bog (and I know some of you agree with me :) )

  27. Ian Entwistle

    Dell Streak

    *cough* I've been in 5" territory for over a year and its lovely...

    I'll probably have a look at the Note when my contract is up unless something else of similar size is available with better spec.

  28. Gordon 10
    Thumb Up

    Nice but

    I would struggle to choose this over a phone + rooted vanilla Android Kindle Fire combination.

    I know the latter doesnt exist yet but by the time its available officially in the UK I expect it to be.

    Then you will be able to get a great phone plus a great tablet for less than the Note.

    Put it this way - would you take the note out to the pub if it was your only phone?

  29. Mars
    Thumb Up

    The successor to the Dell Streak

    The Dell Streak 5 had the same form factor, it was a great phone for browsing & games. Unfortunately it failed (probably because a) people got intimidated about it's size, and b) a lack of commitment + marketting mistakes from Dell). Personally I think it's a mistake to call a 5" device a tablet.

    Good luck to the Note, it deserves to do well (the only caveat being the eye watering cost).

  30. Peetje

    Completely irrelevant comment ahoy

    I can see my street on that screenshot of the satnav. Fantastic.

    Also, having both a smart phone and a tablet, I'm more and more inclined to the idea of having just one super-functional device.. And as always it'll soon come down in price.

  31. OrsonX
    IT Angle

    Music Playback Quality through Headphones?

    Any good please?

    How good compared to an iPhone?

  32. Occams_Cat do not post to UK?

    I just tried to buy a note on the German Amazon site (i'm in the UK) and each time I go to check out I get the message "This item can not be shipped to the destination of your choice" - a standard UK address that I have used for years on the UK site.

    Anyone know why i'm getting this issue?


    1. conel

      Purchase from Amazon

      You need to purchase it from Amazon, not one of the other ebay like sellers on the website (Amazon are a few Euros more expensive).

      1. Occams_Cat

        Ah the mean time I changed my mind and got a SGS2 instead with the 2000 mAh OEM extendible battery and back plate. I had some hands on with a Note this afternoon and decided that it was a beautiful bit of kit, but just too big for everyday use. Besides, I was lucky enough to get a fire sale HP Touchpads on the cheap so that'll continue to plug the gap to the main laptop & PC.

  33. Al Taylor

    Battery Life - From The Author

    Folks, I thought a few words of explanation would be in order.

    The 48 hours figure was arrived at using the Note as my day-to-day handset in place of my Desire HD.

    My average daily usage regime involves 30-45 minutes of cellular calls, leaving the Wi-Fi on continually, having the screen at 75% brightness, setting K9 to poll every 15 mins, 30-odd mins of web browsing and an hour or so of ebook reading. It doesn't include watching full-length feature films or any serious gaming beyond 5mins of AB here and there.

    That regime drains my HD in 12 hours but the Note regularly got me through two full days. That didn't come as shock to be honest - the Note has twice the battery capacity and though the screen is larger being OLED rather than back-lit LCD it should be more efficient.

    The Note's battery performance was easily the best I have even encountered on an Android "phone".

    1. Philolai

      Battery life for web browsing is worrying

      GSM Arena ( found that it could only last 3h 35m of web browsing (on wifi, it seems) compared to 6h 56m on the iPhone 4S. I hope that can be substantially increased by turning down the screen brightness.

  34. Anonymous Cowbard

    Pholet, telopad, tabone

    No, it's a Phablet

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