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Samsung Galaxy Note Review

Is it a tablet? Is it a phone?  The Galaxy Note is a device suffering an identity crisis. It’s neither a phone or tablet, but it can replace both. This device has created a lot of buzz since long before it’s official release and today, after a two week review, we will be sharing our thoughts.

This review will be  a little different this time, taking a male and female approach!

Initial Thoughts

He Said: I was looking forward to getting my hands on this phone.  Its ‘aggressive’ size caught my attention and it’s nice to see something so different.

She Said: This phone offers the best of both worlds. It almost brought me back to my palm pilot days and whether you like the size of a tablet or the functionality of a phone, this may be just the phone for you. I have heard a lot about this phone and look forward to seeing how it measures up.



He Said: The first thing you will ever hear while showing one of these off is, “wow that’s big”.  The note measures in at 5.6″ tall and 3.3″ wide.  It is well below the typical tablet height of 7″-10″ and definately bigger than any phone on the market.  Because of this, it it hard to determine if it was best suited for one or two hand operation.  I found that the majority of the time I used two hands, however certain operations I found that one hand was adequate for quicker, simple operations.   My biggest concert upon recieving the Note was in how I would carry it around.  I was surprised to find that my pockets were able to comfortably hold the phone, however holding other items such as change or screen scratching keys at the same time would be far too uncomfortable.  I defineatealy recommend holding the device yourself and trying it in your own pockets before purchasing.

She Said:  Being accustomed to holding a phone with one hand, this phone did take some getting use to. The Glaxy Note measures in at 5.6″ tall and 3.3″ wide.  Though it is smaller than an average tablet height of 7″-10″, it is larger than any phone on the market.  To be honest, it was quite a learning curve for me as I had to adjust to the slightly larger size. Though holding the phone proved to be an adjustment, I did appreciate the size of the screen, where there were times I thought, “This is a great size.”  For me, I definitely had to use 2 hands though with some applications, I found I could navigate with one hand with ease. Due to the slightly larger size, I did need to put some thought into how I carried it. Not usually wearing pockets, I often needed to resort to carrying it in my purse. Due to the size of the screen, I would definitely recommend having a screen protector as I was constantly worried that something would scratch it as it didn’t fit into the small pocket in my purse designed for phones. Before purchasing this phone, make sure to look into how you usually carry your phone around as you may need to make some minor adjustments. I found the size difficult when making phone calls. It was difficult to hear some conversations and at times, felt awkward holding it to my ear.

Build Quality

He Said: I was pleased with the quality of the phone externally.  Although built with plastic, it did not feel cheap. The back was finished with a textured surface that was comfortable in hand.  The phone maintained rounded corners and a sleek profile.

She Said: I did like the appearance of the phone. It was sleek and felt secure and well built. I must say, overall, I did like the look of the phone and appreciated the added details of the textured  back finish and the rounded corners.


He Said: The note sports a huge 5.3″ HD Super AMOLED screen.  Colours appeared crisp and bright during regular use.  Outdoors, the phone fared well despite its glossy surface.  After spending 2 weeks with this phone, I found any other phone ‘too small’.  Everything I normally did on a mobile device seemed that much easier.  Websites were easy to view, pictures and videos were pleasing and with the large size, typing was a lot less frustrating.  Also, the phone is fitted with Gorilla Glass, so breaking it is not so easy!

She Said: As I mentioned earlier, I liked the screen size of this phone. With a large 5.3″ HD Super AMOLED screen, colours were clear and bright. An added bonus to the large screen was that images remained clear on the glossy finish; even when outside. When browsing different websites, I grew to further appreciate the larger screen.  Websites were easy to view as the content was that much larger. Soon, the apparent hassle of the larger phone fizzled away as I enjoyed reading and watching clips with ease. Personally, I have been known to drop my phone a few times and worried how I would manage with this size of phone.  Thankfully, this did not happen during my review but I had comfort knowing that  phone is fitted with Gorilla Glass, so that gave me more piece of mind.


He Said: You can’t talk about large displays without considering battery life.  The Note comes with a 2,500mAh battery that I found did an acceptable job.  Of course, hours of playing Angry Birds took it’s toll on the phone but when I used it more like an everyday consumer I had no problems.  Like many phones, I was still recharging every night but there were many times that I was surprised that the phone was still charged despite how much use I put into it.

She Said: The Note comes with a 2,500mAh battery and for me, the battery life worked well and I could easily make it through the day with it. If you are someone who uses multiple applications throughout the day, you may want to be mindful of battery use and bring a charger if necessary. Again, I did try various applications and for me, the battery lasted all day with ease.

The S-Pen

He Said: Although the size of this phoneblet takes most of the attention, the S-Pen is by far the standout feature for me.  Initially I was skeptical thinking I would not use it much, especially if I already had 5 ‘pens’ on each of my hands.  It took me a while to really find a benefit to the pen until I started discovering the special functions and apps made to work with it.  As a person who takes down notes very often, I found the ability to click a button on the S-Pen and quickly launch a ‘note taking’ app very useful.  It was also fun to draw with varying textures, and colors.  I also found that it was pretty easy to use the pen to compose messages.  It took a few tries with getting my handwritng clear enough to detect but with a little practice and calibration it was seemless.  In terms of response, the pen was a little delayed for me.  Drawing a straight line was a bit like playing follow the leader between the pen and my line.  However, it was never enough to make me quit using it.

She Said:  I was really looking forward to trying out the S-Pen. Though I may not need to take a lot of notes in my professional life, I loved having it for lists such as groceries or those dreadful To-Do lists. It quickly became one my favourite features of the phone as it is something different yet practical. I would definitely recommend that you play with this feature by launching the “note-taking application” and practice with it! If you have a creative side, you may find that this feature offers provides a fun and  creative outlet as you can draw with a variety of textures and colors.  I also found that it was pretty easy to use the pen to compose messages. Though I didn’t notice it that much, there was a slight delay in response time but not enough to cause an inconvenience.

Camera Shots and Video



He Said: To put it simply, I enjoyed this phone.  Before reviewing it I was very excited mainly because of the size, however I believed it would be too large for any practical every day use.  Fortunately, I was proven wrong.  Any increase in size was accompanied by an increase in function.  The inclusion of the S-Pen propelled everything to another level and it didn’t take long for me to include it in my workflow.  The Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system was very responsive on the phone and pictures/video were above average.  This device isalso awaiting an upgrade to Android 4.0 which will only add its beauty.

The Samsung Galaxy Note is an ideal fit for anybody looking for the functionality of a tablet and the convenience of a phone.

She Said: Though at first, the size was a little daunting for me, I did end of enjoy this phone and grew to appreciate the larger size. It reminded me of my old palm pilot days too. Before purchasing this, I would reflect on whether the size will be an issue. Though I did appreciate the larger screen, carrying it around when you do not have pockets could frustrate some. I did struggle with making phone calls as the sound was not as clear and I couldn’t get use to holding such a large device to my ear. The S-Pen was a unique feature that I appreciated for making lists and can see how note takers would grow to love this feature too. The Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system was very responsive on the phone and pictures/video were above average.

In conclusion, the Samsung Galaxy Note is a great phone that provides a user with the perks having both a tablet and a phone.convenience of a phone.

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