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Samsung Galaxy Note: Reviewed and Compared to Galaxy S II, iPhone 4S & iPad

by kenlo on ‎23-12-2011 18:00 - last edited on ‎16-11-2012 11:24 by handy giff-staffer victoriatagg

Samsung Galaxy Note.jpgThe Samsung Galaxy Note is a new Android-based device from Samsung aimed at bridging the gap between a smartphone and a tablet. Featuring a 5.3-inch HD Super AMOLED display, Samsung claims that the Galaxy Note is the ultimate convergence device combining the portability of a smartphone with the multimedia experience of a tablet. How does the Galaxy Note compare to top smartphones and tablets? What is the Galaxy Note’s S-Pen? Is 5.3-inch too big for a smartphone? Is it possible to use the Galaxy Note on giffgaff?

 

What is the Samsung Galaxy Note?

 

The Samsung Galaxy Note (N7000) is Samsung’s latest Android-based smartphone. First announced at the IFA in September 2011, the Galaxy Note was released in the UK in November. The Galaxy Note claims to bridge the gap between smartphones and tablets by giving the best of both worlds: it provides a smartphone-like form factor which is slim and portable as well as a high resolution tablet-like “HD Super AMOLED” display which is ideal for browsing photos and watching videos on-the-go.

 

The Galaxy Note also aims to incorporate some of the functionality of pen and paper. The Galaxy Note comes with an S-Pen stylus which slots into the back of the device. The S-Pen allows for sketching, note taking and free-form idea capture. The pen can be used for drawing and writing in the dedicated S-Memo application, to annotate and share content throughout the device and also to handwrite messages across the device rather than typing with the normal on-screen keyboard (the S-Pen supports handwriting recognition).

 

Galaxy Note with Pen.jpgIt is important to note the S-Pen is not simply a capacitive stylus: instead it uses inductive technology. The S-Pen differs from a normal capacitive stylus by being pressure-sensitive and supporting additional features such as screen capture, annotation and pen gestures. Unlike normal capacitive styluses, it is also possible to rest your hand on the screen when using the S-Pen - pen input always overrides touch input (capacitive input).

 

The Galaxy Note runs version 2.3 of Google’s Android Operating System (Gingerbread) with Samsung’s Touchwiz UI user interface layer. The device comes preloaded with Google applications such as Gmail and Google Maps with GPS navigation with another 500,000+ applications available for download from the Android Market. An update to Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) is due for the Galaxy Note in 2012.

 

Form Factor: Size Comparison against Smartphones & Tablets

 

Most smartphones typically have a screen size of around 4-inches whereas most tablets have a screen size of either 7-inches or 10-inches. The Samsung Galaxy Note sits between the two form factors with a 5.3-inch display.

 

The following diagram shows a “to scale” size comparison against the Samsung Galaxy S II (4.3-inch display), the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 (7.7-inch display) and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (10.1-inch display). For comparison, the Apple iPhone 4S has a 3.5-inch display and the Apple iPad 2 has a 9.7-inch display (neither are pictured here).

 

Size Comparison - Small.jpg

 

Samsung Galaxy Note VS Samsung Galaxy S II & Apple iPhone 4S: Comparison to Smartphones

 

Being first and foremost a smartphone, the Galaxy Note will be compared to bestselling smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S II and the Apple iPhone 4S.

 

The Galaxy Note is based off the Galaxy S II so it’s no surprise to hear the two devices share a lot in common in terms of design and specifications. Both devices share a similar design, run a dual-core processor, feature 8 megapixel cameras with full HD video recording and run Android 2.3 Gingerbread with Samsung’s TouchWiz interface.

 

The key changes in the Galaxy Note include a larger and higher resolution display, the addition of the S-Pen stylus and a 50% increase in battery capacity. The Galaxy Note’s ‘HD Super AMOLED’ display has a screen resolution of 1280x800. This represents a 167% increase in screen resolution compared to the Galaxy S II’s 800x480 display and brings the resolution of the Galaxy Note’s display to the same level as the display on the Galaxy Tab 10.1. Note that the Galaxy Note’s display uses a PenTile matrix (the Galaxy S II uses a Real-Stripe display).

 

 

Samsung Galaxy Note

 Samsung Galaxy Note.jpg

Samsung Galaxy S II

 Samsung Galaxy S 2.jpg

Apple iPhone 4S

 iPhone 4S Siri.jpg

Processor

1.4GHz dual-core

1.2GHz dual-core

1GHz dual-core

Display

5.3-inch AMOLED (organic LED)

4.3-inch AMOLED (organic LED)

3.5-inch TFT display

Screen Resolution

1280x800

800x480

960x640

Operating System

Google Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)

Google Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)

Apple iOS 5

Storage

16GB internal memory & up to 32GB micro-SD

16GB internal memory & up to 32GB micro-SD

16GB/32GB/64GB internal memory

Camera

8 megapixel with LED flash

8 megapixel with LED flash

8 megapixel with LED flash

Video recording

1080p, 30 frames per second

1080p, 30 frames per second

1080p, 30 frames per second

Battery

2,500mAh (13.5 hours talk time)

1,650mAh (8.7 hours talk time)

1,430mAh (8 hours talk time)

Text Input

On-screen software keyboard &
S-Pen handwriting recognition

On-screen software keyboard

On-screen software keyboard

Approx. price

Approx. £500 SIM-free

Approx. £400 SIM-free

£499 SIM-free

SIM card size

Standard SIM

Standard SIM

Micro SIM

 

All three devices are compatible with giffgaff and some great savings can be had by buying these devices upfront and using one of our giffgaff goodybags.

 

Samsung Galaxy Note VS Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 & Apple iPad 2: Comparison to Tablets

 

Samsung believes the Galaxy Note can offer a tablet-class multimedia experience whilst retaining smartphone portability. A side-by-side comparison against the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Apple iPad 2 shows that whilst the Galaxy Note has a substantially smaller display, the resolution of the Galaxy Note’s display is the same as on the Galaxy Tab 10.1. The Galaxy Note has a higher resolution display than the Apple iPad 2.

 

 

Samsung Galaxy Note

Samsung Galaxy Note.jpg 

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

 Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.jpg

Apple iPad 2

 ipad.jpg

Processor

1.4GHz dual-core

1GHz dual-core

1GHz dual-core

Display

5.3-inch AMOLED (organic LED)

10.1-inch TFT display

9.7-inch TFT display

Screen Resolution

1280x800

1280x800

1024x768

Operating System

Google Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)

Google Android 3.1 (Honeycomb)

Apple iOS 4 (iOS 5 via upgrade)

Storage

16GB internal memory & up to 32GB micro-SD

16GB/32GB/64GB internal memory

16GB/32GB/64GB internal memory

Camera

8 megapixel with LED flash

3 megapixel with LED flash

0.7 megapixel

Video recording

1080p, 30 frames per second

720p, 30 frames per second

720p, 30 frames per second

Battery

2,500mAh (13.5 hours talk time)

7,000mAh

6,930mAh

Text Input

On-screen software keyboard & S-Pen handwriting recognition

On-screen software keyboard or hardware keyboard dock (extra cost)

On-screen software keyboard or hardware keyboard dock (extra cost)

Approx. price

Approx. £500 for wi-fi + 3G

Approx. £350 for wi-fi
Approx. £450 for wi-fi + 3G

£399 for wi-fi
£499 for wi-fi + 3G

SIM card size

Standard SIM

Standard SIM

Micro SIM

Phone calls

Yes

No

No

Text messages

Yes

No

No

Appropiate giffgaff tariff

Goodybags

Gigabags

Gigabags

 

If you’re looking to use the Samsung Galaxy Note on giffgaff, the most appropriate tariff is one of our giffgaff goodybags with inclusive calls, unlimited texts and unlimited internet from £10/month. For the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the Apple iPad 2, you should use a giffgaff gigabag instead. Gigabags are designed for tablets: they start from £5/month for 500MB of internet. For the iPad 2, you’ll need a giffgaff micro-SIM.

 

Using the Samsung Galaxy Note on giffgaff

 

The Samsung Galaxy Note can be used on giffgaff providing your device isn’t locked to another network. It will take a standard-sized giffgaff SIM card and unlimited internet on your Galaxy Note is available from £10/month with one of our giffgaff goodybags. If you’re having trouble setting up internet on your Galaxy Note, see our guide to setting up internet on your Android device. If your Galaxy Note is locked to another network, see the unlockapedia articles on how to unlock Samsung smartphones.

 

Your thoughts...

 

Have you tried out the Samsung Galaxy Note or the S-Pen stylus? What did you think of the Note? Is it an over-sized smartphone and an under-sized tablet, or does it combine the best of both worlds? Do you think the S-Pen is a useful addition or a gimmick? Drop us a comment below: we’d love to hear your thoughts.

Comments
by iphone_user on ‎23-12-2011 18:35

My S2 arived today!

by matt1111 ‎23-12-2011 18:36 - edited ‎23-12-2011 18:37

a 5.3" touch screen must be amazing to have, but in reality do you really need something that big in your pocket?

Firstly that for a phone isn't exactly portable-wise is it. I prefer a smaller sized screen to that.

Just imagine making a call on the SGN- people would think "What have they got up to their ear?"

Must be a dream texting on, would feel like having an actual keyboard in your hand with the size of the screen.

In my opinion, Samsung have shown that its possible to create such a product, but whether or not it will appeal to people I'm not sure.

iPhone 4S or the SG2 are perfectly sized. 

 

@iphone_user Hows the SG2? My iPhone 4S is great! :smileyvery-happy:

by stealthybigboss2 on ‎23-12-2011 18:41
I like the samsung galaxy, very nice
by nsp on ‎23-12-2011 19:00

" By Kenlo 59 minutes ago, last edited 5 hours ago" - wish I had a time machine like Kenlo's lol What goes on?

by bellfroot on ‎23-12-2011 19:05

This would be ideal using mm tracker with ordnance survey maps. You'll get a useable size of screen to see a map area instead of scrolling around on my 4' nexus s like i do now. Tempted but my current phone is £10 / month can't see it ever coming down to that unless it doesn't get market appeal then it might bomb and i'll get one. Still must try a dummy phone in my pocket to see what its like.

by kulsum on ‎23-12-2011 19:50
i think sg note is an anazing device ^_^
by kulsum on ‎23-12-2011 19:50
amazing *
by martyjw on ‎23-12-2011 20:27

Im really unsure why your comparing three different devices against each other. Yes they have similar form factors/OS but there three different types of devices all aiming at different uses. Id understand if its comparing whats best to do what on ______ device, obviously phone calls on a larger device wouldn't be its highlight. Spec wise though its not a contest.

 

The inbetween devices (not so tablet, and not so phone) such as the Samsung Note and maybe the Dell Streak is what it should be put against. Same as phones compare against phones. Maybe not just Samsung, HTC and Motorola are out there too :smileywink: Then for tablets etc

 

 

by khairul on ‎23-12-2011 20:56
Hi kenlo,

Thanks for the review. I've seen the Note promoted here and there, but this is the first time I have read about it in detail.

I'm really surprised to hear that the iPad 2 has a meagre 0.7 megapixel camera. It just goes to show how much Apple can get away with lol.

Just one bone to pick with you - you mention:
"This represents a 167% increase in screen resolution compared to the Galaxy S II’s 800x480 display and brings the resolution of the Galaxy Note’s display to the same level as the display on the Galaxy Tab 10.1."
Surely that should be an increase of 67%, not 167%? :smileyhappy:
by oldyorkie on ‎23-12-2011 21:54

I too noticed the ability of the OP to edit before this write-up was submitted :smileyvery-happy::smileytongue:.

 

This is not really a comparison - only the included graphics would make it appear so.. - got bored with the repetative use of "The Samsung Galaxy Note........" - and that is all this is really about. Where are the descriptive paragraphs of the "comparisons"?

 

Was looking forward to seeing what your reviews had discovered ..... only to feel like I was reading a "selling Tool" for Samsung :smileysad:

 

Having said that... I did read it fully and can see that a lot of work has gone into it ... but my guess is that this is done by a very excited new Samsung Galaxy Note user, :smileytongue:

 

BTW ... I am a Samsung Galaxy S user ..... with the firm belief that neither the S2, the Note nor the Tabs would enhance my experience whatsoever - strengthened by this post.

 

 

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