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

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

by kenlo on ‎23-12-2011 18:00 - last edited on ‎20-06-2014 16:57 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 kenlo on ‎23-12-2011 22:06

@nsp I wish I did get a time machine for Christmas!! I wrote the post in the morning but didn't post it until the evening - hence why the last edited time is before the posting time :-)

 

@martyjw Good point, thanks :-) The Note is supposed to replace both your smartphone & tablet with one device, hence I wanted to compare the Note against the more traditional devices. The 5-inch Dell Streak would have indeed been an interesting comparison... have you had any experience with the device? I thought it was discontinued!

 

@khairul Believe it or not, it is an 167% increase in pixels and not a 67% increase!

800 * 480 = 384,000 pixels on Galaxy S II
1280 * 800 = 1,024,000 pixels on Galaxy Note

 

Though the two displays use different pixel arrangements so arguably when looking at image quality we should compare the number of subpixels:

800 * 480 * 3 = 1 152 000 subpixels on Galaxy S II (Real-Stripe pattern - RGB)
1 280 * 800 * 2 = 2 048 000 subpixels on Galaxy Note (PenTile matrix - RGBG)

Which makes it a 78% increase in subpixel count compared to Galaxy S II.

 

Ken

by khairul on ‎24-12-2011 00:28
Well, looks like I stand corrected :smileyhappy:
by danielnunn on ‎24-12-2011 09:55
I was really tempted by one of these until I actually saw one in a shop... There is NO way you could use it as a phone without looking completely ridiculous!
by jsmyth2112 on ‎24-12-2011 10:58

I can't wait! Getting my S2 tomorrow!

by cinami on ‎24-12-2011 12:02
I currently have the Samsung galaxy s and I've been looking into the note since it's release. This is my next phone although I won't be able to wear it on a lanyard around my neck. Reading my books on it will be much nicer and watching films will be brilliant. I went to CPW to have a go of the display model and it's truly an awesome bit of tech.
by joe2316 on ‎24-12-2011 13:36
I am fortunate to have the Galaxy Note (GNote) and a 10.1 Xoom. The resolution on the GNote is the same as the Xoom! The screen is so good, that the Xoom has become redundant. When ICS is released, users will benefit from it's superior interface. The Xoom has Honeycomb and it is a pain to fall back to Gingerbread on the GNote. I have compared it to a Galaxy Nexus for a whole day and despite the lack of ICS, GNote browsing is smoother and the device has a better (subjective) build quality, as well as external SD card. The speaker is much better too, so useful for podcasts and speakerphone. The screen may be pentile (the dirty word of the moment), but everyone who has used/seen it has been blown away by it's quality. The phone is amazingly capable at multimedia. The Xoom stutters at times with high bit rate HD (h264) but the GNote takes it all in it's stride. I have yet to have it falter, at all. The phone is big, but not unusable as a handset. I'm a big man, so the phone looks OK in my hands, Otherwise Bluetooth might be better for the style conscious. All in all, if you are a power user with web/multimedia and the phone size is not a dealbreaker, you'll get no better.
by almus on ‎24-12-2011 16:08
I think some companies do push the definition of 'phone' to the limit. Yes, they can be used to make calls but what we're increasingly seeing is devices which could be compared to small-scale computers. In my opinion there is no need for a screen as big as the galaxy note's and, as one other commenter said, it does look ridiculous to make calls on. I think the iPhone is the perfect blend of portability and sleek design, with an intuitive interface but then again I'm biased :smileytongue:
by inspiron42 on ‎24-12-2011 18:52

Personally I would welcome the extra screen size of the Galaxy Note. I have made about 2 phone calls during the 7 months I have owned my phone, but I use the other features such as internet several times a day.

by jefferinho on ‎25-12-2011 22:42
Had the choice of this and the gs2 , no contest really The note was way to big , it's not something you can just put in your pocket , and the gs2 does everything you need in a smartphone
by aaronjlaw on ‎26-12-2011 04:27

Lovely blog post! Good stuff.

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