Get Help
Community

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

grand master

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.

31 Comments
newcomer

Samsung Galaxy note..Best phone by a mile...I've had  a white version of this phone since November and it is the best phone available in my opinion, I reviewed the specs on every phone that came close including iphone 4s and google nexus prime etc and HTC sensation XL and HTC Titan. I tested the different ones out at carphone warehouse and other retailers before taking the plunge. The wife has an iphone and it doesn't come close in many respects other than some of the pictures taken, a friend has the HTC sensation XL and that is a nice phone but just not quite as good. My kids love playing the different games on it because of the screen size and gorgeous display, the video quality is fantastic the camera is pretty good except in low light, just on point and shoot basis without using an of the scene modes or adjusting settings, watching movies on the phone is terrific. I use exercise apps for personal use and in some classes that I teach, I don't know what I did without this phone.

This is the best money I've spent for a long time.

I don't have a problem putting it in my jeans pocket or Jacket pocket and everyone that sees the phone admires it. It does seem big at first sight but once you've used it it will be hard to go back to something inferior or smaller screened.

The built in Sat Nav was better and more accurate than one in a top of the range vauxhall Insignia and on this screen absolutely brilliant.

The phone is very fast at everything I've added a 32gb card to the 16GB that already comes built in and this is more than enough for all my needs. I can't wait for Ice cream sandwich to see what difference that makes.

I won't go to a smaller screen than this, I wouldn't want anything bigger on a phone, I think Samsung has got this one just right. Even people who think it's big admire the quality and capability of this phone.

Still loving using it everyday, tried the iphone 4s, not a patch on this. Apple will have to bring out something truly amazing to get me to buy their product now e.g the screen size would definitely have to be somewhere near this one and have better quality although I can't see how that's possible.

The proof is in the pudding, i simply put this phone and the others next to each other and tested them on the same function.

Worth the money? For the enjoyment me and the kids  have had not to mention the education apps the kids use...Definitely

It may seem a bit expensive at around £500 but an equivalent iphone with the extra memory costs significantly more.

Hope this post helps other people who are undecided..You either love it or you think it's too big but still can't help admiring it...I can tell my wife wishes she had bought this phone now instead of getting her i phone and being on a 2 year contract...which still has about 22 months left...ha ha ha!