Samsung launched the Galaxy Note very recently in India for Rs.34,990. Tech2 attended the launch event held here in Mumbai and got a little ‘handsy’ with this ‘hybrid’ device. Here’s a quick look at what our first impressions were with the device.
Hands on with the Samsung Galaxy Note
There’s no doubt that Samsung has resurrected a genre of devices that we thought died with the sad demise of the Dell Streak. The Samsung Note however, has taken its design cue from their recent big hit in the smartphone segment, the Samsung Galaxy S II. It’s a large device obviously but Samsung has managed to keep it as slim and slender as they dare at just 9.7mm in depth. With that dimension in mind we expected it to be light and it quite met with our expectations. It weighs in at just 178g.
The 8MP shooter
The 5.3-inch display was crisp and colors appeared quite vibrant which is what was expected from a Super AMOLED display sporting a 1280 x 800 pixel resolution. The Note has retained the simplistic singular rectangle Home key below the display and menu, return keys that Samsung’s Galaxy Series has come to be associated with. The devics felt large in our hands but somewhat easy to manage. We even tried stuffing it in our jeans and found that, although snug, it wasn’t altogether uncomfortable to manage. It easily fits into your back pocket as well, but we don’t recommend this option as it’s too easy to be pick-pocketed or worse still break in two if you rest your rump on a hard surface.
The version that will be launching initially (expected on shelves sometime next week) will be equipped with 16GB of internal storage plus microSD card support for up to 32GB more. Not that it matters too much, all things considered, but the lack of a hot swap lost for the memory card was just a little disappointing.
Samsung’s Touch Wiz 4.0 UI works out just fine for the Note’s 1.4GHz Dual Core processor and Android Gingerbread. However, we still felt that slight hint of sluggishness when it came to swiping through the desktop menus. The UI’s gestures and Tilt support systems worked out to be as smooth as a hot knife through butter. Their tilt to zoom and all other gesture-based activities didn’t seem to be an issue at all in these test devices.
Not as accurate as we thought
Here’s what’s unique about the Note – Samsung has, like HTC’s Flyer thrown in a stylus that sits neatly in the bottom-rear portion of the handset. The stylus has been dubbed the S-Pen, where the “S” stands for “Smart”. The stylus comes in quite handy when using the various note applications like their ‘S’ Planner or capturing screen shots of websites, highlighting portions of the same for email attachments etc. We did find the script to text functionality a little lacking in terms of accuracy but speedy in terms of usage.
When it comes to media the Galaxy Note is capable of supporting full HD (1080p) video playback in MP4 format. The built in player, like almost all of Samsung’s Smartphones, is equipped with codecs to play quite a few of the popular formats and even has a 5.1 Surround Channel option. The music player also came with EQ presets and an 8 channel graphic EQ option for personalisation. An FM radio is also present along with Samsung’s Reader Hub with support for Kobo, Zinio and other digital publications.
One stop shop for your reading pleasure
Samsung has gone with TV Out via the micro USB port i.e. MHL (Media Hi-Def Link) supported. It’s a 3G device of course and also offers USB on-the-go, (not sure if an adapter cable is provided) and WiFi with DLNA, WiFi Direct and hot spot creation features. The Galaxy Note is also supposed to have NFC support, unfortunately the Indian edition will be devoid of the feature. Samsung’s ‘S’ Choice app center is also on board where specially designed Galaxy Note apps are available for download. Samsung has also included their ChatON app which we didn’t get enough time to check at the event on this device. On this large screen Google Maps looks pretty good, although we do hope Samsung will include a proper navigation software with the launched device.
The Galaxy Note features an 8MP camera at the rear with Full HD video recording functionality and plenty of features including auto-stitch Panorama, Face, Smile and Blink Detection and more. The front facing camera is 2MP.
Plenty of options to choose from
First Impression After-Thoughts
This does pose an interesting solution, of sorts, to the question that some of us might be pondering – would it make both financial and productive sense to own both a mobile phone as well as a tablet? While others may not see this as a legitimate tablet, we do see quite a bit of potential in this the Galaxy Note. Of course the battery life is something we're very curious to test as a 1.4GHz and a 5.3-inch display would have a natural tendency to put a little pressure on the mAhs. It does seem to offer quite a bit of functionality for the price. But we’ll only able to give you a proper verdict on its actual value for money after a thorough review. So stay tuned.
Samsung did also inform us that a slightly cheaper edition would also be making it out this year. The display size would remain unchanged however the specs might be toned down a bit.
We’d like to know your thoughts on this new genre we’re calling Mini-Tabs. Do you think this manages to successfully bridge the gap between large screen touchscreen mobiles and the smaller-sized tablets?
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