Last year in October, when the tablet fire was raging on, Dell tried surpassing an untouched territory of the techville. The company wanted to fill in the space between a tablet and smartphone. Irrefutably, the Dell Streak didn’t live up to the hype and so did the scope of similar 5-inch tablets making it big. Now, about a year later, Samsung explores this space. Looking at the Galaxy Note and its attributes, one can easily say that Samsung has stepped in well prepared, and the Note cannot be termed as yet-another-wannabe device. 

Samsung already has a slew of high-end smartphones and a handful of tablets, which are doing pretty well (ask Apple!). The Note bridges this gap to create a niche market for audience looking for the best of both worlds. This mini-tablet, if we may say so, (obviously sounds better than an overgrown smartphone) isn’t the right fit for your pockets, but eventually it’s portable enough to be carried and less space consuming than an average tablet.

What's your pick - smartphone and tablet or a all-in-one mini-tablet?

What's your pick – smartphone and tablet or a all-in-one mini-tablet?

The question is would users buy a smartphone and a tablet or replace both by opting for a single mini-tab? In such a case, the Note has some mighty in-house competition besides the fierce market outside. We decided to clash it against its cousins, the Samsung Galaxy S II and Samsung Galaxy Tab 730.

Best of both worlds

Best of both worlds


Comparison chart

Click to enlarge

To begin with portability, obviously the SII is the sleekest at 116 grams. It’s light in weight and has a pocket friendly form factor. Needless to say, the Galaxy Tab 730 cannot be put into pockets (neither it is meant to) and caterers to the large screen experience on-the-go. The Note isn’t small enough to push into pockets, but easily slips into purses adding a mere 62 grams, compared to the SII and around 30 grams compared to some high-end smartphones.

There have been 7-inch tablets with the voice call functionality like the BlackBerry Playbook, Beetel and Reliance Tab, but we know how awkward it gets speaking over a 7-inch device, even if you're using handy earphones. For many, a 5-inch device may not be a comforting option. But aren’t we quite comfortable with a 4.3-inch display? Then adapting to a screen larger by another 0.7 inches shouldn’t be all that tedious.

The SII has a smaller screen with 480 x 800 resolution, which isn’t the best we’ve seen in the devices of its class. For instance, the iPhone 4 and HTC Sensation rope in a better display resolution, among others. The Tab 730, which obviously has a larger screen and a better resolution at 800 x 1280. Now the Note is just an inch larger compared to the SII and chucks in resolution at par with the Tab. This ensures much denser display content and a detailed viewing experience.

Taking their camera attributes into account, the Tab 730’s capabilities are quite limited. On the other hand, the Note and the SII feature a massive 8MP camera compared to the mediocre 3.15MP-equipped camera by the Tab. It has been assumed that one wouldn’t indulge a lot into photography using tablet devices (remember the original iPad didn’t even consider adding a camera). The Note strikes the balance here. It has an 8MP camera, supports 1080p recording and a screen large enough for a decent viewing experience.

The Tab 730 delivers a performance driven by its 1GHz processor, which is similar to processors roped in by other tablets like the Motorola Xoom and iPad 2. However, the Note has upped the performance for the mini-tablet segment with a much powerful 1.4GHz ARM Cortex processor. The SII equips a 1.2GHz processor, which again isn’t at par taking into the account the likes of the Lumia 800.

On the storage front, all three devices are now available in India in 16GB storage capacities, while the 32GB version of the Note is likely to come soon. However, the SII and Note let you expand the storage with the included microSd slot, which goes a miss in the Tab.

Utmost portability

Utmost portability

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 730, just like most of the tablets aim at serving as a entertainment hub for watching movies, videos, reading books, emails and likewise, negating the need for computing devices like netbooks. Smartphones ensure utmost portability at the cost of a small display screen. The definition of ‘keep in touch’ has also changed owing to the social networking trend. The Note, on the other hand, perfectly blends both; it includes a calling functionality, a screen that is good enough for a decent viewing experience and a decent portability.

While tablets were struggling to make the 7-inch to 10-inch transition, the market suddenly came across the Note, which would make you consider it as the one device that does it all. Neither too big to carry around nor too small for screen viewing restrictions. Lenovo is also rumored to be prepping a 5-inch tab and we shouldn’t be surprised if a couple of more handsets just emerge in. 

However, if you already own a 4-inch high-end smartphone like the Galaxy SII, Motorola Razr or likewise, then owning a Note would seem just redundant. If you add the Samsung Nexus into the picture, Note may have to surrender due to the already available ICS upgrade and a more pocket friendly form factor. Nevertheless, the Note is also speculated to get an upgrade sooner or later. The S II is also slated for an ICS upgrade. In another instance – If you are planning to own a smartphone and a tablet for a long time, then the Note perfectly blends both elements and we suggest you go ahead and pick it.

Now, if you have the moolah to spend, you would prefer owning a smartphone and a tablet or just a mini-tablet that does it all?

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