Samsung Galaxy Note 5.3in Smartphone

Article Index
Samsung Galaxy Note 5.3in Smartphone
Features and Specifications
Phone Tour
Using the Note
Camera - Still and Video
Downsides and Final Thoughts

Product: Samsung Galaxy Note 5.3" Smartphone
Provided By: Samsung
Price: Find Lowest Price Online


In North America, Smartphone owners make up over 70% of the general user-base and today we've got Samsung's largest monster on our bench, in our hands and in our pockets (barely).  The Galaxy Note from Samsung is designed merge the two mobile platforms into one usable device that has it all.  They are trying to converge the Smartphone with a 3.5" - 4" screen with a 8" or larger tablet into one device.  The Galaxy Note is a 5.3" device that packs a resolution of 1280x800 on a Super AMOLED screen that looks amazing. 

The Galaxy Note currently runs Android 2.3.6 (Gingerbread) and while Samsung certainly has plans to bring Android 4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) to the Note in Q2, for now it runs the older OS - both for stability and for compatibility purposes.  As we look at this phone, please keep in mind that we aren't a "gadget blog" and will be looking at this device from more of a general consumer / computer enthusiast perspective.  Either way, we'll get to the bottom of things and find out what is awesome and what sucks on this handset - and everything in between.

Galaxy Note

First Impressions:

There are a lot of tablet users out there that swear by their tablets as a must-have device.  Let's take a close look at this scenario for most consumers however.  Many consumers have a smartphone that they can receive email, sms and check the web on already.  A tablet that is 3G/4G enabled makes this experience a little better as it has a larger screen, but really is a duplicate device for most part.  Many of these consumers with Smartphone and Tablets also have at least one computer - PC or laptop that will likely either be running Windows or OSX.  A tablet can't replace either the phone or the laptop/desktop for every situation, so you end up with three devices.  The Galaxy Note is aimed squarely at this market and when we talked to Samsung, they were supremely confident that they could take a bite out of tablet sales with the Galaxy Note.

We received out Note after a meeting with Samsung in Calgary and didn't receive any retail packaging.  They simply gave us the phone, a USB cable and a wall adapter so we could charge it.  We didn't receive any accessories, so this review is of the device alone - not the bundle that ships in the retail package.

Nexus S vs Galaxy Note
Nexus S vs Galaxy Note
Phone Comparison
iPhone 4S vs Note vs Nexus S


The Galaxy Note is a monster when compared to an iPhone or even the Samsung Nexus S.  It wasn't that long ago that I thought the Nexus S was a large device with it's "massive" 4in display.  That pales in comparison to the 5.3" screen that is shown off on the Note.

It's quite a site to behold when you first lay your eyes and hands on the Galaxy Note.  It dwarfs any other smartphone on the market and even when Samsung held it up to the Galaxy Nexus with it's 4.65" screen, the Note looked much larger.  Even with the larger size, it can easily be held and used (for the most part) with one hand when you're surfing, making calls, and playing around on this multipurpose device.

Device Comparison
Device Comparison
Note vs Kindle
Note vs Kindle


As you can see above, the Note is a fair bit smaller than the Kindle 3, but the actual screen size is not that much different.  Keep this thought in mind: the Kindle has a 6" e-Ink display and the Galaxy Note has a 5.3" Super AMOLED screen.  As we'll see as we continue, the amount of text you can pack into this display and easily read is astounding.  It's large, yet it fits in a pocket.

On the next page we'll take a close look at some features and specifications before we dive any deeper into this review.