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Samsung Galaxy Note...I was prepared to hate it.
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Samsung Galaxy Note…I was prepared to hate it.

When I first heard of the Samsung Galaxy Note I wondered who would want a slab that was too big to be a phone and too small to be a tablet. I laughed at pictures op people holding this monster to their ears using it as a phone. After all, I have small hands and 4.3″ seems to be the largest screen that fits comfortably in my hands.

Technically this phone…tablet…Phablet! is no slouch. It has a 1.4GHz dual-core processor, 16GB of internal storage and an 8-megapixel camera unfortunately with last year’s operating system. Why Samsung didn’t ship this with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich instead of Android 2.3 is beyond me. The piece de resistance is the 4G LTE radio. When I was within range of Telus’ 4G LTE network the performance was nothing short of amazing..I was getting downloads up to 60% faster than my home Bell Fibe 25 setup.

That kind of performance really showed on everything you do connected to the internet..browsing especially is  the best I have ever seen on a smartphone. And that is good because, this huge 5.3″ screen was made for browsing.

It was great to stream videos almost instantaneously with almost no buffering time. Not to mention that the videos looked stunning on the 1280 x 800 Super AMOLED screen

 

Now to the part I really like..the screen is just big enough to read a book..so I installed my favourite ebook reader from Kobo and found it comfortable to read even without my glasses. This alone is worth the price of admission.

Samsung’s big deal for this phone is the stylus and the apps that work with it..tap twice on the screen and a notepad pops up for jotting down quick thoughts, items for a grocery list or a drawing. As well the stylus is active in pretty much every text box…which would be great if my penmanship wasn’t so awful that the text recognition got it wrong pretty much every time. This note is supposed to read “My handwriting is awful”..it is so much faster to use the keyboard or use the voice recognition which is way more accurate. Sorry Samsung..for me at least the stylus is a worthless gimmick that serves no useful purpose.

Samsung doesn’t disappoint in the camera department..the front camera at 2MP is fine for video calling but the rear 8MP camera has all the features you would expect from a self contained point and shoot and the pictures are just as good. All the more surprising this picture was taken at 4x digital zoom.

 

The video camera is capable of 1080p but that makes for huge files so I prefer to stick to 720p and as you can see the quality is excellent even under difficult conditions of a bright sunny day and a silver car..the audio wasn’t bad either.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YyXYOzSuC5c&feature=youtube_gdata

So after all this do I hate or love the Samsung Galaxy Note. What do you think? Sure it is a brute to hold up to the ear..but I use Bluetooth for most of my calls anyway..so that is not a real issue. I usually carry the phone in my left pants pocket..it took a little getting used to the feel of this slab in my pocket. It has a lot of good things going for it..the big screen is nothing short of great for everything, browsing, reading books and watching videos..game playing too. And, I can read my email without my glasses..another bonus. Plus, if you are in range of 4G LTE service you will really love this phone. My unit is on the Telus network and is blazing fast in the 4G LTE area and pretty fast elsewhere.

The Samsung Galaxy Note is available from Bell, Rogers and Telus as well as Future Shop and Best Buy. The price starts at $199.99 with a three year plan up to $779.99 with no plan. Drop in and take a look at this big lug..it may well steal your heart.

 

 

Bob Benedetti

Former RCAF Fighter Pilot Bob worked for CTV Montreal as a Reporter, Producer and Executive producer for 35 years retiring in 2004. Bob started reporting on personal technology in 1995 at CTV and continues today at Home Technology Montreal

1 Comment
  • Ed L

    It never ceases to amaze me how rapidly technology is changing, and how rapidly what you purchased 6 months ago is close to “feeling” obsolete.

    Samsung is definitely a technology leader and their phone/tablet feature set rivals Apple. The picture & the video are high quality, even on the Internet. The subjects themselves hit pretty close to home too!

    The text recognition may not be as much of an issue for the younger generation because a high percentage of them do not write in script but rather print the letters. It seems to me that this would be easier for the software to decipher.

    March 19, 2012 at 8:29 pm Reply

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