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A noteworthy Android - Samsung Galaxy Note

November 15, 2011

The first thing you'll be wondering when you lay eyes on Samsung's Galaxy Note is whether the device is a small Tablet or a very large phone. Next, you'd want to know if the device would fit in your pocket.

The Note boasts a beautiful 5.3in AMOLED touchscreen and is a fully functional phone. It also comes with a stylus, dubbed the S Pen (advanced smart pen) comfortably tucked in at the bottom right of the device that lets you take notes, doodle and mark-up screenshots or maps.

Samsung's latest offering has a very large, very bright, very vibrant and very sharp screen - and we assure you the display on this device does not disappoint. In fact, the display is so beautiful that many will fall in love with the device (despite its rather unconventional form factor) immediately.

Besides the breathtaking display, the Note proves to have amazingly good touchscreen sensitivity. With its 1.4Ghz dual-core processor, running on Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), it has a very fast response speed.

Hardware design
The Note is larger than even the HTC Titan (4.7in screen) and is as thin as the Galaxy S II. At 178g, the Note feels lightweight for its size and is lighter than any other Tablet offerings.

It is humongous for a ­smartphone, so for the men, we don't know if it will sit ­comfortably in your front pockets. For the ladies, you will ­definitely have no problems ­carrying it in your handbags as it is thin and lightweight.

The size and WXGA (1,280 x 800-pixels) ­resolution makes the device very impressive for viewing photos and videos. The advantages of having a Super AMOLED screen are a brighter ­display, less sunlight ­reflection and reduced power ­consumption.

The screen takes up most of the front of the phone, leaving narrow spaces on top and bottom of the device. There is a physical Home button at the bottom of the device, and two touch-sensitive buttons on either side for Back and Options. On top is an earphone grill, followed by the 2-megapxiel front-facing camera.

The 8-megapixel camera and flash is at the back, where the speaker is. As the speaker is located at the back, it's best not to put the device flat on the table when listening to music or watching videos.

The mighty pen
One of the most remarkable things you can do with the Note is to use the device very much like how you would use a regular notepad.

Although tucked a little bit too tightly at the bottom and pulling it out might ruin your manicure, the S Pen is indeed a useful tool.

Samsung makes it easy for you to mark-up webpages and screenshots with the S Pen and S Memo software.

There are two ways to make a screen capture. The first way is by depressing both the power and home button simultaneously and the second is by depressing the little button on the S Pen while tapping on the screen.

When doing the latter, the screenshot will automatically be placed in an editor where you can save, mark-up or select a part of the image.

You can then import the entire screen shot or selected image to the S Memo app to further add annotations to it or simply use the image you've selected in your memo.

S Memo comes with eight ­different ­backgrounds and you can choose from yellow notepad paper, blue lined paper and there's even a music manuscript background for those who want to compose music which is pretty cool.

Besides that, S Memo provides you with a wide selection of pen settings ­ranging from pen, pencil, paintbrush and highlighter in various colours to make your ­doodling experience more enjoyable.

Multimedia and gaming
The Note did not only impress us with its vibrant display as we were also pleased to learn that it holds its own when it comes to photo and video capturing.

It also comes with Video Maker and Photo Editor which allow you to make simple edits to your video clips and photos respectively.

The device will also prove to be your best travelling companion when you can listen to music while reading your favourite book, ­catching up on the latest news or browsing your favourite magazine.

Did we say it is an ­excellent gaming device? Oh yes it is! We spent ­countless hours playing Plants and Zombies on it.

Because of its size, the Note is able to house a large 2,500mAh lithium-ion ­battery. Thus despite the size of the screen, battery life is decent for a device of its size.

Social Hub combines all your social networking feeds and e-mail ­messages into one single app. Updates from Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn make up the social network feeds, while you can sync with Microsoft Exchange server as well as other web-mail accounts here.

It also has an S Planner ­organiser that can be synced with Google Calendar, Microsoft Exchange and Facebook.

Meanwhile, S Choice has a selection of Samsung apps and one of the best is Zen Brush. It is a drawing app that lets you to paint, write and even achieve calligraphy–like artwork.

Another noteworthy app that comes pre-installed with the Note is Voice Talk. Speak orders into your smartphone to send out SMS, search on the Web, make calls, play music, open an application and more.

This app is perhaps most useful while driving. Not quite your Siri, but you can use it to impress your friends because it will respond to "Hi Galaxy, make me coffee."

The Samsung Galaxy Note is truly an all-in-one device that's lightweight and portable. However, one would be hesitant to hold the gigantic smartphone up to the ear to receive a call because it might be a wee bit embarrassing.But who knows, with all the plus points, this new larger form factor might just become the norm in the near future.

Processor: 1.4GHz dual-core processor
Camera: 8-megapixel with LED flash (back), 2-megapixel (front)
Price: RM2,299
Rating: 4.5

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