Samsung Galaxy Note Review

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The Galaxy Note by Samsung is a hybrid device that was made by Samsung to fight on two battle fronts. It is a hybrid device for those that want to get a tablet but still want it to be pocket-able enough to be carried around and used as a great mobile device. Let’s begin!


samsung galaxy note1

Quick Specifications

  • 5.3 inch, 1280 x 800 pixels, touchscreen display.
  • 1GB RAM
  • 1.4GHz Dual Core Processor
  • 16GB Internal memory + microSD (up to 32GB)
  • Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread
  • 8 MP camera with LED Flash / Front : 2 MP
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct
  • Standard battery, Li-on 2,500 mAh

samsung galaxy note display


First off, I must admit that the display is gigantic for a mobile device and considering that I’ve been using it as my primary phone for close to a week now, it still feels big. The resolution that the Galaxy Note packs is equal to what obtains on some computer monitors. The fact that this is packed into such a small package makes it absolutely gorgeous to use.


The Note comes with an 8 megapixel camera that doesn’t disappoint plus it shoots full High Definition (HD) video at 24-30 frames per second. It also has a scene mode, smile detection mode and a very bright LED flashlight.

The Note comes bundled with a stylus called the S Pen which you can use to take notes and navigate through the interface. The Note also is no slouch when it comes to multimedia. The dual core processor ensures that it shoots and plays back full HD video smoothly. Of all the phones that I have used, the Note is the one that got people asking me more questions than usual. The screen also always make all other Smartphones look tiny.

Bundled accessories are a carrying pouch that replaces the Battery cover, one piece earphones with replacement ear buds and a detachable USB charger.

Operating System and Software
The Galaxy Note runs Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread. Samsung has promised that Ice Cream Sandwich is coming soon as an update. Other phones – even Samsung’s Galaxy S II – have been updated to ICS but the update is still not available for the Note yet. I suspect that it is the bundled S Pen that is delaying the update.

Samsung Nigeria also bundled some apps like Afrinolly and Opera Mini. Other bundled software worthy of mention are apps like Kies air which you can use to transfer files to your phone via your browser and Polaris Office software which handles Office files.


Battery Life
The Note packs a 2,500 mAH battery and that is more than enough for the power guzzling Android OS. Most flagship phones ship with almost half of that and this plays in the Note’s favour. By the end of each day, I usually have at least 35-40% charge left.

The Galaxy Note is a snappy device with minimal lag throughout the interface. It has a 1.4Ghz dual core processor, which makes for a good experience. However there  is some lag, which I think is caused by Samsung’s Touchwiz launcher that is baked into the device.

The Note will certainly be considered too big by some people> In my experience, the pocketability is difficult sometimes. Another issue is that the Galaxy Note is more expensive than all current Galaxy Tab models including the 10.1 inch version.

The Galaxy Note is a device that is fighting on two fronts and it does it fairly well. As a phone it does well until you actually put it up to your ear to make or receive a phone call and that is when it looks/feels awkward. As a tablet slab, it actually does well. The HD screen is super sharp despite the fact that the technology used for it is Pentile.


All in all, it is a great device for people that want the best of both worlds with an added advantage of a solid battery and promise of the latest Android update.



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  1. WAO! Congrat Emma. I dey feel u. Apart from the size I think everything about this phoneblet is ok. Even then, the size is ok for what it is meant for. Personally I would prefer it to SGS3 bcos that size of 4.8(SGS3) is just too big for a primary phone for me, hence would go for something bigger. If I have this phone I would assum I already have my own samsung tab and not just a tab, but a tab that can make calls. Please do us a favour and tell us the price of this phoneblet and where those who maybe intrested can get it from.

  2. To me, the size of the phone is not a shortcoming. It’s part of its beauty. It is the main reason why I bought it instead of the GS II or the HTC Desire HD. I went to the shop hoping to buy either of the two mentioned phones, but when the salesgirl brought out the Note, I couldn’t resist it’s glorious 5.3inch screen.

    This are what I consider it’s shortcomings:

    1. Slow browser. Yes, you heard me right. Not the fault of the Note though. It is an android thing. If you have used an iOS, you will know what am saying.

    2. Can’t save images directly from mail application. If an image is part of a mail, there is only one way of saving such image. You enlarge to occupy the screen and you take a screenshot. Only the Gmail client built into the phone is an exception. This again, is an android thing.

    3. Back cover is so fragile, you are afraid it would break when opening the back. It actually could accidentally break with a little more than an adequate force. Thankfully, Samsung provided a cover for the phone which thick back doubles as back cover.

    4. This baby is still stuck on gingerbread in this age of android ICS. No excuse from Samsung would be accepted on this.

    While realizing there is still work to be done on androids before they can meet up with the fluid and smooth interface of iOS, this baby comes close to being ideal barring all the aforementioned issues which mostly are inherited as autosomal dominant genes from the android stock.

  3. Funny enough I read this article this evening on a friend’s Samsung Galaxy Note.

    Despite its size, I found it very easy to use the keyboard. My friend has already rooted his phone because he didn’t like TouchWiz (though for some reason he uses it fine on his tablet).

  4. Can’t save images directly from mail application. If an image is part of a mail, there is only one way of saving such image. You enlarge to occupy the screen and you take a screenshot. Only the Gmail client built into the phone is an exception. This again, is an android thing.

    That bit is not very accurate or you didn’t specify the issue very clearly. I use K9-mail on my device and I can save images that are part of the body of the mail as well as attached images.

    For an image that is part of the E-mail message, I simply tap and hold on the image for about a second or two and get the options of view image, save image and copy image URL to the clipboard. Of course attached images could be downloaded so it is either you are trying to do it exactly as you would on iOS or your specific device has some problems. It is not an Android issue.

    Back cover is so fragile, you are afraid it would break when opening the back. It actually could accidentally break with a little more than an adequate force. Thankfully, Samsung provided a cover for the phone which thick back doubles as back cover.

    I believe the word should be feels or appears so fragile rather than so fragile. You have not succeeded in breaking it yet and so, so fragile is the wrong choice of word. You know it may appear to be fragile without actually being fragile.

  5. @Harry,

    Yes, you are right. Long press on the picture brings out options to Save, View, Copy, or Set as wallpaper. Just got it. But it is a hit or miss situation. Sometimes, or most times, the long press doesn’t work until you try it several times. Poor.

    Rightly said, no issues with an attached picture.

    The native in built Gmail app on my Galaxy Note in addition to displaying the embedded pictures also lists them at the bottom of the mail with buttons for download or preview. Neat.

    Guys with Galaxy Note or any android phones with gingerbread, please speak out and let’s know what your experience is.

  6. Nice review, Emma. You’re getting gr8 at this. And with this you’ve gotten me interested in the Samsung Note! Maybe I’d pass now and wait for the Note 2. Hehe. *Sheepish Grin*.

    @Deoladoctor All road leads to your seat during our NMA General Meeting today! Looks like I won’t allow your Note rest until after the meeting.

    Strangely, the Note is doing so well in sales worldwide. Samsung has definitely Hit a sweetspot in smartphone/tablet size here. While I was at Abuja last week, at a March against Polio, I was damn surprised the number of doctors using the Note! They were quite much! I was intrigued.

    Apart from Blackberry, the Note was the next in ubiquity among doctors at the Conference and it got me confounded. if you choose just one single phone model, then the Note Surpassed any single Smartphome model as the most used at the conference. Though this was only an informal research. Lol.

    All I can say now, is that that is the way for Samsung to go. They are the rulers of the mobile world and I expect they would maintain this lead because of their zeal in churning out devices of multiple types and multiple targets.

  7. @Harry,

    These Samsung guys thought of nearly everything don’t they? I went back to the back cover I dumped in the package box, (for fear of breaking it), after reading your comment and behold, the fragile looking/feeling thing is actually so flexible it could almost bend over without breaking. It is even more malleable than the built in back cover of the protecting case included. For the sake of truth, I have to write this with head bowed and tail tucked between my legs. 😀

  8. I just saw the Galaxy Note live with Deoladoctor. It is a great device. I’m totally in love with it. The screen is large, but to me… That’s a great thing. And the screen is super sharp. The resolution is super too. I will fiddle with it more tomorrow. Then decide if I’d get one Meself or not! But then, I hail Samsung. This was what Dell should’ve done when it made the first “Large” 5 inch smartphone then which it erroneously misnamed a tablet. Though I don’t blame Dell. They are only a PC company and not a phone company. Dell needs to meet Samsung for some coaching on matters mobile!

    True, Samsung has gotten the sweet spot for the Note. It is ginormous, quite alright, but it is a beaut!

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