Size matters: Samsung’s Galaxy Note reviewed

Alongside the stylus, Samsung Australia also offers access to the Good Food Guide 2012, Samsung Music Hub, and Navigon’s GPS navigation solution.

As for battery performance, we initially expected the Galaxy Note to run out of juice quickly due to the large screen and dual-core processor, but to our surprise, found the Note stronger than expected.

In fact, through a combination of social networking, phone calls, messaging, and game playing, we achieved a life of a day and a half straight with no charge. Most people will want to charge daily in what’s becoming fairly typical smartphone life.

Left to right: the Samsung Galaxy line-up includes the 4.3 inch Galaxy S2, the 5.3 inch Galaxy Note, and the 10.1 inch Galaxy Tab.

While Samsung has managed to make a believer out of us with the size of the Note, the smartphone isn’t without its problems.

One of these is the speed of the device. We’re not saying it’s bad, but we certainly noticed some performance issues popping up from time to time. Some apps took a little longer to load than we otherwise would have liked, and bringing the phone back from standby with a simple flick-up on the lockscreen wouldn’t always bring the phone back to life quickly.

While most could live with this, a handset packing a dual-core processor should be able to do much better than this.

Take memos by drawing, writing, typing, and including images and maps.

Samsung should also have released this handset with Google’s latest and greatest, Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich”. While there’s nothing wrong with the version of Android it comes out of the box with – 2.3.6, Gingerbread – last year’s Galaxy Nexus produced by Samsung arrived with the Android 4.0, making this phone feel out of date.

Samsung’s TouchWiz Android overlay feels a little more polished one year on from where it was in the Galaxy S2, but Samsung’s own keyboard seems to have its problems. Luckily, the finger-tracing on-screen keyboard known as Swype is available to use on the Galaxy Note.

Even under Swype, we’ve seen some screen issues where our word swypes are interpreted too early, cutting our words short and making messages seem like strange lines of autocorrect.

We’d also love for this handset to be 4G capable. While Samsung hasn’t seen fit to release an LTE-capable Galaxy Note in our country, the large screen would really bring the Internet to life on the go, and we’d love to see a faster download speed on offer here. There’s nothing wrong with the 3G here (21Mbps available at the maximum), but we’d love a faster connection.

It’s probably worth noting that it’s a little strange holding a phone this size to your head to make phone calls. You can get over this pretty quickly, but people may look at you, as it can seem like you’re holding the biggest phone ever, and that seems to be reason enough for people to stare.


While it’s certainly not for every hand size, Samsung’s Galaxy Note proves itself to be one big and impressive phone, making it a solid choice for someone after big buttons, a big screen, or anyone who isn’t quite sure whether they need a tablet at all.

Value for money
Reader Rating0 Votes
Beautiful screen; Decent battery life; Surprisingly comfortable to use and hold;
No 4G; Speed issues pop up occasionally; S-Pen is pressure sensitive, but only just; Runs older version of Android;

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  1. You are a moron, I’d kill to get 2 days out of a smart phone. I get 14 hours if I’m lucky and with only medium use. I’m UPGRADING to a Note!

  2. An average of two days isn’t terribly surprising. I think we hit around that – just under I think – in our review.

    The sad truth of modern smartphones is that if you want a big screen and some reasonably impressive speed in your device, you’re probably going to sacrifice battery life.

    There is a power saving mode on the Samsung phones in the settings. Try activating that and seeing if it improves things.

  3. And your proof of $90? What does iSuppli say?

    Though, it really comes down to supply and demand.

    We buy all phone accessories (4s and Note) from OS, as they are an absolute rifpoff here.

    1. I tested it out at JB Hi-Fi and it looks really cool. I can’t wait to get mine — waiting for it to arrive in the mail.

  4. I bought the galaxy note in february after having an iphone. The galaxy note is a brilliant phone. It has more customisability than iphone. Its faster. It has better hardware. The large screen makes the web and email experience a lot better.

  5. I own one and think they are highly over rated.  The only good thing about them is the good screen size and they are fast and the S Pen is cool.  My previous phone was a HTC Incredible S so naturally I thought I was upgrading, wrong.  HTC’s are alot more sturdier (Note has a flimsy almost paper thin back) there is no improvement in the camera and the HTC is a lot more configurable and user friendly and that’s a two year old phone. Alot of apps don’t run comfortably on the Note because of it’s size, you can’t have individual pics for each contact, nor even individual ringtones. If you don’t need the big screen don’t bother, get the HTC One X

    1. Can have individual pics, and ringtones at individual, group and global.

      Flexible, thin back does not make it bad, just very light.

      I have only found a couple of apps have a problem with the size. Many widget makers are making some specifically for the wider screen (icons x5 instead of x4) of the Note.

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