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2.3.6, Gingerbread – last year’s Galaxy Nexus produced by Samsung arrived with the Android 4.0, making this phone feel out of date.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;