In a challenge to Apple’s Retina Display technology, Samsung introduced a new high-resolution smartphone, the Samsung Note. The phone packs 1280×800 pixels in a 5.3-inch Super AMOLED screen paired with a 1.4 GHz dual-core processor and digital pen. Is it too big to be a phone?


In a challenge to the iPhone 4’s Retina Display, Samsung introduced a new high-resolution smartphone, the Samsung Note, at the IFA Exhibition on Thursday. The Samsung Note doesn’t pack all of its 1280×800 pixels into a small screen, however; the new Note uses a 5.3-inch display with Samsung’s Super AMOLED technology for vivid colors and wide viewing angles. If that sounds like a large phone or a very small tablet, it really is both. But Samsung is touting the extra screen space as better for browsing and note-taking with an included digital pen.

The large display, high pixel density — 285 pixels per inch — and abilities to take notes or draw with the pressure sensitive stylus are the stars of this short overview video:

Other hardware features in the Samsung Note, which runs Android 2.3 are attractive as well: a dual-core 1.4 GHz processor, 1 GB of RAM, 16 or 32 GB of internal storage, 8 megapixel rear camera with 1080p video recording (24 – 30 fps), 2 megapixel front camera, and microSD card slot. The usual host of radio connectivity is there as well: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and aGPS, plus support for 21 Mbps HSPA+ networks. Essentially, the Note is a small tablet with voice capabilities.

The other way of looking at it isn’t as a small tablet, but a big phone, of course. I’m partial to larger screened devices and can’t wait to take the Samsung Note for a test drive. Yes, holding a 5.3-inch phone to one’s head will look goofy to say the least. But I’m not thinking about products like the Note as a traditional phone for two reasons.

One, we’re actually talking on our handsets less and less. Far more of our time is spent in apps, browsing the web or watching videos, for example. These activities are sure to benefit from the larger, higher resolution screen. Second, for the few calls I get, it’s simple to use a Bluetooth headset — sometimes tech that’s been around for a number of years can actually supplement new tech. I say bring on the big screen phones. If I can carry a 7-inch tablet everywhere I go these days, surely I can tote a smaller slab.


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  1. Love what Samsung is doing here. Large, HD SAMOLED screen that is still pocketable on top of Galaxy SII specs. The Then throw in a stylus as a bonus. Would love to get one.

  2. I currently have the Galaxy S2 and now already drooling to get my hands on this one.

  3. Dell Streak part deux.

  4. I am totally into this. As long as it will be 4G/LTE.

  5. If I were in the market for a phone and it were available on Verizon, this would be the one I would get. Unfortunately, everytime I manage to cut my expenses, my employer comes up with a new way to screw me, so I can’t spend money on anything like this right now.

  6. I’m not interested in a phone that large, but I do see how a lot of people would want it. However, I can’t wait until that resolution gets into 4.3″-4.5″ phones (and no Pentile).

    I also hope they are moving to 16:10 resolutions for phones (like 1280×800) rather than 16:9 one (like the qHD phones), which makes the phones too narrow and tall.

    Either way, they should stop at the 1280×800 resolution for phones under 5″. It’s high enough for them (over 300 PPI). But I do want to see 300 PPI in 7″-10″ tablets soon, which should make the tablets more enjoyable when reading book on them.

    1. FYI, the known issues with pentile diminish as the resolution goes up. It’s a big a compromise technology at the moment, but may be at the forefront of displays in the future.

  7. A 5.3″ screen with a 1280×800 resolution is pretty much the ultimate convergence device for me, provide that 1.5GHz Samsung Xenyos SoC with its Mali GPU is capable of driving it properly, god knows Tegra2 certainly is not!

  8. iPhone 4 (with 640×960 3.5″) has 326 dpi spec. With 800×1280 5.3″, it’s 285 dpi. To get to the same density with the same resolution, it has to be 800×1280 4.6″ (328 dpi) or smaller. Even 4.6″ seem too big… I think I would be more interested in 800×1280 4″ (377 dpi) or 4.3″ (351 dpi)…

    5.3″ display seems a bit too big… Workable, but I wouldn’t think of it as a large “phone”, more like a small “tablet”, for sure.

  9. I owned a Dell Streak and really liked the profile. Granted, that it looked ridiculous plastered to my head during a call. But alas, I make a call a day if that, and prefer using headphones anyway.

    I predict that this profile will ultimately become more popular than expected, especially as the cases thin out. The Dell was pocketable but needed a thinner wallet case.

  10. Finally! Told you so … ;)

    1. Tal, I’ve been telling everyone “I told you so,” as well. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that a lot of us want an integrated, all-in-one device; and the manufacturers know that. They’ve just been obsessed with milking all the sales out of separate devices they can. Honestly, I’ve been telling everyone that the 7-inch form factor is where most things will settle, it looks like it may end up being a bit smaller.

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