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Summary:

A Samsung Galaxy Note review unit arrived this weekend; here’s a brief look at the hardware. People are asking the wrong question about the Note, trying to classify it as a phone, a tablet or even a “phablet.” I’ll show you the right question to ask.

samsung-galaxy-note-landscape

Samsung’s Galaxy Note might be suffering an identity crisis as people decide what to call it, but sales certainly aren’t hurting. Last month the company announced it had sold 5 million Galaxy Notes worldwide. AT&T offers an LTE version of the Galaxy Note in the U.S., and a review unit arrived over the weekend. I have a full review forthcoming, but for now, I wanted to quickly tour the hardware on video and address a key question about the Note. Why? Because too many are asking the wrong question about the Galaxy Note, trying to classify it as a phone, a tablet or even a “phablet.”

As I explain in this brief video, the correct question to be asking is: Are you a one-handed or a two-handed smartphone user?

Frankly, if you use one hand for most or all of your smartphone activities, I’d suggest passing on the Galaxy Note. But not because it’s a bad device. Instead, it’s a bad device for you. On the other hand, I’ve always used two hands with my smartphones; I even type with two thumbs on the iPhone. And for that approach, the Galaxy Note is a perfect fit.

Sure, I swipe through apps and pages in my Kindle books with one hand. And I can scroll or zoom with one thumb as well. But for input, I’m a two-thumber, which is ideal for the Galaxy Note. Videos, of course, don’t require much input at all, and they’re more immersive and enjoyable on a larger, high-resolution display.

So let’s stop trying to fit the Galaxy Note into one device class or the other. The handset actually does a nice job of handling both phone and tablet duties in my limited testing so far, plus it fits in a pocket like any other phone on the market: no questions asked.

  1. christinalundy Monday, April 9, 2012

    I think the tablet part of the Note fits nicely in that category, but you’re right – it doesn’t quite fit in with the phones. I recently ordered the Note and I’m still playing around with it but I will say I love it more for what it can do tablet-wise than I do for its phone attributes.

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  2. Kevin. Excellent job of evaluating the Galaxy Note. You laid out the parameters for judging the phone as a prospective buyer perfectly. This is how a review should be done. It allows the potential buyer to address the decision based on his or hers need. And I like that you didn’t judge one better or worse in absolute terms.

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  3. triangledroid Monday, April 9, 2012

    Excellent point. Looks like a great device for those who use 2 hands. Once you get used to a larger screen, it’s hard to go back to something that’s much smaller.

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  4. I would call it CROSSOVER!
    Great device!

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  5. Finally a voice of reason among a sea of idiot bloggers and reviewers.

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  6. It looks so small compared to the 7.7″. Can you really have a tablet experience on it?
    It surely is a bigger screen than other phones, but does it truly bring tablet reading/browsing/viewing comfort?

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    1. broke in texas Tuesday, April 10, 2012

      for me its a winner. why? cost of internet. I am able to surf web on my phone plan at same cost. I am waiting for someone in the android market to do what apple ipad does on their 3g business partnership: no contract, month to month. 25 or 30 dollars for 3gb is ok. no questions asked, no 2 year contract commitment. Hopefully this will work out for money conscious people (translation) broke people.

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  7. I’m not sold on the form factor to be honest: I can’t imagine carrying a 5″+ smartphone in my front- or backpocket. I’m sure there’s a market for it, but it isn’t the people wearing regular pants.
    What I would like to know: You call the display “larger, high-resolution”. It is my impression that it is in fact not very high in resolution considering it’s screen size. Care to explain?
    Pentile 1280×800 is, depending on how you count, _real_ resolution of 853×533 or 1045×653 – either one is low on 5″.
    http://scottsscripts.wordpress.com/

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  8. Kevin, I bought the original Note from a vendor in London back in November. I’m amazed at the chatter about how “Big” a phone the note is. For me, the Note is my goto travel tablet and emergency backup phone. When I travel, if it doesn’t fit in my sportcoat it has to go in a bag – which I’d rather not pull out on a plane. Besides, if I must carry a bag to take my Ipad, I opt for my Macbook Air 11. It’s only a little bigger and does a lot more. Back to travel…my Iphone goes in one breast pocket and my Note goes in the other. I use my Iphone to talk and do on the fly commo — texts and quick emails. My Note serves as my reader as well as a device for more in-depth reading/responding to emails, attachments, etc. The note with the sim card is a full-time connected tablet for me and an emergency back-up phone — always has been and always will. Unless Apple shrinks the Ipad down to between 5 and 7 inches — a size that fits in my coat pocket when I’m on the go — the Ipad shall forever remain on my night stand by my bed.

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    1. Great write up of your Note use-cases, trwts; thanks for sharing!

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