Samsung goes big with a 5.3-inch, high-res phone

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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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