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Can Samsung’s 5.3″ Galaxy Note bridge phone and tablet use?

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Back in September, Samsung debuted a true “tweener” device in the Galaxy Note. With a 5.3-inch display, it’s larger than a typical smartphone but smaller than a tablet, so size-wise, it’s in between the two popular product lines. The Galaxy Note isn’t available in the U.S., although SlashGear reports the FCC has tested a version that would work on AT&T’s(s t) network.

However, the Note is already on sale in some European regions. Steve Paine, a blogger who shares my love for the now-defunct 7-inch Ultra Mobile PCs, spent three hours with a Galaxy Note and shared his thoughts. Based on my interpretation, it sounds like mainstream consumers won’t be interested in a smartphone this large, but long-time tablet and small form-factor PC users are sure to be intrigued:

What an excellent bit of kit the Samsung Galaxy Note is and it’s the best converged phone/mid/tablet that I’ve ever tested. When Ice Cream Sandwich comes along, it gets even better! I wasn’t a big fan of converged phone/tablet products before this hands-on with the Samsung Galaxy Note and although I still think it’s risky (and battery-draining) to put all your eggs in one basket, I’d certainly be happy to take a Galaxy Note and to hand over my Nokia N8 and Galaxy Tab. I’d miss the N8’s camera for sure and wouldn’t find the Note as comfortable to type on, but I think I’d get over it, especially as I’d be getting a phone and a tablet for around €520. ($707.15 USD)

Paine hits the key point in his final summary sentence. I can relate, because I often travel locally with just a 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab; with its 3G connection, I have voice calls routed to the tablet via Google Voice(s goog) and Skype(s msft). Essentially, it’s a large phone that I use primarily as a tablet. Interestingly, several fellow Galaxy Tab owners I know that live in Europe do the same; they use the device as their phone. Of course, it’s easier for them to do this because the European carriers didn’t strip out the voice functionality from the tablet.

Whether a tablet is 7-inches in size, or is 5.3-inches like the Note, you don’t want to be holding the device up to your head. (Trust me!) Between hands free conversations and wired or wireless headsets, however, taking phone calls is no more difficult than using a traditional smartphone.

I’m not sure 5.3 inches is the perfect compromise size for a cross between a phone and a tablet, but I do believe that over time, more people will seek the benefits brought by a larger display for the tasks they do the most. Voice simply isn’t one of them, as it has already become a secondary feature on handsets for more than half of all smartphone owners.

15 Responses to “Can Samsung’s 5.3″ Galaxy Note bridge phone and tablet use?”

  1. Allen Visser

    Brilliant concept and awesome device, Im loving it! Samsung is going to overtake Apple if it continues down this road of innovation! HTC is already kicked to the curb, watch out Apple, your monolithic iPhone market share is being threatened….

  2. I’ve never liked Samsung because it copies others a lot. But, maybe this time I’m wrong. The Note looks quite amazing and full of factures. I specially look for what all the S Pen can do.
    Hope Santa will bring this device for me to have a look on :)

  3. BestBuyEver

    Best phone ever IMO i’ve never had any other smart phone except BB curve 8520 which i got 3 years ago i upgraded to the Note and i never looked back at anything smaller than that beautiful display. 5.3″ will definatly be the highest point of screen size or maybe 5.5″ (when they make it edge to edge display on the same dimensions of the phone) 14.7cm-8.4cm is big if you think about it holding but trust me i wear pretty tight jeans and it fits perfectly without sticking out and i hardly notice its there when i sit down seriously. And for those business men and women its called a jacket or a handbag. Beats S2 and just makes me so thankful i waited off buying the S2

  4. Austreaker

    I have been using the Galaxy Note for three days now and…

    My feedback is WOW, if you love the Streak you would fall in love again twice. It is just that brilliant.

    One thing to note, the build qualilty is different to the material use. IE the build quality is top notch, however the back plate is plastic and I can understand why as it keeps the weight down. I have no problem as everything clicks in place.

    The screen is brilliant, bright and with high res, easy on the eye.

    It is very light compare to the Streak

    It is fast, very fast and the web browsing is perfect.

    OK, my final thought is that it doesn’t matter how much you love the Streak, the Streak life is OVER. You cannot go back to the Streak once you use the Galaxy Note.

    think we have reach limit of 5.3″ that is pocketable.

    So far the battery is great, getting 3 days before charge and did I mentioned that gorgeous screen, 5.3″ high res

    So much to test, so little time.

    Gonna list my Streak on Ebay once I migrate the data across, any member interest msg me with a price, (include 4800mah mugen battery)

  5. Orlan D Salazar

    Will T-mobile get this baby? unbelievable if not. I mean, this is a first of its kind! Perfect for what im looking for; a small tab that works as a phone. I have read that right now only supports 2g in tmo. Will it change?

  6. Back when the Tab came out, a friend asked me if it could be his mobile phone replacement if he had a suitable headset. I thought that was a good idea for that size of device, provided that the voice command facilities of Android were up to par and that he had a headset with a one-line display that had decent battery life and clarity. He didn’t go that route, but understood why my comment to him was driven in such a meme. It would need to be voice-driven, then data-driven, even though for him the size of the screen addressed issues of accessibility most smartphones at the time didn’t.

    This device gets that same kind of approach from me. Its a tablet, and as such its best uses should mirror that. Maybe that’s part of the attempt of this article, to poke at another usage scenario for mobility that’s not as screen-dependent even with a large screen at one’s disposal. But, I don’t think that it would make the best of impressions in a phone context, Android just isn’t built that way. Its a computer, and maybe Samsung tweaked the composition aspects with the stylus as HTC has. But, to be a phone, its got to excell at that aspect of communication that is usually reserved for something with a bit smaller of a screen, and more clear of a purpose.

  7. Several reviewers say they’d be uncomfortable in public with such a large phone against their faces. Why? Who cares? But, if it gets too hot for comfort we do need to know. Would you please comment on the heat? Thanks!

    • Kuru Kanagalingam

      It dispates nomore heat than other smart phones if you holding it against your ears. It more of conscious issue if it doesn’t bother you then it doesn’t. It is very light for what it is and it no comparison to the 7″ version or HTC flyer. I would say this is a phone made it to be a tablet rather a Tablet has the phone function like (Galaxy 7″ and HTC Flyer). Before I had a HTC Desire HD so the diffrence is only very little if you see the following only now I prefers to put the phone in Jacket than pocket.

      Galaxy7″Tablet 190x121x12 380g 1024×600 Battery4000mAh
      HTC Flyer 195.4x122x13.2 420g 1024×600 Battery4000mAh

      Galaxy Note 147x83x9.65 178g 1,280×800 Battery2500mAh

      HTCDesireHD 123x68x12 164g 480×800 pixels Battery1230mAh

  8. Kuru Kanagalingam

    I live in Germany and it been here for about two weeks and on it been as high as top 5 selling device. My experience so far good when ti comes to reading books from zinio and emails client display press etc. As for using it as phone it is better to use the supplied ear piece or Bluetooth device. As for only needs to carry one device but still not limited on things you can get done it is excellent. Sammy has some excellent show case videos on showing its features maily using the s-pen and using the s-choice apps. I know it is not for some one who use their phone but do occasional surfing reading etc. But for a power user or tablet user who travel’s with it it is an excellent device

  9. This will be my third 5″ device(after HTC Advantage and Dell Streak.) Can’t go down to a smaller screen. Feels like I am playing with a child’s toy. I only use about 200 minutes of voice a month, but I can run my entire business from a decent smartphone.

  10. I said it for a long time. And then Samsung surprised me with this amazing device. Will buy as soon as it gets to Canada.
    That said – my experiments with devices and my own carton based mockups, tell me that a 6-6.5″ device with such small bezel as the note will be the ideal size.