Ok, I had been to local Best Buy store this afternoon and found 4 Sammy Galaxy Note Phones on Display (real phones not mockups). And they have been listed as coming soon. Of course they don’t have SIM cards in them, so you can’t make any calls to test the phone functionality. Except for phone functionality you could test rest of the features.
I have played with the display model for good 45 minutes and found a lot of interesting features and some cons.
The phone is large and has a stylus to work with. It recognizes both finger touch and stylus. Didn’t the Google loyalists outcry along with Apple Fans few years back saying how bad the stylus could be with a phone and bashed Windows Mobile for supporting it? I don’t understand why they are supporting that as if it is great and revolutionary feature now. Last year HTC Flyer tablet and now Sammy Note have support for this and got approval from Android fans. You never understand fans. They see the technology as an issue on the other side of the fence always. Keeping bickering aside, the stylus is neat and only thing I noticed was the stylus can’t be put back into phone like HTC Windows Mobile phones. You have to carry the stylus as a separate part and I don’t like it. I normally don’t forget and leave my stuff once I am done, but it is good design practice to be able to put the stylus back into phone to carry it as single piece. Hand written notes taking is good and almost the same as taking notes on paper with pen or on Windows Mobile phone with stylus. Finger touches are registered and recognized smoothly. Thanks to the processors otherwise Android Phones are not up to that mark like Windows Phone or iPhone in finger touches and gestures recognition. Most of the Android phones show little lag there.
The Operating System is Android Gingerbread (2.3.6). And Google already announced Android 5.0 today, that means this phone once it is released for public is already 2 generations of OS back. That means this would never ever get the Android 5.0 for sure. Too bad after spending $800 (without 2 year handcuffs by AT&T) or ($300 with 2 year jail also known as contract), you still can’t get the updates on this marvelous device that easily and early.
The picture taking quality is really good and but not at the quality of Nokia, iPhone or Sony phones. Video playback is simply superb, thanks to its bigger screen (5.3” diagonal) and AMOLED screen makes the video playback simply superb. The quality of speakers is good, but not as good as iPhone or HTC Surround.
Calendar, the calendar experience is great and comparable to 7” Tablets.
Email composition and reading is fantastic. Again thanks to its bigger screen. I know this because I use HTC Titan (4.7” diagonal), iPhone 4, and HTC EVO 3D and I know the difference simply. The on screen keyboard keys are bigger and fat fingers and poor sighted eyes really love this. Even the phone dialer has bigger screen and the people vision issues would love this.
Web Surfing is really simple and you don’t have to carry your tablet while you are at Starbucks for a coffee (or Tea) or on the road and want to search for something quickly. It is much better experience than rest of the smartphones. The Titan is second. Again thanks to its bigger screen.
EBook reading may not be that great when compared with your laptop, Tablet or dedicated eBook reader, but definitely much better than iPhone or any other Android phone with smaller screens.
Phone, I haven’t tested the phone communications or texting, because the SIM card was missing and will not be there until Sunday, but you definitely feel awkward to keep that big phone next to your ears while talking and I tried to hold and pretend talking and people started giving me that “look”. Unless you have larger palms, I recommend using hands free kit for communication. The phone maneuvering could be difficult in some situations while talking.
Games, well Android Games are not that great when compared to Windows Phone or iOS (except the Sony XPeria play and onwards and Tablet S where it support some of the Play Station games), and the carrier, OEM crapware games definitely don’t sound that great either. But the gaming experience on this device is really great. I know if it had been powered by Ice Cream Sandwich, it would have been much better, but Gingerbread is not that bad either when compared to its predecessors like FroYo and others.
Now this phone would have been better if it had Windows Phone instead of Android 2.3.6. I don’t say Android is a bad operating system. I mean the Metro looks more beautiful on larger screens and takes full advantage of the screen real estate. I know this because I have LG Quantum, Sammy Focus and HTC Titan. And as the size of the screen increases, the Metro beauty increases. And that’s my personal opinion. Yeah I know Windows Phone might not support stylus, but stylus is not new to underlying Windows CE or Microsoft.
I tried to get the phone out of device locker to take pictures, but the store person said he could give me one to take pictures on the release date.
I noticed two colors of phones on the display – white and black and both will be available for purchase on the release date – 2/19/2012.
1. There is a slot in the phone to hold the stylus, if you aren’t using a shell to cover your phone. Thanks to Pete. I missed it obviously.
2. The International version of Galaxy Note as pointed out by Ed. D gets ICS shortly, but I am not sure whether AT&T would let US version of it get anytime soon.
3. I missed testing out Navigation yesterday: I went back and took a look at that. Yes Google Maps and Navigation definitely look good and great on this. I use my EVO 3D regularly for navigation in addition to my Nokia 500 (runs on Windows CE) . This obviously much better than those two. Now if it has an FM Transmitter in built, I could get rid of some of the extra baggage in the car I carry regularly.