Berlin, Germany — Long expected, Samsung unveiled its update to its oversized Note smartphone/tablet (or "phablet"), the Note II, here at the annual IFA electronics show. Note II's screen now measures 5.5-inches — a .3-inch growth spurt — but somehow Samsung made it not at awkward to hold as the original.
With 7 million Galaxy Note smartphones under Samsung's belt, it's clear to the Korean electronics giant that consumers want larger displays. Rumor has it the successor to last year's "phablet" will rear its even larger screen next month.
Even as a longstanding proponent of the "one size doesn't fit all" line of thinking, Samsung's Galaxy Note is perhaps one of the most outrageous smartphones in recent years. With its gargantuan 5.3 inch screen size that dwarfs even the newest crop of 4.5-inch and 4.7-inch smartphones and the return of the stylus as its major form of input, the Galaxy Note is the "phablet" — smartphone/mini tablet hybrid — that nobody asked for. In my first impressions, I noted that the 5.3-inch display was an absolute beauty to look at, the "S Pen" stylus was responsive and the 1.5GHz dual-core processor paired with 1GB of RAM was nimble enough to run Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread without any major hiccups. The Galaxy Note felt well built and the 8-megapixel camera wasn't too shabby, but there's a difference between being awed with it for a few hours and using it as your main go-to device day in and day out. How big can a smartphone get before it becomes a hindrance in daily use? To find out, I decided to put the gargantuan Galaxy Note to the test as my main phone (my iPhone 4 took a temporary backseat) for work and leisure. You've already read our rather positive hands-on with the Galaxy Note, now let's dig deeper and see whether the Galaxy Note is a welcome companion or a bust, shall we?
As we brace ourselves for Mobile World Conference and the impending onslaught of mobile announcements, Samsung has leaked its own Galaxy Note 10.1. That's a Galaxy Note — not a Galaxy Tab — meaning it'll probably be similar to the 5.3-inch Galaxy Note. Haha, will it be a 10-inch smartphone?
The Galaxy Note has an identity crisis it needs to clear up. On the one hand, it's sort of a mini tablet due to its huge 5.3-inch display (largest of any smartphone on sale) and fancy stylus. On the other other hand, it also functions exactly like an Android smartphone on AT&T's 4G LTE network, meaning you'll be required to get a two-year contract chained to your leg and pay for a voice plan. Either way, AT&T just let us rub our greasy fingers all over a Note. Read on for our hands-on impressions.
The Galaxy Note is a different breed of mobile device. With a 5.3-inch screen, it's too large to be a comfortable smartphone and too small to be a real-sized tablet. Yet, it still manages to be a very formidable pocket companion. AT&T's priced and dated the device, so get your wallet out.
Is it a mini tablet or supersized smartphone? You can categorize the Samsung Galaxy Note and its 5.3-inch screen however you want, because it packs a ridiculous 1280x800 resolution Super AMOLED screen, a pair of beefy cameras and a stylus.