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Samsung Galaxy Note

I have been very fortunate to get this hot gadget - Samsung Galaxy Note. Android is the third mobile OS that I have been playing within the last 2 months. I have had a Nokia N9 (Meego) and a Lumia 800 (WP7) prior to this. So how does it fare? I will give you my short personal view.

Let's talk about the hardware. Galaxy Note is a fantastic device with 5.3" AMOLED display and a resolution of 1280x800 pixels. It features more pixels than an iPad. The brightness and color is fantastic. Except that there seem to be a slight bluish hue on the screen. It is running on dual core processor with a 1GB RAM and an internal storage of 16GB. You can add a 32GB SDHC microSD if you needed extra storage. On paper, this monster should fly.

The 5.3" size doesn't suit everyone though. However I find that it is not too big either, and it is quite comfortable to make calls but with lots of stares from people with around you. For my general usage of phone calls, messaging on SMS and WhatsApp, less than 15 minutes of web surfing, I find that the battery barely last me a day. I have to do in-between charges in the office.

In terms of UI, Samsung has put in their defacto TouchWiz UI on top of Gingerbread. Compared to other Android makers, the TouchWiz is good. You can have up to 7 pages to put in your shortcuts and widgets. However there's no way to create folders unless you decided to install third party launcher such as GO Launcher. Being Android and open, you can replace everything from Messaging app, Keyboard and Locker screen. There's no end to it.

In terms of input, the default Samsung keyboard lacks Chinese input. You can switch to Swype keyboard for Chinese input. I find that the keypress pop-up and word replacement/completion is kind of clunky. I do not know what's the cause given that it has powerful processor, I will attribute that to the OS deficiency.

In terms of camera, it takes good photo generally. However I find that it still lags by a fraction of a second between the time you press the shutter and the photo being captured. Could be an OS issue too.

I always wonder that with a high penetration rate of Android adoption should comes high internet traffic for Android browsers but it doesn't seems so. iOS's Safari is the king, capturing more than 70% of the internet traffic. I'd never know why but now I do know the reason. It is lousy internet surfing experience even on the gorgeous Note's screen and resolution. The zooming in and out of a web page is unnatural. Double tapping on a column doesn't zoom directly into it but sort of wobbles into that section. Scrolling up and down the zoomed in column is the worst. It moves laterally left-right as well. Unlike in iPhone, scrolling up and down of a zoomed in column will only move up and down. The web pages load generally fast. But if there's a flash component on the site, you will find that the page crawls. I can simply say that Mobile Safari on iPhone is the best mobile browser!

The device is responsive, however it may be slow at times and that's when you will have to start your Task Manager to clean up the memory. That reminds me of the old Windows Mobile 6.x and earlier days.

Overall, if you are an Android fan, you will love this monster. However if you comes from an iPhone environment, I can simply tell you that your iPhone is still the best. Even though the iOS UI looks a bit dated (being 5 years old), iOS5 on an iPhone 3GS should easily beat this device on Gingerbread.

Good about Note
* Big screen and easy on the eyes;
* Easy to type;
* Many customizations available;

Bad about Note
* No chinese input on default Samsung keyboard. You'll need to use swype or download third party keyboards. You might also like Google Pinyin IME which I do not like because it shows a chinese character (前往) for the Enter key be it I am typing in English or Chinese;
* Default Internet Browsing is not natural; Scrolling up and down a zoomed column moves the page laterally left and right as well. Best alternative is Firefox but unforunately it doesn't utilize the GPU and thus page rendering is slower and sucks battery;
* RAM is quickly chewed up by apps that you run, and also the background running apps. You will need to access Task Manager frequently;
* Sound volume is soft.
* Battery doesn't last the full day; but so is my iPhone.
* Android Market lacks quality apps. And there are porn apps available.


Neha said…
Its a pretty decent phone to have. As I do take lot of photos & videos it is highly useful with this resolution. But I feel the shortage for "my folder" to move SMSes & I could not open SMSes from log directly.
p.tan said…
It will be a decent phone with ICS 4.0 update. :)
Unknown said…
The lack of Chinese input in samsung keypad really is such a disadvantage.
Anonymous said…
Any Chinese input updates available now?
Anonymous said…
anyone knows how to get the handwriting feature for Galaxy Note i 717. Otherwise i will have to return this wonderful gadget.
Anonymous said…
Great delivery. Solid arguments. Keep up the amazing spirit.
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