Samsung Galaxy Note N7000 review: Power play

GSMArena team, 16 November 2011.

Introduction

Tablets are cool. But they have a purpose too. Larger screens, higher resolution and more mileage out of the battery make them better suited for certain tasks. Thatís why people are not only fascinated by them but do end up actually needing one. Whatís not so cool is the need to carry two devices all the time, especially when one of them wonít fit into any reasonable pocket.


Samsung Galaxy Note official photos

That's where the Samsung Galaxy Note comes in. It aims to squeeze the high-res screen and battery longevity of a tablet into a package that is still pocketable. And it does - but success is by no means guaranteed. There's nothing between the Galaxy Note and 7" tablets. And while it sounds good to have all that room to themselves, Samsung need to fill it with meaning. The right kind of users will be easily convinced of the advantages of an enlarged Galaxy S II. Not so sure about a compressed tablet.

But there's no reason to go into this with a skeptical attitude. Just look at that specs sheet!

Key features

  • Quad-band GSM and quad-band 3G support
  • 21 Mbps HSDPA and 5.76 Mbps HSUPA
  • 5.3" 16M-color Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen of WXGA resolution (800 x 1280 pixels)
  • Android OS v2.3.5 with TouchWiz 4 launcher
  • 1.4 GHz dual-core Cortex-A9 CPU, Mali-400MP GPU, Exynos chipset, 1GB of RAM
  • Pre-bundled with the S Pen active stylus
  • 8 MP wide-angle autofocus camera with LED flash, face, smile and blink detection
  • Video recording of up to 1080p@30fps
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 b, g and n support; Wi-Fi Direct and Wi-Fi hotspot
  • GPS with A-GPS connectivity; Digital compass
  • 16/32GB internal storage, microSD slot
  • Accelerometer, gyroscope and proximity sensor
  • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Charging MHL microUSB port with USB host and TV-out (1080p through optional adapter) support
  • Stereo Bluetooth v3.0
  • FM radio with RDS
  • Great audio quality
  • 9.7 mm slim and weighs a reasonable 178g
  • 2MP secondary video-call camera
  • Full Flash support and GPU-acceleration for the web browser permit 1080p flash video playback
  • NFC support (optional)
  • Document editor
  • File manager comes preinstalled
  • Extremely rich audio and video format support
  • 2500 mAh battery

Main disadvantages

  • Wonít fit comfortably in every pocket
  • Much harder for one-handed use than a regular smartphone
  • All-plastic body
  • No dedicated camera key
  • HD screen uses PenTile matrix lowering perceived resolution
  • Non-hot-swappable microSD card
  • Sub-par loudspeaker volume

There arenít many smartphones around that can instill an inferiority complex in the Galaxy S II, but the Galaxy Note does a pretty good job of it. The Exynost chipset's got a faster CPU, the AMOLED screen has a million pixels and, most importantly, thereís more of it. And even the notoriously power-hungry Android will have a hard time pushing through the 2500 mAh battery in a day, which is what many modern-day smartphones will do more often than not.

Samsung Galaxy Note N7000 Samsung Galaxy Note N7000 Samsung Galaxy Note N7000 Samsung Galaxy Note N7000
Samsung Galaxy Note at ours

And thereís the S Pen, which promises to add a whole new dimension to the smartphone experience. Good old-fashioned notepads haven't been having a blast lately, but the Note threatens to put another nail in their coffin.

Quite a beast we have on our hands here and it wonít be easy taming it. We'd better get to it then and keep the Galaxy Note busy. The hardware inspection starts right after the break.

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