This may be out of many people's comfort zone. Way out. The Samsung Galaxy Note believes in bigger is better. In many ways it is. The WXGA Super AMOLED is more than any smartphone can offer and the powerful Exynos adds brains to beauty.
Far from perfect at this point, the S Pen certainly adds value to the package. So does the extended battery life (for an Android smartphone, at least) and the latest version of the TouchWiz UI.
Of course, many of you are probably asking yourselves if the Galaxy Note could fully replace a tablet. The Note is a full-time smartphone that wants you to leave your tablet at home. The 5.3" display makes a big difference, compared to handsets, but it's not nearly as comfortable for watching video as a 10" tablet.
Where the Note comes close to its tablet rivals is web browsing on the go. The resolution is there. It's easier to get from A to B. To us that's enough. You can have the best tablet money can buy on your coffee table or office desk. The Galaxy Note is a device you can actually carry around hassle-free. One that fits in your pocket.
Tablets are a hybrid. Supposed to fit between your smartphone and your laptop, a tablet is not able to perfectly replace either. We guess the Samsung Galaxy Note has a better shot against a smartphone and a tablet. Not necessarily the perfect choice for any situation, the Note will have you covered for most of the applications of modern day smart devices.
Here, we'd usually give you an overview of the potential competitors, but it's rather more complicated with the Galaxy Note. Save for the original Dell Streak there's no other device that fits in the same niche and it was seemingly ahead of its time.
When the Streak came out last summer, it wasn't the most powerful of phones available, it didn't have a higher-res screen or a larger battery and it was pretty heavy. Back then, the technology simply hadn't reached the level to allow the creation of a proper phoneblet.
Back to the present, we probably see the biggest threat to the Samsung Galaxy Note in the face of the Galaxy Nexus. The Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich flagship comes with a 4.65" HD Super AMOLED, and plenty of oomph under the hood. There's no S Pen there, and roughly 30% less screen estate. The Galaxy Nexus is much easier to slip in a pocket though.
The Samsung Galaxy Note is unchallenged in its own niche, but it's up to the market to determine the size of that niche. There's plenty of headroom to 7" tablets but supersized phones are pushing up and getting dangerously close. It's the likes of the Dell Streak, HTC Sensation XL and Galaxy Nexus that do the Galaxy Note a favor. Without them, it would've been a one-hit wonder.
No, we don't think all phones will look like the Galaxy Note any time soon. Samsung are just pushing a little bit further than the rest. Stretching the comfort zone. The Galaxy Note is not what you're used to. You can take it as a warning. Or an invitation.