Product Review: The Samsung Galaxy Note

(This review would be best for people who have iPhones and are considering switching to Androids.)

Though I know many people who jump from cell phone to cell phone, I am a creature of habit.  I had my iPhone 3G for well over three years, and it was an older model when I got it.  It was easy to use, being an Apple product and all.  But over time the operating system began a slow descent into it’s own personal hell.  The phone could not hold a charge long (which meant I had to plug it in at any chance I could), and applications were often frustrating to use.  Facebook, for instance, was aggravating…  opening, going to the status update, and getting it to actually update a short status (not even uploading pics or tagging people) could take up to six minutes.

So I started researching new phones, bided my time, and as luck would have it, generous individuals wishing me happy birthday allowed me to take a leap.  I went with the Samsung Galaxy Note.

The phone is outrageous, to put it mildly.  This is not so much a phone, but a “phablet” (phone/tablet).  The screen in huge at 5.3″ and while it fits ok in my hand, I am sure it may feel very bulky to more petite people.  The AT&T salesguy gave me a brief overview, but to be honest, my source for information has become the wonderful folks at AndroidForums.com.  So far they’ve been able to answer all my questions except one, and they are very patient with this old lady getting to learn all the new tricks.  Here’s a breakdown of all the pros and cons I’ve found so far:

Pros:

  • Battery life = awesome.  I do not feel required to be tethered to my charger now!
  • Screen resolution is amazing – 1280×800.  HD graphics and videos are gorgeous!
  • Applications I wanted to add that I had on the iPhone are almost all available for Android
  • Facebook loads and updates in seconds – halleleujah!
  • Comes with a stylus!
  • Built-in camera is light years ahead of the one on my old iPhone (8MP in the back with an LED flash, 2MP in the front), and the Instagram app goes even further
  • Yay, Kindle reader!
  • The customization is mind-boggling!  I wanted to show you some of the incredible wallpapers and home screens some people have created.  I’ve implemented a couple of the customizations myself, but there are some I am still learning how to do because they are so complex – click any of the pics for a larger view.

A really pretty example

This includes a Live Wallpaper - what you can't see is that the circles all rotate in opposite directions.

Very simple screen, easy to read and each element is tweakable - colors, font style, size, direction...

Some more amazing customization!

Cons:

  • The customization is mind-boggling!  Yep, this is both a pro and a con.  With my iPhone, I set one notification tone for when I received a new email.  With the Note, I was getting this annoying bicycle bell sound (called Postman), and it was rather loud and obnoxious so I wanted to turn it off, or at least change the tone to something less irritating.  I went where I assumed the setting would be…  Settings => Sound => Notification ringtone…  but that wasn’t it.  That was for text messages.  Try as I might I was unable to find it myself, so I searched online…  for 20 minutes… before I realized that Android is SO customizable, that I needed to go into my email where all my inboxes are (I have 5 different emails coming to me), open one of my emails, then hit the menu key, the More button, then Account Settings to get the Select Ringtone!  Each email can be assigned it’s OWN notification tone, which never even occurred to me.
  • Several of the jeans I own do not have pockets that can completely hold this phone.  Not sure if this is a con, as it means I get to go shopping for more clothes.
  • The iPhone really was fairly intuitive, so the Android having SO many bells and whistles feel somewhat overwhelming sometimes, but I’m determined to learn everything I can and make the most of it.
  • The Note supports Visual Voicemail, but until the new Ice Cream Sandwich OS is released (later this month), I don’t actually have the ability to use VVM without downloading a third party app.  Don’t want to do that, as I might lose previously saved messages and my recorded VM message, so for now I am kicking it oldschool (calling in, listening, and pressing #7 to delete :P)
  • There is no Bejeweled Blitz app by PopCap for the Android yet.  This vexes me.

Overall I am more than impressed with this phone!  I’m looking forward to the new OS release, and in the meantime I am haunting the forums to soak up all the knowledge I can!

Enjoy!

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Posted on April 12, 2012, in Mobile Phones, Product Reviews and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Thank you for the info. I have a new Note and the random bicycle bell is driving me nuts. I appreciate your help!

    • You’re welcome, Cindy 🙂 If you don’t have this already, download the app “Zedge” – thousands and thousands of free wallpapers, ringtones and notification sounds. Enjoy!

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