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Samsung Galaxy Note review: First Look

It's a smartphone! It's a tablet! It's both! Seth Barton takes a sneak peek at the intriguing new Samsung Galaxy Note.

From a distance the new Samsung Galaxy Note looks a lot like the company's much-vaunted Galaxy S series of smartphones. Once you pick it up though, you realise its a far larger device, with a screen measure almost 5.3in across. This, and the inclusion of a stylus, makes it a blending of numerous traditional devices, with obvious comparisons to Dell's Streak series.

Whatever it is, and we're erring towards the moniker super-sized smartphone, it's not a small tablet, as you can tell from the version of Android used - in this case a heavily customised 2.3, rather than Honeycomb's 3.x versions. With dimensions of 147x83x9.65mm it should just squeeze into most trouser pockets, unless you prefer your jeans on the tight side. It weighs just 178g, little more than most regular smartphones.

As with the new Galaxy Tab 7.7, this device features a stunning Super AMOLED technology display. The vibrant colours and deep blacks are instantly noticeable on images and video. More amazing is the fact that Samsung has squeezed in a 1,280x800 pixel resolution, making this quite possibly the sharpest display we've ever seen. In addition to the screen, imaging fans will appreciate the 8-megapixel main camera with 1080p video recording.

Annotating an image on the Samsung Galaxy Note

From a distance the new Samsung Galaxy Note looks a lot like the company's much-vaunted Galaxy S series of smartphones. Once you pick it up though, you realise its a far larger device, with a screen measure almost 5.3in across. This, and the inclusion of a stylus, makes it a blending of numerous traditional devices, with obvious comparisons to Dell's Streak series.

It's more than just a massive, highly specified smartphone, though. The stylus - which is stored inside the phone, lets you annotate on most screens. You first need to screengrab the display, which can be done by swiping the edge of your hand, like a scanner, across the display; or by holding down a button on the stylus and making a long press.

Drawing on the Samsung Galaxy Note

Once grabbed there's a whole range of tools to play with, from highlighter pens to paintbrushes. The real shock was discovering that the display is pressure sensitive (as well as being capacitive), so you can press harder for a thicker, darker line. We imagine that those who like to doodle will be queuing up for the Note.

As with the Tab 7.7, the Note has a dual-core 1.4GHz processor, so processing power shouldn't be an issue. No price or release date has been announced yet, but we get the feeling that the Galaxy Note could be one of the most expensive handsets ever at launch. We applaud Samsung for a brave attempt to make something a little different, and look forward to its release later this year. Samsung have yet to confirm pricing and an exact release date.

So what are our first impressions?

Verdict

We never thought we'd say this about a stylus-driven touchscreen device, but the Samsung Galaxy Note looks very promising. Hopefully it will not only be better than the similar HTC Flyer, but cheaper too.

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