Review: Samsung Highnote
Highnote's front panel is dominated by its 2-inch 176 x 220 pixel LCD screen, positioned above a circular navigation and function array.
The bottom 270 degrees of the outer ring of its navigation array is comprised of five arched keys: Back, Talk, End and two soft keys that correspond with menu choices on the bottom of the screen. The top 90 degrees or so of the circle does nothing.
While this is an interesting arrangement, it offers no improvements to the traditional Send and End key placement. Worse, "Talk," "Back" and "End" are etched in black into the arched keys and are difficult to read. Since "Talk" and "End" aren't backlit in traditional green and red, you lose the quick visual cue and instead pause an extra annoying nano second to ensure you're hitting the right key.
AD article continues below...
Inside the control ring is a textured floating disk. Press it directionally (left, right, up, down) as you would any navigation array and the on-screen cursor or highlight moves accordingly. But you can also spin the disk to move the cursor as well, sort of a physical version of iPod's click wheel. In the middle of the disk is a "Menu/OK" select button.
Like the navigation ring controls, the spin wheel is nice, but it doesn't improve on the usual left-right-up-down control. In fact, it gets in the way. As you tap the disk left-right-up-down, your touch may actually move the cursor first causing you to accidentally click on the wrong item.
On the right spine of the phone is the micro USB jack, a "sound" button – tap it and the ringer volume setting is displayed, hold it down to activate the music player – and the camera activation button/shutter release.
On the left spine is the 3.5mm headphone jack, the volume up/down toggle, a "Hold" lock key that deactivates the front navigation array, and the microSDHC card slot.
On the rear is the Highnote's 2 MP camera lens.
As noted, sliding the top down reveals Highnote's stereo speaker array. Sliding the top up reveals its alphanumeric dial keypad, comprised of small black highly readable tablet-shaped keys with bright white backlighting inset against a grey background.
Above the usual 12 alphanumeric keys on the dialpad are three separate function controls, Mute, Text, which supposedly toggles between multi-tap and predictive text input while in email mode (it didn't work for me), and a Car switch that activates the voice function to read out messages, dialpad taps, etc. Again, nice, but, again, they get in the way. If you "dial" (tap) by feel, you'll end up hitting one of these function keys instead of a 1, 2 or 3, which usually comprise the top row of dialpad keys.
Our report from the fall CTIA trade show in San Francisco. Hands-on with the latest from HTC, Samsung, Velocity, BlackBerry, LG, Kyocera, PCD, and Motorola.
The Key2 LE shares the same basic size, shape, and appearance of the pricier Key2, but downshifts materials and components to make it less costly. If you're a keyboard die-hard, the Key2 LE is an intriguing and affordable option thanks to the solid Android platform and productivity-boosting software from BlackBerry.
The 6T from OnePlus is among the first wave of phones to put the fingerprint reader under the display. With a svelte glass-and-metal design, huge screen, high-capacity battery, and reimagined cameras, the OnePlus 6T offers a lot of phone for far less than competing flagships.
The Xperia XZ3 is one of the most cohesive phones to come from Sony's designers and engineers. This silky Android smartphone offers a tasty slice of Pie with sophisticated updates to the user interface and camera capabilities.
Sep 11, 2019
The Google Chrome web browser now lets you send the web page you're on at the moment to another one of your devices, so you can finish on your phone an article you started reading at your desk, for example, or vice-versa. The feature debuted in version 77, which just became available for all platforms.