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Review: Samsung Galaxy Note for AT&T

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Is It Your Type? Body The Three S's Usability S-Pen  

The Galaxy Note is absurdly large. It dwarfs any other phone you've ever seen or used. As with many of Samsung's Galaxy-class devices, it is a rather conservative looking device, with clean lines, plenty of black (or white,) and plastic materials all the way around. Sitting on a table or a desk by itself, it doesn't look so large, but if it's near anything else, the scale of the Note becomes readily apparent: It is one huge phone.

I can't even come close to wrapping my large hands around it. It's also weighty. I'd say that most guys won't have a problem sticking the Galaxy Note into their pants pocket, but women might depending on the cut of their clothes. Due to its size, it is not easy to retrieve from the depths of your jeans, though. It takes some effort to dig it out.


The overall feel is that the Galaxy Note is a dense device, and the quality of manufacture is good. Nothing is creaky or loose.

The screen is massive and consumes the lion's share of the Galaxy Note's front face. There are four capacitive keys below the display for the standard Android controls, and you can see the light and proximity sensors, as well as the user-facing camera next to the AT&T logo near the top.

The volume toggle is on the left side of the Galaxy Note. It's easy to find and has a good feel to it; I liked the travel and feedback. The micro-USB port is on the bottom. The lock button is on the right edge of the Note, very close to the top. It has a feel similar to the volume toggle. The 3.5mm headset jack is all by itself on the top of the Note.

Next to the micro-USB port on the bottom, you'll notice the stylus. The stylus — or “S-Pen” as Samsung is calling it — is not merely a hard pointing tool. It is an active digitizer. No other device, such as a pen, will interact with the Galaxy Note's display. If you lose the S-Pen, you're going to have to buy another one to continue using the pen features (pricing not yet determined.) The stylus locks into place firmly enough that there's no fear of it falling out, but it comes out easily when nudged by your fingernail. The stylus itself is very thin and has a button for advanced actions (such as taking screen shots). Samsung actually makes sleeve for the stylus that turns it into a full-size pen (a pen-within-a-pen) so that it can be comfortably used for hours at a time.

The battery cover comes off with some assistance of your thumbnail. Truthfully, it's much more a pain to reinstall the battery cover than it is to remove it. Underneath it, you'll find the massive 2500mAh battery and can gain access the SIM and microSD card slots. You have to remove the battery to swap both cards, sadly.

The Galaxy Note's singular, defining characteristic is its sheer size. It's so big, you hardly notice anything else about it.


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