Samsung Mobile: The Samsung Galaxy Note packs a 5.3-inch HD Super AMOLED display and that means a pixel format of 1280×720. Resolution is quite high at 277 ppi and due to the size of the display the average usage distance will be somewhere between smaller smartphones and larger tablets. I would put 277 ppi for a 5.x-inch gadget right around the border of being Retina class. Display technical specs looks top notch.
Next is the S Pen, a pressure sensitive stylus. I agree with Steve Jobs that the finger is the most direct and natural way to navigate a multitouch-based user interface like iOS on smartphones and tablets. However the stylus can come in handy and in some cases be better. Two in fact, according to Ben Brooks: hand-written notes and drawing precision things.
I’ve shared quite a bit about my desire to have a smartphone without the phone, but with 3G/4G data connectivity. The biggest portion of my phone bill is voice and voice is the feature I use least. And isn’t voice just zeros and ones? Finally Samsung has seen the light (Update: I am wrong. The Galaxy Note is just a huge phone with a stylus.): The Galaxy Note has the option of HSPA+ or LTE. Now where did I put my man-bag…
Update: Samsung has announced the availability of its S Pen SDK 1.0, which allows adding a canvas and popup windows.
Update 2: Daniel Cooper, Engadget, reports the Samsung Galaxy Note with GSM 850/1900 MHz, WCDMA II/IV bands and a GT-N7000B model number has gained FCC approval today. It’s not LTE, but even with 3G a smartphone untethered from an overpriced voice plan is exciting. Although calling something that has a huge 5.3-inch display a smartphone might be pushing it.
Update 3: Samsung (Flickr):
Samsungâ€™s flagship smart device Galaxy Note has reached 1 million global shipping.
Shipping, as in shipments into the channel, and not sold to people who will use it. I’m not down on the Galaxy Note. I hope smartphones without the phones become more popular as I can’t wait to drop the voice portion, which is the most expensive, of my smartphone bill. An iPod touch with 3G or LTE would be perfect.
Update 4: The Galaxy Note LTE is a go on AT&T.
Update 5: Vlad Savov, The Verge:
The absence of the word “Plus” from the end of the Super AMOLED branding will tell you that the Galaxy Note has a Pentile Matrix display, meaning that every one of its pixels is composed of four subpixels, one each of red and blue plus two smaller green ones. Under a magnifying glass, youâ€™ll see this gives the display a brickwork-like pattern, which has a negative impact on fine-grain detail and can make high-contrast edges appear softer than they are. Thatâ€™s long been a good reason to avoid the Pentile RGBG layout, but I honestly canâ€™t see any such issues on the Galaxy Note. Its 1280 x 800 resolution deserves the credit, as it leads to a 285ppi pixel density, essentially making the downsides of the subpixel arrangement too small to be discernible. If you want the very best AMOLED display, though, youâ€™ll have to look to Samsungâ€™s Galaxy Tab 7.7 â€” it has a Super AMOLED Plus screen and looks simply phenomenal.
PenTile Matrix does not require the use of four sub-pixels. The minimum is two and the maximum is ten. Nonetheless the not-quite-Retina but still high ppi seems to have minimized the negative visual effects, especially when rendering text, of PenTile.
Update 7: Tim Stevens, Engadget:
This is a non-Plus display, meaning it uses RGBG sub-pixels. This PenTile arrangement was the subject of many lamentations when the Galaxy Nexus was announced, that presence of extra green sub-pixels causing some display purists to lose sleep, but we didn’t find much to complain about here. Yes, we would certainly prefer a Plus display, and the color reproduction would surely be better if it were, but what’s actually in the phone is beautiful.
Because it’s an AMOLED display the contrast is phenomenal — true blacks and searingly bright whites. Viewing angles are very good, though we did notice a strong shift to blue at particularly extreme angles. And curiously, Samsung (or AT&T) opted to not include the “Screen mode” option found on the international Note that lets you select from three color settings on the display. So, you’re stuck with the default.
The display is not equal to the best, but probably good enough for most. Regarding the experience of jotting down notes on the Galaxy Note:
Annoyingly, though, actually writing with the thing is a challenge. Ostensibly, this phone was designed to replace something like a Moleskine notebook that many journalists stuff in their back pockets, but writing legibly with the S Pen is a difficult proposition. You must write far larger than you would with a pen on paper, so what might have been a few lines of notes can take a few pages of an S Memo.
Again, probably good enough, but not great.
Update 8: Jonathan Geller:
This is a phone, after using it for a few hours, that feels like it is too big to be taken seriously. Thatâ€™s the end of it.
If only Samsung had dropped the phone function from the Galaxy Note and made it one of the first mini-tablets to use VoLTE.
Update 9: Walt Mossberg:
After testing the Galaxy Note, I have decidedly mixed feelings about it. It isnâ€™t a very practical phone and, as a tablet, it canâ€™t match the experience of the iPad, which is more spacious and has over 150,000 apps designed for it. However, I can see where some folks might consider the 5-inch screen a good trade-off for much better portability than other tablets, and Samsung has done some very interesting work in making the stylus, which is stored in a slot on the device, useful.
And this is hilarious: