Damian Hickey

Mostly software and .NET related. Mostly.

Galaxy Note lighting review

I am now using a Galaxy Note as my primary mobile device after using the Galaxy S II for the previous 5 months. Prior to that it was a Nokia N9 for a couple of years (- a platform and a product line that I had high hopes for, ah well).

tl;dr: I love it.

  • I've been using smart phones for many years now mainly as a MID. Making calls is an occasional occurrence.
  • When I first got the S II, it did feel very big, but very comfortable in my largish hands. The Note looks like they simply took the S II and stretched it from each corner.
  • The Note feels heavier and denser than the S II taking into account the relative size differences.
  • Fits in my usual clothing - denim jeans - without any problems. I often have to move it to a different pocket when sitting down. This has been the case for my previous devices anyway so I'm used to it.
  • I am mostly able to use it with a single thumb but I occasionally double tap the with the base of my thumb.
  • I fat-finger the keyboard and buttons *a lot* less.
  • I have a rooted 7" Nook Color that is now obsolete.
  • 10" form factor tablets don't interest me. I tried out an Asus Transformer for a while but found that after a short period of time, I'd find my self wanting for a real keyboard for productivity reasons. So bigger screen is when I want to be productive, smaller screen is when I want to be passive. My Vaio Z2 satisfies the portable productivity perfectly.
  • Browsing is excellent. You'll find yourself zooming in-and-out-in-and-out a lot less often. Scrolling can sometimes feel laggy, which I didn't notice in the S II (iirc). I suspect it's because there's a lot more pixels to push about.
  • Battery life seems to be about a working day, slightly longer than the S II. The S II died on me several occasions on a night out, even when fully charged beforehand.
  • PDF and ebook reading is excellent (for a OLED screen). Technical books and documents are what I would primarily consume. I haven't yet read a novel. Again, a lot less zooming in and out. If I can find away to truncate the white borders in PDFs, I would probably not have to zoom at all.
  • Like the S II, the screens lowest brightness setting is too high for night time and have to use a 3rd party app (Screen Filter) to tone it down.
  • The stylus, ahem, 'S-Pen' - yes I actually use it when I need to scribble a note and it's actually very usable. Remote desktop using X2 is surprisingly usable. I don't bother with the text recognition - I can barely write legibly these days anyway :)
  • I still lament the death of high-end smart phones with slide out keyboards. There are a couple of low-end ones around, and the only possibly decent high-end one that does have a keyboard, the Droid 4, is not available in Europe.

I will be sticking with this form factor for some time to come and am looking forward to the lighter, thinner and faster Note II. Unless a Windows 8 on Medfield device in a similar form factor but with a slide out keyboard appears first...