TODO alt text

Samsung Galaxy Note review

How does the Android Ice Cream Sandwich update fare?

Our Verdict

It's a sterling, premium device from Samsung, but compromises have been made to fuse a phone and a tablet together that could be hard to get used to.

Product features

  • Built-in Memory : 16 GB
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 8 Megapixel
  • Battery Talk Time : 1 Day
  • Screen Resolution : 1280 x 800

View full specification

For

  • Amazing screen
  • Great contacts management
  • Excellent call quality
  • Fantastic camera
  • Samsung's own apps

Against

  • Not that different to the S2
  • Expensive
  • Only seven home screens
  • May be too big for some
  • Camera prone to scratches

On paper, the Samsung Galaxy Note should give amazing battery life since it has a 2,500mAh power pack in there. In practice though, while it is good, it's not necessarily amazing. But it all depends on your use.

It's hard enough to match the manufacturers' estimates at the best of times because individuals have their own needs and demands placed on their devices.

Samsung Galaxy Note review

Perhaps tellingly, Samsung hasn't even bothered to put estimated talk and standby times on the specs page of the Samsung Galaxy Note website.

Those who use this as their phone will get through juice a lot quicker than those who carry it around in a bag as a tablet and are maybe more economical with their usage.

Check out our Samsung Galaxy Note battery test video:

Our testing involved the former and we were easily able to get a full day of moderately heavy usage out of it.

Samsung Galaxy Note review

The Samsung Galaxy Note came off charge at 5:45am and was used for about an hour of catching up on Twitter, reading the news headlines and checking emails. We also took a handful of photos.

Over the course of the day, we did an hour's drive with music streaming to the Bluetooth car stereo and watched an episode of Spooks on the screen.

Then we played a couple of games for about 20 minutes, listened to the FM radio and music applications for about 20 minutes, and got through about 90 minutes' worth of web browsing.

At 7pm, we were down to 15% and then that dropped to 7% by 10pm (with very little usage).

Samsung Galaxy Note review

That's pretty much on a par with what we get from an Samsung Galaxy S3 with the standard 2100mAh battery, but we're not surprised because although the battery is larger, so is that screen.

And boy, does this display love to guzzle battery power.

You're tooled up for connectivity with all of the usual suspects in here, from Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to HSDPA+ and DLNA.

Although Wi-Fi did lock on, we weren't massively impressed with the signal strength.

We've always found the Samsung Galaxy S2 to be not as capable of getting a full signal as an iPhone (even when placed on the router) and were shocked to see that the Samsung Galaxy Note's signal was even weaker.

It didn't affect browsing at home but this could be an issue in larger areas when hunting for (and trying to stay connected to) hotspots.

Samsung Galaxy Note review

You can also use Wi-Fi for Wi-Fi direct (think Bluetooth file transfer but using Wi-Fi instead) and there is Samsung's Kies software for transferring media which allows you to do it via the actual computer programme or over Wi-Fi using a web browser.

It's all very advanced, easy to use and works as it should.

If you have a USB stick, you can actually connect it directly to the Samsung Galaxy Note and read from it (via a micro USB adapter) which is a great addition and makes this even more of a computing device than just a phone.

If you want to share your connection, you can tether by cable or by making this a mobile hotspot, though beware that networks will think it's Christmas if they find out.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported32 GB
Built-in Memory16 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSPA+, HSDPA
SAR Value0.11 W/kg
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationYes
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyGalaxy Note
Cellular Generation4G
Cellular Network SupportedLTE 700, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 2100, WCDMA 1900, GSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1900, GSM 1800, WCDMA 850
Rear Camera Resolution8 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
ColourBlack
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameSamsung
Battery Talk Time1 Day
Screen Size13.5 cm (5.3")
Screen Resolution1280 x 800
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)178 g
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityWEEE, RoHS
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Processor ManufacturerARM
Operating System VersionAndroid 2.3.5 Gingerbread
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
RealtoneYes
Radio Tuner TypeFM
Call FeaturesCall Log, Caller ID, Call Timer, Conference Call, Call Divert, Call Barring, Call Waiting, Call Forwarding
Pixel Density285 ppi
Height146.9 mm
Width83 mm
Depth9.7 mm
Radio TunerYes
ManufacturerSamsung
Product NameGalaxy Note Smartphone
Processor Speed1.40 GHz
Processor TypeCortex
Product LineGalaxy Note
Screen TypeOLED
Sensor Typecomfortmeter, Proximity Sensor, Accelerometer, Gyro Sensor, Digital Compass
Manufacturer Part NumberGT-N7000ZBAXEU
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.samsung.com/uk/
Marketing Information

Feel free to do whatever you like, wherever you are, with the Samsung Galaxy Note. Its large 5.3" HD Super AMOLED touchscreen offers a superior viewing experience. Thin and light design allows maximum portability, and full-screen utilisation is perfect for quick and effective tasking on the move. With a choice of touch or super-sensitive S Pen input, you can sketch, write, and capture or crop elements from any screen quickly and easily. The 1.4GHz dual core processor and HSPA+ internet speeds of up to 21Mbps make sure you've got the power you need, too. Choose the Samsung Galaxy Note and discover a new kind of smartphone experience with a world of freedom.

Package Contents
  • Galaxy Note Smartphone
  • Battery
  • Quick Start Guide
Limited Warranty2 Year