Is it a tablet? Is it a phone? Actually, it’s a bit of both. Samsung Electronics has launched what it’s calling the first and largest 5,3-inch high-definition “Super Amoled” smartphone in SA. This is a beast of a phone. And it has a beastly price tag: expect to have to fork over at least eight and a half grand to own one (outside of a contract).
Samsung puts the recommended retail price at between R8 499 and R8 999 and is punting the phone, which has a 1280×800-pixel display and a stylus for note-taking and other tasks, as combining best of tablets and smartphones in a single device.
Despite its enormous screen, the Galaxy Note is a just 9,7mm thick and weighs only 178g, which is not much more than the popular Galaxy S II.
The display is reinforced with Gorilla Glass — a standard feature in high-end smartphones these days — and the Note comes preinstalled with Google’s Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) operating system. Samsung says an upgrade to Android 4.0, also known as Ice Cream Sandwich, will follow.
The Korean company hasn’t crimped on the hardware innards, either. It includes a dual-core 1,4GHz ARM Cortex-A9 processor and 1GB of RAM. It’s available in 16GB and 32GB models in international markets, though only the 16GB is available in SA at launch.
There’s a microSD slot that supports up to a further 32GB of storage space.
The Galaxy Note includes an 8-megapixel camera, LED flash, autofocus, and shoots 1080p video at 30 frames a second. It also offers a 2-megapixel front-facing camera for video calling.
Connectivity is provided via Wi-Fi (up to 802.11n) and 21Mbit/s cellular downloads (5,7Mbit/s on the uplink). There’s DNLA support, too, for streaming content to and from compatible devices like PCs.
The stylus, which Samsung calls the “S Pen”, and which slots into the bottom of the device, allows users to annotate Web pages, documents and images and take screenshots, which can be shared via e-mail, MMS and social networks.
For business users, Samsung has included support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, Cisco WebEx for video conferencing, and a wide range of virtual private networking support.
The Galaxy Note is being called a “phone tablet” by Samsung. It supports multi-touch input and includes new gestures like a “judo swipe” that involves swiping the side of your hand across the screen to take a screenshot.
Users can also take selective screenshots from websites by circling the elements on the page they want to save. These can then be further annotated and shared.
In conjunction with the Galaxy Note, Samsung has launched an instant-messaging service called ChatON, its equivalent of cross-platform message service Whatsapp and Apple’s iMessage. ChatON doesn’t come preinstalled on the Galaxy Note but can be downloaded from the Samsung app store.
The Galaxy Note will be available in SA in the second week in November. — Craig Wilson, TechCentral
- Look for TechCentral’s detailed review of the Samsung Galaxy Note next week
- Subscribe to our free daily newsletter
- Follow us on Twitter or on Facebook
- Visit our sister website, SportsCentral (still in beta)