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The Samsung Galaxy Note has been available for months on AT&T but it has just found its way onto T-Mobile’s network. T-Mobile’s Galaxy Note ships with Android 4.04 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and come with the suite of T-Mobile apps.
The Galaxy Note has a 5.3 Super AMOLED screen with a 1280 x 800 resolution. It has an 8MP camera and a front facing 2 MP camera that have become standard on many smart phones including Samsung’s Galaxy S II and III series phones. The phone supports NFC and and uses T-Mobile’s 4G HSPA+ network. Besides the large screen, the other feature that makes the Note unique is the stylus. The Galaxy Note uses Samsung’s S-Pen that hides right into the body of the phone. The phone feels solid and is a little heavier than other Galaxy models, but that seems to be mainly due to the difference in screen size.
The screen on the Galaxy Note is vibrant and HD movies look pristine on the screen. The Galaxy Note has four button at the bottom of screen the same as on the Galaxy S II series of phones. From left to right they are Menu, Home, Back and Search. Volume is on the left side, the power is on the right; charging port and microphone on the bottom and 1/8 inch output is on the top. The back of the phone has a textured feel to help prevent the phone from sliding out of your hand. The S-Pen slides into the bottom similar to other Palm style portable devices.
The Note comes with Android 4.04, code Ice Cream Sandwich. It uses Samsung’s TouchWiz UI but sill comes complete with the core Ice Cream Sandwich features including face unlock and multitasking. With it’s large screen, an added feature of the phone is the ability to reposition the keyboard or calculator to either the left or the right side of the screen so a person can type with one hand only. The normal collection of Google apps like Gmail, Talk and Google Plus all come pre-installed on the phone. T-Mobile has preloaded apps like BobSled Messaging, T-Mobile TV and Polaris Office on the phone.
The S-pen and the Galaxy Note works well together but the combination doesn’t feel like a pen and paper. The tip of the pen is a plastic very small tip, similar to the size of a ball point pen. Writing on the smooth screen is more difficult than paper as there is no friction on the phone. The phone comes with a couple “memo” apps that you can use to draw photos and practice handwriting and what those apps show is how difficult it still is to write on a screen. Without careful writing, it’s easy to try to attempt a love letter only to end up writing up a doctors prescription instead.
The phone reacts to more direct presses on the screen rather than light taps. Quickly moving from screen to screen and lightly tapping the screen may not register all the moves correctly. Also, the four buttons below the screen do not respond to the S-Pen making it always a requirement to use your finger to press the back button or the home button. After realizing this, it becomes easier to just use fingers and treat the Note as a standard phone screen. A phone with a really large screen and vibrant easy to see widgets.
The Galaxy Note is a good cell phone with a really large screen and good features. Using the features of the Note are similar to that of Samsung’s Galaxy S II phones with a few more additions including one-handed operation. The S-Pen works decently for writing but it’s hard to get a good accurate result due to the lack of friction between pen and paper. It’s fun to draw on the screen with the S-Pen but most of the functions just work better with fingers. As a phone, the Note works extremely well, especially with Android 4.04 installed. Overall, it’s a great product that doesn’t work as well as it should with the included stylus as one would expect.