Reviewed by Synth (Currently owns)
Lets talk about size right off the bat, because lets face it, that's really the reason why you're here.
It took me a about two weeks to really get a good feel if I was for or against the size. After the initial novelty of having a huge phone wore off I quickly stooped to disliking the two hand aspect of this phone. Having to change my mindset from my previous phone (Galaxy Nexus) to the Note just felt annoying, but after sticking it out I finally came round in a big way. I love this screen and I really do think there is a strong argument that 5 inch and above is the perfect fit (for me at least) for a phone.
But the special really stops there.
Despite its great CPU, I found that I was getting much less than 60fps on some racing games that performed flawlessly on my old Galaxy Nexus and iPod Touch. Other than some games I found the performance to be pretty good.
The other big feature of the Note is the stylus. It's pointless. The screen isn't big enough to write anything of meaning, and for quick notes it's much quicker to just type it with the large two handed keypad. The Samsung Note apps are ok at best but without any notable third party apps that excel the technology I found myself never returning to the stylus.
After coming from stock Android to Samsung's Touchwiz you quickly wish you never left. The OS sucks up so much of the ram you hardly notice the extra gig you find over most other phones. And with no CM or the other major Android roms getting any meaningful development, your stuck running a launcher over the top just for a sliver of customisation.
The Android ecosystem still lacks compared iOS both in quantity and quality (but mainly quality). A few apps look a little out of place on the big screen (text not formatting properly an issue I saw a several times) or would just be buggy and crash.
Ok phone, nothing special. Holding onto it for now as the screen is just too hard to pass up but the rest could be forgotten easily. Some rom development may save the Note but until then I'm keeping a look out for my next...
- Design 8
- Display 9
- Camera(s) 7
- Reception / call quality 7
- Performance 9
- Software 7
- Battery life 9
- Ecosystem 6