AT&T has just announced that it'll be bringing the 5.3-inch Galaxy Note to the United States, a beastly half-phone, half-tablet that spans the divide between two white-hot product segments. The feature list should sound familiar: it's in many ways the same Galaxy Note already available in Europe, featuring a 1280 x 800 Super AMOLED display, 8-megapixel primary and 2-megapixel secondary cameras, and the so-called "S Pen," a stylus integrated into the rear that can be used to register pressure-sensitive drawings on the phone's expansive screen. AT&T has also added LTE support, a feature that it's already pushing extraordinarily hard in the upper reaches of its smartphone lineup.
We've just had a chance to check out the device, and for those familiar with the original Note, there's one critical distinction here: it's got a more traditional four-button capacitive arrangement below the display instead of the single button found on the European model. That's a change that Samsung made on the American variants of its Galaxy S II line, too, though the company wasn't immediately able to tell us why this is a running theme — odds are good that it's a change US carriers are requesting, but that's just a guess.
Performance on the Note appears quite good from our brief time with it. It's got a 1.5GHz "dual-core processor," which is Samsung's sly, non-descriptive way of saying that it's something other than Exynos (in all likelihood it's the same Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 powering the AT&T Galaxy S II Skyrocket). It was unclear to us whether it was any thicker than the non-LTE model — Samsung wasn't sure — but it certainly felt thin, no doubt aided by the enormous display.
Speaking of "enormous," does the Galaxy Note fit in a pocket? It can — but considering that it comically dwarfs an already large 4.65-inch Galaxy Nexus sitting next to it, we'd recommend testing it with each and every pocket you'd ever carry it in before committing. Samsung hasn't given guidance on when we'll see the device on AT&T shelves, but when it comes, it'll be available both in "carbon blue" and "ceramic white."