Jan 10 AT 7:00 AM Nick Gray 33 Comments

Hands-on the AT&T Samsung Galaxy Note

Samsung Galaxy Note pen input

We finally got to spend some quality time with the new Samsung Galaxy Note, which is heading to AT&T this Spring. If you’ve been following the Galaxy Note news since Samsung first announced the European model a few months back, you’re probably pretty familiar with the phone’s 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 5.3-inch Super AMOLED HD display and S Pen integration. To many, the Samsung Galaxy Note may sound just a little over the top, but it’s hard not to like the device once you’ve actually held it in your hand.

Naturally, the main attraction for the Note is the phone’s massive 5.3-inch 1280×800 Super AMOLED display, which dominates the entire front of the device. While the screen colors and brightness match those of the Galaxy S II, the clarity is like nothing we have seen before on a Samsung phone. Due to the higher resolution display, Samsung has chosen to give the Note a 5×5 application grid as opposed to the standard 4×4 grid that we’ve been accustomed to on Android phones since the launch of the original T-Mobile G1.

The Note is a lot more than a large screen. As the name implies, the device has been engineered to take notes with a capacitive stylus called the Samsung S Pen. Users can use the S Pen to jot down notes, color, capture screen shots and even crop select portions of those screen shots to edit or share with their contacts. Fortunately, users wont have to worry about losing the S Pen since it can be safely stored inside the body of the Galaxy Note.

DSC_9115 DSC_9108 DSC_9110 DSC_9111 DSC_9112 DSC_9113 DSC_9116 DSC_9118 DSC_9119 DSC_9120 Samsung Galaxy Note pen input

We’re still waiting for AT&T to announce the price and release date for the Samsung Galaxy Note, but we suspect you’ll have to save quite a bit more than $200 if you’re planning to get your hands on this device. Is it just me, or does a phone with a 5.3-inch screen feel like it could be a natural successor to the phone you’re currently using?

Nick is a tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC and its devices. He started HTCsource.com (the first HTC blog) back in 2007 and later joined the Android and Me family in the summer of 2010.

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  • damambt

    I just wishi i could head over to my AT&T store now and buy this. So we didnt get the GalaxyNexus; Maybe the Note will make us(AT&T customers) forget about it.

    • delinear

      I had such a hard time choosing between these two devices. In the end I went for the Nexus (ICS + updates just won out over the stylus and SD slot) but I don’t think anyone would be disappointed with either device.

  • Wai

    I have been using this phone for nearly a month now and am loving it!
    I will definitely have trouble going back to a smaller screen after using this phone.
    Haven’t found the size a problem when taking calls with it either. The sound quality while taking the call is excellent too.

  • Oskar Wismierski

    With such a huge screen it’s a shame that it doesn’t have HD resolution..

    • n25philly

      1280 * 800 isn’t hd?

      • eallan

        No kidding, the highest resolution in a phone you can buy isn’t enough?

    • Oskar Wismierski

      I meant FULL hd.. would be a bit better

      • Jacob

        Full HD as in 1080p? You do know that even on an HDTV you can barely tell the difference between 720p and 1080p on anything under a 32″ screen let alone a 5.3″ screen.

  • Galen20K

    Att has been so Loud so far at CES, I really hope Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile get into gear for the rest of the show…

    • yankeesusa

      Att has to be loud. They are the most expensive and most unreliable company out there so they have to make up for that. Just yesterday I couldn’t get anyone from att to help me with my home phone. Took several hours and in the end i fixed the problem myself. I’m glad I have sprint now. I would have verizon but they are expensive too. Hopefully sprint will keep improving with their lte and 3g upgrades.

      • kazahani

        AT&T is currently $84.99/month for the basic smartphone plan.

        Verizon is $89.99/month for their basic plan.

        • damambt

          So yesterday yankeeuse went to at&t to have his phone fixed and on the same day he fixed his phone problem on his own but he ends the comment by saying hes a sprint customer now? either a bogus comment or dude likes cell phones so much that he owns 2 phones with each of the worst mobile companies.

        • Jon Garrett

          but AT&T makes you spend $20 for unlimited text messaging.

  • ondore

    My operator had Christmas price limited for 300pcs and I missed it… Hopefully I’ll join Android family with this piece soon! :-)

  • uknowme

    Sounds like a killer phone! I still have around 18 months before I can upgrade. I can’t wait to see what’s out by then.

    • Jon Garrett

      dude, several Android phones are iPhone killers. even my Galaxy S II which is 6 months old now.

  • virexed

    Please have this in a tablet form. That pressure sensitive S Pen is an artists dream.

  • YNWA

    Nah, Galaxy Nexus and a 7 inch tablet would be my choices. Note seems too big to fit in my pocket. The Nexus is perfect.

  • yankeesusa

    Cmon sprint, get this phone! I thought it was too big but my goodness I haven’t even held it and I want it more and more now. I love the note feature with the pen.

  • Ironzey Lewis

    Hmmm, and I really like the idea of this device. One issue that gives me pause is dev support. That is one of many issues I have with my current phone (Sensation) rooting and flashing seems complicated when compared to a Nexus-type devices.

    I’ve never used a Samsung so I’m a little apprehensive about dealing with TouchWiz but after my experiences with Sense I’m sure everything will be fine.

    It’s all moot (for now) because I’m not leaving Tmo.

    • Nico

      Samsung phones have tons of developers always working on new ROMs and such. I have the Samsung Infuse and things are constantly coming out. Once Samsung releases the update for Gingerbread, there will more than likely be an explosion of new development going on.

      By the bye, the Sensation has a lot of development as well. My friend has one and I helped him root his phone. There were tons of ROMs for it. When dealing with HTC Sense, though, it will always be more difficult to get into the phone. That system is tough.

  • spazby

    More samsung phones for sprint please…

  • http://www.infotainmentempire.com pekosROB

    That thing looks MASSIVE!!! But I bet the screen is easy on the eyes.

    Thankfully the pen comes with the device instead of purchasing it separately (I’m looking at you HTC Flyer/Best Buy!

  • staryoshi

    I’m hoping that the note successor comes to sprint. I’ll ride my E4GT until then :)

  • Trinhbo

    The thing looks massive but I wonder how big it is when stacked directly on top of the AT&T Samsung Galaxy SII. It may be marginally bigger.

  • derrick

    come on, guys! Why hasn’t anyone mentioned the processor downgrade? That will totally impact the phone’s performance and create more lagginess. We readers have a long way to go if we ever want to make androidandme and enlightened site, like theVerge an engadget. No one fails, it seems, to mention the processor downgrade on those sites.

  • http://www.jimtravis.com jimtravis

    Being the gadget addict that I am, I have both the Note imported via Amazon, and the Galaxy Nexus. I love the LTE speed of the Nexus, but the Note with a SIM originally from an iPhone 4 via Dell Streak is my favorite phone. Even without the digital pen, it would be my favorite. As nice as the Nexus screen is, I find the Nexus screen too uncomfortable to look at for long durations. I have tried lowering the brightness, but the display just seem too intense for comfortable viewing. The Note has high resolution, and vibrant colors as well, yet it is very comfortable to view even for long browsing sessions. After using the Note for awhile, the Nexus seems small, and I have always felt the Nexus screen was a bit too narrow for its height, not so for Note. Even with Gingerbread, the Note is my favorite, with the promised ICS upgrade, it will be no contest.

    I do have long fingers, so using the Note with one hand is not a problem, and the Note is very comfortable to hold for long durations. The Nexus is a great phone, no doubt about it, but for me, the Note is a better fit. With LTE speeds added, the Note will be fantastic. Don’t dismiss the Note without trying it at you local mobile store. After using the Note for awhile, you may not want to browse, watch videos, or use your favorite apps on smaller phones. Your now large 4″ screen device will seem small almost tiny after using the Note for even a short time, and you will miss using even non-tablet optimized apps on the Note.

  • jaydeeIL

    If the Note was coming to Sprint (possibility?), I would consider it hard. But for now, I’ll just use Kushdeck’s ICS Rom for now. on my EVO 4G.

  • Nathan D.

    I would love to take notes on my phone.

    • donger

      me too

  • Willy Morgan

    I have a Samsung Captivate because I’m a loyal AT&T customer. I contemplated changing carriers when it became obvious that much like the Nexus S, the Galaxy Nexus wouldn’t be sold by AT&T until the phone was close to antiquated. I’ve never been a big fan of restrictions and the fact that AT&T was very slow to adopt Android and even slower to sell the Nexus S almost pushed me to the edge.

    I’ve rooted my phone and experienced ICS using a ROM developed from the source code, It’s very aesthetically pleasing and the performance of my phone has improved immensely. I’ve had the opportunity to read up on the Galaxy Nexus and the Galaxy Note and I’ll be honest, there’s no way I’d even want to own the Nexus. If you compare the specs (screen size aside) the processor speed alone and the quality of the display make this a no-brainer decision. Having stock ICS would be great, but that’s what rooting your phone is for.

  • Hall Lo

    Impressive device :)

  • prince

    superb phone..

  1. I just wishi i could head over to my AT&T store now and buy this. So we didnt get the GalaxyNexus; Maybe the Note will make us(AT&T customers) forget about it.

    • I had such a hard time choosing between these two devices. In the end I went for the Nexus (ICS + updates just won out over the stylus and SD slot) but I don’t think anyone would be disappointed with either device.

  2. WaiGuest 3 years ago

    I have been using this phone for nearly a month now and am loving it!
    I will definitely have trouble going back to a smaller screen after using this phone.
    Haven’t found the size a problem when taking calls with it either. The sound quality while taking the call is excellent too.

  3. With such a huge screen it’s a shame that it doesn’t have HD resolution..

    • 1280 * 800 isn’t hd?

      • No kidding, the highest resolution in a phone you can buy isn’t enough?

    • I meant FULL hd.. would be a bit better

      • JacobGuest 3 years ago

        Full HD as in 1080p? You do know that even on an HDTV you can barely tell the difference between 720p and 1080p on anything under a 32″ screen let alone a 5.3″ screen.

  4. Att has been so Loud so far at CES, I really hope Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile get into gear for the rest of the show…

    • Att has to be loud. They are the most expensive and most unreliable company out there so they have to make up for that. Just yesterday I couldn’t get anyone from att to help me with my home phone. Took several hours and in the end i fixed the problem myself. I’m glad I have sprint now. I would have verizon but they are expensive too. Hopefully sprint will keep improving with their lte and 3g upgrades.

      • AT&T is currently $84.99/month for the basic smartphone plan.

        Verizon is $89.99/month for their basic plan.

        • So yesterday yankeeuse went to at&t to have his phone fixed and on the same day he fixed his phone problem on his own but he ends the comment by saying hes a sprint customer now? either a bogus comment or dude likes cell phones so much that he owns 2 phones with each of the worst mobile companies.

        • but AT&T makes you spend $20 for unlimited text messaging.

  5. My operator had Christmas price limited for 300pcs and I missed it… Hopefully I’ll join Android family with this piece soon! :-)

  6. Sounds like a killer phone! I still have around 18 months before I can upgrade. I can’t wait to see what’s out by then.

    • dude, several Android phones are iPhone killers. even my Galaxy S II which is 6 months old now.

  7. Please have this in a tablet form. That pressure sensitive S Pen is an artists dream.

  8. Nah, Galaxy Nexus and a 7 inch tablet would be my choices. Note seems too big to fit in my pocket. The Nexus is perfect.

  9. Cmon sprint, get this phone! I thought it was too big but my goodness I haven’t even held it and I want it more and more now. I love the note feature with the pen.

  10. Hmmm, and I really like the idea of this device. One issue that gives me pause is dev support. That is one of many issues I have with my current phone (Sensation) rooting and flashing seems complicated when compared to a Nexus-type devices.

    I’ve never used a Samsung so I’m a little apprehensive about dealing with TouchWiz but after my experiences with Sense I’m sure everything will be fine.

    It’s all moot (for now) because I’m not leaving Tmo.

    • NicoGuest 3 years ago

      Samsung phones have tons of developers always working on new ROMs and such. I have the Samsung Infuse and things are constantly coming out. Once Samsung releases the update for Gingerbread, there will more than likely be an explosion of new development going on.

      By the bye, the Sensation has a lot of development as well. My friend has one and I helped him root his phone. There were tons of ROMs for it. When dealing with HTC Sense, though, it will always be more difficult to get into the phone. That system is tough.

  11. More samsung phones for sprint please…

  12. That thing looks MASSIVE!!! But I bet the screen is easy on the eyes.

    Thankfully the pen comes with the device instead of purchasing it separately (I’m looking at you HTC Flyer/Best Buy!

  13. I’m hoping that the note successor comes to sprint. I’ll ride my E4GT until then :)

  14. The thing looks massive but I wonder how big it is when stacked directly on top of the AT&T Samsung Galaxy SII. It may be marginally bigger.

  15. derrickGuest 3 years ago

    come on, guys! Why hasn’t anyone mentioned the processor downgrade? That will totally impact the phone’s performance and create more lagginess. We readers have a long way to go if we ever want to make androidandme and enlightened site, like theVerge an engadget. No one fails, it seems, to mention the processor downgrade on those sites.

  16. Being the gadget addict that I am, I have both the Note imported via Amazon, and the Galaxy Nexus. I love the LTE speed of the Nexus, but the Note with a SIM originally from an iPhone 4 via Dell Streak is my favorite phone. Even without the digital pen, it would be my favorite. As nice as the Nexus screen is, I find the Nexus screen too uncomfortable to look at for long durations. I have tried lowering the brightness, but the display just seem too intense for comfortable viewing. The Note has high resolution, and vibrant colors as well, yet it is very comfortable to view even for long browsing sessions. After using the Note for awhile, the Nexus seems small, and I have always felt the Nexus screen was a bit too narrow for its height, not so for Note. Even with Gingerbread, the Note is my favorite, with the promised ICS upgrade, it will be no contest.

    I do have long fingers, so using the Note with one hand is not a problem, and the Note is very comfortable to hold for long durations. The Nexus is a great phone, no doubt about it, but for me, the Note is a better fit. With LTE speeds added, the Note will be fantastic. Don’t dismiss the Note without trying it at you local mobile store. After using the Note for awhile, you may not want to browse, watch videos, or use your favorite apps on smaller phones. Your now large 4″ screen device will seem small almost tiny after using the Note for even a short time, and you will miss using even non-tablet optimized apps on the Note.

  17. If the Note was coming to Sprint (possibility?), I would consider it hard. But for now, I’ll just use Kushdeck’s ICS Rom for now. on my EVO 4G.

  18. I would love to take notes on my phone.

  19. I have a Samsung Captivate because I’m a loyal AT&T customer. I contemplated changing carriers when it became obvious that much like the Nexus S, the Galaxy Nexus wouldn’t be sold by AT&T until the phone was close to antiquated. I’ve never been a big fan of restrictions and the fact that AT&T was very slow to adopt Android and even slower to sell the Nexus S almost pushed me to the edge.

    I’ve rooted my phone and experienced ICS using a ROM developed from the source code, It’s very aesthetically pleasing and the performance of my phone has improved immensely. I’ve had the opportunity to read up on the Galaxy Nexus and the Galaxy Note and I’ll be honest, there’s no way I’d even want to own the Nexus. If you compare the specs (screen size aside) the processor speed alone and the quality of the display make this a no-brainer decision. Having stock ICS would be great, but that’s what rooting your phone is for.

  20. Impressive device :)

  21. princeGuest 3 years ago

    superb phone..