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Samsung Galaxy Note: hands-on and first impressions

A tab-phone, a back-from-the-dead PDA or a digital etch-a-sketch? However Samsung’s new IFA-unveiled Galaxy Note is described, it provides some evidence that even in the touchscreen era in full swing, for some the stylus is mightier than the finger.

It some ways the included ‘S’ pen is at the cost of a practical-sized phone; this extra-big smart device (it measures 5.3-inches in diameter, though a paltry 9.65mm in depth) is all about the scrawl – and much more besides – but as a phone?

There’s no doubting the usefulness of this 147x83mm device. Our demo on Samsung’s huge booth focused largely on the ‘to do list’ functions of the S Memo app. That may sound rather twee, but it’s possible not only to scribble, say, shopping lists on the screen, but also to add audio tags, tick things off as you go – and even change the background. That’s great for professional users; architects can fit this note-taking app with graph paper, sketch a design with the S pen, and print it out.

For the most part, the Galaxy Note – which runs Android 2.3 – is fast. Swiping and swapping between apps and features is as fast as on any smartphone, with the stylus pen able to perform any function from browsing and launching apps to pretty pictures with a variety of line strengths (depending on how hard the stylus is pressed on the super-sensitive screen).

Equipped with a 1.4GHz ARM dual core processor and a HD Super AMOLED screen with a resolution of 1280×800 pixels, there’s the usual smartphone functions in addition to the rather retro feel of the 178g Galaxy Note’s stylus-led functions.

Specs-wise it’s the 8 megapixel camera that leads the field, with the 16GB and 32GB models available both offering WiFi and HSPA+ 3G – but it’s those after an alternative to paper for out-of-office scribbles and memos that will benefit most from the Galaxy Note.

There’s no official date yet on when the Note will be coming to the UK, but we’ll bring you the news when we get it.

Check out our Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7: hands-on and first impressions

Samsung Note: Note taking

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Samsung Note: Adjusting the background

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Samsung Note: S-Pen

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