Living with a Galaxy Note for 2 Months

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First off, I want to say thank you for all our Flygrip customers.  It is so great to hear such enthusiastic feedback from a product that I developed.  Just as a good cook or chef loves to hear that his/her customers enjoyed the special dish they made for the night, I just love that something that I worked so hard to develop is being widely used and appreciated. Thank you very much.

Another thank you to all the handset manufacturers and software makers for constantly developing great smartphones.  I appreciate your hard work and your products help me get more done each day in less time.


Now to the review: Galaxy Note

As a fan of technology, of course I want to try every new toy on the market.  The Samsung Galaxy Note was next on my list.  This new smart phone definitely has it's place in the world. It is not for everyone, but I applaud Samsung for going out and taking the risk.  I have no problem with Samsung or any phone maker going out and making different phones for different people.  If they want to make a 3.5" screen phone, a 4", a 4.5", a 5" and a 5.5" phone, I say go right ahead.  Not everyone's hands are the same, not everyone's eyesight is the same, and not everyone uses their device the same way.  We should not conform to technology, technology should conform to us.

The way I review may be a little different than most of the the reviewers on Youtube and other tech writers.  I will not necessarily talk about speed benchmark tests, flipping through screens and megapixels.  I will speak more about productivity and usability for me.  If your priorities are similar to mine, then you will find my review most useful.  My priorities are as follows:

1. Emails:   I have 4 different email accounts that I use everyday.  I have (3) three business email addresses for my different businesses, and one personal email address.  Each day I get a lot of emails, anywhere from 50 to 200 emails a day combined.  I use my smart phone for about 30% of my email responses during the work day (Monday through Friday 8am to 6pm) and I use my smart phone about 95% of the time for emails before and after work during those hours and 100% on the weekends.  Answering a bunch of emails before I get into work just saves me that much more time during the day. 

Using the Galaxy Note for emails is phenomenal. The reasons for me is that with the bigger screen, I am able to review what I am typing a lot easier.  When I write, I typically review the paragraphs as I continue typing to make sure I answer all the relevant points that I am trying to convey.  The bigger screen gives me much more viewing area than smaller phones.  Usually on a 4.5" screen phone, I can see about 60% of what I see on the note.  This is usually ok for short emails, but lengthy emails, it becomes annoying since I have to keep scrolling up and down to review my thoughts.  On smaller 4" or 3.5" phones, it becomes downright annoying and I eventually would just delay my response until I get to my main desktop to write the email.

Also, the keyboard on the galaxy note allows for faster typing, less spelling errors (so many great keyboard apps on android that it becomes a pleasure to write emails on the Note).  Since touch screen phones require on screen keyboards, the space allocated to typing vs seeing what you type is less than a physical keyboard phone.  The Galaxy Note's bigger screen allows for more text to be seen when the keyboard is on screen.  Big plus!

2. Texting: I text some business related information, but mostly texts are personal.  The galaxy note is good for texting as well for the keyboard size, but if texting is your main criteria, then the Galaxy Note doesn't necessarily give me a great benefit over a smaller phone, since txts are usually smaller in size for me.  My txts are usually one sentence answers or questions. No big advantage for me.

3. Calendar: I use google calendar a lot!  I use it for appointments, but I mostly rely on it for tasks to be done.  Some people use a task list, but for me, I like to use the calendar to remember what I need to do throughout the day.  The new calendar that the Note and the S3 have is great.  It is different than google's stock calendar.  The main advantage of this calendar for me, is that I am quickly able to enter in events and times on the DAY VIEW, and when you go to the week or 3-day view, it allows you to move calendar events from one day another day.  The stock calendar on GINGERBREAD allowed you to move an event to a different time slot for one day.  The new Samsung calendar allows you to move an event to another day and time just by dragging.  This is a huge plus for me.  Similar to how google's desktop calendar works.  Big plus!

4. Internet surfing: I research a lot throughout the day, but mostly on my desktop computer.  However, at night, or on the weekends, when a thought pops in my head, I go to my smart phone to find what I am looking for.  The Galaxy Note is great for this.  The bigger screen provides more to be seen.  This just helps with reading the information and viewing desktop formatted sites.  The higher resolution on the screen and the size of the screen makes it much more usable than smaller phones.  Big Plus!

5. Camera: I use the camera often in business.  I often have to shoot a picture of a product shot, or a quick video to demonstrate something to a customer or to a distributor.  The Galaxy Note camera quality is very good.  It produces clean sharp photos and video.  The big screen helps view what you are shooting easier. I still do not like the slow lag between shooting photos.  The new Galaxy Note 2 and the current Galaxy S3 has the faster camera with no shutter lag.   So this camera is not a big advantage for me over some of the previous phones.  Typically, I shoot a photo and immediately txt it or email it, the extra few seconds that it takes to do that can be a little annoying to me (I get a little impatient).  I know that the Galaxy S3 has a quicker CPU, so the time is takes from shooting a photo to emailing it is much faster. Looking forward to the new Galaxy Note 2 with the zero shutter lag and quicker CPU.  No Big advantage for me.

6. Videos: Watching videos is not necessarily something I do often, but I will tell you that is it great to watch my Vulkano (similar to slingbox - watch live tv) and when I look at some Youtube videos (Thank you Youtube! and the people who post videos!  So many times I find the answers to questions on Youtube and I find it an invaluable source).  The Galaxy Note is great for watching these videos. Big plus for me.

The biggest advantage of the Galaxy Note is it's big screen and unfortunately that would be it's biggest disadvantage for some people.  I, personally, do not have a problem with the bigger screen. Although, I don't know how people use the Note efficiently without a Flygrip attached to it because you really do need two hands to use this phone.  The Flygrip makes it usable with one hand and very productive with two.  As you use bigger phones, the usefulness of Flygrip increases exponentially.  See my Video demonstration on the Galaxy Note with a Flygrip attached.

Some bloggers talk about the pocket-ability of the Galaxy Note.  As far as I am concerned, it fits fine in my front jeans pocket, yes its a little wider and longer than a smaller phones, but it's still very thin and I do not think you will have a problem with getting the phone in and out of your pocket.  

The only other disadvantage is it's weight.  It is heavier than my Galaxy S2 which weighs 4.6 ounces vs Galaxy Note weighing 6.3 ounces.  Not a huge difference, but when I switch between the two, the S2 feels like a feather. 

Overall my conclusion is that the Galaxy Note is a great device.  It will not suit everyone, but I do not think that is Samsung's intention.  I believe their purpose of making this phone was to fill a need for some people out there.  Just as there are Corvettes and Priuses out there, each has their own place. Considering 10 million Galaxy Notes were sold, I would say it was a success.  If a 5.3" screen is not for you that is fine, I am sure another handset maker will make a phone the exact size you want.