Is it a small tablet or a big smartphone? That's what you will be asking yourself when you see the latest electronic marvel from Samsung. The new Samsung Galaxy Note builds on the success of the Galaxy SII, the best smartphone released in 2011, and comes with some significant improvements, like the addition of the S-Pen stored conveniently in the bottom of the phone.
This phablet (or is it a tablone?) has an enormous 5.3" Super AMOLED with a 1280 x 800px resolution touchscreen display and a dual-core 1.4Ghz processor for amazing speed. There is a rear-facing 8MP camera and a 2MB front-facing camera, but the real strength is in its video capabilities.
The Note can record a 1080p video at up to 30 frames per second without any lags or chugging. Samsung says it comes with Android 2.3 installed, but I would bet it will actually ship with the new Android 4.0 operating system.There isn't much information on battery life, but this is a concern as the battery on my Galaxy S Infuse needs charging by around 3 o'clock on a good day, and the Notes screen is 15 percent bigger. Samsung has bundled a 2500 mAh battery in the Note and it is supposed to give over 36 hours of backup with moderate use. We'll see about that!
An interesting feature of the Note is that it comes with stylus support in the form of the S-Pen. Pre-iPad tablets always had a stylus as an input device -- which I usually lost within the first week of use. I'm worried that if (when) I get this new gadget, the S-pen will meet a similar fate. The S-Pen is based on Wacom's Electro-Magnetic Resonance (EMR) technology, which means that it works by induction and does not require any battery in the stylus itself, so I'm hoping replacements will be cheap. Samsung has loaded a few cool apps that use the S-Pen as well.
The Note is rumored to be coming to Canada soon -- they say Q1 -- and with it is created a new category for smart devices. It will be interesting to see how consumers react to the Note -- but you can bet I will be in line for one (and I will definitely get the screen insurance this time!).