Samsung Galaxy Note review

Is it a very big phone or a very small tablet? Julian Prokaza takes a look at the unusual Galaxy Note in our review.


IT Pro has reviewed a few big-screen smartphones of late, but the Samsung Galaxy Note GT-N7000 sets a new benchmark. It's an Android device with a whopping 5.3in display and if not for the fact that it packs a SIM card for making calls, we'd be more inclined to call it a mini tablet.

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The Galaxy Note GT-N7000 sits between Samsung's 4.3in Galaxy S II and 7in Galaxy Tab size-wise, which doesn't sound like a niche that was clamouring to be filled. The overall design is very similar to the Galaxy S II and the Galaxy Note GT-N7000 uses a similar featherweight plastic back that has to be awkwardly prised off with fingernails to access the SIM and microSD card slots, but it snaps back into place so snugly that it feels like a permanent part of the case.

The featherweight plastic back has to be awkwardly prised off with fingernails to access the SIM and microSD card slots.

The featherweight plastic back has to be awkwardly prised off with fingernails to access the SIM and microSD card slots.

Samsung has retained the same button arrangement for the Galaxy Note GT-N7000 too, which means there's a lozenge-shaped mechanical button immediately below the screen. This is a lot easier to find by touch than the backlit Home touch-sensitive buttons used on other Android smartphones, but backlit Context menu and Back buttons still sit at either side. The usual Android Search button has gone though, and is instead relegated to an option on the context menu.

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Despite its size, the Galaxy Note GT-N7000 is still comparatively slim and light, but its generous size does make it tricky to hold. It's just narrow enough to grasp between the fingertips of one hand in portrait orientation, but the width makes it ungainly to adjust the grip without inadvertently pressing the soft, shallow volume and power buttons on each side of the case. Similarly, any attempt at one-handed use invariably results in unintentionally activating one of the touch-sensitive buttons on the narrow bezel when a thumb reaches for the Home button.

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