Samsung is fairly confident about the Galaxy Note. They've already shipped more than a million to markets in Asia and Europe and are set to finally bring the weird little thing stateside via AT&T (4G LTE, if you care) some time in 2012 (actual date TBD). Ahead of the North American launch, Samsung has brought the device to CES 2012, and at Monday night's Digital Experience party we had the chance to play around with it. So how is it? Tentatively, we kind of love it.
It really is a combo smartphone and tablet, not too big to comfortably use as a standard phone, and that 5-inch screen is about the perfect size for note taking and sketching (and then slipping back into your pocket without needing a cumbersome carrying case). It also looks pretty great (800 x 1280 resolution), and the touchscreen appears to be quite sensitive, registering multiple fingers at the same time without issue. While the demo unit we played with didn't come close to having the full range of available applications, we were able to check out an app called Hello Crayon that uses the stylus as a drawing tool. Lines were precise and we didn't experience any skipping as we dragged the stylus across the screen in quick strokes.
Given the lack of phone service and the limited time to play around, a full accounting isn't possible, but we're mostly excited about it. That 5.3 inch screen makes the Note a bit bigger than any mobile phone you're like to use outside of a movie set during the 1980s, and holding it against your head does not look cool. (Though it does make it look as though you're attempting forced perspective; expect comedy videos that use the Note as a prop for a character who is supposed to be a giant). The stylus is also a problem. It functions fine and it almost makes up for crushed spirits after Microsoft killed the Courier. But let's be real: people are going to lose the stylus, and they're going to lose it a lot. The typical consumer might not fall in love, but creative professionals will probably wear it out.