After being an iPhone man and advocate for the last 3-4 years I decided to check out how green is the neighbor’s grass (after having a couple of light brainwashing sessions from Brian K.)..
And so, I pulled the trigger on a White Samsung Galaxy Note. (Paid 870$ on eBay shipped to Brazil via FedEx). It arrived last Thursday, so I just had a couple of days with it and although it’s too short of a time to form an educated opinion, I wanted to share my first impressions with you.
Samsung Galaxy Note & the Android OS and ecosystem from an iPhone user’s standpoint.
Basically what kept me from android all these years is, for the lack of a better word, fluidity of the iOS as opposed to Android. iPhone just feels smoother, even if it’s equipped with a lower clocked processor. Hell, even iPhone 3GS scrolls smoother than any Android phone out there! I think that this and other similarly flawed aspects of Android is what keeps those iPhone users so loyal to Apple.
A little background
It all started with my iPhone 4 breaking, and while I was waiting for Brazilian operators to start offering the iPhone 4s, Brian K. mentioned he got a Samsung Galaxy SII and was really enjoying it.
I went to the nearest store to check the Galaxy SII out, but decided to pass, for the reasons mentioned above. I did however notice the great screen the SII has and how much Android has improved since I last checked it out (1.5-1.6 versions).
Then, the galaxy note was announced, and with a higher than S2 clocked processor and a 5.3″ I couldn’t resist.
My general feel after playing with it for the last couple of days – hell yes! I’ll say more – I doubt that I will go back to an Apple device in the near future. Is the Galaxy Note as smooth as an iOS device? Not really, it still has the android signature stuttering when you scroll and the occasional semi-freeze here and there. Is the Galaxy Note built as good as the latest iPhone? No, it is not, I think that a fair comparison would be to equal it to the build quality of the 3G/3Gs versions of the iPhone.
But the HUGE, extremely vibrant and bright screen with amazing infinite blacks, and the openness and extreme customizability of the Android OS sure make out for that for me and then some. Sure you can expect some hiccups here and there, not everything is so custom tailored to the device and to bring it to full functionality you need to invest some effort but in my personal opinion this phone is worth it.
Who would I recommend this device to
- People who like the idea of having a stylus pen
- People who don’t mind to tinker with and tweak the phone
- Poeple who don’t expect it to “Just work out of the box”
- People who are good with technology and have or want to have an understanding of how the Android OS operates
- People who use their phone as a tablet at least as much as they use it as a phone
- Huge screen lovers
- Basically, most of T|I’s crowd
Who would I NOT recommend this device to
- People expect the device to “just work”
- Women or men with small hands
- People who like to operate the phone with one hand only.
Galaxy Note’s & Android’s Positive points
- Bright and vibrant screen with true blacks.
- Build quality is very good and the device feels solid in the hand although iPhone 4 build feels better.
- Great quality headphones – I prefer those over the ones bundled with the iPhone – they sit much better in the ears and sound quality is great.
- The Google Experience – Google+, Picasa, Gmail, Google maps; everything is synced to the web seamlessly. Take a picture – it appears in your picasa album for you to share/sort/organize. Want to share a link on Google+ : it’s just one click away. Your Gmail contacts appear in your contact list within seconds, your music is synced to Google Music.
- Highly customizable OS, home and lock screens.
- Call quality is excellent.
Galaxy Note’s Negative points
- Out of the box with all options at their defaults the device will eat through the 2500mA/h battery in less than 10 hours of normal usage. I left it fully charged for the night (about 8 hours) and woke up with 60% battery. – After a bit of trial and error and some research, a program called Green Power solved that for me completely and i now see better battery performance than my previous iPhone 4. I was able to get about 17 hours of battery while using the phone quite heavily.
- Expect LONG charge times – I timed the charge of this battery from 0 to 100% to a whopping 3 hours 35 minutes.
- WIFI reception seems lower than on the iPhone, but that is only judging by the WIFI indicator, which might not be very accurate. All in all i have more or less the same coverage in my house, just that in some spots that the iPhone shows 2-3 bars the note shows one bar only.
- The stylus needs a fair amount of pressure to operate, otherwise it doesn’t work.
- I still haven’t found a keyboard that matches the precision of the iPhone, i can’t type as fast but maybe it’s a matter of getting used to it?
- I keep accidentally pushing the Back or the Menu buttons especially in landcape mode when trying to type/interact with the screen – a big design flaw.
- Some apps aren’t suited for the Note’s resolution and show in a “window” not filling the whole screen – That will probably change soon as developers push updates to their programs.
- Expect surprised looks from people around when you put it to your ear to talk. It really does look a bit rediculous, almost like holding an iPad to your ear
- The text to speech compared to Siri is aweful.
Keep in mind that Ice Cream Sandwich update for the Note is around the corner and is expected to fix a lot of issues listed here and introduce lots of neat features.
So as you can see, the Galaxy Note is not for everyone. But I firmly believe this phone has huge potential and we’ve only scratched the surface of what it’s capable of. If you are a techy and are on the fence – by all means get it, you won’t regret. Same goes for iPhone users