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Customer Review

on 24 December 2011
I bought my Note on a recent business trip to India and I saved about a third over the UK price. I was so impressed with this phone that I bought one for my wife and one for my mum (Christmas prezzies!) and like many of the reviewers I got them from Amazon.de. One of the phones went missing in transit but I have to say that Amazon customer service in Germany is just as good as the UK and once I got someone who could speak English well they resolved the problem no questions asked and sent me a replacement. In my opinion Amazon are the best retailer out there today, no comparison. I've used an iPhone since 2007 and my last one was an iPhone4 which is undeniably a great phone. However I got very frustrated with a couple of things; the screen size is too small for me, iTunes in the worst program and user interface imaginable, Apples restrictive 'walled garden' policy, it's tendency to abuse its market position to dominate other companies, much like Microsoft in the 90's. For all these reasons I felt it was time for a change. I'm quite into technology so I knew about the Note and it looked very interesting and for me at least a perfect device. I thought it could replace my phone, tablet and laptop and to be honest that is proving to be the case so here is my review of the Note.

Build Quality - Samsung does use a lot of plastic in their phones so this does not feel like a really premium product. However the build quality is very good and the phone is ludicrously light for it's size and also stupidly thin!. An iphone 4 feels like a dense brick by comparison. The overall fit and finish is excellent. The back cover is made from a very thin plastic and looks like it could easily snap in half but in fact it is very flexible and can be folded in two with no sign of breaking(it's on You Tube). Don't try this at home though!

Screen - This is the largest screen on any phone to date at 5.3 inches and I find it fantastic. It uses Super Amoled HD at a 1200 by 800 resolution and the colours are extremely vibrant and super saturated. Although not quite the same pixel density as the Retina Display on an iPhone it blows it away in terms of brightness and colour. Off axis viewing angles are very good indeed though I do note a slightly greenish tinge which is due to the pentile display matrix. You will never use the phone this way however so its not an issue for me but it is there. Movies look amazing as do pictures. This is probably the best display on any phone at the moment.

Size - The most common criticism of the Note is that it is too big and that you have to have massive hands to use one. I find this to be totally untrue. I have average sized hands for a man and it's quite easy to use and comfortable to hold, even for long periods. My wife, who has much smaller hands than me also does not find it a problem. The other issue sited is that you will look stupid when using it as a phone, again totally untrue. I've used it out and about, the street, restaurants, pubs. No one has ever given me a second look. Not that I would care anyway.

Speed - This is without a doubt the fastest phone I've ever used. It has a 1.4Ghz dual core processor and 1GB of ram. To put this into perspective if you go back about 5 years this would have been a respectable spec for a desktop PC running Windows XP. This power is now in the palm of your hand which is amazing. Currently this is the fastest phone on the planet.

Phone calls - As a phone I would rate the Note as average, it's no better or worse than my iPhone 4. To be honest I rarely use it as a phone so this is not that important for me.

Battery Life - With a massive bright screen and dual core processor I thought that the Note would struggle to make it through a day. How wrong I was! It has a 2500mAh battery which lasts a day with heavy use and over 2 days with light use. I do charge the phone every day but most evenings it still has about 30% charge left unlike my iPhone4 which would either be dead of dying at the same point. For a smartphone this is a great battery life.

Camera - 8MP shooter that can do 1080p video as well. Not quite as good as the camera on an iPhone4S but still takes extremely sharp and vivid photographs.

S Pen - Samsung calls the stylus that comes with the phone an S Pen. It works very well but I don't use it much as I'm not very artistic. My friend who is very able loved it however and drew some very good pictures in a few minutes. It is useful for taking notes and I have used it for that. Nice to have but not that important to me.

User Interface - I have to say that after years of using IOS I have found Android to a revelation in terms of flexibility and control. I love the widgets and the fully customisable interface. I have to say it, the iPhone just looks dated and stilted in comparison with its rows of icons. Even better news is that the Note will be updated to the latest version of Android in the spring of 2012. Samsung uses its propitiatory Touch Wiz interface which I like well enough.

Android Market - It's true to say that the Android Market does lag behind Apples App Store in terms of selection and quality. However the gap is closing quite rapidly and most of the apps you really want or need are there, many for free.

Storage - Although not officially supported this phone works with a 64GB micro SD card which I have installed giving me a total of 80GB storage. All my music and films go on the SD card and I can load up days worth of entertainment. I love the fact that I can plug the phone into my PC and just dump files onto the SD card which the phone will recognise and categorise for me. No conversion required, and joy of joys, no iTunes! This for me is the biggest plus, I can put whatever content I want on the device with no hassle.

For me this is the perfect device, it does all that I want very well and is also a unique and beautiful product. I love it!
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