All in all, the Galaxy Note's standout feature, its large, 5.3-inch HD Super AMOLED display, is a bit of a double-edged sword. Even though we absolutely loved the additional screen real estate while using many of our favorite apps, watching movies, and surfing the web, we felt awkward holding such a large phone to our ear. We hate to say it, but when looking in the mirror or looking at someone else holding the Note to their ear, they looked a tad funny with the oversized device.
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Because Android 2.3 Gingerbread isn't really designed with a 5.3-inch screen in mind, we also ran into a few occasions where buttons were a bit too small within an app. Although this was a minor issue that didn't really bother us much, it makes us long for the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update that's promised for this phone. Since this latest OS is designed for both smartphones and tablets, we're hoping it will scale some of these buttons to a more appropriate size. Benchmark scores seem a bit lackluster with the Galaxy Note, but keep in mind they were running at a much higher resolution than the other devices. At lower resolutions, the scores would likely have scaled higher. In real-world testing, however, we had no complaints about performance.
It didn't take us long to fall in love with the S Pen that comes with the Galaxy Note. Although we rarely used the pen for things such as clicking a link or writing an email, we really liked the ability to take handwritten notes; add annotations to documents, screen shots, and images; draw; and doodle. Not only is this functionality fun to use, but we also feel it is quite practical for a number of situations.
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At the end of the day, we found ourselves really liking the Samsung Galaxy Note. The S Pen functionality is something we'd love to see on additional devices from Samsung. We're also excited about the potential for this device when it receives its Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update. If you're able to get over the bulkiness when holding the phone to your ear, the Galaxy Note is a device that will give you plenty of functionally in return.