Monday, June 25, 2012

Samsung Galaxy Note - The Mini Review!

Samsung Galaxy Note Mini Review!

Sooooo.... After spending some time with my  new phone, the Samsung Galaxy note (previously I used the iPhone 4 32GB - for comparison!) I feel like I should write something about it, because I do have a rather mixed up feeling about the phone, some I like, some I dont, anyways the purpose of this review is to discuss both of the ups and downs and also in comparison to the iPhone, as a lot of people would be tempted to make the switch like I did!

Dat Screen...

Ok this is one of the highlights of the Galaxy Note - The Screen is just so damn awesome!!! The resolution matches that of my 13 inch macbook pro (1280x800) - makes my macbook pro seem PIXELLATED in comparison!!

The colors are great, the super amoled (whatever samsung man, call it whatever you want) screen's size and resolution makes every other phone becomes so tiny in comparison... I mean seriously I look at my old iphone 4 and.... Holy shit the iphone looks so small!!

One bad thing about the screen is exactly that... you can never look at other phones the same way again, once you get used to the super roomy screen, which is awesome for watching videos, web browsing, and reading pdf books (yeah im a tech geek and i read a lot of books, mostly about audio stuff hahaha), you kinda dont wanna go back to the old 3 inch screen of the iPhone or anything else!

The Size

The size is seriously.... unusual, too big of a phone, and too small of a tablet, you can say that its somewhere between the two - It simply replaces the need for me to use my iPad 2, now I use ONE device, the Galaxy Note, instead of both my iPhone and the iPad, as the iPhone is a tad too small for enjoyable browsing experience, the note just gives you that screen size you need for convenient browsing late at night when you are lying down in bed being lazy (come on you know you do it too!!)

Average Battery - Ice Cream Sandwich made it Worse

Ok this is a complaint I have - THE BATTERY COULD BE BETTER! Sure it packs a massive 2500 mh battery, but that Dual Core 1.4ghz CPU and 5 inch 1280x800 screen really drains the battery - FAST. The recent update from android 2.3 (gingerbread) to android 4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) really makes it worse

Im a moderately heavy user, as in I use my devices a lot for stuff like browsing, email, watching videos, and music, it barely (but somehow does - most of the time) survives a whole day of usage, the ice cream sandwich really makes it worse, it's plagued with this kernel bug called the "L2_Wakelock" OR "L2_HSIC" that just drains the battery without you doing anything, yes i left the phone fully charged overnight and when i wake up i get like 50% battery left - DAFUQ SAMSUNG???  I understand the drain when im doing stuff but when Im doing nothing? Come on... This needs to be fixed!

Well you see, Apple makes ONE PHONE a year, while samsung makes like 100s, galaxy this, galaxy that, blah blah blah, i think its kinda understandable that the software integration wont be as good as the IOS, i mean for the IOS apple really just needs to work on the iPhone and the iPad, so the hardware-software are pretty much tight, but Samsung really needs to work on the software part to integrate their promising hardware with Android, like the Android 4.03 is really buggy and plagued with issues, a quick search on forums will yield tons of results of people complaining about shitty battery life, lags, crashes, due to the 4.03 update - Well the Galaxy note is not the only phone Samsung made so, yeah, you kinda gotta wait A LONG TIME for updates or hot fixes!

So essentially... the weakest part of the Galaxy note is really not the hardware itself, but in its software, the Android 4.03 for Galaxy note is buggy, drains battery, and really could be polished a lot more, I sense laziness and lack of effort on Samsung's part to fix this - Fine I know you have that new Galaxy S3 phone as your flagship phone now, so are you neglecting the now not-flagship Galaxy Note updates? That's just how I feel...

Not Much Apps for DJing (And everything else too!)

Well so iPad users use a lot of the apps for performing, such as the awesome TouchOSC midi protocol, and the Jazzmutant Lemur app, on Android, there isnt much of those, yes you do have TouchOSC but they are limited to their own templates, as of the current version you cant upload your own templates to TouchOSC - so no awesome kick ass midi mappings for you for now!!!

Speaking of apps - you really cant compare the Android market (or GOOGLE PLAY whatever they call it now) to the IOS app market, Apple's app store kicks down the Android store 10,000 times in terms of quality apps and variety, like seriously, sure all the big name apps like Skype, Whatsapp etc are available in Android too, but some stuff that we love in IOS are just missing, hopefully for not too long!

Awesome Flash Support!

Ok this is good, I forgot how good to be able to view Flash content on a mobile device! The Galaxy note pretty much plays anything that your normal home browser can play - stream flash videos, show flash content, pretty much anything flash! IOS users will be surprised how easily Android phones play Flash with no problems! I remember using my iPhone to play flash content with browsers like skyfire, but still did not perform well, well Android definitely has awesome flash support!

The stock browser on the other hand - is not so good, I suggest you download Dolphin Browser HD immediately for a better browsing experience!!

Widgets and Stuff

Well one thing with iPhones: If you really wanna do crazy custom stuff you probably need to jailbreak it, the good thing with Android is there are TONS of customizable stuff, you can add widgets to your main home screen, customize the lock screen, change the keyboard style, change the phone dialer, customize the clock design, stuff like that, at the cost of... Battery life and Ram!

Its pretty cool to see your Gmail and Facebook on your main Home Screen that constantly updates itself - but keep in mind these things add up to drain the battery of your device and fills up the Ram pretty fast, so yeah while all these things are cool, power users would probably wanna conserve the energy for other things, but if widgets and fancy live wallpapers are your thing - you can have em!

No iTunes - is it a good thing or bad??

I Seem to observe a lot of people hating iTunes - not me, I have built up my itunes collection for almost a decade now and all my music, playlists etc are... in iTunes! I really miss being able to drag and drop playlists the way I used to do with my iPhone 4...

With the Galaxy note, its back on dropping music into folders, either on the Galaxy Note itself or on the  SDCARD - Oh by the way speaking of SD Cards, Yes you can add more storage with microSDCARDS!!! I have a 16GB Micro SD loaded up for my music and stuff, but if you want to Im pretty sure you can put in a 32GB Micro SD! They are getting cheaper and cheaper anyway~

So yes this is something pretty cool that no apple iDevices was able to do, lets say you travel a lot and you wanna have 16GB worth of music and another 16GB worth of movies on separate Micro SD's - yes you can! But whether you Galaxy Note would have enough juice to play back all those content is another different story - oh the irony!! If only we can have a device with UNLIMITED Power!!!

oh and keep in mind the sdcard slot is right next to the battery so you DO need to turn the device off before swapping the microSD over!

Predictive Keyboard - Not as Good as IOS but can be resolved!

The screen response of the Galaxy Note is really good, but their predictive text input is, really, really BAD! I had to purchase a custom keyboard called "Swift key 3"- this app really makes the whole typing experience much better in Android! (Video above shows off the swiftkey 3 - yes you dont really need it but its good to have it!)

Swiftkey had this 50% off sale (I ended up paying about USD $2 - which is a good price to pay for the functionality!), it is kinda unfortunate that one must pay to get a really really good keyboard, the IOS keyboard experience by default is already really good, but hey for just $2 i suppose its no big deal, you can even change the keyboard themes/colors and preferences, which offers much much more customizability than the IOS keyboard if you use the Swift Key 3!

Closing Comments

I love the Galaxy Note, I love the screen, I love the size, I love the hardware, I have no problems putting it in my front jeans pocket, I love the snappy fast browser response, but I dont like Android all that much, and I hate the battery life, Sure for something this size I quite understand it drains a lot of battery, but since i own the iPad 2 as well, the iPad 2's battery simply lasts THe WHOLE DAY on very heavy usage, yes the iPad2 has a much bigger battery, but thinking logically it has a larger screen too, so...

I was kinda expecting iPad 2-like battery life on the note, instead I get the iPhone-Like battery life, and with the current bugs on the Ice Cream Sandwich software update, the battery is actually a lot worse than the iPhone, Before I updated to Android 4.03 I actually got a much better battery life... Perhaps this can be resolved by an update by samsung - but when?? In fact if you can stay on the previous Android version 2.3.6 it will be a better idea, for now! I really hope the next software update will resolve the battery issues!

My advice, go to a store, spend some time with the note, and decide if its for you, its a love it or hate it thingie, or if you want something smaller (but a bit more expensive) you can always check out the Galaxy S3, or the now outdated Galaxy S2 (which should be cheaper by now!)

But you see even with all the things that I dont like about the Galaxy Note, if you ask me now I regretted changing my phone from iPhone 4 to Galaxy note? Nope, the Note is definitely a fresh change from IOS, until something new from apple comes out that is!

If Samsung can work on fixing the Ice Cream Sandwich OS on the Note, fix all the bugs (THE BATTERY DRAIN!!), I can really see myself using the Galaxy Note for a long time, or at least until the iPhone 5 comes out... ha ha ha......

UPDATE!! - AUGUST 1 2012!

New Update I added on August 1 2012 - After using this device for almost two months, I am going to add more stuff to this review

Firstly, the newly released Android Ice Cream Sandwich 4.04 is awesome and adresses most of the bugs found in Android 4.03, that means much better battery life, improved stability, and overall it makes the Galaxy note a REALLY AWESOME PHAblet (phone tablet)

The Galaxy Note no longer drains battery for no reason (as it did with the previous version of ICS 4.03) and it is a lot more stable and very snappy to use, everything works perfectly and fast, response time is really really fast, the 1.4ghz dual core cpu and the 1GB of ram really shines here, opening multiple tabs in Google Chrome is a very enjoyable experience!

Wanna get the Galaxy Note Without a Contract? Here are some Amazon Links!

Samsung Galaxy Note GT-N7000 Unlocked Phone--International Version (Blue)