Tech News and Reviews

Review: Samsung Galaxy Note (GT-N7000)

, posted: 11-Aug-2012 23:09

Hello everyone, today I have the white Samsung Galaxy Note to review. I have been using this device for about a month now, and from the start it has not felt like a very large phone/tablet (phablet) to me, although I have dropped it twice on hard concrete -Ouch! (It has a small dent in the bezel) because of the device falling out of my track-pants pockets. Hehe. But the phone does fit into my pocket without any issues from sitting down etc. The white headphones that were included was a very good set. I really enjoyed them as they had a silicon-feature that acts as 'noise-cancelling' headphones. Guess what happened to them? I broke them while trying to sit down on the bus! As most of you would say, that is very clumsy!

We will start off by looking at the specs of this bad-boy!


  • 2G Network: GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
  • 3G Network: HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100
  • Dimensions: 146.9 x 83 . 9.7 mm
  • Weight: 178 g
  • Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colours
  • 800 x 1280 pixels, 5.3 inches (~285 ppi pixel density)
  • Corning Gorilla Glass
  • TouchWiz UI v4.0
  • MicroSD Card slot, up to 32GB, 2GB included
  • Internal Storage: 16/32GB
  • 1GB RAM
  • Data: GPRS, EDGE, HSDPA (3G)
  • Connectivity: WLAN 802.11 a/b/g/n, DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP - EDR
  • Camera (Primary): 8MP, 3264x2448 pixels, autofocus, LED flash ; Features: Geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection, image stabilization
  • Video: 1080p@24~30fps
  • Camera (Secondary): 2MP
  • Processor: 1.4GHz dual-coreARM Cortex-A9
  • GPU: Mali-400MP
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, Gyro, proximity, compass, barometer
  • Adobe Flash 10.1, HTML5
  • Radio: Stereo FM radio with RDS
  • GPS: A-GPS support and GLONASS
  • S-Pen: S-Memo, S-Calender, S-Choice
  • Standard battery: Li-Ion 2500mAh
  • Comes with Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread
The specs look promising for this device... Let us take a look at the main functions of this 'phablet'.
When I first turned on the Galaxy Note, I was greeted with an excellent vibrant, crisp and quality display. It jumped right at me, though I did feel a bit dizzy, (maybe that was because I was viewing the device in a moving car..) The 5.3 inch display may be a bit big for some people, but it was the right size for me! When I went back to my old 2.8" phone I was like, "Holy Sh**, this is small!". Compare this with the iPhone, you can fit the whole iPhone onto the screen of the Note. That amazing! Well, no. The amazing thing about this screen is that Samsung had managed to make the bezels very thin so the screen would take up most of the space. In fact it is one of the most thinnest bezels currently in the market. The Super AMOLED display also takes part in the amazing quality of the screen. Also, you can still see the screen when you are outside, which is a plus, as I am always outside taking photos and it is actually nice that you can see what you are taking!


This bad-boy is powered by a 1.4GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor.  Swiping around screens are very zippy, although I have to say sometimes it does make the occasional 'lag'. Zooming in web pages are also very fast and zippy. It has 1GB of RAM so you can do more tasks on it simultaneously.
The Mali-400MP is used on the Note to power it's graphics processor. Playing intensive games (eg: Modern Combat 3, Asphalt 4 etc) on the Note gives a very pleasing feeling. The quality of the display is very clear and very crisp. Although when I was playing Modern Combat 3, level 5 lags till it stops moving and I have to restart the whole device. I have seen a lot of the other players have also commented that they have had this issue as well and it seems like it is a 'software' issue.


The Note is equipped with a 8 megapixel camera with flash and includes all the basic functions like auto-focus and image stabilization. The Note is also capable of taking panorama photos with ease. You would not say that this phablet has 'zero shutter lag', but the picture quality was a bit better compared with the Galaxy S3 that does have 'zero shutter lag.' It may take a second but the Note photos were just a titsy-bitsy crisper than the S3. The Note has 8 Shooting modes: Single shot, Smile shot, Beauty shot, Panorama, Share shot, Action shot and Cartoon shot. You are also able to adjust the settings manually like the ISO or Metering settings. You have the options of: Outdoor visibility, Anti-Shake (Although I don't see why anyone would not want this), Auto contrast and Blink detection. You can set the 'phablet' to have 'GPS tag' on, so it records the location information when you take a photo.
It also has a 2 megapixel secondary front-facing camera. The quality on this is a big laggy compared to the S3, but it still does the job well. It is not 1080p nor is it 720p.

  Video Camera

The Note is capable of shooting videos in 1080p high-definition resolution. Please also not that it does not allow you to use the zoom-in feature when shooting in Full-HD. But, the videos I have taken are very crisp and 'high-definition' as you would expect from it. You can view my 1080P recording sample on my Youtube page (Link will be up soon). The colours are all deep and rich! An excellent smartphone for shooting Full HD videos with the 5.3in screen! Plus did I mention it is very portable? (Some of you may argue about this!!)


The device currently ships with 2.3.6 Gingerbread Android OS and TouchWiz 4.0. Although I would've expected Ice Cream Sandwich to come out by now in New Zealand, it still hasn't! I am getting a bit frustrated (and I know most of you are also...) that Android 4.0 has not been released in NZ yet! Grrrrrr!! Samsung!!


Most people buy this phone because of its size... AND because of its digitized S-Pen. And I have to say,  lovers shall love! [haters shall hate]! The first thing I did on my Note was to take out the S-Pen and open S-Memo and write on it. The S-Pen has a small button on it to 'capture' images off the screen. It takes a 'photo' of the screen you are on and will let you annotate it in S-Memo. I do have to say that the pen does lag behind you while trying to write. It is not that noticeable, but if you are extremely fussy about detail, then it may get annoying. People have said that this should be less noticeable in the Ice Cream Sandwich update. This pen is made by Wacom, and is a specially digitized pen designed especially for the Galaxy Note. So this means that it will not work on any other devices including capacitive devices like the Galaxy S3. (There is a special C-Pen made by Samsung to work on the S3)

  Battery Life

I have to say the battery life for this bad-boy is okay. With 2500mAh of battery, it should last you about a full day with normal usage. I have maxed my Note out and it runs out of battery before getting home sometimes. I have 3G on for the whole day, background applications running, music playing during trips etc.
Otherwise, you should be able to use your Note for the duration of the day for average users. The battery mAh may be big, but remember the screen size will contribute to the running out of battery life.


To conclude this review the Galaxy Note is a great device for multimedia users and business users (As it has a big screen for business use and a S-Pen). The screen size is huge, but may just fit your pocket and/or your hand. The dual-core processor is fast and zippy, but there is always room for improvement. The S-Pen is a great addition to the Note as you can use it to note-take or is great for photographers as you can annotate images on-the-spot. Camera has great quality but there is the occasional lag and video camera has exceptional quality. With 1080P recording, you could record a 'movie' on here! (not).

I would recommend the Galaxy Note... but the Galaxy Note 2 may be announced at the end of this month!
UPDATE: Ice Cream Sandwich has been released for Vodafone's Galaxy Note. The firmware version is: N7000XXLRI

Other related posts:
[Review] Air New Zealand Auckland Domestic Lounge
Vehicle Reviews on NZ TechBlog
[Review] Auckland Airport's Emperor Lounge

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Matthew Chan
New Zealand



I’m Matthew Chan and I live in Auckland, New Zealand.

I run NZ TechBlog

I am a passionate tech blogger and love to read up on funny, interesting, serious and sometimes “failed” tech news as well.

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