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Why I Bought a Samsung Galaxy Note

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It seems obvious from the credible rumors of a taller iPhone that Apple didn’t get my message about wanting a wider screen phone, so I decided to trust those rumors and make a switch.

I bought the biggest Android phone you can buy, a Samsung Galaxy Note from AT&T. I’m very pleased!

Aside from getting a large 5.3 inch screen, I really love using alternative keyboards for input. In the past I’d jailbreak to get features I wanted with the iPhone, but my most recent effort resulted in an unstable phone and I went back to the stock. With an Android device I don’t have to hack the thing to get a better input tool like Swype.

I specifically bought the iPhone 4S because I got caught up in the Siri excitement at launch. I know Apple calls it a beta, but my Siri experience underwhelmed me. It only worked half the time feel I live near their Maiden, NC data center, so I could walk to the Apple campus nearby and ask them to do my commands faster than I’d get a valid response from Siri much of the time.

Samsung Vlingo Voice Search

Using the Samsung Galaxy Note gives me access to S Voice, which is repackaged version of Vlingo that Samsung baked into the device. It works most of the time and does things Siri can’t do yet, like launch apps or update Twitter and Facebook without a hack. Apple users can get a lesser functional version, which means it won’t launch apps like the Android app.

The S Pen Samsung includes makes inking on my mobile a pleasure. I discovered Papyrus, a great replacement for the built-in S Memo app. With Papyrus I get smooth inking. I write with the pen and erase with my finger. I love it. It’s a beta, but seems rock solid to me.

Papyrus App

The S Pen takes screen shots by doing a tap and hold as you press the pen’s button. I can mark up and edit the shot on the phone in a less than a minute. I coud do that on my iPhone but it took more steps than it does using the S Pen and I had to download apps to make it work.

I’m anxiously awaiting Ice Cream Sandwich. I could root my Note and install a version, but I wanted to play with the Note as it comes from Samsung for a few weeks. Hopefully Samsung and AT&T will hit their 2nd Quarter prediction for an ICS update of the Note. If not, I’ll look into rooting it and installing the leaked ROM.

As the Note sales figures keep going up, I’m betting we’ll see a number of accessories for the Galaxy Note. You can already get a number of attractive cases and other tools to complement the device.

I don’t think I’ll give up my iPad just yet. I do use it less now that I’m carrying this great big phone. I’m typing this article on my Note using the Logitech Bluetooth keyboard I bought to use with my iPad. The screen gives me super crisp text and I’m pleased with the combo.

I’m looking for some nice S Pen apps that take advantage of the great inking on the Note and some apps that make the large screen shine. You can help me out with a recommendation in the comments below.

Kevin loves notebooks, tablets, gadgets and photography. He grew up with computers starting out on a Vic 20 and Commodore 64. The first computer he owned himself was an 8086 Compaq Deskpro. His foray into tablet computing began when he bought a Samsung Q1 Ultra. The smartphone market opened up for him with his Palm Treo 600.

22 Comments

  1. rob

    06/08/2012 at 9:09 am

    i replaced s memo with jotter – it’s versatile, works great AND has palm rejection.

  2. Donald Stidwell

    06/08/2012 at 9:47 am

    Kevin, what Bible Study program, if any, are you planning on using? My biggest tie to iOS are Pocket Bible and Accordance both of which I have a LOT of resources in. Laridian has an alpha version for Android but it’s barely useable and Accordance doesn’t do Android at all. I also have Logos but I don’t like their mobile program at all. It is very second rate compared to Pocket Bible. And finally I use Olive Tree’s product exclusively for the Reina-Valera 1960 Spanish Bible and that’s fine on Android.

    I do have a Galaxy Player 5.0 but I’ve been eyeing the Galaxy Note for a LONG time, but I’m not willing to give up Pocket Bible to use an Android phone. So that’s why I’m curious about what you may be using on Android. Thanks.

    • Kevin Purcell

      06/08/2012 at 1:48 pm

      I use Olive Tree and Logos most of the time along with Daily Bible and the YouVersion of Bible.

  3. Bervick

    06/08/2012 at 7:27 pm

    Check out Infinite Painter and Sketchbook Mobile PRO. Welcome to the Note fly :-)

  4. Bervick

    06/08/2012 at 7:37 pm

    Definitely check out the Dolphin HD browser. Also look into changing the launcher. I would recommend using Go Launcher till version 4 hits. I’ve used an ICS theme by developer Kovdev along the the Go Launcher, launcher. It’s fast and looks great. Brings back some of which Samsung’s Touchwiz took away.

  5. Daniel

    06/09/2012 at 1:02 pm

    I’m sure a few others are wondering the same thing…Kevin, would you care letting us know which app is that for the battery icon in the status bar? It looks nifty! Thanks in advance!

  6. Loaddown

    06/09/2012 at 1:06 pm

    What about handwriting recognition and conversion to Word (I don’t believe that Papyrus supports it)? Does the resident handwriting recognition software on the Note work adequately?

    • Wevenhuis

      06/10/2012 at 12:01 pm

      I have a galaxy note with gingerbread and a samsung shell on top (Touchwiz I think). The s-memo app has ink-to-text recognition. It is poor in my experience. I am getting better results from my Lenovo X60 tablet!

      I heard about an upgrade to ICS for the galaxy note. Still not sure if it is a rumor or not. Would like to know if an official update will come. Any news?

  7. Elizabeth

    06/09/2012 at 5:11 pm

    Jotter is my favorite inking app for my Note. It has excellent palm rejection technology so that you can rest your hand on the screen as you write.

  8. Henri

    06/09/2012 at 6:03 pm

    I am using Juice Defender and am very satisfied. Have ICS from Samsung now for 2 weeks and this Note has gotten better and faster. The 3G and Wifi are so much faster…

  9. CaqKa

    06/10/2012 at 1:36 am

    must have on sg note (touchwiz is total crap)
    dialer: exdialer
    calendar: droidcalendar

    is good to have:
    ulysse speedometer
    todo program: mobisle notes or Any.do

    will try this papyrus app and jotter

  10. Tman

    06/10/2012 at 1:46 am

    I have had my galaxy note for about a week,i use it every where i go and love it. If your a person who plays a lot of games the note isn’t for you,i had the iphone 4s and did a lot of gaming. My contract was up and decided to switch to the note to see the difference between the 2 phones,loved the gaming on the iphone but realised as i get older i am not having much time to do so. Playing with the note i see myself doing more job related work apps that the play store gives plenty of,the screen is a real plus for those who love to read or just want to watch a movie. Last but not least,the best attraction on the note is the S Pen that you can do anything with. Fun apps to play with and the big convenient screen, i recommend the not for all.

  11. Kurt Baumann

    06/10/2012 at 4:51 am

    Kevin I liked everything about your post, including the fact that you owned a Vic 20 which I did too. I am waiting for T-mobile to announce their version of the Note and then I probably replace my Samsung Galaxy Tab (first 7inch model) which I carry everywhere.

    I think that my ARTware Clocks look great on the Galaxy Note (I tried them in a store) if I may say so myself.

  12. Will Smith

    06/10/2012 at 5:31 am

    Agree completely. SGN is fantastic for older eyes, the extra size & highly readable screen is brilliant, literally. It means I don’t have to fiddle with reading glasses for short jobs; that alone is worth dealing with the bigger size, although it fits my pockets ok. I still have muscle memory of Graffiti from Palm days, so that’s my choice of input. I also use a Samsung 7.7 Tablet at home- same brilliantly readable OLED screen but bigger. I don’t use my desktop PC half as much now and my laptop sits idle. I clear email from bed; it’s nice for winter. SGN? Huge thumbs up.

  13. Wevenhuis

    06/10/2012 at 12:02 pm

    Does anyone know when the official ICS update + touchwiz update will come for the galaxy note?

  14. Ankush

    06/10/2012 at 6:41 pm

    @ Daniel: that battery sign comes up with app Battery Widget. its a great app, gives u freedom of deciding colors for different battery levels. For me green icon is until 75% of battery level n the orange until 50% followed by red till it is dead.

    • Daniel

      06/11/2012 at 9:16 am

      I appreciate your reply, but the icons the app has do not match with the icon on this one. I really like the battery percentage icon on the app above. Kevin, can you please let me know what it is? Thank you….

      • Kevin Purcell

        06/13/2012 at 8:37 am

        I believe it’s the Go Power Master app part of the Go Launcher which I’m now using.

  15. KC

    06/11/2012 at 1:02 am

    It would have been better if it came with NFC. Alas, I have to seek elsewhere.

  16. Nick

    06/11/2012 at 7:05 am

    Ive had my Note since Feb 19th (after waiting for it since I first saw its announcement last Aug/Sept) and its the best phone I could have asked for. My friends are jealous when we play Draw Something … my pics are much more accurate with the S Pen than with their fingers! :-)

  17. Ken

    09/12/2012 at 5:50 am

    Kevin, do you see any advantages to awaiting the Note 2 versus getting the Note at the bargain price available now

  18. Amy (@SweetPea_Mars)

    09/13/2012 at 11:45 am

    I’ve been an iPhone owner for years. My last non-iPhone was a Razr. LOL. I’m unimpressed with the iPhone 5 and am looking forward to the Note 2 release next month. Has anyone here experienced going from an iPhone to the Note? Is the switch complicated, considering my primary reason for having an iPhone was and is the combined functionality of the phone + mp3 player, so I would need to be able to convert(?), download, and play music (and maybe a few videos) from iTunes to the Note.

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