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Discussion: Is the Galaxy Note Too Big? Does Anyone Really Want to Use a Stylus?

As we inch closer to Galaxy Note release day here in the U.S., we are starting to see some negative feedback over the size of it and its stylus accessory. CNET walked around New York City asking for quick responses from random people and most were not all that excited or interested. But first off, let me just say that none of these people had even heard of the device from what we can tell. So clearly, the Super Bowl ad that Samsung paid millions for, did almost nothing to help spread the word about their next-gen device.

Most of the respondees were not keen on the idea that the device could replace both their phone and tablet. They also tried to pocket the 5.3″ beast and came away torn – some were down as long as it fit, some were not excited about the added “bulge.”

There aren’t any public plans for Verizon customers to get this phone other than one random report that if we do, it will be called the Galaxy Journal, but that doesn’t mean bigger phones won’t come from other OEMs. We are already starting to see massive phones like the Spectrum with its 4.5″ screen and the HTC Endeavor with its 4.7″ screen. The Galaxy Note does not appear to be the only device that will have a larger than life personality. But when is big, too big? Is the Note pushing the limits? Some of you are thrilled with the idea of having this much screen real estate while others would rather companies hang around the 4.3″ range.

And on a related note, what’s with the stylus? Is it because the phone has a big screen that Samsung feels the need to re-introduce the stylus into our world? I have an HTC Flyer and bought the Stylus, only I’m struggling to find any real use for it. I can type faster using the on-screen keyboard that I can physically write out some chicken scratch. Is it an artist thing? Or am I missing the point here?

So tell us:  has Samsung completely missed the mark with the Galaxy Note and its stylus?

  • jorgearturo

    I agree with personal choices, what I don’t like is that all newest flagship smartphones are coming inhuge and uber huge sizes, ans the small good size (for me of course) have average or below average specs, I want 12mpx camera, 16gb internal plus Microsd support and video out in a device with a disolay no bigger than 4″ (which for me it is huge) the better disolay size for me is 3.7 but all the devices with that size are low in specs. I don’t want to carry a brick to have the latests in tech

  • Tom

    Let the market decide.  It’s great to have multiple cell phone manufacturers offering up the wide variety of devices we see.  I have had the 4.3″ Droid X since it was introduced.  My next phone will be a 5 incher!

  • Tyler

    This would have been better as a poll for what screen size you prefer. Personally I feel that my Galaxy Nexus stretches the limit to how big a screen should be and any larger would inhibit the use of the phone with one hand without repositioning your phone in your hand. There is always pros and cons to screen size, it just matters what your looking for and how big/small your hands are.

    • Anonymous

      No. I doubt that it is a one-handed device. Then again, I don’t hold the Bionic and type with the same hand.

  • Anonymous

    4.5 inch is pretty much the limit for me. It has to fit in my pocket comfortably. Right now my phone has a 3.7 inch screen which is a bit small, but I think that a 4 inch screen would be about perfect (or a 4.3″ with almost no bezel.


  • djembeman

    Too big? Yes!
    Want Stylus? No!!

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  • J. Reuben Waltner

    NO IT IS NOT TOO BIG!!!!!!!!!!!!! i had the streak 5 for a while and miss it other than its lack of ram. I will be buying one asap. I am not too interested in the stylus as of now but it may grow on me, who knows.

  • Anonymous

    I haven’t had any hands on experience with it so I can’t say for sure. With my experience with the Galaxy Nexus I’m pretty sure I would find it too big for comfortable use. Sure I could pocket it but I’m noticing that even on my Nexus having to hit the notification pane is a stretch.

    Still though, choice is nice.

  • E A butler

    I own A Galaxy Nexus and a Galaxy Note.  I use the Nexus as my main phone.  I use the Note as a work device.  It is good for pictures and taking notes.  I am a designer so I use it kinda like we saw back on those old “Microsoft Courier ” Promos a few years ago to edit photos and add notes to photos or map using the stylus.  It is very handy, and saves me toting paper around.   I hate paper!!!  I keep a 3g card in there for on the go data and skype and it double as a 3g hotspot for my tablet or laptop when needed.    … it is a great little device , I cant wait for ICS , I can’t stand Gingerbread anymore. 

  • Jim McClain

    it will go nicely,,, in your purse

  • Anonymous

    I find it too big, which is the same opinion I held over the original Dell Streak. What I find hilarious is some blogs out there that completely bashed the Streak wrote glowing reviews over the Note on the same points they bashed the Streak, then removed every Streak post they’ve done. Whatever… Buy what you like it’s there if you want it.

  • Anonymous

    You can have my day-one wifi Xoom now running stock ICS when you can pry it out of my cold, dead fingers.

  • Droidfan

    My review analysis of first resort is always Amazon reviews. Note vs iPhone on Amazon. iPhone…14 out of 27 gave it 5 stars or 52%. 19 out of 27 gave it 4 stars or better or 70%.  Samsung Note…82 out of 91 gave it 5 starts or 90%.  88 out of 91 gave it 4 stars or better or 97%.

    Hold it with one hand.  If you are going to limit your smartphone to things you can do with one hand….your a moron.  You obviously don’t have a grasp of what smartphones of the 2012 variety are capable of doing….WELL.

    No one wants to hold a phone this size up to there ear….looks funny.  Lets get one thing straight right out of the gate….NOTHING looks Geekier than talking into your phone (that’s right SIRI)  And if you are the least bit self-conscious having people hear you asking your phone questions (What time is my GYN appointment) that isn’t going to help.  Further, should SIRI not understand your question or give you the wrong answer…now your are seen fighting with your phone.   Geeky is as Geeky does.

    Finally, pocket or not pocket.  Couple Youtube videos..http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjfTq2Qfp8g.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FF1xgC1AAw. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F87jlsTpR5U.  This is clearly and matter of taste.  But is seems that Fanboys may not be used to having something big in their jeans.

  • Anonymous

    My opinion is this: I think the Note is s form factor that will suit alot more people than most people think. It may come off as too large initially, but the same was said about phones like the RAZR and the Galaxy Nexus prior to people spending time with them. I think this larger form factor will actually do well with a certain subset of consumers and I predict we will actually see more devices of similar size released be other manufacturers as soon as MWC. I wish it were a choice on Verizon Wireless because I’d like to give it a shot for a 14 days and see if it worked for me. 

  • Anonymous

    I think the question here is – Will it appeal to a large portion of consumers?  Everyone knows it will appeal to some folks (like me) who want a huge screen.

  • This device is targeted not just at Google fanboys.

    According to the advertisements running on NTT’s IPTV network, the Note is made with artists in mind. I, for one, would love to have such a device in my hands when I’m outside and need to make a quick sketch. The Wacom digitizer (that is also pressure-sensitive) would do perfectly.

    And I’m really sorry but you can’t really sketch well with your finger. It just doesn’t work.

  • I don’t know what everyone is talking about, I think the Galaxy Note is pretty small for a tablet.

  • NYC has the highest apple fanboy population density in the world – not an ideal to place to do a survey on an android device.

  • Anonymous

    The stylus for the Flyer (actually called the Scribe) is absolutely fantastic.  I have to go through hundreds, if not thousands, of PDF articles every week.  The Scribe allows me to highlight, mark, and annotate documents much easier and much more accurately than using a finger or a capacitive stylus.  It also allows me to give an accurate digital signature for documents as well.  I can only imagine that the stylus function on the Note would make such tasks equally easier.  

    I’m not much of an artist, but I can definitely see the usefulness in it for those who want to draw and sketch as well.  It’s all in what you need/want to do with a tablet or a phone.  There’s definitely a market and a wide range of uses for an accurate stylus with today’s devices.  

    • Anonymous

      Yes. I totally agree.
      It’s funny how people can’t see beyond their own needs.
      I don’t need a wheelchair but I understand why some people do.
      and I wouldn’t call it a “fail” if I saw one in use.

      jeez – some people need to get over themself

  • Jeremy Jones

    too big

  • Anonymous

    … look  to good old europe. the android bestsellers (top devices) are s2, nexus and on the third place there is the note … so there is a huge demand … not for everyone, but that’s ok.

  • If tablets didn’t exist, I’d like a Galaxy Note, but it’s just too convenient to have a small, mobile smartphone and then also a significantly larger tablet with more horse power. I know it’s more expensive that way, but nice experiences cost money.

    • I did forget about the visual artist, or graphic designer. I guess this device makes sense if drawing and designing is your thing. I saw some artists paint some incredible pictures at CES with the Galaxy Note.

      • Anonymous

        Don’t forget architects, mathematicians, physicists, chemical engineers, and biologists.

  • Anonymous

    i have one, my hands are not too big, if fits easily inside my pockets, dont get me started on the amazing specs… and the stylus allows me to doodle and/or draw something when i’m bored…
    for many people this is the perfect phone, and by years end, with all the 4,7″ phones, it wont look that big

  • Anonymous

    I like it.  

    I use my Galaxy Nexus (and the army of green robots that preceded it) more as a email / web / admin / video / music device rather than a phone.  And when I do use the phone, it is often on a Bluetooth headset, unless I don’t already have it on when a call comes in.  So for me, screen size while still being able to fit into a jacket pocket (or loose slacks if necessary) is great.  Sure it may be a bit awkward (or downright dangerous) to shove into some hipster skinny jeans, but that is a small (you get my point) annoyance.

    While this may not be the case for everyone, users that need something this big typically already have other smartphones with smaller screens that came before the Galaxy Note.  So when it comes time to don those corduroy pants that are 3 sizes too small, swap your SIM and carry the device that will feel horribly inadequate but will fit into said article of clothing.

    As for the stylus, or “pen”, this is also a plus.  While I don’t recall the need for one every day, I have been vying for an acceptable solution to the stylus with a capacitive screen problem.  There are many operations that just can be completed better with the precision of a “pen.”  The fact that it hides away is just fine with me.  And if you ever lose it or decide you don’t like it, maybe you can use its residence to stash a cigarette (your e-cigarette would be appropriate) or other rolled up herb of your choice.

    This device is not for everyone.  Samsung knows this.  It is not meant to steal a vast majority of the big fruit vendor’s business despite what the advertising would lead you to believe.  It is designed for the user who values functionality over size and those who don’t often talk with their smartphone attached directly to their head but still value the ability to do so if needed.

    Final thoughts:

    ICS+Verizon?  I will take 2.  One for each hand.  Why?  Because I have 2 hands.

  • Rich

    I say, 86 the stylus and get rid of the big screen… Seeing how VZW and ATT throttle your connection, there is basically no need to have a bigger screen to do anything on… Secondly, IMO I think they should get rid of the big screens and offer the HDMI plug on the phones so someone whom which to use the movies and video and netflix and the like can do so without you having a big battery waster just to see it on… Whats funny is how only a select few phones even have an HDMI connection…

    • Josh Groff

      That’s why I bought a G2X and sold my Sensation. That and Tegra zone. 😉

  • Yes it’s too big. The 4.3″ is just about perfect IMO. Even the GNex seems a tad too big at 4.65″ but not ridiculously cumbersome. With capacitive touch there’s no reason for a stylus on a smart phone. Buy a damn tablet.

  • NoteFiend

    Why wouldnt you want a bigger screen??? I want this sooo bad, preferably for Sprint. I would like to see up to a six inch display. Trust me, from all the comments I have read alot of people want this, and alot of people have already bought this, so the demand is there, Alot of envy from Iphone users too who put it down because they wish theirs was bigger…lol

  • Derrick Rayburn

    I have a Note on pre-order.  I do a lot of remote work and often use remote desktop to get to my workstation in the office.  Trying to do that on the Atrix, while possible as I’ve done it quite a bit, is a bit difficult and frustrating at times.  I’m definitely looking forward to the increased screen real estate.

    As for the stylus, I’m not sure I care one way or another (though the screenshot functionality is integrated…so I’m just glad I can do screenshots!).  My initial thought is that it could be useful when I’m using remote desktop even on the bigger screen as I would have to zoom in even less to hit small navigation bars/buttons…as I’ve not used a screen this size personally (several of my co-workers have the Dell Streak) I will have to hold off judgement on that until I’m able to get my hands on it….which I can hardly wait!

  • See, its too big or too small.  Make the tablets make phone calls and I might ditch my phone and use my bt headset more.  but GNex is the perfect size for a phone/tab substitute.

  • Robert Toudouze

    I would love this phone if it were ICS, Nexus and already out.  I will hope for a better version next round.  I want a big phone.  I could care less about the stylus.  Most important to me is unlocked bootloader.

  • Guest

    I personally think the size is great.  I have been waiting for a 4G-LTE phone that works AND is bigger than 4.3″ (and preferably made by Motorola since I am partial to their devices).

    As for the stylus…lose it.  I would never use one.  I would like the device to be one complete unit with a larger touch screen for better web surfing, movie watching and of course game playing!

    Let’s get quad-core, HDMI out, webtop/lapdock, 1.5Ghz speed, ICS, 1GB of RAM, mirror mode, etc. and I’m in!

    I just started drooling from just thinking about it.  I’m in I tell you!!!  In.

    • Josh Groff

      2 GB ram, most top end phones already have 1GB, gotta put them cores to better use. 😉

    • Valdeck

      You do know the stylus does not subtract at all from the screen size on this device right? it could be bigger or smaller and the stylus could still be included and not change the screen realistate.

  • Anonymous

    The international sales for this device certainly suggest a lot of people are into this.  If Verizon was offering the Galaxy Journal (Note) device last month, I might have considered it over the Galaxy Nexus….assuming ICS would be available in due time.  I read a lot of Kindle books, use Evernote etc. on my phone; so something like this gives you some of the tablet benefits without too much bulk.

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  • Valdeck

    One thing I do not understand is why everyone hates the stylus. In this case it is done in a way that you could honestly never use it or know it was there but it does give other options and ways to interact with the OS and a new way to develop apps.

    Like a sketch pad app that uses the camera and goes semi transparent so you can use the pressure sensitive pen to sketch what is in front of you (like trace paper) or tons of other ways really. In the end what I do not get is why people consider it a step backwards when you are not forced or required to use it it just gives you the options.

    • DanSke

      Totally agreed. I think most get hung up on the fact that it was older technology used in the PDA days of Palm and whatnot. While it is a dated form of technology, I feel it may not have been implemented correctly in the past. It shouldn’t be you’re only form of interaction with the phone, but rather an added one as in the Note. It only offers more possibilities in my mind, which is what we all want. 

      • EC8CH

        exactly… the option to use a stylus doesn’t mean it has a crappy resistive touch screen. It’s sad if people aren’t smart enough to realize that.

  • I am all for it. Don’t think Samsung missed the boat and can’t wait for Verizon to pick up this device. I wish I had it NOW.. and I would use the stylus for many things.

  • DanSke

    I actually think the note is perfect. Its just another step in a direction that is already on its way. Phones will become tablets, mark my words. Just as mp3 players are dying out in favor of powerhouse smartphones that can do the same thing, PLUS more. You will be able to do your work on the go, play games and communicate to the outside world with it as a hybrid tablet that has phone capabilities. For those that complain about the stylus, it doesn’t really bother me at all. Its not necessarily needed in the day to day function, but rather an additional way of interacting with the OS. Why not have the luxury? It seems pointless to most, but the application is quite possibly endless and in my mind a bit more personable. I embrace the change and honestly see the bigger picture that is coming into shape.

    • ThatGuy

       Except you can’t pocket a tablet. Have fun lugging a tablet around

      • DanSke

        You may be right, if it were a 7″ or 10″ tablet. However, I think the size of the Note is optimal and I really don’t see a problem pocketing it. (Unless you’re a fan of skinny jeans then you should probably be buying an iphone because you’re a hipster haha) Joking aside, it may not be for everyone at the moment, but look back to what was considered manageable a year ago or two? Most people would think you were out of your mind for carrying a phone that had a 4″ or greater size screen. While now its practically the norm and expected.

  • Christian Bennett

    Its cool, but in the end, it would be the last android I would buy, after a 7″ tablet.