Samsung Galaxy Note (hands-on)

A big screen and a stylus make the Galaxy Note stand out from the Android smartphone crowd. Here's CNET's hands-on with the device.

BERLIN--With so many models available, it's hard to stand out in the Android smartphone market these days. But Samsung found a way today with the Galaxy Note.

First, this Gingerbread device has a Super AMOLED screen that's 5.3 inches diagonally--enough to bump almost into the tiny tablet range. Second, it's got a stylus that lets people take notes, annotate screenshots, and draw. Samsung announced the Galaxy Note today at the IFA electronics show here.

Dell's Streak was a similarly sized Android phone that was largely a dud in the marketplace, but Samsung thinks it knows consumer desires. I tried the device today and came away more impressed than I thought I'd be. The Galaxy Note has a nice screen, a fast dual-core processor, and works as an ordinary smartphone. I don't think it'll be a mainstream hit, but a certain niche might enjoy it.

I'm particularly curious to see what happens with the stylus in the future. This phone was a bit too laggy in handling stylus input to be great for artists, but the direction shows promise for those who want to move beyond finger painting.

A tablet is perhaps a more natural size device to use a stylus. With good performance there, this could be a great device for those who like sketching, digital painting, or retouching photos--especially if the tablet is tethered wirelessly to a computer running the software.

Samsung's Galaxy Note
Samsung's Galaxy Note Samsung
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