Samsung Galaxy Note review: It's a phone, not a tablet

There are a lot of things that AT&T's humongous Samsung Galaxy Note smartphone is, like a digital memo pad, a medium-size reader, and a great photo companion.

Samsung Galaxy Note
Sarah Tew/CNET

Don't let its 5.3-inch size fool you; the Samsung Galaxy Note for AT&T is no tablet.

What it is, is a very large Android 2.3 smartphone firmly rooted in the Galaxy S II family tree. Yet the Note branches off in two places: that huge screen that makes the phone awkward to hold, and the stylus--called the S-Pen--that lets you navigate, write, and doodle in all sorts of apps.

Not everyone's going to like the size; in fact, I suspect it'll be a niche group who does. And yes, some people who are casually considering a tablet might also decide that they'd be happy with a big-screen phone instead. Yet the extra screen size does make watching videos and viewing photos pretty ideal for a smartphone (and annoyingly small for a tablet).

There's also that S-Pen to think about. It surely reopens a long-forgotten world of handwriting notes and doodling images that largely disappeared half a decade ago, but brings with it some potentially problematic lagginess and less-than-faithful reproduction of your pen strokes.

At any rate, the Galaxy Note doesn't skimp on high-end screen, processor, and camera specs, and the phone is 4G LTE-ready.

Watch the video, see the photos, and read all the pros and cons in my full Samsung Galaxy Note review.

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