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Galaxy Note: The original big phone that changed it all

Samsung's moxie proved that bigger screens can be better.

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Jessica Dolcourt
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1 of 15 James Martin/CNET

It's been 9 years since Samsung's first large-screen smartphone, the Galaxy Note, rocked the phone world with a 5.3-inch display that was, in those days, laughably large. 

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Having a big screen to write, read and view multimedia helped convince the world we needed larger displays.

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In 2011, many smartphones stopped at 4-inch screens. The iPhone 4S was just 3.5 inches. 

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The original Galaxy Note wasn't just about the screen. It also introduced a digital stylus called the S Pen.

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With it, you could navigate, write and draw all over the screen.

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Samsung saw this device as a productivity tool, a message that that still rings true today for Galaxy Note phones.

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For years, the Note has represented the best of the best in a given year.

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Specs included a 1,280x800-pixel resolution for that 5.3-inch screen, and 16GB of internal memory, with up to 32GB in a microSD card slot.

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The S Pen stylus slid into place -- today it clicks -- inside a hollow within the Note's body.

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Notice the hook on the end of the stylus to keep everything in place.

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The Note had a 1.5GHz dual-core processor and a 2,500mAh battery.

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It shot photos with a 8-megapixel camera with flash, and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera.

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Android 2.3 Gingerbread was already a generation behind, at launch.

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The Galaxy Note sure has come a long way. Phones pack larger screens into ever-smaller bodies. 

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Today's phones may look a whole lot sleeker, but they have this common ancestor to thank.

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