Will you buy a Galaxy Note if it breaches US shores?

Taylor Martin
 from Concord, NC
Published: November 29, 2011

The Samsung Galaxy Note was announced at IFA in September. The Note ships with a 5.3-inch HD Super AMOLED display, making it one of the biggest phones yet. The only three words that ran through my head after seeing the device and its specs were: entirely too big. To date, I've questioned why anyone would ever need a phone larger than 4.3-inches. I have relatively large (read: chunky) hands and 4.3-inches serves me pretty well. And smaller display sizes seem to suit people with smaller hands fairly well.

After little debate, I came to the conclusion that unless you have the hands of a giant, 4.5-inches and beyond seems excessive, over the top and, quite frankly, ludicrous. I also argued a few months ago that after a certain thinness is reached, the device becomes unwieldy and hard to keep a solid grip on. The device will feel fragile, cheap and likely give the user a feeling of uncertainty, instead of peace of mind with a sturdy grip.

I was certain that there were definable limits on how big and thin a smartphone should be. Yet I ate my words after Motorola released the 7.1mm thick DROID RAZR, which is the thinnest smartphone to date, all while being extremely sturdy and easy to hold onto. I fear I must eat my words once again. Well, sort of ...

Shortly after the Galaxy Note unveiling at IFA, it was revealed that Samsung had no plans of ever bringing the Galaxy Note to the States. Despite the fact that it's an unnecessarily gigantic phone, I never really put much thought into buying one because it wasn't headed to US shores. I'm not about to import a device that I'm not even sure I'm going to like. I'll admit that other than size, though, the specifications of the Galaxy Note were unbelievable. A 2,500 mAh battery? Incredible (yet expected in a device of that magnitude)! And a 1.4GHz Exynos dual-core processor to boot?

Yesterday, however, a new version of the Galaxy Note broke cover. Pocketnow managed to obtain some images of a Galaxy Note-like device laying on a desk sans physical home button. If you've paid any attention to Samsung over the past two years with their international and US-based Galaxy devices, the US variants never have a home button, but instead have the standard four capacitive keys along the bottom of the face of the device. We're only left to assume that this device may in fact make it to the States.

After reading Alex's article about a possible US-bound Galaxy Note, I felt compelled to buy one, for whatever reason. Of course, we're not certain there is a Note headed to our shores. For all we know, that picture could be of something entirely different. (You never can tell anymore.) But if one were to ever land here, I might buy it ... just to see.

If I have learned anything over the past year it's that size is a variable in my book. I've had some 4.3-inch devices that have felt a tad small, while others felt too large and clunky. I thought the 7-inch Kindle Fire would be too small for my liking in terms of tablets, yet I'm enjoying the size. It's all about a combination of display size, weight and thickness. And I feel there may actually be room for some middle ground. Why not, right?

At 5.3-inches, the Galaxy Note is excessive. Nobody needs a 5-inch phone and it may look utterly ridiculous while holding the thing up to your head for a phone call. (Seriously, it works better as a blind for peripheral vision or a sun visor than anything else.) It will also be inevitably more difficult to slip into the pocket of my jeans. But having a phone that large may not be a bad thing after all. I've been carrying around my Kindle Fire the past few days (especially since rooting it) and it hasn't bothered me as much as I originally thought it would.

My only concern at this point is the quality of the display. It's a 5.3-inch HD Super AMOLED at 1280 by 800 pixels. If you do the math (or use a ppi calculator), that's 285ppi. I've grown used to the super clear display on the iPhone 4/4S over the past several months, which might make the PenTile AMOLED panel seem lackluster. Then again, I've always been the type to prefer a larger display over quality. My Galaxy Tab 10.1 has the same 1280 by 800 resolution, which puts it at roughly 150ppi; there is definitely noticeable grain.

I'm thinking it will all be negligible in the end, especially on a much smaller display. The sheer size of the display could be the answer to my touchscreen typing woes, among other things, and the extra battery capacity will undoubtedly be welcomed.

How do you guys and gals feel about the Galaxy Note. Is 5.3-inches simply too big? Or would you consider buying one if it ever came stateside?

Image via GSMArena