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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


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100 Reactions to this post

"How big is too big (when it comes to display size)?"


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Tom Sullivan I am interested in a device that could double as a tablet and a phone.
Jasper Johnson Your crazy if you wanna buy this!! It's massive and I cant even hit the space bar when typing!! P.s in England on amazon it's like £569.99
Charles Hands I cannot wait til it breaches US shore I want it now but don't wannt pay the almost $800 for it
Fülöp Gábor So big..4.3 its enought....
Lawrence Ang Yan Jan The screen of this phone is 5.3inch...
Mandel McGuire Why are we putting form over function? I'd personally rather have 4g, dual-core, lots of RAM, high res screen with 6 to 8 hours of real battery life. All in an 3.5" screen then a 4-inch or more that's always plug-in 'cause my battery life is poor. That being said; it won't be long before the trend goes the other way.
Jeremy Gross anyting bigger than 4.3 now 4.5 is my max cause all the good phones are 4.5!!!
Adrian Salazar Hell yeah, that is if I don't get the galaxy nexus first! Never thought any manufacturer would ever want to have a dell streak 5 on there hands but the way screen size are going 5" may become the norm...
Mario Viscarra XLENT! If I could hold a 7 incher in my pants I deffenetly would. THIS one I know I can. Love it!
Eric Crane I've been using this phone for a month and its amazing. I have an iphone 4 as well and it just seems like a child's phone when I use it. Battery life is great and the hd super amoled screen is ridiculous. I'm going to get another one when its official in the US.
Eric Kroh nope..I dont like Samsung quality...not that there is any of it in their smartphone housings...yum!..Kevlar backing on the Droid Razr!
Chris Montana 4.5 and thats it!!!
Carlos Nava Epic touch 4G is the best !
Krushi Vemula No bigger than 4.5
Vaetist Saranya Vairan Vince Too biggggggggggg remember guys its just a cell phone
Brandon Johnson I'm fine with the 4S, but I'd give a phone that size a shot next year maybe.
Zulfi Rasool iPhone 4S <3
Byktor Urvaes 4.3 is just fine, anything bigger then that is too big
Austin Hawthorne pretty crazy, i had the nexus s and thought 4 inch was perfect and then i got the sprint gs2 and thought it was perfect and then i was using my friends nexus s and i was like how do you use this thing
Marcus Cadwell 4.3 is getting to be the de facto perfect size standard. Anything beyond is big. The nexus might be a slight exception due to part of the screen being used up for buttons, but most other times 4.3-4.5 is where it's at
Edward Bolton I would love one been looking at it for awhile
Vic Espinoza Yes! No need to carry a tablet plus stylus is great for note taking on the quick..
Tonny Be HELL YES!! Eagerly awaiting it's arival, preferably WITHOUT any Qualcomm nonsense under the hood #Tegra3 #Please
Timothy D Alston Oh he'll yeah
Ron McKenna wow is technology going back to the bag phone sizes just to have a television with phone and pc capabilities?
Joel Sanchez I thought the same thing before I upgrade to the Tmo GSII... The 4.5 is perfect. I can't feel the difference between the 4" and 4.5".... That's was she said too...lol
Oscar Niebla Fuentes Anything bigger than 4.3
Dwayne Demaurivert I would if it went to sprint (:
Norris Reber I WAS, and I guess I still am happy with my 4.3" EVO, but I will see who the carrier is that has this, I wouldn't mind the 5.1" display!!! I won't want it if it come out on Verizon or AT&T. the 2 biggest ripoff carriers out there!! Coverage for where I am Sprint is the best. (phone that is, their 4G coverage sucks here, had to go to Clearwire for internet)
Lupita Guzman It looks cool !! But I would think about it because I think the bigger is the battery won't last I have a thunderbolt and allready having problems with it .
Chris Contreras No. This is ridiculously big and anything over 4 inches is to big. I don't see why Samsung needs ANOTHER phone, why not just stick with a few and let one phone steel the show for a little while?
Steve Williams if its 350 or under with contract
Robert Centennial Ad one and if I didn't drop it and shatter the screen I would still be using it.
Eduardo Ordaz Any size is great. Its about what size phone a person wants. There are all kinds of screen sizes. But galaxy note no way to Big for me. A 4.5 inch is what i want.
Vlad Valentine McBride In texas that stuff will sell quick, we like everything bigger here in texas
Broderick Whitten I want it. Im gettin it. Lol
Abdul de Arab Over 4in
DK Alipio Yeah the bigger the better!
Joel Rivera Well Mine Is 4". And I Kind Of Want An iPhone. So, Idk ....
Justin M. Houston Well I'm due for an upgrade in September of 2013. Can't WAIT to see what's out by then! 6 core processors? Flexible OLEDs? LOL
Nick Truskowski I got big hands, so yeah that's nice.
Cristian Henriquez 4.3 is my cap
Eric Sjoberg 3.7 to 4.3 is perfect. iPhone too small, GSII too big IMO
Gordon Christie Its,not that big only a wee bit bigger than gs2 so not too bad
Alejandro Castro Really? Samsung is trying to hard, 4'3 inches is big enough, this ain't no phone its basically a tablet. SMH at them
Jilly App that's ridiculously large.
Wasim Mazahreh I wanted to get it but I opted for the galaxy nexus. This phone is big enough. Anything over 5" is just wasted screen space.
Brian Richards I have 4.5 & could use a little bigger. But not much. However it really comes down to battery life trade off. As it is 4" & 4.5" phones have some nasty shout battery life.
Marco Raymond The galaxy note is okay if you use it hands-free for calling and for me its a great phone-tablet that is very useful
Josh Cota yeah this is much too big. 4 inches is big enough for me.
David Harness Anything bigger than 4" is too big for a phone. Anything under 8.9" is too small for a tablet. Anything under 11" is too small for a computer. That's my view on it.
Antoine Butler Yes when?
Ryan DeClue Perfect for my huge hands!
Ravin Schmidt No, too big. I'm perfectly happy with my Samsung infuse. That's big enough.
Vincent Hung I might save my money for the first quad core phone and not a dual core phone-tablet hybrid
Rani Hinnawi Hahahaha, nooo......
Rico Woods Its a great size if I dont get the asus prime first I bwen waiting for the note but damn taking to long to come out 1280/800 superamoled thats all I need .. 5.3 hd display who cares boutbthe nexus anyway ics is great but most or all newer phone will get lol
Edgar Perret-Gentil I just got a galaxy s II. i think bigger than this is going to be way to big for edc . As a second device would be awesome!
Alex Englehart Ask your girl how big is too big lol
Michael Payne i have a dell streak hell yea
Ricky Tejada Its never too big ;)
Omar Alkhadra too big, it wont fit on some pockets..
Alex Castillo Samsung *
Alex Castillo Sanding is just trying to hard
Matthew Ryan Vargas when it doesn't stay in my pants (pocket)
Anthony Bailey It's a beautiful phone but it's absolutely insane. I don't want to new putting up a copy of the Twilight Saga to my ears when I need to converse and I sure don't want to be lugging one around. The Galaxy SII is almost too big.
Arvydas Gr Way too big to be a phone, way too small to be a tablet. That is just missunderstanding.
Anonymous 4.65 on the Galaxy Nexus is the max for me lol
Julio Garcia 4.3 is the best.
Oscar Garcia 4.5" is the limit i have SGS2 and love the screen!!
Steven Basso The screen is double the size of my hp veer and the veer does a perfect job so its wayyyyy to big in my eyes
Gabriel Sotomayor yeah i would , i like big screens , i have big hands and i don't use girls jeans like most "boys" do today...
George Millhouse it can easily fit in your pocket
Flossy Ciroc-Obama Carter i cant wait to get this!
Kevin Vernon Yep, works for my oversized paws.
Guillermo De León 4.3 is my limit for a phone.
Greg Smart i dont want a miniature tv in my pocket...
Dennis Heggenstaller And some girls like things bigger than 5"...just sayin...
Joe Sanghito Blo Nahh, I already got a tablet..
Matthew Oates Yes in a heart beat
Zach Cline Absolutely not
Mark Belkowski Nope 4.3" is perfect.
Gerard Anaya I'm due for an update from my dell streak. I had an iphone before and just love this HUGE screen. I got used to it and its freakin awesome. I love how its also a conversation starter. :)
Prabhath Jay 4 or above is gd
John J. Kamauoha When it doesn't fit in your back pocket, then it's a little big
Matt Ramlogan HELL YEAH
Brian Edwards Heck yes.
Nicolas Flores Nope 5" like OH HELL NO
Pascal Hertinge A swedish site did a review on it, i thought that it was too big but apparantly it wasn't. It had great resolution and could fit in all pockets.
Luis Montoya YES i WOULD! :D
James Hampsten a 5" phone????? that is WAY too big!
Michael Anthony Langworth i would import it if i lived in US of A :)
Steve Hartsock A LITTLE too big. :)
Sochit Jovovich Yes, I want this!




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