That's it, I'm buying a Galaxy Note

Taylor Martin
 from Concord, NC
Published: March 14, 2012

The Samsung Galaxy Note is a strange beast. It's one of those devices that grabs your attention because it's mostly absurd, yet many of us can't look away. We just have to get our hands on it. Its giant 5.3-inch Super AMOLED HD display is one of the nicest on the market and makes my Galaxy Nexus seem ... inadequate. (It's not that it is, by any means. I just have the attention span of a fly and love unnecessary gadgets.)

Even Aaron, who openly disliked the size of the phone at the beginning of his Samsung Galaxy Note challenge, found himself missing the extra display space when switching back to the iPhone 4S and even the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket after the challenge. And now he's debating switching back to the Note – something even I never saw coming.

The Note clearly isn't for everyone. A 5.3-inch phone with an S Pen a stylus (sorry, Samsung, it's a stylus) will only appeal to a niche market, but there is obviously something there. I chuckled at the idea of a 5-inch phone with Dell launched the Streak and again when Samsung announced the Note. And, now, I've been trying my best to figure out how I can get my hands on one. I use T-Mobile and Verizon primarily, so my options are pretty slim.

There has been some talk of the Note coming to Verizon as the Galaxy Journal. But we know, for a fact, that it is an AT&T exclusive device for the time being. So it could be several, long months before it makes its way to Big Red.

There is also the option of paying premium prices to import international devices through Expansys and other sites of the like. From Expansys and Negri Electronics, you can easily import the international version of the Note or the Bell Galaxy Note from Canada. The problem? Neither of those (nor the AT&T Note, for that matter) support T-Mobile 3G or HSPA+ bands. In other words, I could buy a Note right now and pay upwards of $700 to use an absolutely awesome phone on 2G speeds (EDGE). Seems a bit counterintuitive, no?

However, when I finally had a chance to sit down last night after a very long day (spent almost entirely away from the Internet, go me!), I noticed that my good friend Dustin Earley from Android and Me had written exactly what I have been wanting to see since the Note launched in October of last year. XDA-Developers user tomin.fhl has discovered and posted the necessary files in order to enable an unlocked AT&T Note (not the international or Bell versions) to work with T-Mobile's 3G and HSPA+ bands, fulfilling a bounty to boot. (See? I'm not the only one who's been dying for this.)

Oh, how I love Android's development community.

So what does this mean? Well, for starters, it means that I'm already working to find an unlocked AT&T Galaxy Note. I'm looking high and low and will hopefully have a Note in my possession before the end of the week (even today, possibly). And as soon as I get one, I will be applying tomin.fhl's modification and sporting my new, shiny, 5.3-inch Note on T-Mobile without succumbing to EDGE. (Yay!)

There are some caveats, though. This method requires a little know-how in unlocking, rooting and ClockworkMod Recovery. And, as always when altering system files on a device, you run the risk of permanently damaging your device, even rendering it useless. Not to mention, it may not work as expected after the modifications anyway. User tomin.fhl mentioned that his signal levels aren't as high as they were on his Galaxy S II, and speeds are relatively slow for HSPA+. This doesn't bother me, however. I've been using a Galaxy Nexus on T-Mobile for just over three months and signal is iffy at best, and speeds have been mediocre.

While I can't recommend this method to anyone (and highly suggest avoiding it unless you know what you're doing), I may write about my results, any hiccups or additional caveats later on PhoneDog. If not, I'm sure I'll be yapping away about it on Twitter.

Tell me, readers. Does this breakthrough appeal to anyone else out there? Have you been waiting for a Note on T-Mobile? Who else is planning on snatching an unlocked AT&T Note and trying this out? If anyone out there already has, feel free to share your results in the comments below!

Products mentioned