I've had the Samsung Galaxy Note for 11 days now, and for the most part, I've gotten used to the size. It's a behemoth of a phone, but the size no longer bothers me. It's big, and it's not going to get any smaller. I'm still having some trouble typing on it, but have accepted that my speeds are going to be slower as I work to reach across the device. It doesn't sound like it would translate into a noticeable speed difference - and it doesn't when you're typing short messages. Anything longer than 10 words, and it's noticeable to me. It continues to be a great conversation starter; today, I was stopped and asked about it as I picked up a sandwich for lunch.
I switched over to the AT&T version, which offers some slightly different specs like 4G LTE connectivity and a 1.5 GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor in place of the Exynos chip that's found in the international version. User experiences will vary, but in a total reversal from past experiences, I've found the AT&T Galaxy Note to be faster than the international Note. Transitions appear to be more smooth, and browser performance is slightly better.
I'll be very interested to see how battery life is given the toll LTE usually takes (and the fact that the battery remains at 2,500 mAh). Stay tuned!