Samsung's Galaxy Note is the crossover vehicle of smartphones.
Is it an extra-large smartphone or a downsized tablet? Actually, it's the former, but it feels like the latter when you nestle the 5.3-inch super Amolyed screen against your cheek to take or make a call.
Two years after Apple introduced the iPad, Samsung is seeking to fill a niche that may or may not exist in a commercial sense.
With the largest-ever HD screen on a smartphone coupled with an Android operating system and a built-in stylus, the Galaxy Note is designed to eliminate the need to carry multiple devices, Samsung claims.
Perhaps the hipster crowd, with its antique eyeglass frames and cardigan sweaters, will adopt the new phone and swathe it in tortoise shell or argyle. It comes with a built-in FM radio, and attracts attention simply by its size, which could provide a touch of ironic karma.
I handed the phone to one of our staff artists, Todd Pendleton, who was impressed with the device's performance and its built-in S Memo software, particularly the lack of lag with the stylus input. But I didn't gather that Todd was going to replace his sketch pad with the Galaxy Note, which costs $300 from AT&T with a two-year data contract or $650 with no contract.
This is a phone that will grab your attention in the store, as the massive display and the performance of the stylus as an input device are impressive. But the drawbacks of holding the phone to your ear or attempting to wedge it into your pocket quickly become apparent.
It remains to be seen if the Galaxy Note's unique attributes will connect with enough customers to make the phone an oversized success.
At a glance
Samsung Galaxy Note
• Processor: 1.4GHz Dual Core Processor
• Screen: 5.3-inch WXGA (1280 x 800) screen
• Operating system: Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) operating system
• Main camera: 8 MP with LED Flash / Front camera: 2 MP
• Video: 1080p video recording and playback
• Writing tools: S Pen stylus
• Cost: $299 with a two-year data contract