Is it a smartphone or is it a tablet? If that’s the first question that popped into your mind when you took a first look at the Samsung Galaxy Note LTE, then you won’t be the first. Even Samsung has used this question as a tagline in its advertisements. For those of you who might still be wondering, well it’s of course a smartphone. Its mammoth 5.3 inch screen is definitely a record breaker and it’s now available on AT&T’s 4G LTE network too.  Samsung has done amazingly well in recent times with its Samsung Galaxy S line of phones, but will the Samsung Galaxy Note LTE be able to continue the trend? Read on to find out.


It really doesn’t matter how big your hands are, the Samsung Galaxy Note LTE will still not be comfortable for operation using just one hand. At 5.78 x 3.27 x 0.38 inches, those with smaller hands would almost surely gasp at the sight of this phone and will probably look for a phone that fits their size. However, for those who love phones like us, then you will find that it’s fine when you use both your hands to operate the phone. To be honest, at only 0.38 inches thick, it’s actually a very thin phone. So you could still put it in your pocket without having a big bulge. Tipping the scales at 6.45 oz, you will definitely need no reminding that it’s in your pocket.

In terms of exterior design, the Samsung Galaxy Note LTE does share some similarities with its sibling in, the Samsung Galaxy S II. Its casing is made completely out of plastic, just like the Samsung Galaxy S II. Although the plastic construction might not appeal to some, but we assure that the phone feels solid in our hand. On the front, we of course have the highlight of the phone, the 5.3 inch WXGA screen. Right underneath this screen you will find the trademark Android capacitive buttons albeit this is different from the physical home button in the previous version. Also on the front, you are blessed with a 2MP front-facing camera.  The buttons around the phone are well designed and we didn’t have a problem pressing them. Flip the monstrous phone and at the back is an 8MP auto-focus camera that comes with LED flash as well.


The Samsung Galaxy Note LTE has been given an upgrade from its 1.4GHz dual-core Exynos processor to a 1.5GHZ dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8660 CPU. If you are an avid phone user, then you would probably know this difference don’t count for too much. This was proven in our tests as the phone had issues when we tried love wallpapers with high graphics. However, such problems are only marginal when you use static wallpapers or when you are doing anything else for that matter.


Samsung Galaxy Note LTE does not run on the latest Android OS, Ice Cream Sandwich, so that was disappointing as we would expect that from a high end device like this one. However, an update is promised so we look forward to that. Enough of that, so it runs on Android v2.3.6 Gingerbread and on top of that we have Samsung’s very own TouchWiz user interface. The phone comes with the usual array of widgets and apps but one app that we would like to talk about is the S Memo. This app is a special notes app which lets you make full use of the S Pen that comes with the Samsung Galaxy Note LTE. You have options like brush type, thickness and color that you can change. Whenever you are tired of the S Pen, just use the QWERTY keyboard to get your stuff done. The S Pen is something to love once you master it and yes, make sure you change the settings if you are leftie.

So typing messages on the Samsung Galaxy Note LTE as you would have figured out already is without a doubt going to need both your hands. Once you have both your hands in place, you have three keyboards to choose from, that is either the stock keyboard from Android Gingerbread or Samsung’s keyboard or finally of course the Swype keyboard. They were all a breeze to use. Now moving on to the email experience, it has an optimized layout for landscape mode. We have that 2-panel layout now in its standard email app where you get to view both your inbox and email content at the same time.

Let’s talk about the highlight of this phone, the 5.3 inch Super AMOLED screen. It sports a resolution of 800 x 1280 pixels. Do the math and you will find it to give a pixel density of 285 ppi. The screen itself is great as always, it has saturated colors and the contrast was good too. We also got some really good viewing angles off this screen. All in all, it’s a great screen to have.

On the back of the Samsung Galaxy Note LTE is an 8MP camera that has one LED flash to go with it. You get a pretty good interface that works its way from one picture to the next really quickly. We liked that for sure. You can also choose from the various scenes and also turn on a nice feature called Anti-Shake.  The picture quality was pretty good. We still had the same overexposure issue in brighter areas but otherwise things like color production and details were decent. Video recording is done at 1080p so we loved the quality we got. Furthermore, the capture rate of 30 fps just made things all the more sweet.

The Samsung Galaxy Note LTE comes with AT&T’s 4G LTE network, so we obviously got amazing speeds both for uploads and downloads. The internet browser onboard the phone worked great, there were no problems loading any of the pages we went to and navigating through the pages with this phone was truly amazing. Throw in all the Flash content you can think of and the browser still perform beyond expectations. Of course, there’s no need to talk about the detail you get from this phone, it’s a complete package.
Samsung has clearly worked out some of the calling quality problems we had with the original Samsung Galaxy Note. The voices can be made out clearly this time which makes for a good phone call on for people on both ends. The speakerphone produced some loud sounds too. With the 2500mAh battery onboard it manages to make more than a day even with the giant screen. We were impressed.


Pros and Cons
A 5.3 inch screen is definitely going to be a crowd winner. The Samsung Galaxy Note LTE also has a much more streamlined look. We also loved the good battery life.

The phone sadly showed some sluggish performance at times. One hand operation is impossible on this phone and we would love to see Android Ice Cream Sandwich as soon as possible.

The Samsung Galaxy Note LTE is indeed a hybrid device that comes with a huge screen. So if you find yourself having trouble deciding between getting a smartphone or a tablet, well you can now have them both with the Samsung Galaxy Note LTE.

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