The Samsung Galaxy Note was launched with huge fanfare at IFA in Berlin this time last year, and it was met with huge confusion. Was it a phone, a tablet or whole new category of device? Samsung claimed the latter, but rejected the ‘phablet’ label.
With a 5” screen and a stylus for writing directly on the screen, the Galaxy Note was a real attempt to turn creativity digital and even to digitise the humble paper notebook and pen or pencil. The idea of the ‘S-Pen’ was that it would allow users to snip parts of photos or the web and send them to friends easily and simply, annotate websites or pictures, or simply to write notes. To the surprise of the technology press, the Note sold very well and gained a loyal following among the 10million consumers who bought it.
With the launch of the SIII mobile phone, an update to the Note was inevitable, and last night in Berlin again Samsung revealed that the Note, previously like a large SII phone, would now look like a large SIII phone.
That’s unfair, however – in the few minutes I’ve had to use the Note, the improvements are substantial. I said in my review of the original that it was a brilliant idea whose execution was not yet perfect; in the Note II, however, the main improvement is the update to the pen so that it feels almost like using a conventional rollerball.
That simply makes writing on the screen feel easy, rather than like skating over glass: if anything the regret now is almost that the 5.5” screen is in fact too small. Who, after all, would use a 5.5” notebook as their main pad? The Galaxy Note 10.1, in fact, looks more attractive than ever.