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Why Samsung's Galaxy Note Sings a Happy Tune


Businesses take note. The ugly noise about the Samsung Galaxy Note is not as grim as it sounds.

Last week AT&T (T) and Samsung began the pre-release hype for the companies' latest mobile thingie: the Galaxy Note -- in pre-order for $299 with a two-year contract.

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Don't be wary of the Samsung Galaxy Note. Bigger really is better when it comes to mobile business apps.


Half-tablet and half-smartphone, this 6.5-inch overall diagonal, LTE-enabled, Android-powered "smartlet" or "tabphone," or whatever you want to call this hybrid device, aims to be a mobile user's ultimate weapon -- big enough to interact with, small enough to carry. Samsung clearly lost most of the more consumer-oriented media, though. Reviewers sounded off that for average users the Note is simultaneously too big to be a phone and too small to be a tablet.

While that is probably true for consumers, for those of us who make our livings from our mobile devices, the Note not only avoids striking a sour tone; for businesses this device carries a serious tune.


Bigger really is better when it comes to mobile business apps.

For sure, the notepad-sized Note is the biggest phone you will ever be asked to carry. This thing is massive at about 6 by 3 inches. (Your parents' TV remotes may be bigger.) But get by the bulk factor and the Note delivers real productivity. Email on this huge screen is marvelous to read. Documents from Word files and cloud tools such as Google (GOOG) Docs are clear and easy to edit. I loved it. The keyboard is the simplest virtual data entry tool I have used a on mobile gadget -- the Note is not only touch enabled; it comes with a built-in stylus pen. I could write, draw and edit on it. For core business documents and presentations, there is no device like the Note.

The screen is off-the-hook clear.

The 1280-by-800 resolution display, while not exactly as crisp as a good desktop screen, is close enough that it really doesn't matter. From Netflix (NFLX) to sales presentations to photographs, if you look at them for work, they look pristine on this device. And talk about light output: Assuming you have an all-white screen, you not only can read from it, you can light a table. The Note is that bright.

Lots of business-friendly features.

The Note is loaded with work gimmies: 16 GB of onboard memory, 32 GB with the add-on microSD card. It has an 8 megapixel front-facing camera and a 2 megapixel screen-facing camera, so video conferencing was first-rate. The touch pen supported not only text entry but a range of drawing, mark-up and editing tools. I could edit presentation slides with this thing. The calendar was particularly business friendly. And network access was fast. The Note comes with 3G, HSPA+ and 4G legit LTE access in markets where it is supported. The whole thing runs from a 1.5ghz Dual Core processor. You can expect the Note to run as fast as any device you will use. And the battery life? At least in my testing, you can charge it once a day and forget about it. Try that on an iPhone.

Bottom line

For sure, the Note takes getting used to. Besides being huge, getting the hang of all the modes, features and pen tricks takes work. And the AT&T 4G network can be smoke and mirrors in some markets. You will not get full performance unless you are in the right parts of the country.

But still, get past those hurdles -- and the $299 price tag -- and for work, this Note sings one heck of a tune.

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