T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy Note Review

It is about time T-Mobile gets its own Galaxy Note,right? Although it is kinda a last minute thing, I am sure that it will be welcomed by a some of you out there. This variant of the phablet is very simlar to the AT&T one except that it comes preloaded with Android 4.0.4 out of the box. The Note was made official on July 17 and is now scheduled to launch on August 8 for $250 after $50 mail in rebate and signing a two-year contract.

If you have doubts about the popularity of this device, you should know that Samasung was able to sell over 7 million of them worldwide. The Galaxy Note is a beast on its own and it isn’t your usual smartphone. It comes with a huge 5.3-inch display, a stylus, can browse the internet and most importantly makes calls.

The Good

  • Display: You gotta love that Super AMOLED 1280 x 800 screen.
  • Network: It connects to T-Mobile’s fast HSPA+ 42Mbps network
  • Design: Samsung has put in a lot of work into integrating the stylus pen within the phone. You won’t even knwo it’s there.
  • Software: It comes with Ice Cream Sandwich right out of the box with Samsung’s Premium Suite.

The Bad

  • Display size: Having played with the AT&T model, I still find the screen size insanly large.
  • No NFC
  • TouchWiz: I am just not a big fan of Android skins.

Specs

The T-Mobile Galaxy Note aka SGH-T879 looks very similar to the AT&T model. Not only that but it will also feature the same 5.3-inch HD Super AMOLED WXVGA display, 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, 8-megapixel rear camera with LED flash, 2-megapixel front camera and Android 4.0.4. In addition to coming in two colors (Navy Blue and white), it also offers Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n connectivity, Bluetooth 3.0, HSPA+ 42Mbps radios, S-Pen (stylus), HDMI and USB ports, 3.5mm headphone jack, microSD slot (up to 32GB) and a 2500 mAh battery.

The phablet measures 5.78 x 3.27 x 0.38 inches and weighs 6.28 ounces or 180 grams. It supports UMTS/HSPA+ 850 MHz;900 MHz;1800 MHz;1900 MHz bands along with the 1900/2100 AWS bands.

Hardware/Design

The T-Mobile Galaxy Note carries the same design as the Galaxy S II devices and is practically the same thing as the AT&T model. Yes, it is huge but at the same time it is ultraporatble (180 grams). This phone is definetly not made for everyone folks and even though you may think you won’t like it, you’ll find yourslef having a lot of fun with it.

In the front of the handset, you find the usual four capacitive buttons (Menu, Home, Back and Search), the 2MP front camera which is great for self portraits and chat, sensors and earpiece.

On the right side, you have the Power/wake button while on the other side you’ll find the volume rocker.

In the back of the Note, the 8MP camera is situated in the middle with the LED flash next to it. The back cover is removable along with the 2500 mAh battery, microSim and microSD slots. Finally, the speaker is on the bottom left of the handset.

On the bottom, the usual microHDMI port is right in the middle with a mic and S-Pen slot. the 3.5mm audio jack and a second mic can be found on the top of the device.

Software

 
Big Magenta’s Galaxy Note comes preloaded with Samsung’s own TouchWiz user interface. It runs on Android 4.0.4 along with the new Premium Suite which includes upgraded S-Pen, S-Memo applications and new tools like Knowledge Search, Formula Match and Shape Match.

Other than its humongous size, the SGH-T879 acts like its other Galaxy S II counterparts. It is smooth but not as fast as the Galaxy S III. Since it carries the T-Mo logo on it, you bet your behind that it has some type of bloatware. In this case, there are about 13 apps including 411 & More, Access T-Mobile, Bobsled Messaging, Mobile Hotspot, T-Mobile TV and others. Samsung also made sure to include S-Pen dedicated applications in the S-Memo and S-Note:

  • S Note also allows users to import and annotate a PDF file and convert dictated or hand- written memos to text with the Continual Voice Input and Handwriting-to-Text features.
  • S Memo upgrade includes one-touch access to all S Memo features – including typing, writing, voice dictation, search and adding an image. The user can place the widget on any of the multiple home screens of the Galaxy Note, which makes accessing and using S Memo faster and easier.

Samsung added productivity features like:

  • Shape Match: This helps you ‘refine’ hand-drawn shapes like circles, squares and others.
  • Formula Match: This is my favorite features folks. What it does is calculate complex mathematic formulas
  • Knowledge Search: Thanks Wolfram Alpha, you will be able to look up information from a hand-written note.

Display

What is it not to love about the 5.3-inch of goodness? The display has a 1280 x 800 pixels, offers some really crips colors and deep blacks. Although it carries the AMOLED technology, the GNote has a pentile display. You shouldn’t let that discourage you from getting this great Android device. The large display makes playing games and watching videos really fun!

Performance And Battery Life

Call Quality:

While I only had the Note for a couple of days, I was pretty happy with the call quality. Although the servie was spotty on some locations, I was able to make and receive calls. However, I wish the call volume was a bit better.

Battery Life

The T-Mobile Galaxy Note carries a huge 2500 mAh battery which is rated at up to 10 hours of talk time and up to 250 hours of standby time. Having used it as my main device for a couple of days, I rate the battery life as good. You may find yourself charging it in the middle of day–Make sure you have a spare charger handy.

Data Speeds

I live in the Lehigh Valley area in Pennsylvania and we’re considered a HSPA+ 42Mbps market. Data speeds varied depending on where on my location. I was able to average 7 Mbps down and 1 Mbps up which is pretty fast, even faster than AT&T’s 4G network.

Benchmarks

I ran a few benchmark tests on this baby and the results were up to par with the other Galaxy S II models. It averaged around 3400 on Quadrant, 1300 on Vellamo and 6524 on AnTuTu. No matter what these benchmark scores tell you, you may not know how great of a device the Galaxy Note is until you get some hands-on time with it. Head to your local T-Mobile store and spend some time playing around with it.

Camera

Rear Camera
The camera is up to par with the ones from the other Galaxy devices; this is simply one the best cameras I have had the chance to play with.

You will find an 8-megapixel camera in the back of the phablet accompanied with an LED flash and digital optical 4x zoom. You will be very pleased with the quality of the pictures. I sure wish it had a dedicated camera button..maybe in the Galaxy Note 2.

Front Camera
The front 2-megapixel camera isn’t bad at all. The pictures I took are decent but it shouldn’t surprise you at all–it is still better than the Nexus 7’s camera.

If you love filming videos, you will love the Galaxy Note. This phone isn’t only great to watch videos and play games but it can be a great ‘camcorder.’ The video quality is simply top notch!

Conclusion

The Galaxy Note is a huge phone, there is no doubt about it, it isn’t for everyone! It was unconformable carrying it in my pockets. I am not sure if you could have it as my daily phone. On a side note, you are getting the same Galaxy Note that was released months ago meaning that Samsung didn’t put the effort to update it. The $250 price tag should have been around $150 at least but nonetheless the Note on T-Mobile is still a great Android device.

Zack has always been a fan of anything with the tag "Gadget" on it, he has had used almost every phone brand except for the Palm and owns a Pixel XL as his daily driver. His favorite camera is the Olympus EM-1 Mark II. He is a full-time father of two great boys and happily married to his wife. Did we mention the Zack loves Video games? Add him to you circles: Google+

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